Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I am really pleased that the member for Berthier—Maskinongé has brought the issue of food waste before us. It is truly wonderful that we are having a conversation about food policy today, because it is very important to me.
I will say that I have some concerns about the wording in the bill. I was very happy to hear that the member is open to making some amendments, because I believe that some amendments will be required. However, it is a good start. I worry that the bill leads us in the wrong direction. I say that because I think that food policy is very important and food waste is something we need to address, but I do not like making a link between food waste and food insecurity. They are two different issues and form part of a larger food policy.
I do not like it when I hear ideas like edible food going to landfills should, instead, be given to people in need. The truth is that food insecurity is about poverty and dealing with poverty issues, and food waste is an issue that is economic, environmental, and needs to be addressed, but we should not be making a link between one and the other.
I am personally very interested in food policy. I have been involved in food policy issues in my own community. I have worked with local farmers markets, I have organized an annual stone soup event, where people contribute vegetables to a communal soup that they eat together. Any extra vegetables that are collected are brought to a local food bank. I am interested in this issue very much and I have personal experience. I have also worked with Second Harvest in Toronto—Danforth, picking up food and bringing it to women who are new to Canada and in need.
I recently had the opportunity to see a Canadian documentary called Just Eat It, which is a food waste story. It tells the story of a Vancouver couple, I believe, or a couple in British Columbia, who made a pact that they would live off of food waste for a six-month period. They were actually able to collect enough food during that period of time to eat. They also found that they became tremendously unhealthy from the kind of food that they were collecting. Well, “tremendously unhealthy” might be too much, but they were gaining weight and were not feeling quite as healthy as before.
I always like to celebrate Canadian arts and culture and it is good to highlight that this a Canadian documentary. It was made in 2014 and it won numerous awards, including the people's choice award at the Calgary International Film Festival, and best Canadian documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival. It also won some awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival. It is always nice to tie some issues together like that.
I would like to take a moment to talk about the bill. It was interesting to hear my colleague raise the question about the title, “national food waste awareness day”, and suggested “national food awareness day” without referring to waste. That is something we can discuss. My bigger concern is that the preamble talks about food banks and makes a link between food waste and food banks. I agree that food waste is an economic problem. I agree that we need to deal with it.
It is interesting, actually, that the preamble does not mention the part about methane gas, which is a source of climate change, but food waste can lead to it. My friend mentioned that in her presentation and that was great.
I am concerned about the choice of October 16 as national food waste awareness day. October 16 is already World Food Day, which my colleague mentioned. It is a global day to end hunger and it has been celebrated since 1981. It is a date that celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the FAO, which was created on October 16, 1945, in Quebec City, at the Château Frontenac.
The day is marked with hunger walks, dinners, food drives. In Canada, there is World Food Day Canada, which hosts speakers, has exhibits, and really aims at solving issues about world hunger and poverty issues relating to food. To me, having national food waste awareness day on the same day as World Food Day is a concern.
I would say that it is an issue that is important for us to deal with. Food banks are important. I will have a chance to speak a bit more on this issue, so just in case it happens at a later date I would point out that there is Hunger on the Hill on May 18. My office will be participating in it and I will be participating in it to raise awareness about hunger issues and food insecurity. I would encourage other people to also participate in that event.
What concerns me the most, one of the reasons that I ran, is growing income inequality. I was concerned about food insecurity. We do need to gain more awareness of that. I really like that we are starting to talk about those issues in the House and having a good discussion about it. I just do not want to see that link made to food waste. That is a discussion we can have a bit later.