26 April 2010

On Liberals' Proposed National Food Policy

Don't be fooled by the big numbers. Here's what the Liberals propose to be included in their national food policy as reported by the CBC:

* $50 million to improve food inspections and ensure imported foods meet domestic standards
* $80 million to promote farmers markets and local food
* $40 million to help 250,000 low-income children get healthy food (my emphasis)

Let's look at that last one, shall we?

Any program has administrative costs, so it's not clear that the entire $40 million would go to 250,000 children. However, let's assume it does.

The numbers reduce to this: $160 per year per child, or $13.33 per month, or 44 cents per day.


Food costs are higher where people of low income live. Most of us haven't the means - a vehicle or bus fare - to get to where the bargains are. We must walk everywhere or transport ourselves in a four-wheeled scooter (if we're so fortunate to have one and live in a building that provides plug-in facilities). If we've a scooter, then accessibility to, from and in stores becomes a further barrier.

How much do you suppose someone can buy for 44 cents in a neighbourhood where there's only one grocery store and accessibility for people with disabilities is an issue?

Here's another bone to pick. Children under a certain age don't have income. Their parents or guardians do.

You can bet that hungry children have even hungrier parents. Parents will deprive themselves first of food before they'll let their children starve.

Politicians and poverty activists should stop the "child poverty" crap. Because you can't lift a child out of poverty unless you treat the whole family - hell, unless you treat the whole community.

Incidentally, by the time the Liberal plan would come into being, inflation would have eaten up all or a good chunk of that 44 cents.

[Cross-posted at economicus ridiculous.]

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