I was in Newmarket the other day for a nifty little public policy event …

I was there to witness an Internet hook-up between Olivier De Schutter in Geneva, and a bunch of anti-poverty workers and volunteers gathered not just in Newmarket but in various cities across the country.

DeSchutter? He is a lawyer and a rights worker for the United Nations; his area of specialty is the right to food.

I won’t quote him directly because he speaks like a UN bureaucrat, mildly and with an emphasis on process, but he worries that our food policy is focused on export. He’s right. He says our Mexican and Caribbean temporary workers have lousy health care and lousy wages. He’s right. He said that roughly a tenth of Canadians are poor. He’s right. He said we are failing these people.

He’s painfully right.

We have widespread and growing hunger in Canada, and we have tackled it with invention and charity, but it seems to me we have been doing this so long that we have forgotten to ask why some people are starving. And it’s embarrassing to be told by an outsider that we are failing. We need to talk?

He’s not right about that.

We need to act.