UN envoy blasts Canada for 'self-righteous' attitude over hunger, poverty

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Freedom 55
UN envoy blasts Canada for 'self-righteous' attitude over hunger, poverty


Freedom 55


[url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/15/un-envoy-blasts-canada-for-self-... envoy blasts Canada for ‘self-righteous’ attitude over hunger, poverty[/url]



Canada needs to drop its “self-righteous” attitude about how great a country it is and start dealing with its widespread problem of food insecurity, the United Nations right-to-food envoy says.

In a hard-hitting interview this week with Postmedia News, Olivier De Schutter also blasted Canada for its “appallingly poor” record of taking recommendations from UN human-rights bodies seriously.

De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, has been on an 11-day mission to Canada, his first to a developed country.

It’s taken him to poor inner-city neighbourhoods in Central Canada, where he said he’s heard from families on social assistance who can’t afford to feed their children healthy foods.

He’s also travelled to remote aboriginal communities in Manitoba and Alberta, where he said he has seen “very desperate conditions and people who are in extremely dire straits.”

The envoy will give his preliminary assessment Wednesday as he wraps up his mission and addresses national media.

His report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council and will form part of Canada’s official international human rights record.



De Schutter is the first to admit that Canada’s record is wanton when it comes to responding to concerns flagged by UN human rights bodies. But he bristles at any suggestion that he has no business in Canada.

“It’s even more shocking to me to see that there are 900,000 households in Canada that are food insecure and up to 2.5 million people precisely because this is a wealthy country. It’s even less excusable,” said De Schutter.

“It’s not because the country is a wealthy country that there are no problems. In fact, the problems are very significant and, frankly, this sort of self-righteousness about the situation being good in Canada is not corresponding to what I saw on the ground, not at all.”


Uncle John

Governments seem to have huge budgets for what? Where does the money go? Why do they say that when you are against higher taxes, you don't care about the poor, when very little of the tax money goes to the poor at any rate? Are they poor because working full time on minmum wage puts you in a tax bracket, where you have to pay the salaries of people making twice and three times what you are?

Ontario spends what, $120 billion. If 1,000,000 are on welfare, at $6,000 a year, that is only $6 billion. Looks like 5 or 10% of Ontario money goes to the poor. I guess it is more important to provide health care for your parents and education for your kids. On top of that Ottawa spends what, $80 billion (out of $220 - thanks Mr. Harper for having the biggest government in Ottawa's history). What do the poor get out of that? $60 every 3 months or something?

I suppose YOUR priorities are more important than the poor. Which is why we keep electing you all the time. If 85% are not poor, and 15% are poor, that means that the 85% outvotes the 15% (if the poor ever voted anyway). Maybe if the poor want more political representation, they should become the majority. You first!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture


Food security not an issue for “Aboriginal people” because “they hunt every day,” says Aglukkaq

Indigenous people in Canada don’t face food security issues because “they hunt every day,” said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq in the House of Commons Wednesday as she fended off opposition attacks fueled by the findings of the UN special rapporteur on food issues.

Olivier De Schutter, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a press conference earlier in the day that he was “struck” by the “desperate situation” Indigenous people faced in the country.

De Schutter was in Canada for nearly two weeks to investigate food issues in the country. While he visited some First Nations communities, he did not make it up to Canada’s more remote communities where the cost of healthy foods remains a constant concern.

Aglukkaq, however, dismissed the rapporteur’s findings, saying he was nothing more than an “ill-informed academic.” Aglukkaq said she tried to “educate” De Schutter during a face-to-face meeting about the real situation of Indigenous people in Canada.

“I took the opportunity to educate him about Canada’s North and Aboriginal people that depend on the wildlife that they hunt every day for food security,” said Aglukkaq, in the House of Commons, responding to a question from the NDP.

What's the preferred game of Plains Cree in Winnipeg, Minister? Vancouver Dene?


Freedom 55

Thanks for posting that, CF.


Does anyone remember how smug some Canadians felt when the Bush administration would say stupid shit?


I guess clean water doesn't count as food. 

And I guess rampant diabetes doesn't count as a food issue either, at least according to our Health Minister.

And I know what nobody in northwest Ontario eats any more:


http://freegrassy.org/wp-content/uploads/Harada_report_2004_FINAL.pdf /p>


Catchfire Catchfire's picture


UN report bolsters Canada's right to food movement

Food is a fundamental human right, recognized under international law in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enshrined in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

According to the Special Rapporteur, the right to food is, "The right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensure a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear."

Through an array of stories and statistics emerged a complex web of connections between housing, employment, transportation, poverty, nutrition, health and food, condemning food charity as an inadequate response to hunger and food insecurity.

Food banks, which arose as a stop-gap measure in the early 1980s in Canada, are not a solution to the systemic problems which prevent a person from accessing healthy affordable food. Though food banks in Canada attempt to dismantle the stigma associated with food charity through innovative programming and partnerships, and do so with grace, food is an entitlement and not a privilege, as Mr. De Schutter firmly reminded the assembly in his closing remarks.

The most striking part of the evening's events were images of a classroom in Fort Albany of grade two students gathered around an open caribou, learning culturally-specific student nutrition skills. This was part of a presentation by the community's food security coalition, Netaweketata, who in collaboration with the True North Community Co-op in Thunder Bay and FoodShare in Toronto - utilizing the Nutrition North subsidy - are bringing fresh, healthy, affordable food to their remote community. While this is a highly commendable initiative, it begs the question, where is the government in protecting the right to food of this community and so many others?

The Special Rapporteur strongly recommends a national right to food strategy for Canada, which currently lacks a food policy or strategy at the national level, or even at the provincial and territorial levels. His statement indicates he is heartened by the civil society engagement in the right to food movement, citing such bodies as food policy councils and food security organizations, and he "welcomes and strongly encourages such participatory models of food system management."

Among his specific recommendations, the Special Rapporteur indicates "social assistance levels need to be increased immediately to correspond to the costs of basic necessities," that the minimum wage level should be a ‘living wage,' and that food adequacy through programs targeting health promotion must be more urgently addressed, given that this is a society where malnutrition from too much or unhealthy foods is as much of a concern as malnutrition from too little food.

De Schutter voices concerns about the dismantled Canadian Wheat Board, structural barriers to institutional procurement of local food, and calls for a thriving small-scale farming sector. Finally, his report calls for a reform to the Nutrition North Canada program and "a structural approach to tackling the socio-economic and cultural barriers to opportunities for those living on reserves that result in their not enjoying fully their right to adequate food." He also regretted that neither the federal Government nor the provinces consider that they "have a responsibility to support off-reserve Aboriginal peoples in overcoming the structural discrimination they face."

Superb piece. RTFA.


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture



OTTAWA – MP Niki Ashton (Churchill) stood in the House of Commons today to ask the Minister of Health to apologize for her Government's attack on the UN Rapporteur's preliminary report on Food Insecurity in Canada.


wtg Niki.

she shoulda also asked Leona to apologize to all the "academics" in Canada. 'cause according to Leona being one is a negative. she sounded like GWB. there's a special place for actions like hers. she will not be returning to Ottawa after next election.


The response from the conservatives is just so typical.  And the timing couldn't be better with them ramming through this asanine budget bill with the changes to EI which is sure to make even more people starve.  No wonder they resort to pathetic attacks on the messenger...they don't have any answers because their policies contribute to this!  

It's not unlike the "why are you picking on israel, it's a fucking democracy!" line we get so often from these guys.  De Schutter is right, it's precisely because we are such a wealthy country that this is all the more distressing.  The causes of our poverty are all avoidable....and the numbers speak for themselves.

Freedom 55

Northern Public Affairs: [url=http://www.northernpublicaffairs.ca/index/hicks-aglukkaqs-shameful-respo... shameful response to UN food envoy[/url]

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Most people dont care.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I have to include myself.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/inuit-organize-widespread-p... organize widespread protest over hunger, food cost[/url]


Weeks after the federal government dismissed concerns from a United Nations representative about food insecurity in Canada’s North, turnout at the protest could be impressive. More than 10,000 people have joined the Feed My Family site — over a third of Nunavut’s entire population.

“Food insecurity is so prevalent,” said Nunavut’s territorial nutritionist, Jennifer Wakegijig, who tabled a report on the issue this week in the Nunavut legislature.

It found nearly three-quarters of Inuit preschoolers live in food-insecure homes. Half of youths 11 to 15 years old sometimes go to bed hungry. Two-thirds of Inuit parents also told a McGill University survey that they sometimes ran out of food and couldn’t afford more.

“Every Inuit in Nunavut knows someone in their family or in their community that is hungry that day,” said Ms. Papatsie.


Leona Aglukkaq wrote:

I took the opportunity to educate [Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food] about Canada’s North and Aboriginal people that depend on the wildlife that they hunt every day for food security.


Nunavut’s larder of “country food” — caribou, seals, fish and other animals — is there for the taking, but only if people can afford the snowmobiles, gas, rifles, ammunition and gear needed to travel safely. Mr. Elliott estimates hunting costs about $150 a day.

Canada’s national Inuit group, Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami, reports 42 per cent of Inuit say hunting is too expensive.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

In response to the visit of that UN envoy, MP Larry Miller wants Canada out of the UN.


Freedom 55 wrote:

Thanks for posting that, CF.


Does anyone remember how smug some Canadians felt when the Bush administration would say stupid shit?

Yes. And now they ridicule Obama who has pretty much carried out the king dubya agenda to a tee. It's a cosmetic government in Warshington since 1947. It's a single party with two right wings. Charade they are.


I guess this isn't the kind of "hunting" she wanted to highlight.

[url=http://aptn.ca/news/2014/11/28/aglukkaq-tried-forcing-apology-nunavut-ha... tried forcing apology from Nunavut hamlet over dump food scavenging revelations, claims deputy mayor[/url]

Tutanuak said Thursday that between 50 to 100 people in Rankin Inlet regularly go to the dump looking for food.

“Yeah, you see it. Unfortunately, it’s a common sight,” said Tutanuak.

When asked what he thought when he found out Aglukkaq wanted an apology, Tutanuak said his reaction was not fit for publication.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..here's the report on the crisis from aptn.

Wasting Away