By Western Standard
March 2, 2022
In an effort to promote indigenous hunting and berry picking, the feds have been giving away free snowmobiles to people who live in the North, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
“I would say the Inuit and Northern people I have worked with are some of the most self-sufficient people I have ever met,” Daniel Quan-Watson, deputy minister of the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relation testified at the Commons public accounts committee.
“Yes, we are very proud to support them as they do that.”
Subsidies were paid under an $8 million-a year Harvest Support Grant program. Quan-Watson said, noting almost all Inuit hamlets could apply.
“Virtually every Inuit community is eligible for the harvester grants,” said Quan-Watson.
“That would be true for virtually every Inuit community in the North.”
“The Inuit came to us and said they wanted harvester grants. They didn’t want to have to buy food in stores.”
The department spends an average $138 million annually on a separate Nutrition North grocers’ subsidy, he said.
“For the first time ever we actually set up a specific grant so people could collect their own country foods and we would support that,” said Quan-Watson.
“That had never been part of the program.”
“What does that mean?” asked Liberal MP Han Dong (Don Valley North, Ont.).
“For example, if you need fuel to go hunting, which is obviously very expensive in the North, if you need equipment, if you need hunting equipment, if you need fishing nets or anything that helps you collect country foods — fish or game or whatever it is, it could be picking berries as well,” replied Quan-Watson.
“Does that include snowmobiles?” asked MP Dong.
“I would have to check on the specifics,” replied Quan-Watson.
The deputy later testified the program did include free snowmobiles.
“I can tell you depending on what the recipient group chooses to do that snowmobiles can, yes, be available to it,” said Quan-Watson.