For Immediate Release
August 20, 2012
PM’s Visit Must Address Issues Facing Northern Communities
TORONTO— Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett made the following statement today on Stephen Harper’s trip to Canada’s North:
“Year after year this prime minister uses the North as a backdrop for announcements on Arctic sovereignty and military procurement projects, such as the much-touted but long overdue Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, yet he continually fails to make any headway on the real issues facing Canada’s northern communities.
Our North is facing a serious food insecurity problem, with more than 79% of people without access to sufficient food. Federal government programs such as Nutrition North have failed, yet the Prime Minister still stubbornly refuses to admit there is even a problem.
And while the Arctic prepares for significant large-scale resource development projects, the Harper Conservatives are undermining the meaningful participation of Northern communities by ending successful programs like the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership, which partnered with Canadian industry to provide needed training for sustainable employment for Aboriginal people, particularly in the resource sector.
Northerners deserve more than an annual photo op from their prime minister and hollow announcements that never materialize. It is time that the federal government listen to their concerns and serve as a true partner in addressing the serious challenges and opportunities in Canada’s North.”
Office of the Liberal Leader