UN envoy slaps Ottawa on census and EU trade
OTTAWA - The United Nations right-to-food envoy says the Harper government's controversial decisions to scrap the long-form census and negotiate a free trade deal with Europe will make it more difficult to fight poverty in Canada.
Those are among the many cutting observations made by Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations' special rapporteur on the right to food, who will release his report Monday in Geneva at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council.
The report calls on Ottawa to create a national food strategy to fight hunger among a growing number of vulnerable groups, including aboriginals and people struggling to make ends meet on social assistance.
De Schutter's report also takes aim at some core items of the Harper government's agenda, saying they undermine access to food.
They include the controversial decision to cancel the long-form census in 2009 and the ongoing Canada-EU free trade negotiations.
De Schutter faced bitter and personal public criticism from Harper cabinet ministers during his 11-day fact-finding visit to Canada last May.