Ottawa’s surplus paid for by Canada’s poor, unemployed

I’ll vote for any political party who will reduce the  deficit.  I don’t mean the financial deficit, I mean the  deficit in food to feed Canada’s starving children.

sad_child

No, I’m not exaggerating when I say starving.  Television  images of stick-like children from Africa lead us to believe  that starvation happens elsewhere, not in Canada.  A new  study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal  paints a picture of hunger so profound it affects children’s   health. The study concludes that children in 57,000 Canadian  families go hungry on a regular basis.

Those children are four times as likely to suffer health  problems than poor children who don’t go hungry.  And  they’re nearly twice as likely to suffer from asthma.   “Hungry children lack of school readiness and proper growth  and development,” says Dr. Lynn McIntyre, author of the  study and professor at Dalhousie University.

Mothers are fearful that their starving children will be  taken away if they publically admit to the problem.  “There  is times that I try to keep enough money out of my cheques  to buy groceries and have food in the house for the  children.  I’ve seen myself go two or three days without to  give my kids something to eat,” said one such mother to CBC  TV’s The National.

The Liberals and the Alliance party  don’t offer solutions  to this food deficit.   I fact, they don’t even admit that  the problem exists.  They are too busy trying to outdo each  other in tax cuts — despite polls that show that tax  cutting is a low priority.  A poll by Decima Research shows  that Canadians are willing to have their taxes go to  national child care.

Starving children could be given one nutritional meal a day  through a Canada-wide, universal child care program.  Such a  program would help families as well as children.  It would  help parents find and keep jobs.  It would also reduce other  social costs such as welfare.

It can be done.  In Europe, fifteen member states of the  European Union provide preschool children, aged three to six  years, with educational childcare programs regardless of  whether or not their parents are employed or not.

Canada’s budget surplus was created by taking money from  programs that help the poor.  In fact, when you think about  it, there is no budget surplus at all.  A budget surplus is  something you have after all expenses are paid.  If I save  money by not maintaining my car, for example, it creates an  instant surplus, but it also creates a looming future  liability.  If I bragged that I had a budget surplus but  didn’t maintain my car, any reasonable person would shake  their head.  The Liberals have created apparent good times  at the cost of future health, welfare and education.

This bogus surplus hurts the poor. “When Canada had a  deficit, the programs that helped the poor were extremely  visible and they were cut, and they were cut very much. Now  that Canada has a surplus, the poor have vanished,” says  Julia Bass from the Canadian Association of Food Banks.    The current “surplus” was paid for by Canada’s poor and  unemployed through cuts to social programs and employment  insurance.  And now the Liberals and the Alliance want to  give those “savings” to the rich?  It’s the Robin Hood  principle in reverse — take from the poor and give to the  rich.

Canada’s surplus was created by the rich, for the rich. The  poor have been forgotten in the glow of what Chretien brags  as the best country in the world.  The best for whom?  It’s  the worst of all worlds to a starving child.  Help for the  poor is a long term investment.  A true budget surplus would  be one created through growing economy and by putting  Canadians to work.

Chretien and Day are school-yard boys intent on thowing  throw dirt in each other’s face and as a result, they can’t  see.   We need politicians with a vision of Canada beyond  the horizon of the next election — one that realizes the  full potential of all Canadians.   We must give all children  a chance.   The deficit of food and hope is the one we  should be working on.

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