Food Secure Canada on the Hill

Although the business of the House of Commons was the emergency debate on the war in Iraq, several MPs took the time out of their busy schedules to meet with a delegation from Food Secure Canada on October 6. 

Our group, assembled following an invitation to meet with a group of Liberal MPs, included Diana Bronson (FSC), Susan Walsh (USC Canada), Paul Slomp (National Farmers Union) and Debbie Field (FoodShare).  Conservative MP Royal Galipeau (Orleans) spent over an hour in a lively exchange with the group about the many health related aspects of food policy, ranging from student nutrition, to the rising cost of health care, to the importance of maternal and child nutrition not only abroad, but right here at home.  That was followed by a meeting with Liberal MPs Mark Eyking, Carolyn Bennett and Frank Valeriote, who wanted to hear how the food movement intends to raise the profile of food, what kind of process  would be required to effectively deal with the myriad of health, equity and environmental issues involved in food and agriculture policy.  Similar sessions  have been held with representatives of  the New Democratic Party, as it developed its own food policy platform, Everybody Eats.

Politicians from right across the political spectrum are realizing how critical an issue food is becoming, and how strong, diverse and hopeful our movement is. Whether your concern is the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board and the havoc that wreaked, the level of obesity amongst young people, the 4 million Canadians who live with food insecurity,  the problems aspiring young farmers have in accessing fertile land, or the pesticides and additives in our food supply that are not adequately labelled, there is plenty of room for in-depth policy reform.  Fortunately, the most critical reforms needed have already been laid out in Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada.  The federal election, expected to be called in the fall of 2015 (but possibly earlier) will provide us with a unique opportunity to place our issues on the political agenda and to assess the different parties on both their voting records and their platforms. 

This is a discussion that will continue in Halifax at our Assembly, as we build a strategy for deep and lasting policy change, where healthy and sustainable food is accessible to all.