2. Concerns over PM visit from PermaFrost Media

Dez Loreen, Northern News Services

September 4, 2008 - INUVIK - Mayor Derek Lindsay was not impressed by the prime minister's visit last week.

Lindsay said his time with Prime Minister Stephen Harper was short. "When we met it was a short greeting. I would have liked to sit down with him and talk a bit," said Lindsay. "I was disappointed."

Harper arrived in Inuvik on Tuesday, Aug. 26. He was greeted at the airport by dignitaries and the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers.

Lindsay said he would have liked more notice about Harper's itinerary while he was in the North. He added the Prime Minister's handlers weren't easy to deal with. "The PM's staff were rather pushy as well," said Lindsay.

The mayor added he has been in discussion with others in town who feel they were given the cold shoulder as well. "I'm not the only one who feels put off by all this," he said.

Lindsay was told to make an appearance for a special announcement on Thursday morning at Jim Koe Park. Lindsay said he prepared a two-minute welcoming address for the prime minister and his entourage. "When I got to the park, I was told by the PM's staff to cut down my opening remarks to a bare minimum because of the cold weather," he said.

Lindsay said the announcement of the naming of the 2017 icebreaker to John George Diefenbaker was newsworthy, but not really relevant to Inuvik. "It's a nice name, but that doesn't have any impact on this community," said Lindsay. "We'll probably never see it here in town."

Lindsay said he wanted to speak with the prime minister on a number of topics. "I want to know where the feds stand on the highway connecting Inuvik to Tuk," he said. The Dempster highway and roads to resources were also on the mayor's list of topics that weren't addressed.

He added he wants to find out what the federal government can do to speed the regulatory process with the Joint Review Panel. "There are a lot of people hurting and waiting for news about the pipeline," he said.

Teacher Dave Deering was at the Thursday announcement at Jim Koe Park, but he was there by fluke. "I was leaving the school and saw a group of people," said Deering. The teacher said he hoped to see Harper downtown or at a public forum but none was held.

"I know he had a busy schedule with his visit to Tuk but it would have been nice to see him in the community more," he said. Deering added more notice should have been given about the visit. "It would have been nice if people knew he was coming to the North." Deering said he is interested in politics and news and would have been at the announcement earlier, had he known about it.


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