This is a great article about how the CAS will be present and "on call" during the G8/G20 protests in Toronto.
I'm so annoyed at this comment by their spokesperson:
While Fleming did note that he respects the right to protest, he feels children should not be involved at the G20.
"You never know what these things will turn out to be. As a parent I'd have concerns. I'd have good intentions but not everyone has the same thoughts. I would think twice before taking my kids. The protests have been known to become violent and that would be a concern for anyone there."
And I loved John Clarke's response:
"Movements of resistance should involve children," says Clarke. "They are involved in the issues. The immediate assumption is that children should be kept out of politics, but they will not be insulated from the agenda of austerity that the G20 and its local representatives are developing and beginning to implement. Their voices have to be heard as part of the community that is fighting back."
I totally agree. I consider political action and protest to be an essential part of my child's education as an active and engaged citizen. It is hands-on -- he makes signs and it involves physically going to a place where the activity is happening, and physical activity once he gets there. It's concrete -- he sees people gathered and hears what they have to say and why. He learns the issues -- he is apparently the most well-informed child in his class about politics and current events.
He learns social skills -- at one protest that radiorahim and I were marshalling (the Prorogue ones), we brought my son to the marshall training and the protest, and he was given a marshall armband and told that he was a "junior marshall" or "assistant marshall." And he is learning that being an engaged citizen means more than just hitting the voting booth once every few years. He is learning to get involved in the community.
He goes to protests, he goes to meetings (although I limit those just because I don't want to bore him or turn him off). I make sure that when we go, there is no danger there -- I'm obviously not going to expose him to tear gas and such.
And the protest being organized by labour on Saturday at Queen's Park is being billed as family-friendly, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with bringing your kids out and having them experience the power of people coming together for their political causes.
I resent the fact that this CAS guy is trying to scare parents out of providing their children with this incredible learning experience.