Commentators and officials said Wednesday that the United Nations had cemented its position as a discredited global laughing stock after the UN “Food Envoy” criticized Canada — one of the wealthiest and healthiest nations in the world — for alleged inequality, poverty, and obesity. Critics of the global body and top Canadian policy makers promptly lambasted the organization for wasting scarce taxpayer resources “investigating” the nation and demanding reforms even as millions of people around the world starve.
UN “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food” Olivier De Schutter presented his demands for Canada in a dubious report released Wednesday after completing an 11-day so-called “fact-finding” mission. The controversial bureaucrat insisted the situation in the wealthy northern nation was “unacceptable,” saying officials must immediately develop what he called a “national right-to-food strategy.” De Schutter also claimed Canada needed a larger welfare state, more taxes, and a higher minimum wage.
"My concerns are extremely severe," the UN food boss concluded at a press conference in Ottawa, demanding that politicians raise taxes to adopt new government schemes to battle obesity and other alleged social ills. “What I’ve seen in Canada is a system that presents barriers for the poor to access nutritious diets and that tolerates increased inequalities between rich and poor, and aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples.”
Canadian officials, of course, were not amused. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, for example, blasted the UN’s grandstanding in one of the fiercest criticisms of the report, saying De Schutter's mission to Canada was “completely ridiculous” political theater, a waste of time, and “a discredit” to the global body.
"Canada sends billions of dollars of food aid to developing countries around the world where people are starving,” Kenney explained, pointing out that his country ranks near the top of the UN’s own “social development” index. "It would be our hope that the contributions we make to the United Nations are used to help starving people in developing countries, not to give lectures to wealthy and developed countries like Canada.”
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird also dismissed the findings, saying local officials were working to improve the lives of Canadians. "There are, what, 193 members of the UN? I think most Canadians would think that spending 11 days in Canada on this issue — his time would be better spent elsewhere," Baird told reporters.
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