So, Campbell River now has a seniors charter.
Should we have a family charter or perhaps a children’s charter as well? We do have a youth charter but nothing for young children.
Having a document that endorses principles ensuring Campbell River is an elder-friendly community is certainly a worthwhile thing. But in this community’s rush to attract retirees, let’s hope the needs of young families, and particularly children, do not get forgotten.
Representatives of our seniors population are very active in putting the needs of that segment of the population on the social agenda and that’s great. There is always an implication, rightly or wrongly, in these kinds of endorsements that this segment is being neglected. That perhaps may be and any effort to ensure they are not neglected deserves support. But if we’re going to single out a segment of the population for protection, then perhaps we need to single them all out. Or, at least, the most vulnerable. And who is more vulnerable than our children?
Need we remind you of Island Health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns’ distressing report on the health of children in our region? If we want our kids to have long, healthy lives that enable them to enjoy a protected and comfortable old age, they need to be nurtured and sheltered by the community from the start.
If we’re going to declare in a public document that has municipal policy implications that we are a seniors supportive community, then we should make a similar statement about children and families (of all kinds).
This suggestion is not a criticism of the city’s newly-minted seniors charter, it’s a call to finish the job and protect the vulnerable at the other end of the timeline of life. But who is there to advocate for that? Children can’t organize themselves to protect their interests.
Maybe city council should take that initiative.