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John Robson on the United Nations

1y ago
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So the UN thinks Canada needs a national food policy. And some snooty Harvard-educated multi-professor of judicial fantasizing to come here, berate us for every sin in the left-wing catechism and urge us to wish away our problems. Well, we don't. The nine-page so-called report by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter pleased the usual suspects. NDP and Liberals press releases hissed at the Tories over the supposed right to government food. But the report was obnoxious nonsense for three main reasons. First, his diagnosis is wrong. Second, he's digging in the wrong place. Third, he lives in a fantasy world. On the first, he concluded after 11 days hobnobbing with fellow leftist across Canada, or possibly before setting foot here, that we have such widespread hunger one in 10 families with young children "is unable to meet their daily food needs". Dude, if you can't meet your daily food needs don't you ... um"¦ die? Elsewhere he simply calls them "food insecure", one of those pseudo-scholarly phrases that could mean anything but probably doesn't. Having invented mass starvation in Canada, he discerned our need to raise minimum wages, restore the Wheat Board monopoly, construe aboriginal title broadly, force people to eat less salt, obey international law and not voters, attach strings to federal grants to provinces and reject free trade. He even called obesity "a result of poverty; adequate diets have become too expensive for poor Canadians, and it is precisely these people who have to pay the most when they live in food deserts," which oddly turns out to mean places food is sold in convenience stores not ones where it's hard to get food like, say, a desert. Lesser minds would blush at suggesting lack of food makes you fat, but when you jump straight from a decade of grad school into posts like "co-ordinator of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights" you don't dwell in such pedestrian realms. Instead, you champion trendy things like locally sourced food which, whatever its merits in furnishing heritage tomatoes for cocktail receptions, decreases efficiency and raises prices. Ah, but "large-scale farming" contributes to (wait for it) ... global warming! In the end, he threw in everything but the kitchen sink. Ironic, since kitchen sinks are actually useful in food preparation unlike his report, his attitudes or the organization he rode in on. Indeed, quibbling over details is of limited use because he totally missed the big picture that Canada, through hard work under a free enterprise system, turned want into plenty, wasteland into farmland and empty fields into cities, factories, offices and stores - unlike most UN member states. Canada also takes the rule of law seriously - unlike most UN member states. And finally, it is a place whose generous social systems are increasingly sapping the foundations of prosperity without relieving misery. The rapporteur actually admits "Canada has developed a solid social protection system to protect people living in poverty ... yet the evidence of those suffering from hunger and poverty has been growing in recent years ... Poverty affects some 3 million Canadians." But if it isn't working, why demand more? Simple: Instead of researching hard lessons of history about what specific policies banished the spectre of famine from this blessed corner of the planet, he flatters himself that a law professor saying "make it so" counts far more than due process, private property, and millions of farmers, truckers, processors and retailers sweating over how to give consumers quality food at affordable prices. No wonder the whole thing is fantasy. At the end of his mission, De Schutter responded to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney's accusation that his mission was political by telling journalists "of course it's political. The right to food is about politics, it's not about technicalities." And when confronte...