Harper’s pit-stop speech in Iqaluit

Stephen Harper’s speech at Arctic Towers Ltd., Iqaluit, Aug. 14, 2015

Full English Transcript

I always enjoy visiting our true north strong and free and there is no truer north than right here in Nunavut. Laureen and Ben and Rachel and I are delighted to be here. Actually, Ben’s first time, but Rachel was here back in 2008, a bit smaller. But look we’re delighted to be here, surrounded by a great crowd of friends.

But if you don’t mind my saying it’s particularly great to be here because I’m here with a parliamentary and cabinet colleague that we all admire a great deal,  and that is your member of parliament Lenoa Aglukkaq. I have a couple of things to say. Leona is quite modest, but I hope you really do appreciate what an outstanding member you have. Here is someone who was raised on the land as  a young girl, speaking only Inuktituk (editing note: misspoke, likely meant Inuktitut) who went away to become educated, succeeded in one opportunity after another, and now has handled at the national level key portfolios like health, and the environment and who , at international forums like the Arctic Council speaks with authority and conviction for all of our country so we should all be proud of the job that (applause)

Her achievements for this beautiful part of our great country are without comparison in Canadian history.  I’ll talk more about those in a moment, but first let me just get your assurance that you’re going to work very hard to make sure the honourable Leona Aglukkaq goes back to the house of commons.

Leona understands, and partly because of Leona our entire Conservative government understands how important the strength and prosperity of the north are for the rest of the country. Because it is no exaggeration to say that in the 21st century what’s good for the North is going to be good for all of Canada. And that’s something I say everywhere.

Sadly, Canadian governments have not always thought this way. Indeed for many of the decades after sir John A. MacDonald secured these lands for confederation, Canada’s presence in this region was negligible. Indeed it wasn’tuntil the 1960s, within the lifetime of some of us here, that another great Conservative, John Diefenbaker, became the first prime minister to actually set foot north of the arctic circle. I think of our Conservative government as making up for lost time. And that’s why, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say what Leona said: never before in the history of this country has any government of Canada made the North such a high priority as it is today.  (applause)

At this point I’d like to remind you how we’re making the North such a high priority. And that is through our northern strategy. Our northern strategy, as most of you will know here, consists of four pillars: promoting economic and social development; protecting our environmental heritage; improving and evolving governance; and projecting our sovereignty over the arctic. But it’s about more than those four big things. It is a statement about who we are as a country, what we aspire to be, about completing Sir John A.’s vision of a great dominion from coast to coast to coast, a big vision as big as the north and south. But big visions don’t mean much if they’re not reflected in real actions that make a real difference in people’s lives. And those actions don’t happen unless you have people like Leona getting things done. Let’s look at some of the things Leona has done for this territory.

The development of a fishing and fish processing industry through the small craft harbour in Pangnirtung. And as Leona announced this summer another one going in Pond Inlet. And in fact another one here in Iqaluit. There’s the High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, the deep water port for the Canadian navy that’s going in at Nanasivik near Arctic Bay. The army training centre that is already at Resolute Bay. The Franklin Centre at Gjoa Haven. Now on this one, Leona said to me when I was goin over this, ‘oh I haven’t announced that one yet.’ Well, you have now. (laughter, applause)

Qausuituuq, a national park on Bathurst Island, new investments in promoting the Arctic as a premiere destination for tourism. Improving the safety of arctic marine transportation. The record investments we’ve been making in housing, in healthy food, broadband for the territory and mining, developing mining resources across the territory. Airport expansion at Rankin Inlet and of course big upgrades here to the airport, the headquarters of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the deep water port that we will be financing right here in the capital. (applause)

So Leona has worked hard and in a few short years has already achieved great things toward the goal of making Nunavut reach its full potential. Ensuring that the vision of Sir John A and Diefenbaker and of the thousands of Canadians that call the North home becomes a reality. And that’s why Nunavut needs Leona Aglukkaq in a strong stable national majority Conservative govt. (applause)

Now Before I go I do have a couple of additional announcements to make. One important part of our northern strategy has been our support for the Canadian Rangers. This is a force that not only acts as our eyes and ears on the ground in defence of our northern sovereignty, but also provides good work, solid training and role models throughout our northern communities. As you know, we greatly expanded the Ranger program and we’ve begun replacing their Lee-Enfield rifles. I know the Rangers like the Lee-Enfields. They are practical, reliable, accurate and durable. They have served the Rangers and our country well, but the time for that has come. (French)

I’m very pleased to announce that when these guns are replaced, in gratitude for the important work these men and women have been doing for our country, the Canadian Rangers will be able to keep their Lee-Enfield rifles for their personal use. (applause)

I spoke earlier today in the Northwest Territories about how I get a lot of my best suggestions for what to do here from talking to people here and that came from the Ranger patrols I’ve been out doing on the land the last couple of years. Now as the Rangers are also leaders in their communities, passing on knowledge and skills to the young men and women of the Junior Canadian Rangers is also creating a new generation with the skills and confidence to in turn lead the northern communities of the future. Which brings me to my second announcement. (French)

A reelected Conservative government will expand the ranks of the Junior Canadian Rangers to a full 5,000 members. (applause)

That, friends, is a 15 per cent increase to be finished in time for the programs’ twentieth anniversary in 2018. Now friends it’s good to know that when our sovereignty and security are on the line, we have people like the Rangers standing on guard for the rest of us.

In conclusion let me just say,that together we are building something great here. A strong an prosperous north that plays a vital and priority role in a secure and prosperous and sovereign Canada. And on Oct. 19, northerners will choose, between sticking with our Conservative party plan of low taxes, balanced budgets, prudent investments and against dangerous plans like a carbon tax that will kill jobs, make everything cost more and hurt our families, especially our northern families, and I know that’s a big issue here.

On oct. 19 you’ll be able to choose the one party that has a proven track record of keeping Canadians safe, and Canada’s economy strong, and of making Nunavut, the true north strong and free, the high priority that it should be in our great country. So work hard, re-elect Leona for Nunavut and for Canada. Thank you. (applause, music plays)

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