Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Food Shortages! It Can Happen Here!


Food Prices Soar as the Canadian Dollar Collapses
Published on Jan 16, 2016
And NO, it's not just Nunavut: it from coast to coast. Think your grocery bill is high? Canadians paying $3 cucumbers, $8 cauliflower, and $15 Frosted Flakes. We are watching a Real Time Currency Collapse In Canada – Is This Is What It’s Going To Look Like In the USA?
Canadians Panic As Food Prices Soar On Collapsing Currency
Canada's economy is a disaster from low oil prices
Cheap Canadian dollar making fruits and vegetables much more expensive
Why Canada’s economy is headed off the cliff
Canada in economic crisis - Some Canadian oil at $8 barrel - YouTube
What Would Life Be Like Without Toilet Paper?
By Ron Ewart
March 23, 2016
Forgive us for entering into a subject that is best left in the bathroom, but without certain items of biological comfort we could be sent back to the dark days of outhouses and Sears catalogues. With the insanity that is radical environmentalism aside, our lifestyle and its comforts are a direct result of industrial ingenuity in turning trees (a renewable resource) into highly useful paper products from toilet and computer paper, to feminine napkins, Scot towels, packaging and grocery bags, etc., each product making our lives a little easier. Industry keeps coming up with new ideas to turn trees into paper, in all of its various forms. Of course, there are always the 22-year old brain-dead actresses telling us we can get along with one square per event. Obviously she never had a ................................, Never mind, we won't go there.
But oh my God! When you make paper from trees it takes energy and in the process that evil CO2 is emitted. And of course we have to kill the trees to make the paper. That’s bad. But even worse is that we reduce the absorption of CO2 by removing the trees as well, except that we can re-plant trees. That’s why trees are a renewable resource.
Obviously, we must be killing the planet by our hedonistic lifestyle of greed and avarice, especially those rich Americans, and this practice must be brought to a halt immediately to save the planet. The environmentalists and the government tell us it is so and they have brainwashed millions of Americans (including our young school children) into believing it is true, except for a couple of little scientific "things" that the government and the radical environmentalists choose to ignore to promote their green agenda.
Two of these scientific "things" come to mind. CO2 (carbon dioxide) is heavier than air. CO2 sinks. It is a fact of physics. Yes, a small portion of CO2 that doesn't sink to the ground to feed the trees, plants and plankton, ends up in the upper atmosphere due to churning, but a very tiny portion. Of all of the greenhouse gases, CO2 makes up 0.177%. But what is even more striking in these statistics is that the CO2, supposedly caused by man, is a small fraction of that 0.117%. In fact, the greatest greenhouse gas (95%), over which man has absolutely no control, is water vapor and obviously has the greatest effect on planet warming, or cooling as the case may be, if any, not withstanding the effects of that giant yellow orb in the sky.
So the government and the radical environmentalists would have us believe that a miniscule fraction of a gas, that is heavier than air, a gas that all living things on this planet could not survive without, is somehow heating our planet into a runaway global warming event and we are all going to die or drown, if we don't repent to the God of Green! If you believe this poppy cock, we question your intellect.
The environmentalists and thus the government, don't want us to drill for oil anywhere in the U. S., or won't let us build any new pipelines, power plants, refineries, or dams. Meanwhile, other countries, like China and India are exploiting their sources of energy every day, in spite of their greenhouse gas emissions. But these same insane folks who run our asylum called a government, want to lock up as much of our land as possible from livestock (food), resource extraction (minerals, oil and trees) and people. They then implemented by law, the positively outrageous and questionable practice of turning our food into fuel, (ethanol from corn - Sorry Iowans) thereby driving up the price of almost every food group. Anyone with half a brain could see this coming 30 years ago. Some did and warned us, but the warnings went unheeded.
Let's follow these events to their illogical and deleterious conclusion. Crude oil is the very foundation of the energy that powers our civilization in the western world. Just about everything is affected by the cost and availability of crude oil. A large fraction of crude goes into the production of fuel for cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and heating our homes and businesses. The rest goes into the production of plastics, paints and resins and many other products, you know, like nylons for women.
Transportation and the infrastructure that supports transportation, is absolutely vital to the distribution of every product we buy or sell, including food. If trucks and trains don't roll and ships don't ply the open seas, Albertson's, Safeway, QFC, Costco, Fred Meyer and a host of other retailers and big box stores don't get products to sell to you. Have you ever thought of where you will get your food, if your local grocery store's shelves are empty? Perhaps from your neighbor at the point of a gun, if he has any food and if government hasn’t taken away your guns.
Food is kind of important to survival you know. Some think that if you can't buy it, then you will have to take it by force. Now of course in such a scenario, your benevolent government would step in, declare martial law, nationalize all food production and distribution and ration it out as they see fit. Do you want to be at the end of the long line of how the government sees fit? How easy it is to control people when you own food and energy production. Could that be our future? Many think it is.
But this all fits a very evil pattern, driven by international environmentalists, one-world-order types, and the United Nations and Europe, in their eternal quest to bring the United States down to a third-world country by re-distribution of our wealth, our property rights and the destruction of our freedom. By driving up the price of everything, the thinking of governments and the radical environmentalists is that you will use less of things and move into cities where you won't have to drive as far for your food or work and where you are much easier to control by government. And of course they are encouraging you to bicycle, walk, or take mass transit. It's good for your health you know and the government and the radical environmentalists are very concerned about your health. Hardly!
If the environmentalists and the government succeed in taking away, or outlawing, crude oil and trees, we will be driven back into those days of outhouses, palm leaves and candles. We covered this possible outcome in our fiction story of Jeremy’s one day in the future. The article starts out:
“Jeremy huddled in a corner of the old log cabin, out of the wind, even though it blew through the cracks in the walls and whistled and moaned with a haunting, bone-chilling sound. The sky was dark, gray and menacing. The coming twilight filled him with dread. There would be no artificial light for the approaching darkness and he tried not to think of the long night ahead.”
“Our own oil, coal and natural gas resources had been shut off by the environmentalists and the Obama administration. The entire energy infrastructure had fallen into disrepair. Oil, gas and coal companies had shut their doors because of too many restrictions and exorbitant emission taxes. The wind and solar power that Obama promised would replace fossil fuels, was just one of his worthless, but very expensive pipe dreams, like so many other socialist and radical environmental policies he implemented. Power plants quit running for lack of transportation, energy resources and maintenance personnel. The power grid was ravaged by neglect, natural forces and frequent domestic and foreign terrorist attacks. But that was of no consequence. There was no power to distribute to the grid.”
Read the rest of the story HERE.
Throughout history dictators have herded the people out of the countryside and into large cities where they can be controlled to a much higher degree. Remember the Nazi's Warsaw ghetto? A dictator's, or a liberal president’s worst enemy is a freethinking rural landowner, who just might start a revolution.
So the next time you have the opportunity to send a donation to an environmental group, or vote for a politician that will do whatever the environmentalists or socialists want them to do, think twice, or maybe four times. You could be funding and voting for your own demise, not to mention the high possibility of losing your freedom and control over life-sustaining food and toilet paper. Right now government controls your money, your land, your water, your food, your energy and your health care. What’s left?
WE THE PEOPLE have a choice, either become the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED again, or be slaves to the GOVERNMENT, where they take your money, your land, your health care and control the distribution of your food and energy.
Imagine what the world would be like if there were no toilet paper, or worse, no food at your local grocery store. A hungry belly has nothing to lose by stealing, looting, killing, or going to war. It is happening in many parts of the world right now. And don't be fooled. It can happen here!
People who fail or refuse to confront and stop tyranny, are destined to be enslaved by it.
But then, who is going to lift a finger to stop the socialists, the environmentalists and the one-world-order types? Americans could stop this freedom-robbing madness within a few years if there were enough people willing to act and enough money to fund their efforts. Sadly, out of 320,000,000 people and the richest nation on earth, there is neither ….. at least not now. Evidently, things just aren’t bad enough yet, even though half the people are living off the sweat, blood and tears of the other half and the former half get to vote to force the latter half to pay. One hundred years ago, that egregious injustice would have ignited a revolution. But not today where we live in a cesspool of political correctness, irrational compassion, radical environmentalism, multi-culturalism and the liberty-starving ideology of social justice.
[NOTE: The forgoing article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the opinion of, it's employees, representatives, or other contributing writers.]
© 2016 Ron Ewart — All Rights Reserved
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, "In Defense of Rural America", is the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners, (NARLO) ( a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. He can be reached for comment at
It Has Begun - Food Shortages Already In America And What Is Coming Next Is Going To Be Ugly - The Crash Felt Round The World
By Susan Duclos - All News Pipeline
January 20, 2016
A look at the Real-Time Stock Indices Futures before the opening bell on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, shows the ongoing "crash" that is being felt round the world, evidencing the extreme stress the markets are suffering is all the red you see when you click this link, but the problem is not as simple as plunging oil prices or China's economy as the Hell Stream Media would like you to believe.
In the Reuters video below from just this morning, towards the end, the real culprits are highlighted when the expert they speak with details how China is being made the scapegoat but how there are "far greater concerns in relation to the health of the Japanese economy and also the United States economy, which to me, are being somewhat downplayed."
Somewhat downplayed? Perhaps in the international news it is being "somewhat" downplayed, but as for the America media, it is being ignored, they continue to insist the nation is recovering.... and that ladies and gentlemen is why when the house of cards coming tumbling down the majority of Americans are going to be caught by surprise.
Last week we saw comments at ANP, from a variety of states, showing that grocery sections of stores in smaller areas are already seeing shortages where they have never witnessed them before.
3 days ago - Gary aka Godzilla commented "Speaking of food shortages, I needed some fresh cabbage for today's pot of my special Venison stew. Off the Wal-mart I went. Cabbage heads were tiny compared to normal (I had to buy 3, when I would normally do), they were out of green peppers and a few other things normally found in the fresh produce section. This is the first time I have seen this folks, and I think it's only going to get worse."
In a response to that commenter 'I don’t know" states "Now that you mention it, Walmart didn't have either green peppers or tomatoes the last time I went. I hadn't seen that before either...
James Grubbs adds "Seeing the same thing here SE Ohio. Went shopping yesterday and saw the same things you describe here. I'm not saying it's panic time but seeing this should have people prepping even harder. It's hard to imagine the hardships after a collapse because we haven't seen it in our life times."
Small shortages, unreported that will become massive shortages when it all hits the fan, but enough to see what is coming at us... there is a reason that food will be one of the most critical elements in the coming collapse, as explained by Alt Market in an article titled "The U.S. Is At The Center Of The Global Economic Meltdown."
While the economic implosion progresses this year, there will be considerable misdirection and disinformation as to the true nature of what is taking place. As I have outlined in the past, the masses were so ill informed by the mainstream media during the Great Depression that most people had no idea they were actually in the midst of an “official” depression until years after it began. The chorus of economic journalists of the day made sure to argue consistently that recovery was “right around the corner.” Our current depression has been no different, but something is about to change.
Unlike the Great Depression, social crisis will eventually eclipse economic crisis in the U.S. That is to say, our society today is so unequipped to deal with a financial collapse that the event will inevitably trigger cultural upheaval and violent internal conflict. In the 1930s, nearly 50% of the American population was rural. Farmers made up 21% of the labor force. Today, only 20% of the population is rural. Less than 2% work in farming and agriculture. That’s a rather dramatic shift from a more independent and knowledgeable land-utilizing society to a far more helpless and hapless consumer-based system.
We suggest you read the entire article.
Just to understand how ugly things are about to get, we remind you of Venezuela from August 2015 reports where hunger riots spun out of control, seen in the footage below where at the 2:34 mark the Reuters narrator explains what is being shown.
Readers can take a look at an excellent rundown of what the five stages of collapse are over at TargetofOpportunity, reading the details and decide where in these stages you believe we are now, but it is after the collapse that people need to be prepared for, and the six likely events that will follow an economic collapse in America, published by SHTF Plan.
Those are as follows: Travel restrictions will be implemented; Wealth will be confiscated; Food shortages; Squatters rebellions; Riots and finally; Martial law.
It is not just "Alternative News" that makes these predictions as we are reminded of some quotes from 2012 from billionaire George Soros in regards to what to expect when America's economy completely falls, as he agreed there would be a spontaneous eruption of violence and riots, then goes on to detail what will be worse than the publics reaction, which will be the governments response:
"It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States."
It is coming and certain aspects of this economic fall have already begun, but when it hits it will be the worst crash in history and we have a nation of unprepared citizens, so the danger is increased by the nth degree.
Cash won't have value for long but for the beginning it will still have some worth so have cash at hand, but for long-term,  we truly hope folks have invested in some precious metals because they will be all that hold monetary value.
Other than preparing for yourself and your family with food, water, medical supplies and the basics, try to have extra of each because bartering items will most likely be another form of value.
Weapons, a means of defense against those that refused to listen but decide they are "entitled" to what you have after it all comes crashing down, is a must and experts are encouraging people to stock up on all the above.
Pre-arranged meeting points with family, friends and other preparedness community members.... have a plan in place, not only to gather your family and friends around you, but for the purposes of setting up a mutual defense community.
The bottom line here folks is if you are not prepared for what is coming.... then you won't survive.
Food-Cost Crisis In Canada's North: 'We Can't Pretend It Doesn't Exist Any More'
By Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press 
Updated:  03/25/2015
IQALUIT, Nunavut - Israel Mablick opens the door of his refrigerator and takes stock of its meagre offerings.
"This is all we have for food," he says, gesturing to the mostly empty shelves.
There is a small pot of leftover seal meat on the second shelf, next to a tub of margarine and a couple of slices of bread. There's juice, a bag of milk, some water and a carton of eggs, plus condiments and a small bag of shredded cheese.
In his freezer, there are a few bags of frozen vegetables next to a carton of Chapman's ice cream. Two cereal boxes — Corn Pops and Corn Flakes — are the only items in one of his cupboards.
"That's all we have," Mablick says, "and there's six kids."
The 36-year-old Inuit man shares a small, two-bedroom Iqaluit apartment with his wife and their five kids, his mother, his sister and his young nephew. His is the face of hunger in Nunavut, the bare cupboards and empty fridge emblematic of a long-standing problem that even today's government programs don't address.
The federal government's $60-million food subsidy, Nutrition North, is only the latest of the proposed solutions that has stumbled under mismanagement and the enormity of the hunger problem.
Whether a solution can be found is anyone's guess. After all, food shortages are nothing new to the Inuit.
"There's always been incidents of starvation," said Frank Tester, an Arctic historian at the University of British Columbia.
One of the worst episodes occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when a shift in caribou migration patterns caused widespread starvation in the southern interior of the Kivalliq Region to the west of Hudson Bay.
The collapse of the fox fur trade after the Second World War was devastating to the Inuit, who relied on it as a source of income to buy flour, tea, sugar, hunting traps, rifles and ammunition.
"Economically, Inuit were now in really serious trouble," Tester said.
In some cases, Inuit were relocated to other parts of the North with more abundant natural resources.
"Inuit were moved around. The attitude was, 'Well, you know, what the hell? They can survive any place there's snow and caribou and foxes to be had,'" said Tester, who has studied and written about the relocations.
But such relocations proved controversial. There was a royal commission in the 1990s. Ottawa eventually agreed to pay $10 million into a trust fund to compensate the families of the Inuit who, in the 1950s, were moved 2,000 kilometres from Inukjuak in northern Quebec to what is now Resolute and Grise Fiord, the two most northerly communities in Canada
In 2010, then-aboriginal affairs minister John Duncan apologized on the government's behalf for the Inukjuak relocations.
But having Canadian civilians in an otherwise unoccupied area bolstered Canadian sovereignty at a time when other nations — especially the United States — were expressing increasing interest in the Arctic as a possible front in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
To monitor the continent's northern frontier, Canada and the United States built 63 radar stations across the Arctic, stretching from Alaska to Baffin Island. The Distant Early Warning Line sites had a major impact on northern society. The stations — and the southerners who staffed them — were sometimes the first contact Inuit people had with the outside world.
A change in government policy in the 1950s and 1960s led to an upheaval of the traditional Inuit way of life, Tester said.
"By the mid-1950s, the government sort of saw what they thought was the handwriting on the wall," he said, "that Inuit were going to have to be modernized instead of kept in their traditional lifestyle."
Thus began the sweeping change from a traditional Inuit way of life. Having a job meant there was now pressure on Inuit workers to maintain a steady income to support their families. That made it difficult to hunt, since people now had to travel long distances from their communities to find game.
Not being able to hunt meant Inuit had to buy their own food, either from stores or local hunters.
Food has always been expensive in the North. The population is relatively small and scattered across a vast region far from the major transportation hubs. Shipping costs are exorbitant — particularly in Nunavut, where there aren't any roads to connect the territory's communities to the rest of Canada.
The high cost of shipping food to the North put some items beyond the reach of many people.
In an effort to make food more affordable, the federal government started the Northern Air Stage Program — better known as Food Mail — in the 1960s to subsidize shipping costs.
The subsidy shifted to retailers when Nutrition North replaced Food Mail in 2011. The new program gives retailers a subsidy based on the weight of eligible foods shipped to eligible communities.
But auditor general Michael Ferguson recently found the Aboriginal Affairs Department did not choose eligible communities based on need. Instead, communities were chosen based on whether they had year-round road access and if they had used the old Food Mail program.
Those that made very little use of the program are only eligible for a partial subsidy, while those that did not use it aren't eligible at all.
"Consequently, community eligibility is based on past usage instead of current need," the audit says.
"As a result, there may be other isolated northern communities, not benefiting from the subsidy, where access to affordable, nutritious food may be an issue."
Aboriginal Affairs told Ferguson's team it has looked at expanding the full subsidy to around 50 fly-in northern communities, but doing so would increase the cost of the program by $7 million a year.
Before the audit was released in late November, the Conservative government announced it would spend another $11.3 million on the program over the next year.
But many northerners are skeptical that businesses are actually passing on the full subsidy to customers.
Aboriginal Affairs has not required merchants to report their profit margins, which over time would indicate whether the full subsidy is being passed on. Ferguson's report said such a measure would help quell skepticism about whether consumers are actually getting the full benefit of the subsidy.
The department now says that as of April 1, retailers will have to provide information on their current and long-term profit margins.
The cost of food has contributed to a palpable and growing sense of frustration across Nunavut.
The catalyst for much of the angst was a Facebook group called "Feeding My Family." People started posting photos of shocking price tags in grocery stores. That grew into street protests — a rare show of Inuit defiance.
"Bringing something as private as poverty and the fact that you're hungry and you're food insecure, that's very different," former Iqaluit mayor Madeleine Redfern said last month in Iqaluit.
"I think people are saying, 'This is not a hidden problem. We can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore.'"
Overwhelmingly, Redfern said, those going hungry are Inuit. "There is a disparity — not only ethnically, but also the social classes."
As of this past December, Nunavut's labour force stood at 14,000 people, 9,500 of whom are Inuit. But a closer look at the statistics shows some 8,500 working-age Inuit who are not part of the labour force, compared to only 600 non-Inuit people.
The participation rate — that is, the number of people either employed or are actively looking for a job — was also much lower among Inuit. The Inuit participation rate was 52.7 per cent, compared to 88 per cent among non-Inuit.
The unemployment rate for Inuit people in Nunavut was 17.9 per cent during the last three months of 2014 (the territory reports its statistics using a three-month moving average). By comparison, the jobless rate across the rest of Canada in December was 6.6 per cent.
The most recent figures released by the territory's statistics bureau show the number of people in Nunavut on social assistance was 14,578 in 2013.
Back in his cramped Iqaluit apartment, Mablick sips from a mug of lukewarm tea brewed with a tea bag he has already used a few times. He reuses tea bags to save money.
He hasn't eaten in a week and he turns to tea to stave off hunger pangs. He gives what little food he has to his five children, who are between the ages of one-and-a-half and 11.
Mablick, clad in a torn white Qikiqtani Inuit Association T-shirt, says he has been out of work since he quit his job at Parks Canada in October over a dispute with a supervisor. He would not elaborate.
Social assistance trickles in, but it's not enough to feed the entire household. So Mablick has been forced to sell most of his possessions to put food on the table. Parting with his snowmobile was especially difficult, he said.
"Pretty much everything that we can sell — jewellery or carvings, whatever," he said.
"I mean, I'll go to my shack, which is outside, I'll carve something and sell something, but it's been a while since I carved. I started working on a cribbage board but it's been so cold that my toes are freezing so I can't really carve anything right now."
Like many hungry people in Nunavut, Mablick also turns to friends and family for food, but knows they face their own struggles.
Traditional Inuit fare — so-called "country food" that consists of caribou, seal and whale meat — offers one option to address the food problem.
A key recommendation of the Nunavut Food Security Coalition — a group made up of representatives from the territorial government, Inuit organizations, industry and social justice groups — was to encourage people to hunt.
Former Edmonton native Will Hyndman started a hunter and trapper's market in Iqaluit, and invited hunters, most of whom struggle to buy ammunition and fuel, to sell their meat in town.
"The goal was really to change the conversation about how we deal with country food here in Iqaluit," Hyndman said, icicles forming on the tips of his moustache, as he stood with his dog on the frozen shores of Koojesse Inlet.
"When you go hunting, you can't take your fish and stuff it back down your gas tank. You can't take your seal and turn it into more bullets, whereas traditionally everything came from the animals that you were hunting.
"So now we need to something else to close that loop of sustainability, and the market was one way to do that."
People in Iqaluit also cope by turning to the city's soup kitchen or to the food bank on the two days a month that it's open.
There's clearly a demand for these services. Stephen Wallick, chairman of the board of the Niqinik Nuatsivik Food Bank, said it started out in 2001 serving about 30 families. Today, he said, as many as 120 families come looking for food and supplies every two weeks.
Iqaluit's soup kitchen, which makes enough for 200 servings a day, is also stretched to its limit — and sometimes past it.
"It goes in the red every now and then," volunteer Cathy Sawer said during a recent visit. "Your funding sources maybe get behind, and then occasionally there's maybe extra expenses."
Case in point: Sawer said one of the elements on her stove just stopped working, so she's going to need an electrician. "Prices for that are pretty high up here."
The most desperate — as seen in television footage that emerged after Ferguson released his report — even forage in local dumps for scraps of food.
So, what can be done?
Tester, the Arctic historian, said the territory needs to focus on online opportunities.
"They need to develop a northern economy, and as far as I'm concerned, a northern economy is online," he said.
"In other words, a web-based economy is what young people are interested in, and what has real possibility for Nunavut. Very little has been done to explore this and develop it. Instead, they're pouring tens of millions of dollars into training programs to turn people into miners."
Nunavut has slower, more expensive and more limited Internet access than most of the country — a big obstacle to developing a web-based economy. Major investments need to be undertaken to bring high-speed Internet access to the North.
The federal government is spending $305 million over five years to develop Canadian broadband in rural and remote communities — including approximately 12,000 households in Nunavut and the Nunavik region of northern Quebec.
"The basic infrastructure is there," said Tester. "It just needs to be upgraded — big time."
Others have suggested that the federal government run a program similar to the Nunavut Hunters Income Support Trust, which provided around $2 million a year to hunters so they could buy equipment to hunt, fish and trap.
A similar program for the Inuit of northern Quebec is fully funded through the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., which administers the Nunavut land claim, ran the harvesters support program. The program was shut down for 2014 so Nunavut Tunngavik could spend the rest of the year reviewing it.
Nunavut Tunngavik president Cathy Towtongie said the federal government should help offset the cost of hunting equipment in the same way it helps subsidize farmers in the rest of Canada.
"We could have a hunter support program in place. When farms do not make enough produce, farmers are given a lot of subsidies across Canada. But in Canada's Arctic, prices are rising in terms of bullets, ammunition and Ski-Doos, the equipment. So it's more costly to hunt," she said in a recent interview at her Iqaluit office
"So if we can subsidize at least some of the cost, like bullets, then I believe we should have a program that's designed for hunters, so they can provide for the community and their families."
None of this matters much to Mablick, for whom it is a daily struggle to find his family's next meal.
"I make sure that they are fed and that there's something for them to eat instead of me, because being a parent, I make more sacrifices," he says.
"What's the point of sacrificing my kids? They're my everything. I've got to sacrifice myself for them. And that's what I do."
Food crisis could hit Canada, expert warns News Staff
Published Thursday, April 24, 2008
The growing worldwide food crisis could hit Canada, warns one of the country's top consumer advocates.
Mel Fruitman, of the Consumers' Association of Canada, said that while food costs in Canada are currently among the lowest in the world, that will change.
"We are going to continue to be somewhat insulated for the next little while, but then the bubble is going to burst," Fruitman told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
"Competition between the retailers helps us as consumers keep the price of our food basket down, but it also puts increasing pressure on the farms, on farmers, and that can't continue. Somewhere along the way the dam is going to burst."
For Canadians, the rising cost of fuel will have particular impact on the cost of food, particularly when consumers have come to expect a year-round supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in their grocery stores, Fruitman said.
"Anything that is trucked in, flown in, that comes from farther away than our normal hundred kilometres, say, is going to cost that much more to get to us," Fruitman said.
"And of course, the cost of fuel affects the cost of production of that food, it affects the cost of feed for the various animals. So, we are on a rising curve, there's no question about it."
On Thursday, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. announced it will raise prices of its bread as high grain costs cut into profits in both its bakery and hog divisions. The company reported that it lost $10,000 in the first quarter, compared to boasting a profit of $10.5 million during the same period one year ago.
The company also said its first-quarter sales fell by nine per cent over last year.
Canada Bread Co., 88 per cent of which is owned by Maple Leaf, also warned that its prices would rise after reporting that its first-quarter profits dropped by 32 per cent as a result of rising wheat prices.
"The continued rise in wheat prices together with increase in prices of other commodities, such as fuel and general inflation, has had a significant short-term impact on our margins and financial results," Richard Lan, president and CEO of Canada Bread, told The Canadian Press.
However, in the meantime, Canadian retailers aren't putting limits on the sale of any food items.
Wal-Mart Canada issued a statement on Wednesday that it will not follow the lead of U.S. retailer Sam's Club, which recently put restrictions on large purchases of some types of specialty rice.
Meanwhile, there are fears in India that the domestic supply of rice will dry up, and riots have broken out in Haiti among residents who are already feeling the food crunch.
CTV's Paul Workman, reporting from India, told Canada AM on Thursday that India has cut back on its rice exports in order to keep the cost of rice down within the country. However, the move will have far-reaching consequences.
"This is going to have an effect across Asia, but especially in neighbouring Bangladesh, which depends on India hugely for most of its rice imports. We've already seen some rioting in the streets there as a result of it and most of the food specialists here warn that Bangladesh and Asia are going to be the worst hit by this spiraling food crisis, and that it has to be watched very carefully," Workman said.  
"And of course there are other agencies saying that there are something like 30 countries that may suffer social unrest as a result of these huge price increases."
The world's food shortage is continually growing and threatens the health of millions of people around the world, including some 20 million of the poorest children.
Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, focused on the crisis Wednesday during a speech at a London summit dedicated to the subject.
She said the cost of rice has more than doubled in the last five weeks, and the World Bank estimates food prices have increased 83 per cent in three years.
Dave Toycen, president of World Vision Canada, said Thursday that his organization has to cut back on how much food it can distribute when its main supplier, the United Nations World Food Programme, itself cuts back.
The international aid organization is cutting back on the vital flow of food it can provide to the world's most impoverished -- saying it can no longer afford to feed 1.5 million of the 7.5 million people that received aid last year.
Toycen's colleague in Sudan, Seth Le Leu, told Canada AM on Thursday that World Vision's operation in that country has to be scaled back.
"In South Sudan, we were intending on feeding 400,000 people who are returning to Sudan after 20 years of war," Le Leu said.
"Because of the change of policy, we will be treating 40,000 less than that. So that is a tremendous cut in our work."
Toycen also said that the food shortage will hit children the hardest.
"Basic illnesses that children normally have suddenly become fatal once they become malnourished, under-nourished," Toycen told Canada AM.
"And so that's the real concern for us as a child-focused organization."
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