Surrounded as we are by the tunes and decorations of the holiday season, Industry Minister James Moore’s recent uncharitable comments about child poverty and hunger invoke inevitable comparisons to Charles Dickens’ famed miser Ebenezer Scrooge. One could easily imagine Scrooge haughtily asking his nephew, “Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I think not.”
The spirit of Moore’s comments offend the many Canadians who do think that if their neighbour’s child goes hungry it ought to concern them, that our responsibility for each other goes beyond the walls of our own homes. The attitude behind such comments is far from admirable, and disappointing to hear voiced by any elected official. It’s a position far from the values of Canadians.
Perhaps more disturbing from the Federal Ministry of Industry, however, is the comment that poverty is not Ottawa’s problem.Read more
Food security is an essential social determinant of health, among the top four as identified by the Canadian Medical Association earlier this year. Here are a few facts about nutrition and food security from the CMA study:
Building on local strengths key to cooling medical hot spots
An intriguing idea was recently put forward by the Government of Saskatchewan, that of addressing medical hot spots. It has been reported that just five people were responsible for visiting Saskatchewan emergency rooms over 500 times in the last year. One patient alone is said to have required over one million dollars in health services.Read more
Social factors play a significant role in determining whether we will be healthy or ill. Our health care is but one element of what makes the biggest difference in health outcomes. This has been understood for centuries, and empirically validated in recent decades with study after study demonstrating health inequalities between wealthy and disadvantaged populations.
Yet political conversations about health still tend to fall into familiar traps. When we talk about health we return by reflex to doctors and nurses, hospitals and pharmacies. And when we talk about politics — the field of endeavour with the greatest impact on what determines health outcomes — a narrow and economistic outlook seems to trump any attempts to address those social determinants.Read more
Doctors link income, education, housing and nutrition to health inequities
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) held its annual General Council in Calgary this week (August 18-21, 2013). Last summer in Yellowknife, I attended this meeting as a representative of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. It was not at all what I’d expected.Read more