Opinion Column

Moore's hungry children comment hard to digest

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

Federal Industry Minister James Moore. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

Federal Industry Minister James Moore. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

The government says it’s my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so — Conservative Industry Minister James Moore, Dec. 13

Breathtaking arrogance. Callous disregard for the poor, and stunning ignorance about poverty.

Coming from someone adamantly refusing to give a dime to charity for hungry children it would be shameful.

But when a federal cabinet minister makes such an offensive statement just before Christmas, it almost defies belief.

Yet, that’s what James Moore, B.C’s senior minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, said Friday about child poverty on radio station News 1130.

By Monday, the outrage forced Moore to retreat: “An apology. The cause of fighting poverty is not helped by comments like those I made last week. I am sorry.”

And so Moore should be.

But on Twitter Sunday, the Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam MP claimed: "It is a ridiculous 'story' that completely takes a comment out of context."

Really? When asked Friday why one in seven Canadian children live in poverty but the Conservatives have no child poverty plan, Moore responded dismissively.

“Certainly we want to make sure that kids go to school full bellied, but is that always the government’s job to be there to serve people their breakfast?” he asked.

And then the kicker: “The government says it’s my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so” – followed by a clearly audible laugh from Moore.

But the new Moore on Monday said: “All levels of government, indeed all members of our society, have a responsibility to be compassionate and care for those in need.”

On Friday, Moore obviously believed it’s a wonderful life in Canada.

“There’s no question prosperity is up, unemployment is down in every region, more Canadians are working than ever before,” he claimed.

Except for the 1,325,000 jobless nationally – or the 8,000 British Columbians who lost jobs in November.

But Moore boasted: “We’ve never been wealthier as a country than we are right now. Never been wealthier.”

True for Moore, who makes $236,900 annually.

But if public outrage didn’t convince Moore, maybe Sunday night he read the Bible.

As Jesus Christ said in Mark 12:31: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Hungry children need help, not heartless cabinet ministers. 

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read more at billtieleman.blogspot.com Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman





Do you agree with James Moore’s original statement that the government has no role feeding children?

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