1. Food security in the north has become an essential election issue. With 13.7% of NWT households reporting as food insecure, a just and sustainable food system must be planned for and requires the input of NWT residents of all communities. If elected what are two actions that you will advocate to combat food insecurity?
Historically country food and a traditional economy was the main source of food security. The main activity was harvesting of food to survive independently without an income from the wage-based economy. All families had gardens, set nets, set snares, fall fisheries, trapped, hunted in the spring, and harvested all available animals on a sustainable basis. We need to revive that approach with local economies supported by our Economic Opportunities Strategy and Harvester Support Programs. We need to develop a food strategy and reduce the cost of living by pushing Canada to increase the Northern Resident Tax Deduction by 33% and to increase their investment in Nutrition North Canada by $49 million over 4 years as promised.
The capacity of the NWT to become more independent in the production of food is only beginning to be realized. In the 18th Assembly I will support the following actions;
- I will advocate for changes in the federal northern food program to address the high cost of moving foods within the NWT
- I will support funding for the GSL fishing strategy and an Agriculture strategy to ensure that NWT residents in all communities have access to nutritious and safe foods produced in the NWT.
Oil and Gas Regulation
1. In the wake of devolution, with little to no evident discussion outside of cabinet, the Minister of ITI was appointed regulator of on-shore oil and gas. Having the same Minister in charge of both promoting and regulating an industry presents an evident conflict of interest. Will you advocate for a review of the industry’s regulatory framework and present alternative scenarios to the public for review? Please describe one alternative that you would consider to be preferable?
We have committed to Devolve and Evolve with all legislation mirroring the Federal Government’s. A review will happen at the appropriate time as we go forward.
The organizational structure of the GNWT and the legislative framework for taking over devolved authorities is still evolving. Given the low level of activity occurring in the oil and gas sector, I do not believe the Government should place a high priority on overhauling the oil and gas regulatory framework at this time. Other emerging priorities should be addressed.
1. Recent studies show that a third of all oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of current coal reserves would need to remain in the ground for the international community to reach its goal of staying below a maximum two degrees celsius global average temperature rise. Please describe two things that you will advocate for that will either support the proliferation of renewable energy in the NWT or transition our economy away from fossil fuel extraction?
There is no Oil and Gas Exploration happening now or in the foreseeable future, at least not within the next 10 years. Fossil fuel extraction is minimal. We expect to continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by investing significantly in renewable and alternative forms of energy as well as in energy conservation. Two examples of action in these areas include the Net Metering policy approved by the Public Utilities Board and the 2013 GNWT Biomass Strategy. We will fully promote the Net Metering Policy and additional work is required with municipalities to implement no-cost “local improvement loans” to stimulate residents and business to convert their heating systems to biomass to be repaid from savings.
1. There is a growing consensus that we need to adopt carbon pricing to reduce carbon pollution and increase energy efficiency. Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have already introduced carbon pricing. In fact BC’s popular carbon tax has been touted internationally as a model for the rest of the world. If elected will you commit to introducing a carbon-pricing scheme? Please briefly describe a scheme that you would support.
The cost of living is already way too high. Introduction of a carbon tax will only increase it further. My preference is for the GNWT to continue with investing in programs to convert to alternative and renewable forms of energy and to promote energy conservation.
The new Liberal Government in Ottawa has committed to working with all Provinces and Territories in setting Co2 targets and to develop harmonized approaches to reducing emissions. Carbon tax and cap and trade offer two different strategies adopted by the provinces.
If elected I will commit to bringing the NWT in line with national reduction targets. In the 2013 energy strategy, it was recognized that the NWT emissions are below 2001 levels. Increasing use of renewable will reduce emissions further. I will commit to support actions to ensure that the NWT is included in a national consensus on the strategies for reducing emissions.