Nunavut resident reminds Canadians that soaring food costs is nothing new up north

Courtesy: Aviaq Poison/ TikTok

As inflation continues to affect the lives of Canadians across the country, one Indigenous person wants to remind people this isn’t a new phenomenon for northern communities and that the soaring food price seen nationally is child’s play.

TikTok user and Nunavut resident Aviaq Poison shared a video in which she explains how the cost of living has always been ridiculously high up north, with cheese costing nearly $60 and prime rib costing over $400 at the local grocery store.   

They even highlight the selective outrage and double standards that have gone on for years.

“So now that the majority of Canada, which is white people who live in the southern part of Canada, are having issues with food security now you want to talk about it?” they asked in a video posted earlier this year that has recently picked up speed and discussion. 

“As it gets bad for the rest of Canada, it gets exponentially worse for Indigenous communities,” one TikTok user commented in response to the video. 

The video creator also mentioned how overpriced food being sent all the way up north usually ends up in the trash or rots because “no one can buy it.”

They also shared that growing up they have always known food to be unaffordable and it being nearly impossible for families to feed their children. 

In fact, they say when they were around 10 years old they went around asking others to sign a petition demanding that the federal government do something about food prices.

That petition saw over 900 signatures, they said. 

The petition was then sent to Ottawa to be read in Parliament but that never happened and former Prime Minister Steven Harper “never even looked at it,” according to them. 

But Indigenous people haven’t been forgotten by all levels of government. In fact, the NDP has made this issue known for years, even before leader Jagmeet Singh brought it to the limelight.

Former politician Tom Mulcair, who served as the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2012 to 2017, called out Harper for not doing enough.

“Stephen Harper has used northern communities as convenient photo-ops for years while failing to address the most basic concerns of families – access to affordable food,” Mulcair said in a statement back in 2015. 

Today, Singh backs up this point of view. Just last year, the NDP urged the federal government to tackle “corporate greed” as Northern communities struggle with the cost of living.

Additionally, NDP MP’s Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski) and Lori Idlout (Nunavut) called on the Liberal government to reform the Nutrition North program so money would go straight to the people.

“For many Indigenous and Northern communities, the inflation crisis has devastating impacts. And yet, Indigenous and Northern communities have been left out of the conversation about greedflation. The Liberals have left Northerners to fend for themselves,” Ashton said. 

In December 2022, the federal government announced 79 initiatives to strengthen food security in Indigenous, remote and Northern communities across Canada.

“These community-led projects aim to have an immediate and long-lasting impact on food systems in communities that are experiencing the highest food insecurity, by improving processing, production and distribution capacity at the local level,” the statement read.

The initiative would see up to $19 million invested, $100,000 and $500,000 per project. Of all the 79 projects, 56 are Indigenous-led.

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