Target: Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Goal: Lower Nunavut’s food prices, which are subject to high inflation.
Nunavut, the largest and northernmost Canadian territory, is currently victim to outrageous inflation in food prices. Ordinary families cannot afford to pay $28 for a head of cabbage or $65 for a pound of chicken. Sundries, such as soap and diapers, are also out of reach for most.
To put it in perspective, a family of four on food assistance only gets $275-$325 per week. When it is actually more cost effective to fly round-trip to Edmonton, Alberta for one’s grocery shopping, there is a serious problem. The situation has become so severe that some grocery store staff have been shamed into selling their products for less after locals protested at the stores. According to Leesee Papatsie, an Iqaluit mother of four who organized the protest, “Every Inuit in Nunavut knows someone in their family or in their community that is hungry that day.”
Part of the problem is that the Nutrition North program, which is intended to subsidize healthy food, only subsidizes it for grocery chains and retailers, not the customers. There is no requirement that grocery stores pass on the subsidies to customers in their prices. Other costs factor in as well. Shipping food from other areas of Canada is expensive (it costs $500 to ship about $200 worth of groceries), and hunting is only possible for those who can afford snowmobiles, hunting equipment, and lost wages. 42% of Inuit people say hunting is too expensive for them, according to Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami, Canada’s national Inuit organization.
Though remote and sparsely populated, mostly by Inuit people, Nunavut needs food and basic sundries, just like all other Canadian citizens. When the majority cannot meet those needs, it is the government’s job to step in.
The problem is complex and entails many factors, but the first step to solving a difficult problem is to recognize it and explore options. Tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss and implement solutions to bring down food prices in Nunavut.
Dear Prime Minster Stephen Harper,
The inflation of food prices in Nunavut has gone too far. Ordinary families can no longer feed themselves at current costs and have staged protests at their local grocery stores. The fact that it is more cost-effective for Nunavut families to fly to Edmonton and back to do their grocery shopping is, to be perfectly frank, outrageous.
Alternatives are implausible as well. Shipping $200 worth of groceries to Nunavut costs $500, which is not realistic for most residents. According to Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami, 42% of Inuit people say hunting is too expensive for them, since it requires snowmobiles, hunting equipment, and time off work.
Residents of Nunavut need the Canadian government to step in if they are to feed themselves. I realize this is a complicated problem with many factors and without an obvious solution, but something needs to be done now. Please explore and implement solutions for bringing food prices down in Nunavut.
[Your Name Here]