For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I think this is a great idea

Our GG eating a piece of seal's heart raw is still very much in the news. I find it encouraging that so many Canadians have expressed positive responses, even if they disagree with the seal hunt. Personally, I'd love to try seal, but it's just not available. So it's no surprise to me that others have had similar thoughts.

The premier of Nunavut hopes more southerners follow the lead of Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean and add to their diet what the locals call "country food" - not just seal, but Arctic char, caribou, and muskox.

I think there would be a definite market for Arctic meats, if only in the high-end, gourmet demographic. It would be a great place to start. There is one obvious problem, though.

There's one big obstacle in getting the food down south: there are no roads to these Arctic communities, and shipment by boat or plane is painfully expensive.

The local butcher we bought our Christmas tourtierre meats from (our traditional recipe is a blend of meats, including game) carries muskox. They also carry boar, ostrich, kangaroo and camel. We've only tried boar so far, as the cost is very prohibitive (sort of like the $21 chickens to people in the North!), but it seems silly to me that we can get camel or kangaroo, but not seal or caribou. There is almost no infrastructure in the northern communities. The combination of engineering challenges to build infrastructure in such a harsh environment and a very small, dispersed population means it just isn't a high priority.

It's interesting to look at history and see that our north had once been viewed as where our future lay. Even the Golden Boy statue topping Winnipeg's legislature faces north, symbolizing that this was where future prosperity lay. Instead, people settled and congregated in the south, with the vast majority of Canada's population living in a wide belt near the Canada/US border. This makes sense from an agricultural and commercial perspective. Longer growing seasons, warmer climates, and proximity to our largest trading partner would make this a natural progression. The territories, however, are opening up more as mining companies discover new sources for things like diamonds (no blood diamonds in Canada!), and technology allows them to overcome the challenges of working in such extreme conditions. A reliable, affordable infrastructure is necessary to support these ventures.

Maybe, some day, people living in the north will actually be able to buy a frozen chicken or a gallon of milk at reasonable prices.

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