In a country as affluent as Canada, hunger is unacceptable. When Oliver De Schutter, a United Nations Independent Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food recently reported to Canada that we have a problem with hunger, it pains me to know that his report was vehemently attacked by the Canadian government.
The news may not be easy for the federal government to hear, but one can’t simply ignore reality.
Here is a taste of De Schutter’s message about Canada to the United Nations:
- One in 10 families, with at least one child under 6, are “food insecure,” meaning they don’t know if they will eat tomorrow.
- Welfare rates for a single person are less than the average rent for a single apartment in Ontario, leaving no money for food.
- The minimum wage in Canada is not a “living wage,” meaning you cannot live and eat while earning $10 an hour, without of course, turning to charity — a food bank and free meal programs, which are booming across this country.
Think about it for a moment, Canada, a top OECD (OECD: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) country sends food aid overseas appears to starve many of its own people. It is shocking to see so many struggle to get enough food. Here in Cornwall, the rise in need can be seen every day, with many new people turning to the food bank for assistance.
I want to share with you what a “Special Rapporteur” does so we can appreciate the importance of his report. A Special Rapporteur helps to ensure that basic human rights are respected, like the right to food, by offering objective analysis and concrete solutions to the countries they visit. We Canadians have the opportunity to change our food policies that can benefit hungry people in Canada by activating the recommendations made by Special Rapporteur De Schutter. Why wouldn’t we?
I am not the government; however I can do my part by raising awareness about the solvable problem of hunger. The Agapè Centre and like-minded organizations and individuals are participating in Hunger Awareness Week, May 06 – 10, which encourages community residents to become more conscious of hunger. There will be a variety of activities that people can participate in to not only learn about hunger but work towards reducing hunger. I encourage you all to take part in hunger awareness week. You won’t regret it. Visit www.agapecentre.ca for more information.