From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food Censorship in the North

On Monday I published a post ( which by the way seems to have drawn the attention of the folks in Ottawa , garnering 9 hits from on the replacement of the Mail Subsidy program with a new one titled Nutrition North, that has resulted in skyrocketing prices for the impoverished communities in the North. In the process the Harper government also eliminated the subsidy on hygiene products, which as Fat Arse stated in his response to this issue, is extremely short sighted.
re: "Nutrition North will only subsidize what the conservatives deem to be healthy foods,while eliminating the subsidy for hygiene products."

Anyone wondering why TB rates in the Far North are so high need look no further than this. A social disease that preys on the malnourished who suffer from a lack of proper hygiene, TB is ideally suited to take advantage of this marginalized population. Bottom line, the Harper government doesn't care about health in the North.

While the goal of encouraging people to consume a healthier diet is a laudable one, the government's approach is an entirely paternalistic, daddy knows best one.I have heard this program described as food censorship, which to me sums it up the best, for what else do you call it when the government tells you what you can and can not consume, be it words,images,thoughts and yes food.

Below are some of the items that will no longer be eligible under the new regime.

Prescription drugs- Over the counter drugs will still be eligible
Vitamins, minerals (except meal replacements, power bars, energy bars)

Spices, salt, sugar, baking powder, cornstarch
ketchup, vinegar, relish, pickles
Coffee, tea

Feminine hygiene products, disposable undergarments, toilet paper, nursing pads
Toothpaste, dental floss, denture adhesive and cleaner, toothbrushes-
Having very limited access to dental health services in these communities, one would think that it would be advisable for the government to encourage dental hygiene would it not.
Hand and body lotions, soap, shampoo, deodorant

Dry rice, dry pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, noodles), other grains
Canned or dried legumes

Fishing nets, rods and lures, snowmobile, ATV and outboard motor parts
- On the surface this may seem like a reasonable area to cut and the minister of Indian Affairs while defending the changes, has used these items as an example of waste in the Mail Subsidy program. However I have to disagree,given the exorbitant prices for food in our northern communities it is vital that those who can, be able to hunt in order to supplement their diets with traditional foods, not to mention aiding them in maintaining a small slice of their traditional culture.

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