The federal New Democratic Party has written to NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane promising to “make life easier” in the territory if the NDP forms the next Canadian government.
Responding to a request from Cochrane that the party set out how it will help NWT residents, the NDP said it would work with her government “to ensure people are getting the services they need while reducing the cost of living.”
The New Democrats said they would implement the federal Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, an economic and social investment document finalized on the Liberal government’s watch but not yet acted upon to the satisfaction of northern leaders.
Pledging to help the NWT shift to a greener economy, the party said future projects in the North under the NDP would “replace mere consultation with a standard of free, prior, and informed consent for Indigenous communities
affected by government policies.”
The NDP’s letter is slightly shorter than a response to the same set of questions sent by the Conservative Party and, unlike Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s letter, is signed by “the NDP team” rather than leader Jagmeet Singh.
And whereas the Conservatives, among broader promises, produced some specific commitments in their letter to Cochrane – like doubling the northern residents’ deduction and letting the NWT set its own debt limit – the New Democrats’ letter was lighter on detail.
For instance, the NDP said it was committed to “addressing the massive infrastructure deficit in the North, including transportation, housing, and energy resources,” but did not include examples of specific projects or funding.
The NDP did state its government would fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action. The party promised a national action plan on reconciliation, drawn from the calls to action and the declaration, and a National Council for Reconciliation “to provide oversight and accountability for this process, reporting regularly to Parliament and Canadians.”
Lastly, the party said it would implement the calls for justice set out by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Cochrane’s letters asked party leaders how they will give the NWT “fiscal flexibility,” how they will help the NWT’s economy develop, how climate change will be addressed, and how reconciliation will be advanced.
The Conservatives responded on September 11. As of Saturday evening, the Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, and Green Party had not sent replies, according to the territorial government.