Canada's two major parties promise development in far north

14:47, April 19, 2011      

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Canadian Prime Minister and Leader of Conservative Party Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen have food with local children in Yellowknife, Canada, April 18, 2011. Harper is on a campaign trip for the 41st federal election on May 2. (Xinhua/Conservative Party of Canada)

by Mark Bourrie, Zhang Dacheng

The two top contenders for Canada's top political position traveled to Yellowknife, the diamond mining capital of North America, Monday to try to convince voters they have the best policies to protect and develop the northern part of the country.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, and Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberals, spent the 24th day of the campaign in the subarctic city of Yellowknife.

Harper promised to finish the last 140 km of the Dempster Highway joining the arctic towns Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

The highway project was promised in the March federal budget, which was not passed by Parliament because of the spring election. Once finished, Canada will be connected by highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.

"This will help support economic development, decrease the cost of shipping, encourage resource exploration and enhance Canada's sovereignty," Harper told a crowd of supporters in Yellowknife, a diamond and gold-mining city that is also the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories.

Ignatieff started the day with a visit to a Native Canadian job training center, and promised to do more to help the Native people in the region.

He said the Liberals will try to help keep people in the Arctic by providing better social services and a fair share of the revenue from northern resources.

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