New Democrats demand federal action on rising food prices

  • Mar. 15, 2011 12:00 p.m.

Canada needs food strategy now

OTTAWA – As Canadians brace themselves for another round of rising food prices New Democrats are calling on the Conservative Government to help Canadians get food they need at an affordable price.  Sky-rocketing oil prices brought on by Middle East unrest and the global economic crisis is impacting every link in the food production chain.


“There has been a nine percent increase in food bank use since 2009, 38% of these are children, 11% are working poor, 15% are on some form of disability income support, 7% are seniors,  and 12% are aboriginal,” said Tony Martin New Democrat poverty critic. “Even so, most of the government’s largesse is going to the wealthiest among us.”


Food Banks Canada reports in its HungerCount2010 that “867, 948 Canadians walked through the front door of a food bank in March 2010 asking for help.  That’s the highest level of food bank use on record.”


“Conservatives keep looking to trade deals which only serve to make our food system dangerously vulnerable to the price of oil,” said Atamanenko.  “It is time we look at ways to strengthen our domestic markets and local economies as a way to reduce our dependence on imported food so that we become less vulnerable to the energy hikes and other economic shocks that lie ahead.”


New Democrats believe there is an urgent need for the Federal government to develop a national food strategy that will:


•          Ensure all Canadians have access to adequate amounts of healthy food;

•          Empower farmers to earn a decent living producing quality food for Canadians

•          Establish a stable and sustainable agriculture sector for future generations.


“This government cannot keep ignoring the fact that food is basic to the health of any society,” said Fin Donnelly.  “By failing to act now we just put ourselves in tougher situation later on as people are forced to turn to social assistance.”