November 20 marked Universal Children’s Day and National Child Day in Canada, a recognition of the 1989 unanimous adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations.
This UN Convention provides an invaluable framework for enabling children to live and grow and flourish. Eliminating social inequities and respecting children’s rights begins with making the choice to do so. While Canada made this choice when it ratified the convention in December 1991, we are not meeting our obligations to all children of this country.
National Child Day reminds us not only of what has been accomplished, but also of the work that needs to be done, particularly for the most vulnerable, like indigenous children or those with physical or intellectual disabilities.
There are inconsistencies in health and mental health services, access to healthy food and clean water, and education services across this country. For this reason, I continue to encourage the creation of a national commissioner for children and youth in Canada. This would level the playing field for all children, so that no matter the economic or social situation they are born into, they have the chance to succeed and achieve their greatest potential.
One of the most important and greatest commitments a society can make is to its children. There is a saying: You can seek the wisdom of the ages, but always look at the world through the eyes of a child.