Saving the Children

Letter From Canada

On September 30, 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney addressed the World Summit for Children, of which he was co-chairman, at the United Nations in New York. The event climaxed 18 months of work by over 30 Canadian non-governmental organizations, much of it at the expense of taxpayers whose opinion had not been sought, but who would certainly bear the cost of the consequences.

Sure enough, the next day, in Ottawa, the Mulroney government announced the establishment, within the department of National Health and Welfare, of a central children's bureau. Its purpose is to coordinate federal policies on children and to ensure that "the need to respect children's special needs is recognized at all times."

Papers presented beforehand by the umbrella group—the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children—expressed gratitude to two government departments for their contribution, while Canada's spiffy summit brochure—Children of Canada, Children of the World—was acknowledged to be "a collaborative effort involving many departments and agencies of the Government of Canada."

The Canadian Coalition acts "as a collective advocate for children and monitors the role Canada plays vis-à-vis its own children and children abroad." It was established to monitor the signing and ratification by Canada of the U.N. General Assembly's Convention on the...

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