UNICEF Canada Urges Party Leaders and Candidates to Make Children a
TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ - A majority of voters, 73 per cent, feel it's
important that children's issues such as promoting the well-being of
children be addressed in the federal election campaign, according to a
new poll conducted by Innovative Research Group for UNICEF Canada. Yet,
they feel that the federal parties are not including children's issues
during this election campaign. Only 29 per cent of Canadians believe
they've heard any of the political parties address children's issues.
UNICEF Canada, which commissioned the poll, is urging all party leaders
and political candidates to make the well-being of children a priority
issue during this election campaign -- and as Members of Parliament
when making policy decisions post-election. Children make up nearly one
quarter of Canada's population, but their voices are rarely heard in
national politics, especially during an election.
A newly created UNICEF Canada Charter for Children outlining key priorities that will advance the well-being and close the
gaps for the most vulnerable of Canada's children was sent to all party
leaders and every federal election candidate, asking for their formal
support and if they will champion the well-being and rights of
Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada, Jack Layton, Leader of the Green
Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, the Liberal Party of Canada, led by
Michael Ignatieff, and the Bloc Québécois Party, led by Gilles Duceppe, have officially responded that they will
champion the well-being of children. Hundreds of candidates have also
responded. The Conservative Party of Canada led by Prime Minister
Stephen Harper has not yet responded to the questionnaire sent out by
UNICEF Canada nearly a month ago.
UNICEF Canada is also asking Canadians to urge their local candidates to
make children a central election issue. The Charter for Children and responses from the federal parties and local candidates can be
found at www.unicef.ca/vote2011.
"It is vital that children's best interests come first at all times and
in all environments, and that no child is excluded or forgotten," says
David Morley, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada. Canadians care about
the well being of children in our country. It is time for the federal
parties to focus more attention on our children's needs during this
election," he adds.
There are six priorities outlined in UNICEF Canada's Charter for Children including the appointment of a National Children's Commissioner or
Advocate. Many countries such as Scotland, England and Sweden have an
independent national children's advocate who is responsible for
ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of children.
The poll also revealed:
A majority of voters in BC, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada support the
creation of a national children's advocate; nationally, almost half (45
per cent) agree it's a good idea.
Older Canadians - particularly those 55 years or older - are more likely
to care about children's issues than younger Canadians.
Francophones place more importance on children's issues than Anglophones
in this election campaign.
Throughout the federal election, UNICEF Canada and its supporters across
the country will continue to reach out to candidates and Canadians,
asking them to become champions for Canada's children and keep our
promises to them. Visit www.unicef.ca/vote2011 regularly for responses by party leaders and candidates as they are
received as well as views from Canadians.
This study is the result of an Innovative Research Group poll
conducted for UNICEF Canada between April 14th to April 18th,
2011 with an estimated margin of error of 1.8 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.
UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development
agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save
children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country.
Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse
partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which
no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by
voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race,
religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information:
For more information, please contact: Kathleen Powderley, Communications Specialist, UNICEF Canada, 416-803-5597, firstname.lastname@example.org
For French media: Nancy Radford, UNICEF Canada, Manager, Communications Quebec, Tel: 514 288 5134 x8425; Cell 514 232 4510