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MLAs, NWT residents call for Green New Deal from Michael McLeod

Ella Kokelj, right, and her fellow youth supporters made a plea with council to declare a municipal climate emergency on Oct. 15. Brett McGarry / NNSL photo

An open letter signed by two MLAs and two City of Yellowknife councillors is calling on NWT MP Micheal McLeod to support a Green New Deal.

In additional to several youth, former Chief of Smith’s Landing First Nation Francois Paulette, musician Leela Gilday, Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson, Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly, Jack Bourassa of PSAC North and Yellowknife City Councillors Shauna Morgan and Julian Morse signed the letter. 

One of the signatories, O'Reilly, recently called for the territorial legislature to also declare a climate emergency, saying on Tuesday that "we will need to make deeper reductions to hold global warming below two degrees Celsius."

Organized by the youth organization Our Time, the letter voices support for New Westminster MP Peter Julian's M-1 proposal in parliament, which the organization says would "immediately lead the transition away from fossil fuels" and would also require implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

McLeod has also committed to meeting with the organization next week, according to an Our Time news release.

"Having read their letter, I broadly agree with and share their goals. I too support taking concrete steps to ensure we meet and improve upon our 2030 and 2050 emissions targets," McLeod wrote in an email statement to News/North, adding there should be a "just transition for Canadian workers, and measures that address the realities of rural, remote, and Indigenous communities."

He also reiterated his support for UNDRIP being implemented through parliament and said it would be an opportunity to develop nation to nation relationships while managing the environment and economy.