The North represents one of Canada’s greatest opportunities but for too long has been treated as an afterthought.
While I was travelling through Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories over the past weeks, I saw a beautiful land with great promise. The people are warm, generous and resourceful.
Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau has neglected the North – not one of his Cabinet ministers has been from the North since 2016. It seems he doesn’t care about their input, only their votes.
The region has many security, shipping and resource advantages too. For years, we’ve been watching authoritarian states like Russia brazenly try to stake claim to huge areas of the North Pole and Arctic Ocean.
We are the only country in North America to share a border with Putin’s Russia – and that border has long been challenged by Putin.
It’s a problem that Canada has appeared so weak and unreliable on the world stage under Trudeau. It’s embarrassing to watch Canada publicly singled out for falling far below our defence spending commitments every time NATO nations meet.
He has failed to properly fund our Canadian Armed Forces. He has made a mess of our military procurement system, and he has left our troops without the modern equipment they need to defend Canada at home and abroad.
The two new polar icebreakers promised by Trudeau are plagued by delays and costing taxpayers billions more than original estimates. But that’s not surprising when it seems everything the Liberals touch results in delays and major cost overruns.
Meanwhile Russia and China are bolstering their own icebreaker fleets.
Trudeau’s incompetence has left our territory exposed and our military sadly dependent on other countries, and even civilians, for support.
In the years to come, the free and democratic world will need to continue to strongly oppose the aggression of states like Russia and China, but who will take Canada seriously when we can’t even defend our own borders? And what ally would trust us to defend theirs?
As former Prime Minister Harper once said, “Sovereignty over one’s territory is not a theoretical concept. It is earned and retained by being present, by having planes in the air, ships in the sea and, most importantly, boots on the ground.”
As Canada’s next Prime Minister, I will restore Canada’s credibility on the world stage and put forward a serious plan for the North that is backed up by action and financial commitments.
I will fix our broken procurement system and make investments for modern equipment for the Canadian Rangers, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard so they can decisively defend our Northern coastline.
I will treat our Northern communities with respect by making sure they keep more of their natural resource revenues. I will help them build new critical infrastructure like roads, housing, airports, and water and sewage facilities – we need to close the gap on the basic necessities that Northerners have lived without for so long. I will also lower the cost of fuel and food by cancelling the Carbon Tax.
The world needs a stronger Canada. Enough empty promises and defence freeloading. We are the True North, Strong and Free. It’s time for Canada to prove it by committing to defend our country, our people and our sovereignty from coast to coast to coast.