The Honorable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Terry Dean, Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, today jointly launched the Eat Well Recipe Contest. This contest promotes healthy eating and builds kids' food preparation skills by encouraging families to plan, shop, and prepare healthier meals together.
This being the federal government we have this added absurdity:
Canadians can submit a favourite family recipe for a chance to win great prizes, including the grand prize of a family cooking session with Chef Christine Cushing (in English) or Registered Dietitian Isabelle Huot (in French).
Because expecting Francophones to be in the same kitchen as an Anglophone would be a crime.
That the Heart and Stroke Foundation would want to encourage people to eat healthy is understandable. It's part of their job to try to change people's attitudes toward food and exercise. That's civil society in action. People voluntarily getting together to argue for a change in social behaviour. Most of the positive changes that have occurred in the wider culture over the last two centuries have been driven by such private organizations. Some terrible ideas have also been promoted by private organizations, but their influence has been comparatively modest.
Where this story goes from the gentle nagging of a civil society actor, to the creepy authoritarianism of the nanny state, is the entrance of the federal Minister of Health. Let's step back a bit and ask ourselves a basic question: Why do we have a federal Minister of Health? Health care is a provincial jurisdiction. Always has been and will likely remain so into the foreseeable future. So the Feds are muscling in on a provincial matter. That's unconstitutional no matter what the Ermined Eminences on the Supreme Court might rule.
Then we take a step even further back and ask ourselves why government is involved in health care at all. The original 1867 constitutional set-up placed the regulation of hospitals under provincial jurisdiction, not their funding or administration. The only notable exception were hospitals for the insane. Occasionally a provincial government would toss some money at a hospital or clinic, but this was on an ad hoc basis. The intent was never for the government to run ordinary people's health care.
But, says the fellow jumping up and down at the back, what about the POOR!
It's one of the strange ironies of the modern world is that the fewer poor people there are in a country, the more people talk about poverty. Dickensian poverty existed long before Dickens was even born. But his novels struck a chord with the rapidly growing middle class, people who had the leisure and education to worry about something other than their own survival. The process carries onto this day with highly entitled university schooled brats, I won't dare say educated, who moan endlessly about poverty in the Third World while preaching the wonders of socialism.
Which brings us back to Minister Rona Ambrose's playing celebrity chef. Socialism isn't about helping the poor or the sick. That's the Big Lie they've been spreading for about two centuries now. Never forgot that it is a lie, one of the most pernicious in Western history. You help the poor by helping the poor, not by regimenting society according to a master plan. The vast majority of Canadians were able to attend to their health care needs long before Tommy Douglas wandered out of Weyburn.
The poor are broadly divided into two categories: The shiftless and the unfortunate. The former need tough love and the latter need financial assistance and some friendly help. Government, especially anything as remote as the federal government, is incapable of adequately following either approach. Instead it rewards the shiftless and corrupt, while failing to provide proper assistance to those in genuine needs. This is why for generations there has never been a shortage of two news stories: The Welfare Cheat and the Starving Welfare Recipient.
Those incapable of fending for themselves are at the tender mercies of a unionized bureaucracy. By contrast the dishonest and corrupt love bureaucracies and the bureaucratic approach. An individual can think and judge, a bureaucracy cannot. The only thing a bureaucracy can do is follow asinine rules. Know the rules and you can game the system. The result in endemic "poverty" among the fit and able bodied, while the truly needy go without.
A genuine humanitarian would be appalled at such waste. They would begin questioning their assumptions. At that moment they would cease to be Leftists. The vision of the Left is not helping the poor, capitalism and charity helps the poor, it's regimentation. They want a world that fits into their world view, not a world view that corresponds to lived experience. Tommy Douglas admitted that private charities did help the poor, but he insisted that health care should be a right. Why? Because he was a socialist and socialists believe that people have a right to everything with few if any obligations. A vision that trumps the facts.
This brings us back again to Minister Ambrose, who is not a socialist but like many Canadian Conservatives a very useful idiot for the Left. By participating in a campaign to encourage Canadians to get healthy she has conceded the essential goal of the Left. If it is the business of government to tell you, or perhaps order you, to eat healthy, then there is no aspect of daily life that does not fall under the purview of the state. That's not the conservative or libertarian vision, that's a statist-collectivist vision. It's a vision inimical to the founding values of Canada.
The state has no business in the bedrooms, the boardrooms or the kitchens of the nation.
It would be nice if a Conservative from Alberta would understand that.