Advocating for religion in a pluralistic society and in Canadian public life

Millennium Kids Visit Parliament Hill

On June 5, 2017, 32 Millennium Kids from 12 different schools in Niagara, Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto hand-delivered 17 Canada 150 Sustainable Development Goal birthday gift boxes to the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development, MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, to remind our leaders that Canadians want to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reach the promised 0.7% gross national income funding for official development assistance as our 150th birthday gift to the world!

As Millennium Kids set out from Toronto, CITYTV Breakfast Television came to film and interview the students for the morning show.

On the Hill, PS Celine Caesar-Chavannes described the complexities of international development work; for example, unless forced childhood marriage ends, some investment into girls’ education becomes ineffective. Millennium Kids pressed the parliamentary secretary on how and when we would reach our 0.7% aid promise in order to meet the SDGs by 2030. 

10-year-old Samantha posed a memorable question: why do we sign agreements if we are not going to keep them (like 0.7% aid)?

MP Julie Dzerowicz described her work on gender equality and encouraged Millennium Kids (MKs) to help make girls’ education a priority at the 2018 G7 meeting that Canada will host. She suggested students copy her on their emails to the prime minister so she can raise their issues at caucus meetings.

Both vice-chairs of the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee also kindly took time to meet with Millennium Kids on Monday: MP Hélène Laverdière encouraged MKs to keep using their voices for the SDGs/0.7% aid and never give up! She reminded us all to let our MPs know what’s important so they can be our voices in Parliament. MP Dean Allison (also vice-chair) described the work of the committee and the strength of doing international development work in collaboration with other countries. Along the same theme, he encouraged MKs to continue their efforts and consider how to join voices with other organizations for greater impact.  

While we were watching Question Period from the visitor’s gallery overhead, MP Dzerowicz bent down beside PM Justin Trudeau to point out the Millennium Kids to him. PM Trudeau looked up, smiled and gave an enthusiastic wave to the Millennium Kids, who returned the wave with great excitement!

After QP we met with MP Adam Vaughan who answered 11-yr-old Eden’s question: which SDG do you think we could reach by 2030? MP Vaughan replied: "SDG#11 -sustainable cities and communities with affordable housing as its first target." MP Vaughan later replied to Millennium Kids’ tweet: “more fun than question period!…and tougher questions too!”.

Millennium Kids gave a photo of their 17 SDG birthday gift boxes signed by all 32 Millennium Kids to each MP who met with them on Parliament Hill.

FUTURE PLANS…

We have given the Millennium Kids’ SDG workshop and created an SDG birthday gift collage box in 18 classrooms this spring ,with many teachers interested in another workshop for their incoming 2017-18 classes. The SDGs fit well with Grade 5 government, Grade 8 geography and Grade 10 civics curriculum. We are planning to deliver another set of 17 SDG collage boxes to provincial and municipal governments in fall 2017, as Canada’s commitment to the SDGs will require the collaboration of every level of government and every Canadian.

Thanks for tracking with Millennium Kids’ efforts!

Quotes from parents—

“[Our daughter] had an amazing time, and was so interested in everything that they had the opportunity to witness.  Your organization is so inspiring and we would love to be involved in future endeavours.”

"Teaching kids to ask questions to power! Thanks to Sara & Millenium Kids for great experience & citizenship learning

Quotes from teachers—

"I am so grateful for you and Millennium Kids.”

"Thank-YOU so much for being here with us. It was a very informative hour [workshop] and I believe the kids got a lot out of it." 

 

Written by Sara Hildebrand