Friday, February 11, 2011

Tourista in Iqaluit

On my first day in Iqaluit a week ago, it was beautiful and sunny and clear and I was able to snap a nice picture of the Territorial Legislature which is even nicer inside than it is outside. Its kind of fun the way that Iqaluit's new building are unusual shapes and bright colours - makes for an interesting and distinctive downtown. Still, in the end, I decided that I'm glad I don't live in the big fancy capital, I really like Baker Lake (Qamanituaq) best. Someone asked me if I wanted to move now, and I didn't need to hesitate, the vegetables are nice and I think that on a sunny day the topography would make a nice setting - but, in Baker Lake the people are friendly and they say hi even if they don't know you well. It sounds like a silly thing, but it makes a place feel a lot more like home. As for all the conveniences and restaurants, I think that I simply don't miss those things at all, certainly not enough to need them all the time. Half the time when I go out of the north, I don't even bother with movies or restaurants (although I do frequent the produce sections of grocery stores and Tim Hortons). Really, the only thing I miss when I'm in Baker is my family and friends who don't live here and well, they are a scattered lot, so even were I to live down south, there would always be someone I cared about that was too far away to visit easily. However, I may change my mind about this when Nutrition North officially replaces Foodmail, and I am no longer able to buy reasonably priced, quality produce.

There has been some movement, both at the MLA level and the grassroots level, to send a message to the government about the concerns on the program. I'm a bit confused. All in all, I think the two biggest questions are going to be how much more is shipping going to cost for healthy foods, and how much choice will we have. I seem to be getting mixed information about it. A few places are already feeling a terrible crunch as food prices skyrocket in the wake of the first set of changes - The CBC has an article on food prices in Arctic Bay.

As for me, there are no new pictures as a result of the better part of the last week being blizzard conditions. I think this is the most days in a week that we've lost purely for weather (we lost a few more when 2 out of 3 of the town's generators went down and everything was on rotating black outs) but we've basically been weathered out for 3/5 days now. Its particularly nasty this afternoon with bitter cold winds and fine powdery snow crystals. The kind of cold that I can feel even through my ancient but functional parka. The sky is blue, but I can barely see the blizzard sign, so I guess it would be nice if it wasn't windy - not sure where the snow crystals are coming from - I think we got fresh snow overnight - so I assume that is what is blowing around now - since it doesn't appear to be snowing. I was looking out over town and trying to imagine what it would have been like 100 years ago living in an iglu and possibly trapped for days before being able to go out and get food, and then having to go and hunt for it. It made me deeply appreciate my heated insulated apartment and warm clothes and gave me a new level of admiration for the people who thrived in this unforgiving land without even the comfort of wool socks.


Blogger Clare said...

For an idea on how each community is affected by the change to Nutrition North you can check a couple of websites.

First of all INAC has the subsidies listed for each community affected (and they are not only found above 60 degrees) here.

Baker Lake's Level 1 subsidy is $1.40 and their level 2 is $.30 per kg. What this means is that for every kilogram of eligible food that is shipped there the retailer gets those subsidies. The hope is, of course, that they pass them on to you the consumer.

The next site you want to know is the freight rate for your community. First Air's freight rates can be found here.

The best rate (for a lot of food) to Winnipeg (which is where I assume your food is shipped from) is $5.28 kg. Food mail rate used to be $.80/kg. So your food should go up any where from $3.08/kg to $4.08/kg, or $4.48/kg for items that were taken off the food mail list on October 3rd.

Write your MP. Make it an election issue.

9:06 PM  

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