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Federal candidates square off on Indigenous issues and carbon tax at forum


All five federal candidates made a case as to why NWT residents should vote for them in the fast-approaching Oct. 21 election during a forum held in the capital Oct. 9.

Incumbent Liberal Member of Parliament Micheal McLeod was joined by New Democrat Mary Beckett, Conservative Yanik D'Aigle, the Green's Paul Falvo and People's Party of Canada candidate Luke Quinlan.

The quintet barbed over topics ranging from the environment to Indigenous issues at the CBC-hosted forum in the Ndilo Gym.

Carbon tax and climate change

Falvo opened up the discussion on the carbon tax by asserting that we are in a climate emergency and introducing a carbon tax was the least expensive option when the alternative is accepting damages of climate change.

"We have to take steps to reduce our carbon emissions and carbon tax has been shown to work to be cheaper than the alternative," said Falvo.

McLeod was also quick to defend his government's carbon tax plan saying many experts evaluated the situation before creating the carbon pricing scheme.

"The plan they came forward with is a good one," said McLeod. "In the NWT we see the impacts of climate change on a daily basis and it's the right thing to do."

"A carbon pricing scheme alone is not going to be enough to curb greenhouse gas, but it will raise awareness."

Beckett said the Liberals did not go far enough with their carbon tax as the oil and gas industries are receiving billions in subsidies, which would be cut under NDP rule.

She also said the NDP would provide money to retrofit homes to produce less emissions and help residents get off fossil fuels.

D'Aigle and Quinlan shared a desire to cut the tax. Quinlan says extra taxes "discriminate against the North" were cost of living is high enough. D'Aigle said the tax was not wanted by GNWT and lacks a Northern reflection.

"Go up to the remote communities and see how much it costs to get gas, it's already $1.80 per litre," said D'Aigle. "To hear your home it already costs $35 per gigajoule to heat your home and you want to put a tax on it? It's already not fair to use the same measure for all Canadians."


During a question about how each candidate's party would support the futures of Indigenous children in the territory, McLeod asked D'Aigle if his party would support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Since many audience/viewer questions were similar, moderator Loren McGinnis asked all candidates if their party would support UNDRIP.

D'Aigle opened up by saying that Canada would not be able to implement the United Nations initiative "line by line.

"It's something that needs to be reviewed negotiated to make sure we implement it effectively," said D'Aigle.

Becket said the NDP is "definitely in favour" of using UNDRIP as a tenet of their government and ensure the recommendations from the report on murdered and missing indigenous girls and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are enacted.

McLeod commented on how Liberals, NDP and Green moved an UNDRIP bill through the House but it was ultimately killed by Conservative senators in the senate.

"We have every intention of bringing it back, this time it will be a government lead piece of legislation," said McLeod.

Flavo said the greens would enshrine UNDRIP into Canadian law.

Quinlan of the PPC said it is not up to the United Nations to decide what legislation is implemented in Canada.

"Why can't we listen to our own people?" Quinlan asked. "Why are we listening to globalists at the UN? We don't know the interest here. We have members of parliament and it is not their job to outsource policy."

The last scheduled federal leaders debate for the NWT is scheduled on Oct. 16 at Yellowknife city hall.

Voting day is Oct. 21.