- Series: About Canada
Canada is a signatory on the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which guarantees the protection and care of children and youth. About Canada: Children and Youth examines each of the rights within the Canadian context – and finds Canada wanting. Schissel argues that although our expressed desire is to protect and care for our children, the reality is that young people, in Canada and around the world, often lack basic human rights. The lives of young people are steeped in abuse from the education and justice systems, exploitation by corporations, ill health and poverty. And while the hearts of Canadians go out to youth in distant countries suffering under oppressive circumstances, those same hearts often have little sympathy for the suffering of youth, particularly disadvantaged youth, within Canada. This book explores our contradictory views and argues that we must do more to ensure that the rights of the child are upheld.
Many Canadians believe that immigrants steal jobs away from qualified Canadians, abuse the healthcare system and refuse to participate in Canadian culture. In About Canada: Immigration, Gogia and Slade challenge these myths with a thorough investigation of the realities of immigrating to Canada. Examining historical immigration policies, the authors note that these policies were always fundamentally racist, favouring whites, unless hard labourers were needed. Although current policies are no longer explicitly racist, they do continue to favour certain kinds of applicants. Many recent immigrants to Canada are highly trained and educated professionals, and yet few of them, contrary to the myth, find work in their area of expertise. Despite the fact that these experts could contribute significantly to Canadian society, deeply ingrained racism, suspicion and fear keep immigrants out of these jobs. On the other hand, Canada also requires construction workers, nannies and agricultural workers – but few immigrants who do this work qualify for citizenship. About Canada: Immigration argues that we need to move beyond the myths and build an immigration policy that meets the needs of Canadian society.
Adopting Mahatma Gandhi’s idea that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” this book considers the status of animals in Canada. Casting a critical gaze over how dominant ideologies, such as capitalism and patriarchy, have negatively impacted our relationships with the natural world, Sorenson examines the institutional exploitation of animals in agriculture, fashion and entertainment. Addressing the fur trade, seal hunt, Calgary Stampede, puppy mills, horse slaughter and Canada’s virtually unregulated vivisection industry, the book analyzes discourses used by animal-exploitation industries to defend their practices and suggests that a society that claims to protect animals while maintaining antiquated laws is suffering from “moral schizophrenia.” This book advocates an abolitionist agenda, promotes veganism as a personal and political commitment, shows the economic, environmental and health costs of animal exploitation and presents animal rights as a social justice issue.
In Canada, early childhood education and care includes childcare programs, kindergartens and nursery schools. When these programs are well-designed, they support children’s development and accommodate parents who work or study. About Canada: Childcare answers questions about early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) in Canada. Why doesn’t Canada have an ECEC system, even though other countries do? Why is ECEC so important? What is missing in Canada’s ECEC landscape and why? Can ECEC programs be designed as wonderful environments for young children or are they merely necessary but not particularly desirable places to keep children safe while mothers are at work? Is ECEC primarily a public good, a private family responsibility or an opportunity for profit-making? Early childhood education and childcare is a political issue, the authors argue, and Canada needs an integrated system of services. The absence of a universal publicly funded ECEC system is detrimental to families, women and children and Canada’s future.