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Right now the rest of Canada is moaning about out-of-stock Christmas gifts, shipping delays and higher pricetags. Yet there’s a part of the country where these problems are a frustrating fact of life — and they’re hoping climate change doesn’t make things even worse.

“Every community (up here) is the same, just we’ve got that extra leg,” says Allan Hawkes, whose job is to keep the largest of two stores in Canada’s most northerly community — Grise Fiord, Nunavut — stocked for local shoppers. He has been waiting for a planeload of fresh produce that was dropped off on a Wednesday in Resolute and still hadn’t arrived in Grise Fiord when we speak eight days later. Weeks of unseasonably high winds cancelled almost all the flights between the two hamlets. “If mother nature doesn’t co-operate” says Hawkes, “there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.”

When shipments do arrive, everything costs Hawkes and his customers nine dollars a pound in shipping. A three-pound package of breaded chicken — which is not subsidized by the Nutrition North Canada program who cover a portion of the shipping costs of essential and healthier items like fresh milk and frozen vegetables — would cost $27 in shipping, before factoring in the cost of the chicken itself.

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