Food Banks should not exist, we can do better than this.
“Food Banks should not exist, we can do better than this” is a political statement, one that can still be heard in Scotland and England as cuts to social assistance and food banks are still a fairly recent reality ( See here. )
However, more than thirty years after food banks first appeared in Canada, the CBC Sounds of the Season event is an annual celebration of charity – which in it's omission of critical discussion of the national shame that food banks represents is a political statement of another kind.
Gary Bloch writing Monday in the Toronto Star addresses the politics of poverty when he says this:
“The biggest barrier to ending poverty is the political orthodoxy we have lived by for the past 40 or more years, grounded in austerity” (See here.)
And American writer Hamilton Nolan shaming Obama’s charitable embrace of Mark Zuckerberg’s personal charity says:
“In a rich country…… poverty is a distribution problem. Which is to say: it is a political problem. It is not a shortage of money causing poverty in America. The U.S. per capita income is more than $56,000, more than enough to offer everyone a middle class lifestyle. The problem is the distribution of that money. And that is a political problem. You may believe our current level of economic inequality is justified, or you may not. But maintaining that inequality—with its accompanying riches and poverty—or changing it is a political decision. (See here for full article.)
Per capita income in Canada is about $50,000, meaning there is enough wealth in our society to lift everyone out of poverty if distributed differently.
If you are thinking of making an end of year donation – and you would like to make a statement that poverty is political – please donate to the Put Food in the Budget campaign here.
We can do better than food banks. We can raise social assistance rates and the minimum wage and put food in the budget.