Saturday, May 26, 2012

Food security

This story does leave me in two minds. One, who is the UN to dictate to Canada? But the other -- the UN has a point.

I have seen how insecure food in Canada is, at least in the Arctic. Poor food, limited quantities and high cost. To say 'hunt every day' is fine if the hunt is good -- but as the Caribou Inuit learned in living memory, if you live off the hunt and the hunt fails, you starve:

No appetite for aboriginals' food security
Calgary Herald

Last week, Oliver De Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, completed an 11-day mission to Canada. His report was not favourable to Canada.

He found a country where an estimated 900,000 households - or 2.5 million people - are "food insecure." In 1996, the World Food Summit defined food security as "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life."

Naturally, De Schutter visited poor inner-city neighbourhoods and remote aboriginal com-munities in Manitoba and Alberta. He reported "very desperate conditions and people who are in extremely dire straits."

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq could have accepted his report, reviewed his findings and made recommendations. After all, this is a very serious issue and it shouldn't be seen in partisan terms. Food insecurity is a fact in Canada and it has been the case regard-less of the government in power.

But Aglukkaq chose to attack and ignore the valuable findings. She accused De Schut-ter of being an "ill informed and patronizing academic." This kind of rhetoric may play to the Tory base, but it does little to address the very real problems our people face as an impoverished population that relies on food banks and welfare.

Aglukkaq went on to state that indigenous people don't face food insecurity because "they hunt every day."

1 comment:

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