Government responsible for helping poor

Re: Taking aim at poverty, at the local scale (News, Jan. 16)

Re: Taking aim at poverty, at the local scale (News, Jan. 16)

I commend the generosity, love and commitment of these good citizens and their humanitarian endeavour. However, I feel that individual charity cannot be a substitute for just social policies.

Our governments have a responsibility to implements laws to look after our citizens. It is an incongruence that our country can engage and fund aggressive (and expensive) military adventures abroad, but cannot feed or shelter its own citizens, repair our decaying infrastructure, look after the sick and the elderly, protect our educational system or care for the environment due to lack of funds.

In Canada, three quarters of a million of our compatriots use food banks to eat, one-fifth of them are working poor, often employed by the same employers who only at Christmastime piously discover that the poor require clothing, food and shelter.

The right to eat is a fundamental right closely associated with the right to live, but not recognized in Canada. We allow the irrational and anarchic free market to decide who eats and who doesn’t; who lives and who dies.

Frankly, I detest campaigns that keep blaming “fortune,” “luck” or “destiny” as the cause of hunger, poverty and homelessness. The culprit has a name: an extremely unequal economic system controlled by an ever smaller affluent elite.

I always remember Dom Helder Camara, former Bishop of Recife, Brazil: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.”

Carlos Flores Sr.

Saanich