Makivik President Charlie Watt Says Nutrition North Canada Announcement Good Start, More Work Needed
Monday, December 10, 2018 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivik President Charlie Watt called today’s announcement on changes to the Nutrition North Canada program a good start towards improving the program for the people who are the primary recipients of the subsidy by a wide margin – the Inuit.
“We considered Nutrition North a failure from the start,” says Charlie Watt. “The previous Food Mail program was better for Inuit. I don’t know why the Harper Government decided to scrap that program when it wasn’t broken. Nutrition North Canada was heavily criticized from the beginning for benefitting the stores rather than the customer. I do take note that more products used by Inuit will be added to the list of subsidized products, but greater transparency is still needed to make sure the Federal dollars go where its suppose to go to help lessen food insecurity in the land of the Inuit.”
Watt also acknowledged the additional $62.6-million in funding over five years NNC announced in the 2018 fall Economic Statement, including $10.4-million for a Harvesters Support Grant.
“I also commend the creation of an Inuit-specific working group on the Nutrition North Program as part of the existing Inuit Crown process, of which Makivik is a member,” said Charlie Watt. “That’s an important change because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution here’. Not only is the Inuit reality different from the First Nations communities who are part of NNC, but across the Inuit Homeland – 53 communities from Tuktoyaktuk to Hopedale – there are significant differences in access. This working group will be critical to making further improvements to the program for Inuit.”
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.