Mr. Speaker, today is National Child Day.
In 1989 members of the House unanimously resolved to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000 but, tragically, 1.4 million children still live in poverty and the gap between the rich and the poor just keeps growing. That means more children joining parents in the queue at homeless shelters, more children being fed from food banks and more aboriginal children seeking suicide as a way out.
The government's response to children's needs is nothing short of a crime. Adopting the UN convention on the rights of the child means little when we drop to 11th on the international poverty index with barely a whimper.
Canada's poverty today is avoidable, unnecessary and unfair. Government policies, dismantled social safety nets, jobs lost to unfair trade agreements and lucrative breaks to the wealthy are to blame.
We call on the government to set clear targets to eliminate poverty in the upcoming budget. Nothing less will do for Canada's children on this National Child Day and every day of the year.