By Ellen Tsaprailis

Canadian Sen. Rosemary Moodie recognized Carleton University in a Senate session following a meeting with Landon Pearson at Carleton’s Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood & Children’s Rights.

In the first Senate session of the 43rd Parliament on Feb. 20, 2020, Moodie—an independent senator representing Ontario—announced she plans to pursue creating an office with a commissioner for children and youth within the government that will fulfill Canada’s responsibility as a leader for human rights.

“Canada has been steadily dropping in global rankings with respect to the well-being of our children. One in three do not enjoy a safe and healthy childhood and half of the First Nations children live (on) reserves in poverty. Sen. Pearson and I spoke for the need of an independent voice for the rights of children and youth,” Moodie said in a speech.

“Someone who would uphold the rights of children according to the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child. Someone who would support Indigenous communities in taking care of their children and youth according to their culture and spiritual values and Indigenous law. Someone who would hold the federal government accountable to its responsibilities, according to the convention ratified here in 1991.”

Landon Pearson and Senator Moodie

Landon Pearson and Sen. Rosemary Moodie

In her speech to the Senate, Moodie reminded her fellow senators about the 11 years that Pearson worked on behalf of children and youth across Canada and that she had been nicknamed the Children’s Senator.

“As I work toward making this office a reality, in line with Sen. Pearson’s legacy, I hope I can count on your support and wisdom together as we seek to make Canada the best place in the world for a child to grow,” said Moodie.

“Following her retirement in 2005, Sen. Pearson launched a resource centre (at) Carleton University to promote the rights of children and youth. I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Sen. Pearson at Carleton University. Her passion remains strong as ever and her insight as invaluable.”

Carleton University President Benoit-Antoine Bacon said he’s proud of the university’s partnership with Sen. Pearson in promoting children’s rights and giving youth a stronger voice in matters that directly impact them.

“Carleton’s Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights is a unique and important entity that truly embodies our core value of building a better future together,” said Bacon.

Anthropology Prof. Virginia Caputo is director of the Landon Pearson Centre and is pleased that Moodie is looking to act on Pearson’s push for a commissioner for Canada’s children.

“Sen. Moodie is a practicing neonatologist at the Hospital for Sick Children and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto. It is hardly surprising then that she has a keen interest in children and young people’s lives,” said Caputo.

“She came to the centre to speak with us because she is considering the idea to take up Landon’s work to have a responsibility centre for children at the federal level. She discussed this possibility in the statement she made in Senate.”

Landon will celebrate her 90th birthday this year and Moodie’s speech in the Senate chamber acknowledged her legacy through 60 years of children’s rights advocacy. A book collection edited by Caputo, titled The Children’s Senator: Landon Pearson and a Lifetime of Advocacy, is expected to be released later this year.

Thursday, February 27, 2020 in
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