[Éditorial de Louise-Maude Rioux Soucy] Go to table

In the spring of 2020, driven by a pandemic that took the whole world by surprise, food insecurity jumped to 26% in Quebec, to gradually drop to 16% the following year. The backlash will have been short-lived. Inflation quickly swelled the wave. And while no one has escaped the spectacular 11% increase in the grocery basket in 2022, it is the most vulnerable who pay the highest price.

The mind-blowing cost of our shopping cart is the subject of a Competition Bureau study on the profits of grocery store chains. So much the better, we would not want to discover the turkeys of the farce. In the immediate future, the Legault government may boast of its questionable anti-inflation shield, it is an anti-hunger shield that one in four Quebecers who are suffering from food insecurity dream of, according to the INSPQ. With an expected 5 to 7% increase in food prices in 2023, the number of hungry bellies will increase further, a nonsense in a privileged society like ours.

In the field where donations are scarce, food banks are facing the unprecedented. Fridges and shelves are emptying faster than the growing clientele, which takes on new features. Accustomed to improvised miracles, they lengthen the soup by offering baskets that are less full and less varied. But that is no longer enough, despite special aid of $9.6 million from Ottawa at the start of the year. Not seeing him begins to look like a refusal of assistance.

Solicited from all sides, the Legault government last week rejected a Liberal motion asking it to offer emergency financial assistance to these essential organizations. It is true that one-off aid (like the famous almost universal CAQ checks expected these days) is only a band-aid on a gaping wound. But hunger does not wait. Rendered to these extremes, it even justifies draconian means, to divert the proverb.

Food security goes hand in hand with the solidity of the social safety net, the quality of employment and the cost of living. This is where you have to act for lasting effects. Some countries have adopted a universal school feeding programme, others have regulated the price of certain basic products or favored the local production of other products. All of this has to be assessed if we want to lighten the share to be given to our daily bread. But for that, everyone will have to go to (the same) table.

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