By Kamil Kanji
Youth Advisory Council Member, 18 years old (Calgary, AB)
For far too long now, children in Canada have not been educated on their rights, they have not had their rights protected on a federal stage or had a direct line of communication to federal leaders who have a significant impact on their overall quality of life.
This lack of voice and representation is what has caused Canada to drop to 25th place out of 41 affluent nations for the wellbeing of our children. This is an unacceptable statistic, my peers and I should not be left without any true advocate, we should not have our needs pushed to the back of the line and we should not have to put our faith in people who don’t have the interests of children at the forefront of their actions.
My peers and I make up 25% of our country yet have 0% representation on the federal stage. The only way that this can be corrected is through the implementation of a National Children’s Commissioner. With somebody who is able to focus all of their time on the education of children in their rights, the implementation of policy that benefits children and the oversight of policy brought forward by the federal government to ensure that it does not negatively harm children, we can elevate our standing in the world once again
With a Commissioner in place who is responsible for ensuring that my first nation peers are protected, educated and advocated for, we will be able to begin our first steps in reconciling lifetimes of trauma. We have arrived to the place in time where the rights of children matter now more than ever, we are seeing a paradigm shift across the world in regards to the elevation of the voices of young people. Canada needs to get on board with this shift and create this federal position so that my peers and I are no longer left behind or forgotten.
My question stands that if Members of Parliament, Senators, Cabinet Ministers, the United Nations and the 8 million children across our country are in favour of creating this position, then what is the reluctance? Does our nation truly not see the value in elevating a quarter of its population? My peers and I would like to hope that this is not the case because in reality, the only way Canada will be able to begin earning the right to call itself the best place in the world for children to grow up is through the implementation of a National Children’s Commissioner.