Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Canadian Federal Election 2011: Liberal Platform: Food Issues

So, the Liberals are making a National Food Policy a major plank.  Food is mentioned substantially on pp.
34-35, 66-67, and 77.  More does not make better or even more complete.   National Food Policy is seen as part of health promotion and makes sense within the rest of the platform and focus on healthcare. 

There are some fighting words about creating a new Healthy Choices program, progressive labeling regs and strong new regulatory standards on transfat and salt...a little late barndoor closing seems to be in effect.  Maybe we should ban lead in food while we are at it.  Also, the Healthy Choices always seems too open to private sector input.  More money for Healthy Start which is an admirable program that promotes local food to low-income families and expanding the program.

There is a Buy Local Fund that would promote local and hope to create a Farmers' Market market, I guess.  I'm not fond of intervention but I am not sure how else that this kind of pressure to create Canadian markets internally could be accomplished.  There are some that would suggest that if a farmer can't make it on their own, then they should fold.  I somewhat agree with this but there is already so much interference and subsidies to the larger actors that something must be done to even out the field.  So, pending an overhaul of the system, this would be a good interim step to fixing the system.

Oh, and fix the Food Inspection...seems reasonable... but at what cost?  Reminds me that we have had some issues with Chinese imports.  An aside, still can't get local garlic at the chain grocery stores...get it at the farmer's market.  Yeah, it's more expensive but not bleached and really fresh.

There is some lip service to finding a better way to develop and build farm programs from a bottom up structure to allow flexibility of local markets to better serve their needs. 

The general gist is that we have a great environment and safe food and this is an exportable commodity.  The Liberals will try to ensure that agreements can be made with China and India. 

Overall this platform has enough detail that the merits of different types of intervention can at least be discussed.  Costing is provided, some concrete examples are there.  I, at least, have something that I can crab about.

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