Eric Chaurette of Inter Pares and Food Secure Canada crafted a brilliant alternative to the Throne Speech (of two weeks ago). Wouldn’t we all be so proud if this is what we heard, rather than what we did?
(See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-SrgW5BLV0&feature=youtu.be for Wayne Roberts’ Rendition.)
“Honourable Senators, Members of the House of Commons, ladies and gentlemen,
I welcome the Members of Parliament gathered before me, whom I am confident will fulfill their responsibility to serve the public interest on behalf of all Canadians.
As many of you know, Parliament resumes on a very special day: World Food Day. This day is celebrated around the world to mark the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the United Nations, and to help increase understanding and promote solutions to global hunger.
In 1996, governments around the world pledged to halve world hunger by 2015. The FAO now estimates that 842 million people – 1 in 8 people – are hungry, and these rates are set to increase with climate change. Hunger is also increasingly a problem here in Canada, where nearly 3 million people are food insecure. In a country as prosperous as Canada, this is scandalous.
Our government also understands that the current model of agriculture is unsustainable, both for family farms and the environment. Canada lost nearly 18,000 farms between 2001 and 2006, and the trend is not reversing. Industrial agriculture is killing our soils, polluting our water, and is also a lead contributor to climate change.
Our government therefore pledges to work with Canadians to fix our broken food system.
Over the next year, we will develop regulations and establish incentives to strengthen local ecological food systems. We will also support farmers, through targeted investment and training programs, in a widespread shift to ecological production in both urban and rural settings. We will also establish policies to facilitate the entry of new farmers into agriculture.
Our government understands that hunger is a symptom of the broader problem of poverty. Canadians should never have to choose between paying rent and buying groceries. Our government pledges to enact a strong federal poverty elimination and prevention program, with measurable targets and timelines, to ensure Canadians can better afford healthy food.
Our government realizes that Canada is the only G8 country without a national meal program for children. Our government promises to act on this by creating a nationally funded Children and Food strategy (including school meal programs, school gardens, and food literacy programs) to ensure that all children at all times have access to the food required for healthy lives.
Finally, our government understands that for all of the above measures to work, they will need a coherent federal food policy that guarantees universal access to healthy and ecological food. Our government recognizes that this federal food policy can only work if we ensure that members of the vibrant food movement have a place at the table, so we can work together to put an end to hunger in this vast country of ours.
Honourable Senators and Members of the House of Commons, let us work together, across party lines, to rebuild our country into one where no one is hungry, where farmers and fishers prosper, where we care for the land and water and where Canadians can be proud once again of being a caring nation.” (retrieved from: http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/10/16/a-world-food-day-throne-speech/)
See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-SrgW5BLV0&feature=youtu.be for Wayne Roberts’ Rendition.