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In their own words: Young Canadians celebrate National Child Day

By Richard Webster

Today is National Child Day! Celebrated every year on November 20, this day marks a special occasion to honour children and youth in this country and offers an important opportunity to empower our young people to use their voice and be heard.

In recognition of our young people’s voices, UNICEF Canada asked children and youth to describe what National Child Day means to them and to reflect on their experience speaking with their Member of Parliament during UNICEF Canada’s “Bring your MP to School Day” events earlier this month. The following are three such examples:

 

National Child Day Reflections

By Madelynn, Grade 4 (Fredericton, New Brunswick)

National Child Day means to me that every child all over the world should have equal rights. Every child should have the right to food, water, peace, shelter and love.

I think children’s rights in Canada and in other countries are important because all children should feel happy and secure. I wish that all children could go to a safe school, have clean water to drink and have enough food so they are not hungry. I think all children would be happy if they had a safe home and a family who loves them.

 

 Mr. Marc Garneau’s Visit to Westmount Park School

By Anurag Bhowmick, Grade 4 (Montreal, Quebec) and Steve Fernandes, Grade 4 (Montreal, Quebec)

Today, November 13, 2013 Marc Garneau came to Westmount Park School. Mr. Garneau told us about his job in the army and then astronaut and then MP (Member of Parliament). Mr. Garneau told us about his childhood dreams. His dream was to fly like Superman.

Then Mr. Garneau told the students to ask a question to him. A student asked him to create a National Day Against Bullying. On this day every school in Canada can stand up against bullying together. “There is something called Cyber Bulling that the government doesn’t tolerate,” said Mr. Garneau. Some student asked about when he went in space. Mr. Garneau told us that he went around the earth many times. It took him 1 hr and 30 minutes to go around the Earth once. Then he told us about gravity and the astronauts like Mr. Chris Hadfield.  He told us that we have the right to vote if we are eighteen. That is called Democracy. After someone asked why other citizens from other countries could not vote in Canada and he explained the reason. He also told us that he represents us.

On National Children's Day a kid should play for 15 minute with their parents or guardians. A child has the right to have shelter, parents and voting on an election when there are 18, health care, and friends

 

“Bring your MP to School Day” at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School

By Leo, Grade 12 (Bracebridge, Ontario)

The Honourable Tony Clement - the current president of the treasury board and MP for Parry-Sound and Muskoka - visited Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School on November 12th for “Bring your MP to School Day.”  He spoke about what his job means and answered students’ questions. As an MP, he represents the views of the people of his assigned district to Parliament. He champions “open data,” a public research database with the intent to help citizens be more knowledgeable.

The students of Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School asked many diverse questions. On the subject of the high rate of drug abuse in Muskoka, Mr. Clement stated that there is a national anti-drug message, with its main purpose being to get the message out to parents. He thinks that many parents post-pone speaking to their kids about drug issues until it is too late.

Among these questions, students also asked about: Arctic issues and the problem with sovereignty in the North, homelessness in Muskoka, spying activity and Edward Snowden, what the national strategy in case of a pandemic would be, how to generate jobs and economic growth in Muskoka and the use of minimum sentences for criminal offences.

The students enjoyed the visit and took a class picture with Mr. Clement.

 

All children have the right to be heard, no matter where they live.  If you agree, here are a few ways you can join us:

  • Empower young people to use their voice. Download this youth-friendly version of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to remind our children and youth about their rights – and how they can protect the rights of others.
  • Raise awareness. Join the National Child Day conversation on Facebook and Twitter (#timetobeheard) or share your thoughts with friends and family.
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