Let’s imagine you’re a prime minister with $4.6 billion to spend. Do you:

  • Eliminate child poverty? Or,
  • Give upper middle-class parents a 1 per cent increase in income?

Interesting choice. On the one hand, you have this longstanding pledge from the government of Canada — made way back in 1989 — to eliminate child poverty. On the other hand, you have a more recent pledge made by your party to deliver an income-tax cut to couples with children who have one high-earning spouse. Which promise do you choose to fulfill?

We know Stephen Harper’s answer. He delivered it last week, when he held an event to announce a series of tax measures and spending increases targeted squarely at parents.

It’s hard to believe hunger has a place in Canada. This is a country that ranks 11th out of 186 countries on the UN Human Development Index, which measures standards of living.

That’s why the annual HungerCount report, which found that a record number of Canadians are using food banks, is so disturbing.

And it seems it’s only getting worse: The study from Food Banks Canada found that 841,000 people visited a food bank during March of this year, a 1-per-cent increase from the previous year. And that figure is up 25 per cent from 2008 when the most recent economic downturn hit. Nor are numbers slowing: 87,533 people turned to food banks in March for the first time this year.