$200 turkey sparks debate on Arctic food prices

A picture of a $200 Thanksgiving turkey in a High Arctic community has people talking this week about the high costs of living in Canada's far North.

A picture of a $200 Thanksgiving turkey in a High Arctic community has people talking about the high cost of living in Canada's far North.

The photograph, which has been circulating by email since Monday, shows a frozen Grade 'A' turkey with a price tag of $200.07 at the Northern Store in Arctic Bay, a remote community on the northern coast of Baffin Island.

The picture had Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott, the Nunavut government's elected representative for the High Arctic, worried about the cost of food and other essentials in his region.

"It would be nice to have people all across Canada sort of realize that even within our own country, the ability to … put food on the table for your family is almost becoming impossible," Elliott told CBC News on Friday.

"The high cost of living in the communities, it makes you really think, you know, how within our own country can we allow this to continue to happen?"

Store trims turkey price

After the photograph started making the rounds online, the Arctic Bay Northern Store reduced the price of the turkeys to about $90 each.

The store's manager said the $200 price tag was a labelling error.

Nunavut Transportation Minister Peter Taptuna recently visited Arctic Bay to discuss the high costs of travel and shipping to the High Arctic region.

Elliott said High Arctic residents generally feel they are not seeing the impact of the federal government's food mail program, which subsidizes the cost of shipping healthy perishable grocieries by air to remote northern communities that are not accessible year-round by road, rail or marine service.

Federal officials are currently reviewing the food mail program, which cost the government $50 million to operate last year.