Food Grab

Is it not a scandal when an extremely wealthy country with a social safety net like Canada still has large numbers of people hungry? It should be.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has decided that it is, and has decided to take action to say so. Not just to take action, but to take food — from a grocery store — and present the government with the bill. Hunger is, after all, everybody’s problem, and a public problem requires a public solution. A public solution, in our society, means government intervention, and the destruction of the welfare state over the past couple of decades must be reversed.

Until that happens, OCAP wants to make it clear that hungry people will do what they have to to feed themselves. The note, below:

OCAP TAKES $3500+ WORTH OF GROCERIES AND DISTRIBUTES SUCCESSFULLY

In this Wednesday’s food grab from a high-end grocery store, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty walked away with $3525.00 worth of food and tolietries.

The haul of goods included chicken, beef roasts, racks of ribs, rice, coffee, bricks of cheese, diapers, shampoo and other necessities that people in this province simply cannot afford. As one of the OCAP crew noted, “I’ve never shopped like this before in my life – instead of searching for the cheapest items, I could go for the expensive quality stuff.” [Photos are available at www.ocap.ca/ocapnews/foodgrabphotos.html]

OCAP members were able to walk easily away from the grocery store, food in hand. The food was then distributed to people living in the city’s downtown east end yesterday evening.

It is worth noting that while people go hungry, grocery baron Galen Weston is the second richest person in all of Canada. In fact, the Weston family is the 43rd richest in the entire world. Most remarkable is the fact that the Westons control 50% of the food distribution market in Ontario. It was one of the Weston’s many supermarkets that was targeted yesterday.

It is not enough just to say that the current rate of welfare and disability payments makes it impossible to pay rent and put decent, healthy food on the table for the entire month. It is not enough just to talk about the dire need for a 40% increase to social assistance rates, to reflect the actual cost of living in Ontario. Saturday, October 2nd marks the one-year anniversary of the Liberal Government coming to power – we have ended this year of inaction and insult by actually taking back some of what people living in poverty in Ontario have long been owed.

So, it is to the Liberal government in office that we will send the bill – both for the food we took, and for that which is owed to people trying to survive on welfare and disability incomes.

Come out for a free meal and to present the bill:
Tuesday October 5th
12:00 noon
Allan Gardens
(corner of Carlton and Sherbourne)

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.