Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Right to Food

Right To Food World Map showing status by Country, as of 2012

Do Canadians have a right to food?

If yes, that right can be expressed by growing your own food, or buying the food from others. Right to food is measured by availability, accessibility, and adequacy.

In the map at the right, note that only the USA and a handful of other countries have no known right to food.

For example, South Africa's Bill of Rights has included the right to food in their constitution.. This right is framed similar to, and is based upon the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 from the UN.  This international treaty became effective as of Jan. 3, 1976. Canada signed and ratified this treaty, effective as of May 19, 1976.  Once Canada ratified it, it became part of Canadian law. Canada therefore has a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the right to food for every Canadian. It says:
Article 11
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent.

There is also the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 which was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946, shortly after the UN was formed.  By UN resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948, the General Assembly, meeting in Paris, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Canada voted in favor of.

Wikipedia tells us:
"While not a treaty itself, the Declaration was explicitly adopted for the purpose of defining the meaning of the words "fundamental freedoms" and "human rights" appearing in the United Nations Charter, which is binding on all member states."

This document says:

Article 25.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Mr.Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, reporting to the UN Human Rights Council, states:
  “It is not simply the right to minimum calories or a right to be fed. It is about being guaranteed the right to feed oneself, either by purchasing food or producing it." 

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food undertook a formal country mission to Canada on May 6-16th, 2012. Mr. de Schutter’s trip to Canada was his first to an OECD country. With over 2 million Canadians living with severe or moderate food insecurity, it would appear that Canada is failing in its obligations to Canadians and the world. His full report on Right to Food made for the UN is available here.

On Supply Management in Canada, the Special Rapporteur said:
"The system should be strengthened for its advantages, but reformed with a view to a greater equity and to facilitate entry of new farmers."
Small Flockers agree that we need greater equity in Supply Management, and reformation of the overall system.

The Special Rapporteur went on to say:
"The Special Rapporteur believes that far greater attention should be paid to the need to allow local food systems to develop."

Small Flockers stand at the ready to assume our important role in Canada's local food system.  We can start as soon as we get both the Chicken Mafia and the government off of our backs.

The Federal Government seems to agree with Small Flocker's position.  The 2007 Status Report by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada states:
“Canada’s historical focus on an export food system has impeded efforts to build a healthy domestic food system;” and that the policy framework “is a significant barrier to local food systems.”
"Informants consistently pointed out the quota systems of some of the marketing boards for products such as eggs, milk and chicken make it difficult for small scale producers who just want to sell to the local market, to operate. Quota is particularly troublesome for small scale organic operators."
Unfortunately, Amnesty International reports that the Special Rapporteur was blocked, disrespected, and chastised by the Canadian government for daring to come to Canada, and for exposing the 3rd world conditions for food in numerous areas of Canada.

I therefore conclude that every Canadian has the right to food under international law.  This right can be fulfilled by growing your own, or buying.

So why are Small Flockers prohibited and alienated from their rights for poultry and eggs?  Why doesn't somebody reform the system that everybody knows is terribly flawed and dysfunctional?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Off-topic commercial spam that's posted so as to help sell your wares will be deleted.

On-topic comments, where you behave yourself and play nicely, will remain posted; whether they are pro or con. Everybody needs to fully understand all points of view so that we can find a solution that encompasses everybody's concerns. Give it your best shot.

If you decide to post, your posting becomes part of the public record, and SFPFC has full rights to use it (or not) in any reasonable manner or medium that suits our purposes.

Before posting, please proofread, and correct as necessary. If you subsequently discover a need to fix your previous posting, make an additional posting that refers to the original posting, then set the record straight.