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Nunavut premier warns Harper to keep election promises 

[PoliticsWatch updated 2:15 p.m. June 7, 2007]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik. 

OTTAWA  — Look out Danny Williams. 
  

Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik has become the latest Canadian politician to issue a warning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for the next election if the government fails to live up to its promises. 

Okalik is calling on Harper and the Tories to keep their election promise to build a deep water sea port and conduct military training in Nunavut. 

"If the Conservative government wants to be re-elected by Nunavummiut ... they made promises Nunavummiut but we're still waiting for them to deliver on those promises," he said in the Nunavut legislature last week. "We're not just going to sit and wait."

"The most important thing for us is the deep sea port and also training of military in Nunavut. We know that they are very important and they need to go ahead."

Legislators in Nunavut are concerned about a report last month that a federal cabinet committee had approved the purchase of six arctic patrol vessels and is waiting for the prime minister to sign off on the plan. 

Nunavut MLA Tagak Curley said in the legislature that he believed the six new vessels "are the replacements for what the Conservatives promised us." 

"Perhaps the premier can tell Nunavummiut that he will look into that and ask the federal government not to replace the promises that the Conservative government had stated during their campaign," he said. 

In the last election campaign, as part of its arctic sovereignty plan, the Conservatives made a bigger promise to purchase three new heavy naval ice breakers and build a new combined military civilian deep water docking facility in the Iqaluit region. 

Harper estimated that at least 500 sailors would be committed for operating these icebreakers and the docking facility.

"You don’t defend national sovereignty with flags, cheap election rhetoric, and advertising campaigns," Harper said during the last election campaign. "You need forces on the ground, ships in the sea, and proper surveillance."

While Okalik is threatening the election hopes of the Conservatives, he does not have the same leverage as Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams as there are currently no Tory MPs from Canada's northern territories sitting in the House of Commons. 

There are currently three Tory MPs from Newfoundland. This week Williams predicted all three will be defeated in the upcoming election because of budget equalization changes that he says breaks an offshore resource deal with his province. 

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