Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ontario Provincial Election: Is Voting for Food a Single Issue?

So, at the last municipal election and federal election, I was so disgusted at the opportunities presented to me that I decided to become a single issue voter.  Food was going to be my lens through which to view candidates.  A funny thing happened.  It turns out that food is a very interesting and eye opening way to look at parties and candidates.

Firstly, let's start by my leanings -- I am a fiscal conservative coupled with a social progressive bent.  If I was to identify with any political leanings, it would be social anarchist.  It is helpful to note that this can put me on the far right (small to no government) to the far left (belief in collectivism but not necessarily unions or communes).  This makes it difficult in the current political climate to find a candidate let alone a party to vote for.

Last elections, I had to do all the work myself but this time a great website, Vote ON food, put that all together.  What struck me when reading this report card is just how much you can learn about a party and its tenets by reading their particular view on food.

Before we go too far down that road, let me address the idea of food being a single issue.  It is as much a single issue as Healthcare or the Economy.  Food means food security, agriculture and food processing jobs, international trade, trade deficit, food safety, cost of food (inflation measures), healthcare, environment and so much more.  Food is a necessary condition for life; it is a cornerstone issue like housing and income.

I am surprised at the attitude of the Conservative party in terms of supporting a Buy Local movement  Firstly, the support of this could be seen by the international community as a subsidy and an unfair trade practice.  Secondly, it requires a bigger government policy and represents an intrusion by the government into the marketplace.  Thirdly, it runs counter to free trade practices.  The shock is at the counter conservative approach at the strongest or the rejection of some neo-conservative values at the weakest.

The Liberal approach is more of a market support to grow markets.  An investment and marketing strategy.  Basically, they are bragging about a more robust Foodland Ontario.

The NDP, of course, in this topsy turvy world agree mostly with the Conservatives.  One of these things is exactly like the other.  Politics and bedfellows.  This one issue also shows how little difference there is fundamentally between the parties.

Go through the platforms yourself.  Inform yourself.  I am really impressed with the group that did this.  They do not have answers but only hope that we, as a voting public, begin to hold our political masters or servants to account.  As long as these issues are put on the table then we, the Ontario family, can sit down and discuss food.  It is one of the most fundamental things we can do.

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