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NWT MP McLeod only Liberal to support Green New Deal motion

NWT MP Michael McLeod speaks to reporters outside of the Legislative Assembly building in Yellowknife this summer. Nick Pearce/NNSL Photo

NWT MP Michael McLeod is the only federal Liberal supporting a Green New Deal.

McLeod had pledged to support NDP MP Peter Julian’s motion calling for huge public measures to tackle climate and social issues, stated a news release Saturday from climate action group Our Time Yellowknife.

McLeod's office confirmed the news Monday. However, the MP was not made available for comment.

Zoe Guile, a spokesperson for the organization, said a public letter circulated in December contributed to McLeod’s decision. 

“I think it was the diversity of people who signed on the letter,” she said. “I think that’s really hard to ignore.”

The letter received notable support from 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.

The plan, however, has drawn criticism for having unrealistic expectations.

NWT MP Michael McLeod speaks to reporters outside of the Legislative Assembly in Yellowknife in 2019.
Nick Pearce/NNSL Photo

Now organizers aim to have McLeod second the motion in the House, which would send a stronger message of support than simply voting for it.

“It’s formally saying that a Liberal is standing with equal support of this motion with an NDP and Green Party representative,” she said. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

When McLeod informed the organization of his support, he declined to take that measure, it said. Guile said McLeod stated he had some additional concerns around seconding the motion, but didn’t elaborate further. 

Organizers had previously met with McLeod on Dec. 17, but the MP refrained from taking a definitive position.

“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 stated in a December email.

There should be a “just transition for Canadian workers, and measures that address the realities of rural, remote, and Indigenous communities," he stated.

He also reiterated his support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples being implemented through Parliament and said it would be an opportunity to develop nation to nation relationships while managing the environment and the economy.

With McLeod now on board with the motion, Guile and the organization are taking a similar route on other issues.

The aim is push McLeod to release a position on the Teck Frontier Mine and the contested pipeline development on Wet’suwet’en land, which recently drew lunch time solidarity demonstrations outside his Yellowknife constituency office. 

“We’re in a climate emergency and we’re in a minority government so we have this unique opportunity to come together and work on things together,” said Guile.