Mr. Speaker, a recently released study comparing the cost of food in northern and southern Quebec found that there is a dramatic difference: a $1 food item in the south costs $1.57 in the north.
Costs are too high for the Inuit. Foods that are part of a healthy diet, such as milk, flour and potatoes, cost twice as much as they do in the south.
The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs is currently financing a pilot project in conjunction with the food mail program. This pilot project reduces the cost of mailing healthful perishable foods from 80¢ to 30¢ per kilo. However, only three northern communities currently benefit from this pilot project.
This program has proven its worth because, in addition to reducing the cost of food, it improves the quality and variety of food available.
The Conservative government must make the necessary resources available to make this pilot project permanent and offer it to all 145 northern communities. The Inuit have the right to a healthy diet, which is essential for good health.