Olivier De Schutter, the right to food envoy of the United Nations, recently released a report highlighting how many Canadians suffer from food insecurity. In response, Canada’s health minister Leona Aglukkaq described him as “ill-informed” and “patronizing”.
To me, this response seems like part of a worrisome trend in Canada. Instead of thinking about real problems, our government obsesses over negative media coverage related to those problems. It’s not malnutrition or worsening climate change or tortured detainees that are the problem, but rather critical media coverage on these sorts of issues. Rather than trying to fix problems, effort seems to be disproportionately dedicated to silencing critics and producing counter-spin.
It doesn’t help that opposition parties generally use every bit of negative media coverage as a means of hammering ineffectually at the government. What they need to realize is that our current government is largely an accident arising from the nature of our electoral system. With one party on the right and four on the left (counting the solitary Green), elections tend to favour the more unified ideology.
Just as the government should re-dedicate itself to governing for the benefit of Canadians, the opposition should dedicate itself forming an electable party through one or more mergers.