Food options at the Ottawa isolation hub are so bad that some constituents have said they will never go back, no matter if their health is at stake, Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak said in the legislative assembly on June 1.
Many Inuit were raised on a diet of primarily meat, particularly meat from marine mammals, said Keyootak, adding that they don’t want to be served things like frozen vegetables.
“When Elders are provided meals that are not based on meat, most of the foodstuff is thrown directly into the garbage since it is agrarian food, not Inuit carnivore foods,” he said. “This act of throwing away edible foods is antithesis to older Inuit who have experienced starvation and hunger, so this ought not to be even an issue. Inuit going to medical establishments ought not to be forced to experience that.”
He said he has heard complaints from many medical travel patients who had to stay at the isolation hub and some have said if they had a choice to live or die by attending future medical appointments, they said they would prefer a shortened life instead.
“I was told by one patient that next time, he will not be going back for medical travel as long as the isolation program is in effect. He cited the nature of the food provided,” said Keyootak, who called upon Health Minister Lorne Kusugak to address the issue.
Kusugak offered a polar opposite point of view, refuting that food from the isolation hub is being tossed in the garbage.
“Many people have told me that the catering service is great. When meals are provided, it is obvious that we all have different tastes. We all have our own preferences,” the minister responded. “Yes, of course I can acknowledge that there are some individuals who may not like the meals provided, however not everyone is dissatisfied, and those who are dissatisfied often make it known to the caterer. I believe it is the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation that has the catering contract, and they are informed what meals are not so popular.”
Regardless, Kusugak said he would look into the matter to see what people would prefer to see on the menu and “ensure that proper meals are provided.”