MPs go back-to-school for National Child Day
TORONTO, November 20, 2016 – In the run up to National Child Day in Canada, Members of Parliament have been heading back to school to hear from students on the issues that matter most to them. UNICEF Canada’s “Bring Your MP to School Day” empowers young people by bringing parliamentarians to them and giving them the chance to be heard.
Over the past weeks, 62 MPs visited more than 100 schools across the country to speak to their youngest constituents. From coast to coast to coast, Canadian students got the chance to voice their opinions to their MPs on everything from climate change to hospitals and schools to the conflicts in Syria and Nigeria.
“They may not be old enough to vote yet, but the voices of Canada’s children are important to MPs, and to all of us,” said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. “Not only do they make up a quarter of the country’s population, but they will be the leaders of tomorrow. ‘Bring Your MP to School Day’ is a great way to engage and expose them to today’s decision-making process, so that they can contribute to it both now and in the future. When we listen to children and put their best interests first, everybody wins.”
Today is also Universal Children’s Day, and this year, it marks the 25th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
“Under the CRC, children have the right to express their views and be heard on the issues that affect them,” said Morley. “And today isn’t just about respecting our obligations under the CRC; it’s about creating a better world for children everywhere, and that begins by listening to them.”
Participating MPs expressed appreciation online at the chance to interact with the students.
“I had the pleasure of being asked many insightful and well-researched questions from students,” tweeted Marwan Tabbara, MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler.
“They truly are the young leaders of today!” tweeted Marc Serré, MP for Nickel Belt.
Outside of school, UNICEF Canada encourages youth across the country to join the online conversation and share their ideas for creating the world they want. By visiting Twitter and following the hashtag #timetobeheard, Canadian youth can continue to speak up, not only to MPs, but to the world.
To learn more about National Child Day, Universal Children’s Day or UNICEF Canada’s “Bring Your MP to School Day,” and to view the list of participating MPs, visit www.unicef.ca/ncd.