NOTES FOR REMARKS BY SENATOR MUNSON AT THE CAYFO ANTI-BULLYING CONFERENCE
Senator Munson is introduced by Sean Pierce.
Thank you Sean! Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be here today.
Canada is known the world over as a peaceful country. We are a peaceful people, respectful of human rights and democracy.
I am sure you share my pride of our great nation, of our society where we are free to come and go — To be heard and listened to — To be recognized and valued for who we are and what we have to offer.
We consider these our rights, but I think we can agree that not all Canadians share them, and among those who do not, far too many are children.
This, we must change. If, as a society, we fail to meet the basic rights and needs of our citizens, particularly the youngest and most vulnerable, then we fail as Canadians.
We contribute to a culture of injustice and social instability which in turn breeds feelings of fear and alienation.
In the work place and in the school yard fear and alienation are dangerous and sinister companions. They lead to irrational and sometimes harmful behavior. They create a cycle of abuse which includes a victim and a bully. I say cycle of abuse because we know that often the bully has first been a victim.
One of the reasons I support the work of CAYFO is because of its belief that we as a society have exactly the same responsibilities to our young people as we do to adults or any other group.
There can be no room for double standards when we realize that there are more children who are afraid to go to school than there are adults who are afraid to work!
This, we must change. It is only when a child’s basic human rights are fulfilled that we can break the cycle of victim and bully.
Our goal must be to treat children as full citizens. Let us bring more Canadian youth to the forefront, let us listen to them, engage them and provide them with the opportunity to contribute.
Each one of us is entitled to respect. This is why bullying, victimization, racism, sexism and other forms of oppression are unacceptable. For our society to function effectively we must understand, acknowledge and embrace our differences.
And ladies and gentlemen, we must never ignore, not even for a minute, those children who need our help. There are still too many of them.
Thank you for your commitment to this important cause.
Senator Munson stays at podium to introduce Senator Carstairs
Today, I have the honor of introducing two fellow Senators. And ladies and gentlemen, in the interests of time, I will keep their introductions brief. Senator Sharon Carstairs is someone who learned about community and political service when she was a child growing up in Nova Scotia.
She was the Leader of the Liberal Party in Manitoba for many years and was the first woman to lead the Official Opposition in a Canadian Legislative Assembly.
Senator Carstairs was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Chrétien in 1994 to represent the province of Manitoba.
She has worked tirelessly on a number of important Senate committees and from 1997 to 1999 served as the first woman to be Deputy Leader and Leader of the Government in the Senate.
A primary cause of Senator Carstairs has been palliative care. She has also spoken out frequently about children and child welfare.
Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Carstairs!
Senator Carstairs speaks….Senator Munson returns to his seat. He returns to the podium as Senator Carstairs ends her 10 min presentation. Gift is presented to Senator Carstairs.
Thank you, Senator.
Ladies and gentlemen, the organizers of the conference received a letter from a young high school student who wanted to have her voice heard at the conference. She made a powerful and compelling case, and despite the fact that the program was full to overflowing, a decision was made to include the words of Jessie Huggett (HUG ET).
These are not only Jessie’s words but also her own choreography. Under the direction of Hannah Beatch, please welcome Jessie and dancers from Tournesol Dance.
Senator Munson returns to his seat as the dancers perform their 4 min dance. He returns as they are receiving their applause and introduces Vera Tourangeau (“tour and go”)
Thank you Jessie. Thank you dancers. Vera Tourangeau (TOUR AND GO) comes from Pee/peekisis First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.
She has a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Regina and has been a teacher, Administrator, Assistant-Director of Education and she is now an Education Consultant/ Coordinator for Treaty Four Education.
Vera will read a poem she wrote called “Miss, It Hurts”….I will let Vera explain the poem. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Vera Tourangeau. (TOUR AND GO)
Vera speaks for 4 minutes
Let me allow your next speaker to introduce herself. Senator Landon Pearson writes, On October 25, 1994, as I took my Oath of Office, I made a personal commitment to continue, in my new role, to speak out on behalf of children.
In the months since then, everything I have done and said in my official capacity has been framed by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. I have set two clear goals.
The first is to become know as the Senator for Children. This means I will try to advance their interests directly in the legislative process whenever possible. My second goal is to become known as well as the Children’s Senator. This means that I will try to open up the process so that children and youth are able to participate in decisions that will affect them.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome someone who will leave the Senate later this year having not only met those goals but exceeded them, Canada’s Senator and Ambassador for children, Senator Landon Pearson.
Thank you Senator Pearson. On behalf of Child & Youth Friendly Ottawa and the children in Canada and around the world that you have touched I am deeply honored to present you with this small token of our appreciation.
Gift is presented to Senator Pearson and Senator Munson returns to the podium.
Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to Senator Pearson and to CAYFO, I am delighted to carry on with the November 20th, National Child’s Day Ceremonies on Parliament Hill with Senator Terry Mercer.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time. I wish you a successful conference.