“The government may provide good advice on nutrition, but we can’t eat words,” Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak said in biting remarks addressing the high cost of hunting and purchasing healthful foods in Nunavut.
“The Government of Nunavut continues to promote a diet of country food and healthy store-bought foods. As an ideal, I wholeheartedly agree with this concept. However, for far too many Nunavummiut this is just an ideal. Many cannot afford to hunt for country food or even to buy country food,” Kamingoak said in the legislative assembly on Tuesday. “Nunavummiut living in poverty don’t have the luxury of adequate hunting equipment, snow machines, gas, or bullets. They don’t have the luxury of buying enough of Nunavut’s high priced healthy foods to feed their families.”
Health Minister George Hickes promoted Nutrition Month on March 2.
“Whether you eat country foods or store-bought food, ensuring we have lots of variety to get the nutrients we need for good health is essential,” Hickes said. “I encourage Nunavummiut to be mindful of their eating habits, cook meals often, make water your drink of choice, and savour the moments when eating with family and friends.”
On Monday, Kamingoak asked Economic Development Minister David Akeeagok whether the $30,000 per community available annually for his department’s country food distribution program would be increased. Akeeagok said perhaps in the future but not for the upcoming year.
Kamingoak said Tuesday that hunger affects people’s bodies and minds, and children learn better when they have food in their stomachs.
“Poverty has an impact on our well-being. The never-ending feelings of poverty lead to feelings of despair,” she said. “I would like to encourage the government to put real action and substance behind their words.”