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Simcoe-Grey candidates respond to youth question on food security

In this series, CollingwoodToday paired with a journalism student from Algonquin College to ask candidates in the Simcoe-Grey riding pressing questions about youth in their community.

CollingwoodToday has worked with a journalism student from Algonquin College to prepare a series of questions and answers with Simcoe-Grey candidates for your information. The topics discussed have a particular focus on the issues impacting youth and young adults in Canada, and in the Simcoe-Grey riding.

This series will include seven different articles with one question per article posted over the next couple of days. 

This Q and A has been edited down for length and clarity.

The following are each candidate's answers to the following question: With rising grocery costs, what will you do to ensure consistent, easy access to healthy meals for youth in your community?

Lorne Kenney, Liberal: Through my involvement in Rotary I was able to play a significant role in getting the Collingwood Youth Centre up and running. It has a number of food preparation and related programs for training youth and is partially filling a necessary place for youth to go for a meal.

However, it is by no means a solution to the broader question. I would like to see programs at all the schools that ensure students, from elementary through secondary, have good quality food available for those who might otherwise go hungry or be malnourished. 

Again places like the Barbara Weider house are extremely helpful in the short run. 

The long-run solution is to enable new business activity that offers real career possibilities for young people so that young people can integrate easily into society and take their rightful place. 

Terry Dowdall, Conservative Party of Canada: Eating healthy should not be a luxury.

We need to focus on an educational campaign on healthy eating so that young people know that they have better options, and we should support programs like the Good Food Box. Healthy eating programs like the Good Food Box should become household names in every town, where all people are gathering to pick up healthy foods at an affordable price.

Community gardens can also be encouraged to bring communities together while also ensuring that youth and others are able to enjoy natural foods. In general, making life more affordable will allow our youth to purchase the necessities which have become very expensive.

Richard Sommer, PPC: I believe we are the only party that is actually directly addressing this.

One significant problem in our country is the east-west trade. It's easier for us to pay north-south for the same product or gadget that is approved for sale in let’s say, Manitoba. We think that’s crazy.

We should automatically be approved in other provinces to open up the trade between provinces. It’s raising prices in groceries and just about every other commodity that we have these barriers.

The other thing is that we have what's called supply management in our country. I know that dairy farmers are guaranteed a certain price for their dairy products. So with dairy, it's kind of a protective industry, also with eggs and poultry. And the PPC is saying that’s not good overall for the consumer and so we have a very fair and realistic plan to do what New Zealand and Australia have also done in a similar environment.

By opening up markets were going to increase the market share which is good for both consumers and producers.

(*Editor's note: the PPC platform proposes phasing out a supply management system and compensating farmers' for lost value of quotas.) 

Ilona Matthews, NDP: We want to focus on domestic products, domestic produce, domestic beef and hopefully, create hubs where they can sell domestic stuff.

The other thing is affordability. A lot of people can’t afford things because they have to decide whether they can they can afford to buy food or buy their medication. That's where the pharmacare will come into play and the health care, where those costs will no longer be there for people.

We will increase the minimum wage to $15. And keep it going up, for the next four years until it becomes a living wage, which means people will have more buying power.

Tony D'Angelo, Veteran's Coalition Party of Canada: Everybody should be able to put healthy food on the table.

Good healthy food is usually more expensive than the quick stuff that's available. Unfortunately, the farmers in Canada, they're the first ones on the line who take all the risks in producing our groceries and stuff like that. They're the ones who are making the least amount of money.

It's all the different middlemen, I think that we should keep more of our farmers able to make their money again, their products to market at a more reasonable price, rather than going through middlemen which are continuously increasing the cost as it goes down the line until it comes to our table.

Sherri Jackson, Green Party of Canada: We’re planning on implementing a ‘Healthy School Lunch’ program across the country to make sure that students at school have access to food.

We also intend to work on our supply management chain and make sure that more local food is being produced and kept at home, and that we stop importing as much food as we do so that we can restore $15 billion to the food economy.

We also plan to implement a guaranteed livable wage for every Canadian so that people can afford to pay for the necessities of life.