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Children’s voices amplified during first ever ‘Bring your MP to School Day’

2012-11-20

Students from across Canada given opportunity to have their voices heard by Members of Parliament in new UNICEF initiative recognizing National Child Day

TORONTO, November 20, 2012 – In recognition of National Child Day today students from across Canada have had their voices heard through UNICEF’s first ever ‘Bring Your MP to School Day’ initiative.

Last week MPs from all parties – the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Green Party and the Bloc Québécois - visited schools in their ridings to speak to their youngest constituents. For a full list of participants visit www.unicef.ca/ncd

Children and youth make up about a quarter of Canada’s population yet aren’t able to vote so often don’t have their voices heard. Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) children have the right to express their views and to be heard on the issues that impact their lives.

Through ‘Bring Your MP to School Day’ children had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues that matter most to them with their federal MPs. Children also learned about Canada’s Parliamentary system.

UNICEF Canada’s President and CEO David Morley joined International Cooperation Minster Julian Fantino during his visit with grade five students at Pine Grove Public School in Vaughan, Ontario.

At Pine Grove School grade five student Esha asked Minister Fantino, “If a young person asked you if they could become a Member of Parliament, what would you say?”, while classmate Frencesca asked, “As a Member of Parliament, is it challenging to spend a lot of time with your family?”

“I enjoyed listening to what Mr. Fantino had to say. I hope that the grade 5s next year enjoy listening to an MP, and learned all the things that I learned too,” said Pine Grove grade-five student Christina.

Minister Fantino was also pleased to participate in the new initiative.
“It’s always refreshing to engage with students,” said Minister Fantino. “It is important for students to know and understand what is going on around the world and to learn how to promote mutual exchange and understanding.”

During last week’s MP visits, students from across the country discussed and asked questions on a wide-range of issues including the role of a MP, poverty, bullying, international development and the environment.

“It’s very encouraging to see MPs from across the country connect with young people on important issues. A meaningful dialogue can set the foundation for good governance as well as happy, healthy children,” said UNICEF Canada’s President and CEO David Morley.

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child is also the basis for Universal Children’s Day, which is recognized around the world today.

To learn more about National Child Day, Universal Children’s Day or UNICEF Canada’s “Bring your MP to School Day,” initiative please visit www.unicef.ca/ncd. The website has a list of participating schools and MPs as well as photos from last week’s visits. Canadians can also leave their wish for National Child Day on UNICEF Canada’s Facebook page, or tweet to @UNICEFLive with the hashtag #timetobeheard.”

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About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.
 

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.