For Immediate Release
12 December, 2023
Lela Evans (Torngat Mountains) is questioning government’s response to food insecurity across the province. Since the Liberal government removed the marine freight service from the island of Newfoundland to her district the prices have skyrocketed and availability of goods drastically deteriorated. She says that if this service was restored to her communities, which are still without a connection to the Trans-Labrador highway, food insecurity would lessen.
“We must see this current initiative for what it is, a pilot project that does not reach the people who are the most food insecure,” said Evans; “It will only support selected Family Resource Centres throughout the province, continuing to leave many hungry and to deal with the health impacts of malnutrition. This government must look at why some regions and populations are more vulnerable to food insecurity than others and start coming up with long-term solutions as part of a universal program.
People in northern Labrador saw the price of food increase by 18.5% from 2021 to 2022. The weekly cost of nutritious food in Labrador rose to $467 /week, much higher than the provincial average of $309/ week. The Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2022 report by PROOF said Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest rate of food in security at 22.9% when compared to any other province.
“When our province is the most food insecure in the country, a pilot program that doesn’t reach every corner of the province is not an appropriate response,” said Evans. “We need a universal program that prioritizes the most food-insecure parts of the province, particularly rural areas which are often overlooked because they are often considered by government to be out of sight and out of mind.”
Evans points to facts long championed by the Newfoundland and Labrador’s NDP that were underscored in PROOF’s report like, how household food and security is one of the strongest predictors of poor health. Evans echoes PROOF’s assertion that reducing food insecurity will improve health outcomes in the province and offset considerable public healthcare expenditures.
“The Premier’s priority should be addressing his government’s failure to provide people in our province the dignity of access to basics like healthy food and safe shelter. Government showed us that he cannot offer timely solutions that would deal with these issues,” said Evans. “The Premier announced celebrations for the 75th anniversary of Confederation, and new license plates to mark the occasion. It is sad that we are 75 years into Confederation and yet record numbers of people across our province are still without access to nutritional food, clean drinking water, and safe shelter.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org