Canada is the world’s second-largest country by total area. Various Indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization. Before that time, Indigenous peoples were nomadic and followed their source of food for survival. Now, due to colonization, they follow the signs to the grocery store and if they are able, pay absorbent prices for their daily nutrition and staples.
As a highly developed country, Canada has the seventeenth-highest, per-capita income globally. We also hold the thirteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks.
With that information laid out in front of us, there should never be a child feel hunger or a parent know the fear of Food Insecurities in Canada.
The state of fear of being without access to sufficient food, food of an adequate quality, nutritious food or affordable food, enough to meet one’s basic needs.
(7 out of 10 Indigenous children go to bed hungry)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced tough questions from the Conservative opposition MP’s on inflation and the rising cost of living. Global News reported Trudeau commenting that his government has a plan to tackle inflation and the rising cost of living, which includes more investment in housing and childcare. Housing is necessary, but what benefit is a childcare formula to the parents not able to find jobs? While being helpful to some, this will not put food on the table for most Indigenous peoples in Canada. The rising cost of living is frequently seen to be a top concern to Canadians; however, many are not aware and even perhaps unconcerned with the dire situation that has been affecting northern Indigenous peoples.
The following information would help us understand why if we didn’t already know:
NWT Gas – $1.67 Diesel – $1.61AB
Gas – $1.55 Diesel – $1.34
These prices do not appear to be that big a stretch, but keep in mind the NG (Nunavut Government) does the purchasing for all the provinces with a standardized price across the board. They negotiate a contractual price based on volume for the entire year.
Electricity: is a wide range of prices across the country per 1000 kilowatt:
BC – 12.6
AB – 16.6
Newfoundland – 13.8
Nova Scotia – 17.1
Northwest Territories – 38.2
Nunavut – 37.5
Manitoba – 9.9
Quebec – 7.3
Canada Average – 17.9
Average monthly bill in Manitoba is approximately $99. In Nunavut the average monthly cost is $375. It is becoming increasingly difficult for mid-income and especially low-income Canadians to cover the monthly utility bills.
With a 70% child poverty rate of those living above the 60th parallel, how can people possibly cover the high cost of living in a normal month. Added to that now, the severe inflation spite happening in the last half of 2021.
In 2011, the Government of Canada launched Nutrition North Canada – a food retail subsidy program for isolated northern communities.
The Nutrition North Program replaces the 50-year-old Food Mail Program, in which the costs of transporting grocery items to remote northern communities were subsidized by the federal Indian and Northern Affairs Department.
The Nutrition North subsidy instead goes to retailers, which in turn negotiate their own freight rates with airlines. Retailers are then expected to pass on savings from the subsidy to consumers.
Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott, the Nunavut government’s elected representative for the High Arctic, worried about the cost of food and other essentials in his region.
“It would be nice to have people all across Canada realize that even within our own country, the ability to … put food on the table for your family is almost becoming impossible,” Elliott told CBC News on Friday.
“The high cost of living in the communities, it makes you really think, you know, how within our own country can we allow this to continue to happen?”
That statement was made by Ron Elliot in 2011. What has been done to upgrade this program in 10 years? What about this situation in an economically sound and thriving country like Canada, says this is okay? Why do our Canadian brothers and sisters to go to bed at night hungry, while billions of taxpayers dollars are sent across the seas to help other countries?
On this cold day, December 21 of 2021, we know there is the better way to assist our Indigenous people feel part of an inclusive country, where food and a warm house is a part of daily comfort not a struggle to exist?
Food Insecurity cannot continue! It truly is Time for Change in our country.
For a time, actually for centuries, we could continue doing what we do, pat our own backs knowing the world sees Canadians as good, kind, benevolent people! For a time we have…. However, the time has come for serious change to bring Canada’s First peoples up out of poverty and strife. For us to continue as we are, makes us no different than the “Haves, Have NOT” countries we send billions of dollars in aid to.
In 2019, CBC Marketplace televised a shopping test between two women, one residing in Nunavut and the other in Winnipeg MB. They shared in discussion information surrounding the cost of groceries. Each woman bought the same grocery items, then compared the total bill. Despite the subsidies Pameolik, the lady from Nunavut, paid twice the amount for the same items as Meagan from Winnipeg. She stated she makes over $100,000 per year as a Finance Office, yet some weeks is not certain how she will meet her cost-of-living bills. She knows of many families struggling and friends of her children that go to bed hungry at night. Despite the subsidies, Statistics Canada data suggests food insecurity in the North has increased since the program was established. In Nunavut, the number of children living with food insecurity went from 50 per cent in 2011, to over 70 per cent today.
The Government, after colonizing our remote communities, now suggests country food should be added to the diet to curb costs and has put subsidies in place for the tools and equipment such as bullets as well as funding stores and suppliers needed to provide caribou, seal, whale and other fish such as Arctic Char to the people. Even that cost has risen so high, it has become difficult for most to hunt as they once used to.
While Statistics Canada estimates the consumer price index for food has risen 2.7 per cent over the past year, the Dalhousie University team says it has found the inflation rate is closer to five per cent. Both groups do agree that meat has seen the sharpest price jump compared to other foods. However, they both also agree, they have seen a huge rise in price on all products across the board.
Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy, says 76 per cent of Inuit in Canada experience food insecurity, the highest rate of any Indigenous population in a developed country in the world. Inuit food systems changed drastically starting in the early 1900s through colonial policies like settlement programs, relocation and residential schools.
A statement in July 2021, from Natan Obed, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) president was published by The Canadian Press as having said, “Inuit food insecurity is not a new issue, and it amounts to a shameful human rights violation that Canada is legally obligated to remedy. Governments have stood by for far too long, prioritizing incremental actions and investments that do not remedy the root causes of food insecurity.”
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture Inflation Price hike info:
Meat – 51.8%
Groceries staples and dry goods – 15.7
Vegetables – 10.5%
Fruits – 9.1%
Fish and Seafood – 4.7%
Bakery – 4.3%
Dairy products – 4.0%
Lumber futures on a continuous contract basis have soared 95% since November 15 when prices started steadily climbing. Prices have reached $1,044 per thousand board feet compared with nearly $540 in mid-November. Other construction materials have also spiked in price.
It’s Christmas! A time when people gather. Canadians see the yummy food and warmth in their home as the biggest part of that celebratory time. Imagine planning and preparing those foods with these price comparisons between a northern Saskatchewan grocery store and Nunavut store for the same items.
1 KG bacon
5 KG turkey
1.5 KG ham
1 L pickles
1 can coffee
12 cans coke
1 can creamed corn
Box Pot of Gold chocolates
Sale of the week 10lb potatoes
Large bag Ruffle chips
$10/for 2 cs
How do WE eat inflation?
With this solid information in front of us today, 4 days away from Christmas, as we go about our preparation, perhaps it’s also a good time to consider….Where can Canada make a change? What will bring the swiftest, largest impact on these dire conditions? The first thought that comes to mind is economic holistic inclusion!
Government and Corporate Canada must meet in a genuine, transparent and respectful inclusivity with all Indigenous peoples, remote or otherwise. Building a solid foundation beginning with education and training, while developing reliable employment opportunity is key! Jobs mean paycheques. That in turn, promotes confidence and a strong voice able to speak up for future needs. It will take time and effort on all levels, but it can and must be done.
It’s Time For Change is a trusted Canadian platform, melded together with experienced Indigenous Service providers who identify opportunity, employment services for both recruitment and job seekers (also, proudly poised to provide 300 Secondary Student employment positions in the 2022 summer season) and procurement connecting buyers and sellers.
It’s Time For Change also recognizes the desperate need for historical and factual teachings combined with inclusive solutions for all Canadian people. When we adopt the “ALL for one, and one for ALL” attitude so much about our economy will be accomplished and improved. When reconciliation and economic inclusion are the goal, all of Canada succeeds and excels. Let’s imagine for a moment all Canadian entities coming to a table of plenty, in understanding, hope and harmony. Each one fills their bowl, then brings with them their best offering. As they pass goodness around to each other, the sharing and respect being served fills the void and feeds the hunger of a nation.