NDP leadership hopeful talks clean energy, affordable housing

Peter Julian, a candidate for the federal NDP leadership, was in town April 29-30 to talk climate change and economic transition.

Peter Julian, a candidate for the federal NDP leadership, was in town April 29-30 to talk climate change and economic transition.

The B.C. MP attended the Yukon NDP convention over the weekend.

He praised the territorial NDP, calling MLA Kate White and Leader Liz Hanson “the two best political representatives in the country.”

He said that climate change was impacting the Yukon more than other parts of Canada.

“The reality is that Canada needs leadership to move to a clean economy,” he said. “That struck a chord with the Yukon New Democrats.”

There is unlimited potential in terms of geothermal, wind and solar energy in the territory, he said.

“Yet we have a federal government unwilling to provide support.”

Supporting the transition towards clean energy also means opposing pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, he said.

Back in November 2016 the Trudeau government approved the controversial pipeline project that will transport oil from Alberta to B.C.

More affordable housing is one of the other big proposals Julian has been talking about.

His plan is to build 250,000 homes across the country to deal with the housing crunch much of the country is grappling with.

“Increasingly we’re seeing families stretch (their resources) for affordable housing,” he said. “We see small homes crowded with multiple families having to live there.”

He also promised to eliminate tuition fees, “so we can see more young Yukoners going on to college, universities and trade schools.”

Julian said it’s important to regain support in the North.

During the 2015 federal election all three Northern ridings went to the Liberals. But Julian doesn’t think the current government has meaningfully engaged with Northerners.

“Northern Canada has been left aside by the Trudeau government as it was by the Harper government.”

On the issue of crime, Julian vowed to increase funding for addiction treatment and crime prevention programs.

“For every dollar spent on crime reduction, you save six dollars in policing costs, court costs and prison costs,” he said. “It is a very smart investment.”

Spending for those programs were slashed under the Harper government and not fully reinstated under Trudeau, he said.

“We have a federal government, regardless whether it’s the Conservatives or Liberals, who doesn’t understand they need to make those investments to lower the crime rate.”

On the issue of unsigned Yukon First Nations, Julian said there had to be meaningful negotiations as part of reconciliation.

“It would be a priority of an NDP government to resolve (them),” he said.

“The Liberal government tends to want to draw things out rather than resolving issues.”

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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