June 6th, 2022
Letter to Speaker Rota Requesting Emergency Debate
Regarding Canada’s role in the global food crisis
June 6, 2022
The Honourable Anthony Rota
Speaker of the House of Commons
Room 237-S, West Block
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Dear Mr. Speaker,
I am writing to give notice under Standing Order 52 (2) that I will be seeking leave on Monday, June 6, 2022 to propose an emergency debate on Canada’s role in the global food crisis.
Over the weekend, Russia destroyed a major grain export terminal in the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine. This terminal plays a crucial role in international food security. The attack on this grain terminal is not only an attack on Ukraine, but also on many millions of people around the world who are dependent on Ukrainian grain.
The war in Ukraine has exacerbated food insecurity already at record highs due to the COVID19 pandemic and climate change. Crop failures, food shortages, and skyrocketing prices on basic staples have led humanitarian and development organizations to sound the alarm: The global food crisis is particularly urgent for so many in the world’s most fragile places, and these people are in desperate need of Canada’s help.
Crucially, Ukraine provides much of the grain to the Middle East and North Africa region. The World Food Program has warned that the war in Ukraine is disrupting the global wheat trade, impacting food prices and food security globally. Currently, half of the wheat WFP needs is stuck inside silos and in ships blocked in the Port of Odesa, while millions of hungry people in places such as Yemen, Ethiopia, Syria, and Afghanistan are suffering the consequences of the blockade. Last week the Globe and Mail reported that Canada has been asked to join a proposed effort to restart grain shipments from the Port of Odesa.
This food crisis is global; in its report released last week, Islamic Relief notes that “In 2021, over 811 million people were undernourished and food insecure - up 161 million from the previous year… Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Yemen are some of the places where the food crisis is most acutely felt.” One person is likely dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, according to Oxfam and Save The Children. And this is partly Canada’s responsibility; as Brittany Lambert of Oxfam Canada says, “People are starving not because the world lacks food or money, but for a dismal lack of political courage… Countries can mobilize resources to prevent human suffering – but only if they choose to.”
As you know, the next G7 meeting will be held in Germany in only a few weeks’ time, and the NATO Summit in Madrid will take place at the end of June. The Government of Canada must ensure that the global food crisis is on the agenda at both these meetings, and Parliament must discuss this with urgency.
With the attack on the grain export terminal this past weekend, the new request to Canada to help end the blockade of the Port of Odesa, and NATO and G7 meetings only days away, I respectfully ask that you grant Members of Parliament the opportunity to debate the need for urgent action from Canada on solutions to tackle this growing food crisis.
I thank you for your careful consideration of this application.
Member of Parliament for Edmonton Strathcona