Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to thank my colleague from the Northwest Territories who brought forward this motion today and with whom I have worked on a number of issues in the north, as I have with other colleagues in the House of Commons.
I want to say yes, communities that are isolated across the northern region of Canada should be included in the program. Communities that have high costs for food and are unable to access nutritious food need to be included.
The other piece the member talked about was a way to ensure that the subsidy is provided to northern residents and that there is improved support for traditional foods. I spoke to that in my speech. I talked about examples of where this is being done in a number of communities across the north right now. It is something to be explored to see whether it is a model that can work as part of nutrition north. I would certainly be supportive of having that happen.
In terms of direct support to families, I will give an example. If we crunch the numbers and the amount of subsidy that was paid out to retailers in Nain, Labrador, for example, and divide that among the number of individuals in the community, a family of eight, and as we know, in the north most homes have eight, 10, or 12 people living in them, would have received around $8,000 directly through the subsidy. When I asked people if they think they received this kind of discount based on the subsidy for food in the store, the answer was “absolutely not”. I just put that out there for the record.