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Harper visits Nunavut
PM rallies support fromsupporters in Iqaluit; doesn't take questions

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Monday, August 17, 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stopped into Iqaluit on Aug. 14 on the campaign trail for the Oct. 19 federal election, championing the North and announcing plans to further support the Junior Canadian Rangers.

NNSL photo/graphic

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stepped off his chartered plane in Iqaluit on Aug. 14 for a quick round of handshakes and photos with Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq and a crowd of supporters selected by staff. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

"I always enjoy visiting our true North, strong and free, and there is no truer North than right here in Nunavut," Harper told a crowd of supporters in a Tower Arctic warehouse.

Dozens of staff joined him on the trip from Hay River in the NWT to Iqaluit that day. He came off his chartered plane to a staged selection of supporters, pausing for a few photos before getting in a vehicle on the tarmac and heading to the city.

On his way out of the airport, Liberal nominee Hunter Tootoo and about a dozen of his supporters held up pro-Liberal signs.

On the road to the airport and to his speech at Tower Arctic warehouse, a handful of people held up New Democratic Party signs, including one bearing the name of the party's late former leader, Jack Layton.

Speaking with supporters, Harper went over Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq's record then announced a Franklin Expedition centre in Gjoa Haven, but provided few details.

He said supporting the Junior Canadian Rangers is an important part of the government's Northern Strategy and recognized they like the Lee Enfield rifles, which are set to be replaced. He announced the Rangers would be able to keep their Enfield rifles for personal use.

He also announced plans to bolster the Rangers to 5,000 members, roughly a 15 per cent increase.

Aglukkaq thanked Harper for his support for the North.

"No other government, no other prime minister in the history of Canada has made the North such a priority," she said.

Harper said it is a key part of his government's Northern Strategy.

Tootoo criticized Harper's visit, saying it unfolded under a "cloak of secrecy."

Harper did not take any questions from media.

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