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The air you breathe is free. The water you drink is free unless you live in a big city or a town that charges for water. Even so, everyone has the right to collect water that falls from the clouds, store it and drink it. It's free.

We all need air, water and food to sustain ourselves, which leads to the question: should basic groceries be free?

Should every human on the planet be provided a basic food supply, free of charge and paid for by the government of the country they reside in? I am not talking about an endless supply of steaks, lobster tails and vichyssoise or junk fast food. I am talking about a basic nutritious food supply to keep a body alive and well, the same as every other life form on the planet receives.

We don't pay for air and we don't have to pay for water; why do we have to pay for a basic food supply? Is it because it is too expensive for the taxpayers? Using Canada as an example, let's take a look at just a few ways the government currently wastes taxpayers money, money that could be spent on free groceries for those who are just scraping by, particularly the disenfranchised, children and impoverished elderly.

  • Canada’s public debt accrues interest charges. To pay them, the government uses approximately 10 cents of every tax dollar or, as of 2015, $28.2 billion per year.

  • The Canadian government shovels money out the door to special interest groups such as the fossil fuel industry for example. Can't that money be put to better use in sustaining the country's citizens, particularly those at the lower end of the income scale? Latest figures indicate Canadian taxpayers now find themselves on the hook for somewhere between $7.7 billion and $15 billion in new support for an industry that was already receiving more than $3.3 billion a year in government subsidies and is one of the biggest polluters on the planet.

The largest spending announcement made since Feb. 7 is $1 billion in “innovation” funding for southern Ontario on Feb. 27, while the smallest was $8,000 to fund upgrades for a maple sugar camp in New Brunswick on Mar. 29. Other highlights include:

· $72 million for “clean technology” in Alberta, the oil capital of Canada

· $30 million for an “intellectual property collective”

· $4.2 million to help develop “innovative” fruit

· $595,000 on a boating safety mobile app

· $376,000 for a ‘Cheese Expertise Centre’

These amounts may not sound much in the overall picture of things but they add up to billions and show a contempt for tax payers.

Then, consider the following:

There are now over 700 food banks and 3,000 food programs available in Canada already distributing food to those with no money to pay for groceries. Therefore, free food is already being provided to many Canadians. And, according to a new report by Second Harvest, an agency that works to reduce food waste, more than half of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted.

So the question is: why should people, who literally cannot afford to buy groceries, not receive a basic minimum nutritious monthly food supply as a human right?

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