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CUPE child care workers and Greenpeace sent Ontario premier Ernie Eves off to last week’s premiers’ meeting with some puffers, to remind him of some of the victims of Canada’s failure to ratify the Kyoto accord.

Child care workers say they know children’s 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 it’s not uncommon for us to administer puffers to children as young as three months,” said Shellie Bird, a child care worker with CUPE Local 2204 in Ottawa.

“We’re seeing more and more children with breathing problems and it’s not fair that kids are suffering because our politicians won’t act,” said Susan Harney, a child care worker from British Columbia.

Across Canada, 5,000 people die each year because of smog. Heidi Trampus, a Toronto child care worker with CUPE Local 79 said it’s 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. “Surely kids count more than polluters and Eves should be ashamed he doesn’t support Kyoto.”

To demonstrate their concern about the growing number of children with breathing problems, child care workers across Canada will be collecting old puffers to send to Prime Minister Jean Chrt0069en to urge him to keep his promise and ratify Kyoto.

“We’re asking parents to bring in their kid’s old puffers so we can send them to Ottawa and get Kyoto ratified to clean the air and protect the health of children,” said Bird.