QUEEN’S PARK — Sarah Campbell, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River and NDP Critic for Community and Social Services made the following statement in the house:
” I have been inundated by pleas for help from desperate northerners who are struggling to stay afloat. Northerners are telling me things like, “I live in Dryden, and food prices are terrible. You cannot afford to buy meat unless it is on sale.” The writer, Joann, goes on to say it was cheaper to buy food in Sault Ste. Marie when she was there on a trip and drive it back to Dryden, frozen in a five-day cooler, than it would be to buy it in her home community.
Jamie writes, “When I’m visiting my dad in southern Ontario and see how cheap groceries are there in comparison to here, I’m in total disbelief. Food prices are getting exorbitant and unaffordable.”
And these are examples from the urban areas in my riding. Only Ontario’s one percenters can afford to buy nutritious food in our remote First Nations communities.
Northerners are pushed to the brink, and they see the writing on the wall. We know what happens when the cost of living outpaces our wages, pensions and social assistance rates. It means we can no longer cover essentials like food, housing and hydro bills. As one northerner succinctly writes, “Between the price of food and ever rising cost of hydro, I think many more of us will be homeless within the next five years.”
This government has a lot of catching up to do to ease the heavy burden on northerners. We’re looking to this provincial government to do the right thing and act now to make life more affordable in Ontario’s north.”