Liberal MP Yvonne Jones says the Harper Conservatives’ failure to invest in Canada’s North is depriving families of adequate services, and making the cost of living unsustainable.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Liberal critic for Northern Development and Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency said the federally funded Nutrition North program has sent food prices skyrocketing. Jones is calling on the Conservatives to make life more affordable by providing decent housing, health services, and other basic needs.
“The Conservative government’s failure to invest in Northern communities has hurt Northern families and is jeopardising opportunities for economic growth,” said Jones. “The federally funded Nutrition North program has sent food prices skyrocketing, a lack of basic health and mental health services is compounding the effects of changes in the Arctic, many Northern communities still lack access to fast, reliable broadband internet, and grossly inadequate housing has left too many without a place to live.”
Jones is the MP for Newfoundland and Labrador. She was elected in May in a by-election called after Conservative MP Peter Penashue quit due to illegal campaign contributions and overspending during the robocalls-tainted 2011 federal election.
Jones’ statement said an estimated 3,000 new houses are currently needed in Nunavut alone, “with 90 more required per year simply to keep up with population growth.” Food security, the statement said, “remains a pressing issue in Northern Canada, and continuous price increases – some reportedly as high as 250%.”
According to the CBC News, Jones also urged Harper not to play ‘tourist’ in his next Northern visit.
“In a few weeks the Prime Minister will head to the North for his annual Arctic photo-op and, once again, show us just how out of touch he is with the everyday realities of Northern Canadian families,” she said. “Mr. Harper should take the time to meet with real Northerners and commit to providing the same access to opportunities and government services that other Canadians already receive.”