NEWS

Fort Good Hope elders go hungry due to delayed cheques

11/13/2014 07:34 EST | Updated 01/13/2015 05:59 EST
Elders and young mothers in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., say they're going hungry because their federal government cheques are more than two weeks late.

Staff at the community's Northern Store say about 25 seniors have been visiting the store every day for the past two weeks, looking for their mail.

Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan cheques were due to arrive at the end of October. Many people in Fort Good Hope, pop. 550, rely on those cheques for food, fuel and to pay their bills.

"We have nothing," said elder Therese Pierrot. "I have the last two bags of cheese, that's all I got."

Staff at the Northern Store say they've been calling Canada Post every day but aren't getting any answers.

The federal government says it sees no reason why the cheques would have been held. Canada Post says it's looking into it. 

These types of cheques are flown to Yellowknife, then onto Norman Wells and then on a scheduled flight to Fort Good Hope. North Wright Airways, the only airline that delivers mail to the community, says it has been delivering mail as usual. 

Meanwhile, the community's chief says people are coming to his office every day. Child Tax Benefit cheques, which are also issued by the federal government, also haven't arrived.

"It's either coming in late from down south or coming in late from Norman Wells," he says.

"I'm not too sure how it's affected or who's responsible but it's definitely affecting my community members, my elders, my young mothers."

Many say they can't wait any longer for the money.

"I got nothing. No one to go to the store for us," said Pierrot.

"Do you know how much money it is for bread and a dozen eggs? You've got to be a millionaire to live in Fort Good Hope."

Last night, John Louison, a neighbour brought over some caribou meat for Pierrot and her husband. 

This is not the first time federal cheques have been very late arriving in Fort Good Hope. The same thing happened in late 2011 and in May 2012.

Some people in Fort Good Hope haven't been affected this time because they've set up direct deposits.

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