Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Arctic Bay food price pics spark quarrel over Nutrition North
Retail prices for grocery items deemed to be of poor nutritional value have risen across the eastern Arctic in recent weeks, sparking fears about the potential impact of the Nutrition North Canada program, which starts April 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Retail prices for grocery items deemed to be of poor nutritional value have risen across the eastern Arctic in recent weeks, sparking fears about the potential impact of the Nutrition North Canada program, which starts April 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Residents question new subsidy scheme’s eligibility list


Blaming the federal government’s Nutrition North Canada program, Arctic Bay residents complained loudly this past week about skyrocketing food prices in their community.
To press their case, some residents used the internet to distribute digital pictures of food items that, in a transitional measure, became ineligible this past Oct. 3 for the outgoing food mail freight subsidy.
“Many items, such as cream for baking and cooking, bacon, are now shipping at $13.23 a kilogram. Have you ever paid $15 for a pound of bacon? How about $8.00 for a pint of cream,” Arctic Bay resident Clare Kine wrote in a letter to Nunatsiaq News.
Side bacon, along with many other food products containing high levels of sodium and sugar, became ineligible for air transportation subsidies as of last October.
Other items, many of them non-perishables, were also dropped, on the grounds that such goods should be shipped via sealift.
The Nutrition North program, which doesn’t start up until April 1 this year,  is intended to force airlines to compete with each other for retailer freight business.
It also eliminates the use of awkward mandatory entrance points like Val d’Or, Quebec, from which most eastern Arctic food mail has been shipped.
After April 1, retailers may hire airlines to ship eligible food items directly from wholesalers based in areas like southern Ontario, where wholesale goods are likely cheaper.
But many Nunavut residents aren’t convinced that the program will reduce food prices and they don’t like the elimination of transport subsidies for items like Cheez Whiz and Ocean Spray cranberry-flavoured drinks.
Ron Elliot an Arctic Bay resident who represents the Quttiktuq constituency in the Nunavut legislature, said last week that his constituents fear what the new program will bring.
“Although there are high expectations that this program will serve to improve access to, and lower the cost of, nutritious food for tens of thousands of Northerners, many of my constituents are understandably concerned about the new model of program delivery,” Elliot said in a letter to Elizabeth Copeland, the chair of an advisory council set up to monitor the new program.
And Yukon MP Larry Bagnell blasted the federal government over Nutrition North in the House of Commons this past week.
“Low-income northerners were shocked at massive price increases in food prices caused by the government’s removal of subsidies,” Bagnell said Feb. 14.
John Duncan, the minister of northern affairs, responded by saying the Nutrition North program doesn’t start until April 1, and can’t be blamed for the price increases that Bagnell complained about.
“Mr. Speaker, the food mail program was in effect since the 1960s. The Liberal government never made any changes. It became very inefficient. This is not a cost-cutting exercise. We are spending more than was ever spent under the Liberals,” Duncan said.
Posted by nunavut is gone! on February 15, 2011
hey Eva, (premier)
i will never forget what you said before “by 2030 no child or family will go hungry” is that even true? with these prices, everyone will go hungry by 2030. Or should i come to your house when ever i get hungry? i guess thats only way child or family will not go hungry! come on people, lets protest for the high prices we pay up here! let us speak and let our voices be heard!

Posted by Daniel on February 15, 2011
I dear John Duncan, the minister of northern affairs to live in the north for a year.  Or wait, he won’t !!

Posted by Saxifrage on February 15, 2011
Inuit need TO BE GIVEN A CHOICE not Inuit need to be making better choices… There are a lot of unemployed people, not by choice who are on social assistance and they have no choice but to buy less expensive options and less nutritional because they can only spend so much… sure it would be nice to be able to make better choices or rather have a variety of options but then life intervenes, power bills come, rent is due, food prices go up… on and on!

Posted by claude gadbois on February 15, 2011
i myself have for some years made a sealift of all non perishable everyday food needed and i do save alot of money i am lucky that i can afford this and have room in my house to store these items there are alot of others who on fixed income have to purchase on a weekly basis what they security,unemployment incomes are not much different in the north than in the south but yet store items are 2 to 3 times higher our choice of buying nutritious foods depends on how deep our pockets are reading about arctic bay prices is mind bloging i find prices in kuujjuaq high at northen $1.45 for one apple $7.49 for a small pack of rasberries but we have no choice thank god our freezers are full of country food and that we still can afford to go hunting for now and also that we still traditionnaly share with others less fortunate our harvests otherwise there would be alot of hungry people out there if we only depended on stores to feed ourselves but i must say nutritious or not sometimes its nice to have a hot dog with cheese whiz

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