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Windsor—Today, Windsor area child care workers and Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) urged the federal government to put clean air and the health of children ahead of business interests and join 75 other countries in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

CUPE is working with Greenpeace, other environmental groups and national children’s advocacy organizations in the ‘Kids for Kyoto’ initiative. They are demanding that the Canadian government fulfill its original 1997 commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, by ratifying the treaty that would see a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases.

While all European members of the G-8 and Japan have ratified the treaty, “Canada is stalling. Consistently Windsor leads the province in the most number of days with poor air quality. And a recent study by area researchers and physicians, found that if you live in Windsor you are more likely to get sick and you will die sooner than other Ontarians. Now that’s a grim finding,” said Ryan, who is encouraging area parents to get behind the ‘Kids for Kyoto’ initiative.

Shawn Hupka of the southwestern Ontario and southeast Michigan Citizens Environment Alliance, Shellie Bird, a CUPE child care worker and other area child care workers joined Ryan at the media conference. Bird said in the 20 years she has worked in the field, the use of puffers for breathing related illness has increased substantially among children. She also pointed out that on each day there is a smog advisory, children in centres are kept indoors.

“This, unfortunately, is happening with more and more frequency. Like parents, child care workers see first hand the devastating effects of smog and pollution on the health of children,” said Bird.

Ryan, Hupka and Bird are encouraging parents to help put pressure on the federal government to ratify the accord by collecting used puffers and dropping them off at participating Windsor child care centres. The puffers will be sent to the Prime Minister this fall.

“We want this government to get the message that our children are our future. And they deserve clean air to breathe. When the Prime Minister meets other world leaders in Johannesburg later this month, we want him to know that local Windsor child care workers and parents demand that he follow through on adopting Kyoto, for the health of area children,” said Ryan.


For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066
Shellie Bird, ‘Kids for Kyoto’ Coordinator (CUPE)
(613) 233-0228
Shawn Hupka
Citizens Environment Alliance
(519) 973-1116