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Jean Crowder MP (NDP Nanaimo-Cowichan) Aboriginal Affairs Critic on the need to fix Nutrition North

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  • George Lessard
    *Jean Crowder MP (NDP Nanaimo-Cowichan) spoke about the need to fix the Nutrition North program - November 6, 2012 - Critic Areas, Aboriginal Affairs *
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2012
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      *Jean Crowder MP (NDP Nanaimo-Cowichan) spoke about the need to fix the
      Nutrition North program
      - November 6, 2012 - Critic Areas, Aboriginal Affairs *
      *November 6th, 6:50 p.m.*
      https://www.facebook.com/jeancrowder
      http://jeancrowder.ndp.ca/post/jean-spoke-about-the-need-to-fix-the-nutrition-north-program-november-6-2012
      "...Mr. Speaker, when I last raised this question I asked the government
      what it was going to do about the nutrition north program, specifically
      whether it would commit to fixing the program given that it is not working
      for northerners.
      I want to refer to the Feeding My Family Facebook group
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/239422122837039/ , which has been working
      hard to bring awareness of the fact that the high cost of food is
      preventing many northerners from living healthy, happy and productive lives.
      They have some suggestions for how to tackle this problem.
      Their current objectives include encouraging northerners to empower
      themselves to create independence from within the people at the grass roots
      level; unifying people across the north to share one voice; encouraging
      government policy-makers and retailers to find better ways of lowering the
      cost of food, given that Nutrition North Canada is not doing enough;
      encouraging new food suppliers to operate in the north in order to increase
      competition and lower prices; encouraging improvements in food quality
      through better inventory control, such as removing inedible and rotting
      food from store shelves, proper food shipping and handling, and reducing
      transit time for perishable foods; encouraging the establishment of more
      food banks; and working with government and other NGOs to improve the
      overall quality of life for northerners.
      I do not have time to go over all the statistics, but according to recent
      reports, residents spend an average of $14,815 per year on food, or 25% of
      their total expenditures. This compares to an average of $7,262 in Canada
      overall. One of the other problems is that the few food banks that are
      around the north have seen an 18% increase in use over the past year,
      according to Hunger Count.
      Hunger Count also indicates that it has some solutions the government might
      want to look at. In its report it says:
      It is clear that a new model for household food security in the North is
      necessary. Although there is much innovation and experimentation at the
      community level, a new model requires investment, which is sorely lacking
      in many northern communities.
      It recommends:
      The creation of a federal Northern Food Security Innovation Fund, to help
      jumpstart and sustain community-based, community-led food initiatives
      across the North;
      The establishment and adequate funding of comprehensive school breakfast
      programs across the territories;
      Significant investment in community-building infrastructure in northern
      communities, including the construction or rehabilitation of
      community-identified resources like community centres and community
      freezers.
      Given the fact that the price of food in the north is still far beyond what
      Canadians in the south pay, will the government pay attention to what
      northerners are asking for and commit to working closely with them to
      invest in the programs and services that northerners are proposing would
      help address the high food prices?
      *November 6th, 6:55 p.m.*
      Mr. Speaker, that still does not deal with the fact that many northern
      communities are facing prices that are more than double what southerners
      pay.
      In the statistics that came out from January 1 to March 31, country food
      was the least subsidized food. Only 192 kilograms of country food was
      distributed to communities at a total cost of $218. Yet country food is
      often talked about as being an important staple. In a question on the order
      paper I asked the government what it was doing about country food, and it
      indicated that Health Canada and the CFIA have said that there are no legal
      implications for applying a federal government subsidy to country food that
      is certified by a territorial or provincial regulatory authority, as long
      as the food remains within the same territory or province in which it was
      certified.
      The government says that the program is prepared to consider subsidizing
      traditional country food, subject to these criteria. It has also indicated
      that the departments will continue to support access to country food with a
      view toward bringing together the relevant actors. What is the government
      doing to improve access to country foods?..."


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