The Harper government suffered a new international embarassment — despite Canada’s wealth, a new UN report charges the federal government with ignoring prevalent and widespread hunger and malnutrition.

The NDP’s Djaouida Sellah (Saint-Bruno-Saint-Hubert) questioned health minister Leona Aglukkaq in the House over food security for Canada’s poorest people.

“Mr Speaker, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has roundly criticized the Conservatives for their incompetence. We know that the Conservatives ignore the problems of malnutrition and health, but now we have learned that by eliminating the long form census they have made the problem worse.”

“I will not accept the report from a UN rapporteur who studies from afar,” replied

health minister Leona Aglukkaq. “The recommendations would not be affordable for Canadians.”

Later, NDP leader Tom Mulcair told reporters, “What’s most astonishing with the

Conservatives is its consistent behaviour. But today, it’s even more galling than usual. We are talking after all about, about a United Nations Rapporteur.

“Whenever someone tells the Conservative government something they don’t want to hear, they attack the messenger. Very personal attack in the House today. They can’t have it both ways. In the House, the Minister says somebody’s coming from away and telling us what to do and how, how to analyse our problems. But he came here, and while he was here, they were attacking him. Now that he’s filed his report, they’re saying it’s from away.He knew what he was talking about, he did a very good job.”