Ahead of the Heard. FILE PHOTO

Food policy schemes are exercises in political correctness

When outcome is already determined – Part 2.

Will Verboven

Ahead of the Heard

Besides being bureaucratic busybody work, the federal scheme to create a National Food Policy will be steeped in political correctness. As noted in last week’s column, the feds set up an online survey with leading questions to get participants to provide the answers the government wants to hear in its quest to create the policy. The next step will be to request the views of stakeholders and industry groups. This won’t be restricted to folks who are actually part of the food production, processing and marketing chain. It will be open to every group who is even remotely involved with human well-being – including the usual cabal of suspects from off-the-wall vegetarian to a plethora of anti-science groups one could imagine.

No problem with that except many are past masters at turning fake science and food fear mongering into public relation propaganda masterpieces. Many of the public presentations will be crafted by professional communicators ably assisted by biased academics and scientists who will twist and distort facts to back up even the most outrageous allegations about the food industry in Canada. Most of it will be ideologically driven with the usual allegations about a capitalist conspiracy by evil corporations to exploit the starving masses by controlling food production. That would be the same conspiracy that gave this country the most abundant, safest, most diverse and inexpensive food production and processing industry in the world. But to be fair these anti-everything lobby groups have businesses to run and donation campaigns to promote – its just part of the game.

If one wants to see what a National Food Policy might look like one only needs to look at the one developed by the federal NDP. Naturally it is ideologically driven and filled with delusions about the family farm with calls to localize the whole food production system. Much of the verbiage in NDP policy is driven by their fellow left-wing soulmates from the National Farmers’ Union. The policy advocates for local production and cooperative marketing of direct from farmers to consumers.

That’s a noble goal that worked 100 years ago but can’t possibly work nowadays with a mostly urbanized society. I suppose it sounds attractive to upper middle class politically-correct city folks who can afford to drive gas-guzzling high-end SUVs to trendy farmers markets to buy expensive vegetables. That would exclude the many millions of average middle-class folks who can only afford to buy much cheaper commercially grown and processed food products from an accessible local mega grocery store.

The NDP policy document does not come out directly opposed to GM technology, herbicides, chemicals and pesticides, but you just know that they would sure like to when they refer to stringent oversight and more research. Isn’t it curious that the politically-correct demand that society unequivocally accept research about climate change but they don’t accept the established science about the safety of GM products and modern agronomic practices. But I digress.

One issue common to the NDP food policy, the intentions of the national food policy and self-appointed food lobby groups like Food Secure is their constant references to the availability of healthy nutritious food. It’s never mentioned which foods they are referring to, but you suspect its not chips, pop and mac and cheese. No doubt thanks to the vegetarian and organic lobbies that infest these groups, the innuendo is that healthy foods are mostly broccoli, kale, cauliflower and other such supposedly delicious foods. Of course, they are healthy and nutritious only if they are local and organically grown by gender-neutral, union-friendly, socially aware, communal farmers.

Another matter that seems to be a factor in developing a national food policy is a concern over food insecurity in remote small northern and isolated communities. A UN representative touring those communities seemed horrified that there were no large grocery stores filled with healthy, affordable and nutritious food. There may well not be a vast availability of cheap tropical fruits and vegetables available in tiny remote communities. Save for flying in more of such products and giving it away, the restricted availability would seem to be a hazard of living in such small remote communities.

One forgets there was a time when such communities lived off local, organic, sustainable food products through hunting, fishing and gathering. However, such food products were not always readily available, whereupon such communities decided to better rely upon expensive modern foods flown in from hundreds of miles away. None of the above will be mentioned in a new national food policy.

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