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Federal NDP push for Nutrition North review

N.W.T. MP Dennis Bevington introduced a motion in Parliament yesterday calling for a full review of the Nutrition North program in partnership with participating communities. The food subsidy program has been controversial since its introduction in 2011.

N.W.T. MP Dennis Bevington introduced a motion in Parliament yesterday calling for a full review of the Nutrition North program in partnership with participating communities.

The food subsidy program has been controversial since its introduction in 2011.

Northerners complained that it did not meet their needs as well as the previous Food Mail program, which allowed food to be shipped in by Canada Post at subsidized rates.

Old Crow is the only Yukon community that benefits from the subsidy.

The Auditor General of Canada found last year that the government has no idea if subsidies are being passed on to consumers under Nutrition North as promised.

Aboriginal Affairs agreed to all of the auditor general’s recommendations, including to collect profit margin data in the future.

The NDP motion asks the government of Canada to include 50 more remote northern communities under Nutrition North, to fully review the program in partnership with northerners and to provide sufficient funding to meet community needs.

Yukon MP Ryan Leef said the Conservative government is doing many things besides working to improve Nutrition North to ensure better access to food in northern Canada.

“A lot of Canadians are concerned. They are supportive of the initiatives that need to take place in the North to enhance food security solutions, and not just under the Nutrition North program but through an entire suite of programs that our government is delivering,” he said.

“I am certainly proud that our ministers have embraced the auditor general’s report and have almost instantly engaged in dealing with some of the recommendations that were made,” he later added.

Debate on the motion adjourned before a vote.