Thank you, Mr. Speaker, honourable colleagues. If you have tried your hardest to make your money last, but still you run out four days before the next welfare day, you are in trouble, because they will not give you any more money, period. I guess those are the rules.
She has further descriptions of the different kinds of income that are received, such as pensions and G.S.T. returns. They are written out for people who have low income. She goes on to say, "It is also hard for families like mine which depend on pension cheques. The pension cheques are very small because most people who are old today have worked outside the wage economy most of their lives, and the amount of pension they receive depends on the amount they paid into the pension plan through their work.
For all of these reasons, we give emergency food to 30 people every week. We have had to limit our hours because we cannot afford to help everyone we want to. We do not receive any support from any level of government, and I am not aware that any government representative has ever visited our food bank. We have budgeted $350 per month for purchasing dry goods, but already our account is down to $2,353.97. If we do not do a lot of fund raising, we will soon be out of money." She describes how they raise funds, and then she goes on to talk about the people who are in senior positions, people who are her representatives, such as me. "If I knew how to speak English, I would tell important people about the problems that people in Baker Lake and other communities are having. I would invite the Minister of Social Services to let us take him through the people's homes in Baker Lake. If Social Services is not aware of the problems people are having and of the kind of help they and their families need to survive, then we could show them."
I experienced hunger myself many years ago, before we moved into the community. Game was scarce, and there was no welfare to help people out. Many people were very hungry then, but it is really frustrating today to see people trapped in the community who are willing, but not able, to hunt and unable to make it to the end of the month on what they get from welfare. I have been told that you would like to hear recommendations about how aboriginal people's lives could be improved. I guess I could suggest that governments should support food banks like ours. That would not really solve anything. Instead, I want to tell governments to raise welfare and pension levels so that people in Baker Lake and other communities can at least feed their families without having to go to a food bank. I think it is a disgrace that there have to be food banks in such a rich country as Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.