The Conservative government’s mismanagement of the North has made its cost of living soar and caused shortages of basic services, hurting families and jeopardizing the economic potential of the region.
Prime Minister Harper’s bungling of adjustments to the federally-funded Nutrition North program has sent food prices skyrocketing, some reportedly as high as 250 per cent. This makes the cost of living increasingly out of reach for families.
Grossly inadequate housing has left too many without a place to live. Nunavut alone needs an estimated 3,000 new housing units, and another 90 each year simply to keep up with population growth.
Too many communities still lack access to fast, reliable internet service, undermining business development and skills training. And a lack of basic health and mental health services is undermining the foundations of communities – the very basis of their prosperity.
With bountiful natural resources and a quickly growing population, the North is building a strong economy. Yet its full potential cannot be realized if families cannot afford healthy food, cannot find a place to live and cannot get the supports they need.
Mr. Harper needs to be more than a tourist when he visits the North for his annual Arctic photo-op later this summer – he should get in touch with the everyday realities of northern Canadian families and commit to providing them the same opportunities other Canadians enjoy.
Yvonne Jones, MP
Liberal Party of Canada Northern