With a horned Viking hat, fake metal armour and scads of improv confrontation, actor/comedian Mary Walsh has challenged and discomfited some of Canada’s top politicians. Beyond her satirical Viking role as Marg Delahunty on CBC Television’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes (a show that Walsh created), she recently lashed out at the federal government for its indifference to child poverty.
If senior government had made the same financial commitment to abolish child poverty as it did to Olympic athletes, Canada would be a far different country, Walsh told the March 8 annual general meeting of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation at the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver.
“We got the most gold ever won by a host country and they say that cost about $4.2 million per medal,” the keynote speaker said of Canada’s 14-gold-medal achievement. Walsh charged the federal government with failing to fulfill its commitment made decades ago to eliminate child poverty by 2000.
“If they had thrown money at that then, I think we could be looking at a different country today,” she said.
For the past six years, British Columbia has had the highest child poverty rate in Canada, with a shocking rate of 18.8 per cent in 2007, the last available annual measurement. Pitted against the $58.8 million spent to earn Canada’s gold medals, what does this say about our national priorities?!