Toronto, July 30, 2002 CUPE child care workers and Greenpeace sent Ontario Premier Ernie Eves off to the weeks premiers meeting with some puffers, to remind him of some of the victims of Canadas failure to ratify Kyoto.
Child care workers say they know childrens health is being undermined as a result of pollution. When I started working in child care 22 years ago we did not administer puffers to children under four years of age. Now its not uncommon for us to administer puffers to children as young as three months, said Shellie Bird a CUPE child care worker.
Were seeing more and more children with breathing problems and its not fair that kids are suffering because our politicians wont act, said Susan Harney, a child care worker from British Columbia.
Across Canada, 5,000 people die each year because of smog, including 1,000 in Toronto alone. Heidi Trampus, a Toronto CUPE child care worker said its disturbing to have to keep children inside on smog days when they should be enjoying the summer. Maybe Ernie Eves can ask Ralph Klein why we have to keep our kids inside in July, she said, as Eves prepares for this weeks premiers meeting in Halifax. Surely kids count more than polluters and Eves should be ashamed he doesnt support Kyoto.
Greenpeace executive director Peter Tabuns was at the day care centre to lend his support, and urge premiers to keep Canadas promise and ratify Kyoto.
Fighting climate change and fighting smog are the same thing because they both mean burning less oil and less coal, said Tabuns. Given his opposition to Kyoto, Ralph Klein is clearly unmoved by drought and forest fires in Alberta. The question for Ernie Eves is why hes not going to Halifax to fight for our kids or our climate.
Tabuns noted Eves still wants to sell Ontario Power Generation, whose five coal-fired plants produce 23 per cent of Ontarios sulphur dioxide and 14 per cent of its nitrogen oxide pollution, both key smog ingredients. Currently, these plants do not operate at capacity, but under private ownership, the incentive would be to sell more power to the U.S. and therefore burn more coal to operate at capacity.
Child care workers across Canada are increasingly concerned about the growing number of children with breathing problems, and will be collecting old puffers to send to Prime Minister Jean Chretien to urge him to keep his promise and ratify Kyoto. Were asking parents to bring in their kids old puffers so we can send them to Ottawa and get Kyoto ratified to clean the air and protect the health of children.
For More Information:
Shellie Bird, CUPE, (613) 233-0228;
Jamey Heath, Greenpeace (416) 597-8408 Ext. 3030