Children's Rights Agreement - CHILDRA

  • Posted on: 31 December 2012
  • By: Gene Balfour

The recent teachers strikes have showcased a societal drama about pitting employees against employers in order to strike an “acceptable agreement” between both parties concerning costs and compensation. Throughout this drama, however, there has been one “party” conspicuously absent at the “negotiating table” - - - our children.

 Our children inherit many things from the adults in their lives - some are good, some are bad. Except for the decisions and the active advocacy of their parents, our kids are vulnerable to bad decisions made by other powerful adults that affect their lives.  One example of a “bad” inheritance is the fact that our massive public debts will be passed down to our children and they will be forced to  live under the burdens of these debts for the remainder of their lives.

"Morality" is defined as 'the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.' As a parent of two daughters, I am unable to describe the spending and debt financing practices of government as 'moral'. I have taught my daughters to live within their means, yet our governments consistently set exactly the opposite example thereby countering my attempts to enforce these principles of proper moral conduct in their lives. Our younger generation is often described as “entitled”, but if it is true, where do you think that they learned this conduct?

 As a citizen who has long been concerned above this ‘immoral conduct’, I have been frustrated that my single vote has had no effect on changing these practices.

My solution is to begin a campaign to establish a Children's Rights Agreement [CHILDRA] that will impose limits to government spending and provide a vehicle to enforce them. While such a Children's Rights Agreement belongs in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, my immediate interest is for quicker results.  Therefore, any form that CHILDRA may take in order to achieve the desired results as soon as possible is acceptable in the short term. 

 Features of CHILDRA

As a first attempt to define some desirable features in CHILDRA, the following should be included:

  • Restrict all public sector spending to only monies already collected through taxation. This means that no level of government – not a Ministry, Agency, Board, Commission, Municipality, Crown Corporation, Federal Department of the Prime Minister’s Office - will have the authority to borrow money for government operations or inflate the money supply for any reason whatsoever.
  • To ensure that spending never exceeds revenues, an elected Board of Governors will enforce the CHILDRA mandate. In the case of renewing government contracts, for example, a CHILDRA Governor would oversee all negotiations. 

 Rules for electing and compensating a CHILDRA Governor  

  1. The CHILDRA Governor’s voters list will only include citizens whose vote would not be potentially biased by a conflict of interest resulting from current or past associations. The voters list will be limited to 99 unpaid members who will be selected randomly to a single 4-year term. Applicants will be excluded from this list if they have:
  • No children
  • Been associated in any manner with a public sector union in the previous 10 years 
  • Received any part of their personal or private business compensation from any organization that receives revenues from a tax-funded organization [includes any organization that receives any government payment or subsidy whatsoever.]

 2.     CHILDRA Governor eligibility criteria, would include the following restrictions:

  •  No children
  •  Receives employment compensation from tax-funded employers.
  • Held a position in the previous 10 years with an employer that funded employee compensation, wholly or in part, from tax sources.  
  • Past members of a public sector union.

3.     A CHILDRA Governor’s compensation will be derived from donations made by parents in exchange for CHILDRA’s spending governance services. A pension plan will NOT be featured as a form of employment compensation for this position or any other paid CHILDRA position.

 4.     Term, Role & Responsibility. Elected CHILDRA Governors will  serve a maximum of 2 terms lasting no more that 4 years each.  The primary role and responsibility of a Governor will be to be an integral part the approval/veto process concerning any public sector spending initiative or contractual agreement such that no approval can legally be awarded if the spending cannot be accounted for by existing tax receipts.


CHILDRA’s Mandate

CHILDRA is not to be construed as a negotiating body. On the contrary, its mandate is to shape and enforce public policy designed to protect the rights of children. For example, in any negotiations such as public sector labor contracts, the authority of CHILDRA will exceed the rights of unions to negotiate wages insofar as the cost of such negotiations can never exceed pre-established spending limits established by CHILDRA.

We all love our children.

 Every parent that I have ever known would “do whatever it takes” to protect them and to safeguard their future. I understand that there will be strong opposition to CHILDRA from many camps with vested interests. However, this opposition will exist simply because they wish to put their interests ahead of children and their parents.

CHILDRA is not a partisan proposal.

 CHILDRA is not intended to be a campaign platform associated with any one political party or special interest group - not the Conservatives, not the Liberals, not the NDP, not the Green party and not the Libertarian party. None of the members of these parties loves their children any more or any less than any other Canadian parent. For this reason, passage of CHILDRA into law deserves the support of every parent – its passage into law should be a "no-brainer".

It’s the perfect time to act

Regardless of your political beliefs or party affiliation, please send a copy of this Children's Rights Agreement to your local political representative or any public leader that you trust to fight for these rights on behalf of your children and grandchildren. 

 With ballooning government debt loads at every level of government, there is no better time than now to curtail this growing risk to the future of our children. Our children are our future too and, as responsible parents, lets set an example for all of our children concerning how we can thrive as cohesive families within healthy communities AND still live within our means.