Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The UN's envoy on food security: report on Canada

I make no secret of it: I don't much like Harper's government. I don't like the way they cherry-pick and simplify complex issues and portray the political discourse and dissenting voices as if they were evils only they have had to deal with in all of Canada's history - as if the democratic marketplace of ideas is an inconvenience.

I'm not surprised but disappointed by Harper government's reaction to the UN Envoy on food security; how they've chosen to present aboriginal food security issues as if they are caused in large part by environmental and animal rights groups. Aboriginal poverty is a government policy issue.

The proposed changes to EI in the huge budget imlementation bill is exemplary of Harper's way of doing things. Rather than presenting proposals and alternatives like re-training and setting up vocational and trades training programs to re-tool the Canadian workforce for its precious tar sands and resource extraction, they've chosen to belittle and spurn Canadians who access EI whose rules Harper regards as  "disincentives" to work. EI contributions does not a welfare make; the money does not belong to the federal government but to those hard-working Canadians who contribute to the system. All else is money usurped by federales, something criminal if not just plain wrong.

Food security and poverty are national issues; to bring them into light and into the national consciousness is not a bad thing. The UN Envoy was not criticizing Harper and his minions, he brought up an important issue for discussion. Nothing else.

I'm pretty sure that the Envoy also spoke of the good things that normal Canadians and philanthropic organizations have created, like breakfast and lunch programs in Canadian schools, like food banks in the larger population centres, etc. These types of initiatives can and must be supported and given policy justification by the federal government. In fact, there've always been calls to create a federal food security strategy.

Will this happen? -I doubt it. Harper would rather cut his nose to spite his face, and he and his minions will no doubt choose to fixate on the preceived criticism from the UN's Envoy to Food Security rather than address it responsibly. Crazy. What passive-aggression!


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