Statement made on 23 November 2010 by Senator Terry Mercer
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, Senator Cochrane, Senator Munson and I hosted two events to celebrate National Child Day over the last couple of days. We were delighted to carry out the tradition initiated by our former colleague, Senator Landon Pearson, of hosting annual events to celebrate children and youth.
It has been 21 years since the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This year's National Child Day was planned to start us thinking about community. Our children can have a tremendous impact on their communities, through sport, education or volunteering.
Yesterday, we held a special event in this chamber, where we hosted over 300 children from schools in the National Capital Region for a celebration of children by children and youth. We were indeed treated to amazing performances by young Canadians.
Performers included 11-year-old violinist and master of ceremonies Dominique LeBlanc, who hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
KidSingers, a choir and part of the Leading Note Foundation, gives children from under-served communities the opportunity to learn and make music together.
Two of our Senate pages, Andrew Ruban and Maria Habanikova, engaged the children in a great question and answer session about the Senate and what we do here. It was amazing to see how much the children knew about what we do.
There was also a fantastic performance of Aboriginal song and throat singing from small children and youth from the Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre.
Percussion group Boom! gave us a taste of West African and Brazilian drumming. This place was rocking yesterday.
A gifted public speaker, Mike Nordby, hailing from Newfoundland and Labrador, a personal fitness coach, community builder and fundraiser, spoke of inspiring youth and young adults to overcome obstacles and discover possibilities.
We organized this event in conjunction with Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa. Katie McGregor from Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa, CAYFO, presented the Awesome Youth Award to young Timi Boyo, a 16-year-old grade 12 student at the Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School, who has held the highest overall average each year since grade 9 and is a leader in philanthropy through his work in cancer research and interacting and engaging with seniors with Alzheimer's disease.
This morning in the Senate foyer, we hosted almost 100 representatives from different groups who dedicate their lives to ensuring that children and youth realize their potential.
On the Hill, many senators and members of Parliament share that commitment to the well-being of Canada's youth. I was happy to see so many of those colleagues here this morning.
On behalf of Senator Cochrane and Senator Munson, I would like to thank His Honour; the Clerk of the Senate, Gary O'Brien; the Black Rod; the Senate pages; and all the staff in the Senate Administration for their support of our events.
I also want to thank the Senate staff responsible for installation, security, translation and audio-visual services. Without them, these events could not happen.
I also offer our sincerest gratitude to our terrific staff who planned and organized this celebration. It is obvious that they take the meaning of National Child Day to heart, and we appreciate their help in showing the children and youth of Canada that the Senate is a place where we are standing up for their future.