Question Period: Role of Children’s Commissioner

By: The Hon. Jim Munson

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Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. We’ve been talking about this for a long time — I’ve been talking about it for 16 years. I’m referring to a children’s commissioner. As Senator Joyal talked about, good ideas come from this place. Over the years, if you look at Senator Andreychuk and others — and I sat on her committee — we called for a children’s commissioner. We’ve had a lot of discussion about that.

I was pleased to see the Prime Minister has a new ministry for diversity, inclusion and youth. Of course, we’ve seen where UNICEF has ranked Canada 25 out of 41 nations in their 2017 report on children’s well-being. There’s a particularly substantive gap when it comes to the education of boys and Indigenous children. We also had former MP Irwin Cotler; we’ve had a minister of the Crown, Marc Garneau; and private members’ bills all about this commissioner.

We’re long overdue for this, leader.

Is it the goal of our government to protect our most vulnerable citizens and valuable resource by creating this role? After all, it’s way beyond time. It’s almost 2020; it’s time for children to have a voice and representation at the highest level.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and his ongoing advocacy on this issue. I’ve had other senators as recently as today speak to me about their commitment to making progress on this matter. I will undertake to raise it with the new ministers responsible for this area and will report back.

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