Federal Election? We’ve Northern Priorities!

Federal Election is your opportunity to bring positive change locally, regionally, nationally and even globally. By being informed voters, we will collectively have a great impact.

As we get closer to the election’s date, there will be forums, townhall meetings and debates. We encourage you to attend and ask candidates questions about issues that matter to you and your communities. With the help of a survey and research, our team identified ten priorities that concern people in the North. We asked members, supporters and the public in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut about their priorities for the upcoming Federal Election.

Under each priority, you’ll find information and possible question(s) that you could ask candidates. This will not only help you become informed about the candidates’ platforms, but will also hold them accountable to their promises in the future.


True Commitment to Climate Action

Global Warming means extreme weather events and natural disasters such as wildfires, floods and droughts putting people’s lives at imminent risk. Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The effects of climate change are felt from coast to coast to coast, but the North is carrying most of the burden. The Arctic warms three times fast as anywhere in the world. The permafrost in the Canadian Arctic is thawing roughly 70 years earlier than expected.

What’s the solution? Canada needs to commit to the Paris Agreement that requires nations to keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

To learn more from the UN about Climate Action, click here.

You could ask the candidate(s)

What are your plans in terms of limiting emissions and committing to Paris Agreement?

Are you and/ or your party going to help remove/reduce all subsidies and supports to the oil, coal, gas, and coalbed methane industries? 

In terms of job creation, in what ways are you and/or your party going to help in creating jobs that are sustainable and green?


Combat Food Insecurity in the North

In remote isolated communities, food insecurity is a reality. No one should go hungry because they’re unable to afford food. In addition to ensuring that food is affordable, it has to be nutritious as well.

While poverty is a factor, isolation is another major factor that contributes to food insecurity. Although Nutrition North Canada aim to bring nutritious food to isolated communities, the prices are still high. According to Food Secure Canada, 70 % of Nunavut live in food insecurity. The Nutrition North Canada program has to effectively reduce the cost of food. Medicine and grocery delivery via Canada Post could be subsidized. This will make food more accessible and affordable.

You could ask the candidate(s)

What steps are you going to take to help ensure that affordable healthy food is accessible in the North, especially in remote communities?


Invest in Indigenous Education, Employment and Health

While at PSAC North, we support and call on implementing all of the Truth and Reconciliation Report’s recommendations, there’re many of them and having limited time during town hall meetings, forums and debates, specific questions need to be asked. Therefore, the focus here is on education, employment and health.

All indigenous children must have access to quality educational opportunities. This also extends to young adults and others who plan on returning to school. Investing in education and training will pay off in the future as they’ll be ready and equipped to enter the workforce with the necessary skills. Health and education delivered must respect and incorporate the traditional practices (region and community specific) and recognize the role of elders.

To know more about Truth and Reconciliation Report’s Calls to Action, click here.

You could ask the candidate(s)

What steps are you going to take in order to invest in Indigenous education, employment and health?


Universal Pharmacare

Nearly one million Canadians give up food and heat so they can afford medications. According to the Federal Budget 2019 report, Canadians pay among the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Brand-name medications cost, on average, 20 per cent more in Canada compared to other advanced economies. What’s the solution? Universal Pharmacare. This program is going to ensure that everyone with access to healthcare will also have access to prescription drugs.

For more information on Universal Pharmacare, click here.

You could ask the candidate(s)

Do you pledge to support Universal Pharmacare? And how?


Childcare for All

When there is a lack of services taking care of children, the economy suffers— and that’s a burden on all. Affordable child care is not only essential for children well-being, but for their parents too. Most of the time, women take the task of looking after children and this might lead to economic hardship and/or keep them out of the paid labour force. Ask candidates to become child advocates.

To learn more about Universal Childcare, click here.

You could ask the candidate(s):

What’s in your platform to ensure that all children in Canada, regardless of where they live, their ability, family circumstances or culture have access to affordable high-quality child care?


Affordable Housing for All

We don’t have enough affordable houses in our northern communities. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s before-tax income. Recent studies have shown that across Canada 40 per cent of renters spend more than 30 per cent of their household income on rent and around 20 per cent spend more than 50 per cent. This means that 60 percent of renters don’t have access to affordable housing. Those numbers aren’t even taking homelessness into account. Homelessness is a reality and a crisis.

You could ask the candidate(s):

We’ve a housing crisis in the North, how are you going to ensure that every individual and family has access to an affordable place to call home?


Pension Protection and Retirement Security

No one should fear poverty if they retire. In 2012, almost one in seven Canadians was a senior. By 2030, the number will increase to one in four— that’s almost 25 % of the population. In addition to promising and working on achieving and improving a high-quality life for seniors, Federal government must pledge to protect pension, further improve Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and ensure retirement financial security. Employers’ bankruptcies must have no consequences on retirees.

You could ask the candidate(s):

How are you going to protect pensions and ensure a high-quality life for seniors?


Protect Human Rights and Dignity

Human rights, respect and dignity need to be prioritized. Pledging to end all forms of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, physical or mental disability must be a priority. While doing our research and survey, we found that members and supporters are concerned about a number of issues that we thought could be labelled as human rights concerns.

It’s 2019 and gender equality is still a goal to be achieved. Women make up 50 % of the population in Canada, but yet, they still need to fight for their rights. For instance, only 87 cents for every dollar earned by a man (2015 stat); women within visual minorities and Indigenous population earn even less. Another concern is protecting women’s autonomy over their bodies— this includes reproductive rights.

We need more laws, regulations and programs that improve the situation of disadvantaged individuals and groups. For instance, one of the main concerns is access and rights of people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities are more likely to be living in poverty and/or exclusion. They’re more likely to face discrimination. In addition to the human compassion, we’re all directly or indirectly affected by this issue as 1 in 5 of the Canadian population have one or more disabilities.

You could ask the candidate(s):

What would you bring to the table in order to end discrimination and exclusion targeting people with disabilities?

Do you pledge, and in what ways, to protect women’s rights and end gender inequality?


Ensure Better Mental Health and Substance Abuse Supports

Mental illness and substance use issues are treatable, but need education, intervention and prevention. No wonder that the extremely cold winter and remoteness in northern communities affect mental health. While a high demand for a focus on mental health exists, there are

few centres in the North. In addition to the remoteness factor that affects equitable access to mental health services, isolation and discrimination that indigenous communities go through is another factor. The intergenerational trauma caused by, for instance, residential schools or the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls has its toll on community members when it comes to mental health.

You could ask the candidate(s):

What are your plans in terms of investing in mental health education, prevention and intervention in the North, particularly in remote communities?


Eradicate Poverty

Poverty is a reality in Canada— 3.4 million Canadians, or 9.5 per cent of the population, live below the poverty line.

Poverty doesn’t only target the unemployed, but those who work one or two jobs either for minimum wage or under the precarious environment.

Universal Basic Income is one of the solutions to help individuals and families overcome poverty especially under the current instable job market. Guaranteed minimum income is doable and will contribute greatly in eradicating poverty. This income will need to take into account diverse needs, realities and geographic locations. Fighting poverty is more affordable than dealing with its implications. To learn more about the cost of poverty in Canada, click here.

You could ask the candidate(s):

What’s your plan to eradicate poverty in the North?

What steps are you going to take in order to implement Universal Basic Income?