Friday, December 09, 2005

Kids, books and the federal election

Hey everyone,

Remember how a few posts back I mentioned that I'd keep my ears pierced for news about literacy in the federal election?

Well, not much yet. But on the "oh, that's so cute" front (and tied in to the Liberal childcare announcement, following the Conservative childcare announcement), Paul Martin made a special trip out to PEI to read "I love you forever" by Robert Munsch to some children.

For those not familiar with the book, you can check it out online at the link above and hear Robert Munsch read it to you - which is pretty cool. And here's a picture!

Anyway, This illicited excited wonderment and enthusiasm from Scott Feschuk — chief speechwriter to Paul Martin, who wrote about the event on the Liberal Party's official campaign blog on December 6:


2:48 PM - My dear, dear readers: we're at a Montessori on P.E.I. The Prime Minister is reading a story to children. And for some reason I am overcome with the urge to tell you that: I'll love you forever I'll like you for always As long as I'm living My babies you'll be.

3:01 PM - Update: The Montessori kids have got the PM hemmed in on a pretty serious policy issue: can snow angels fly? One boy in particular is of the view that they can. He's marshaling a strong theoretical case. Two girls in the back are countering his argument with an evidence-based attack in which they execute snow angels on the floor and then look around with expressions that say, "See? Still on the ground here." Let's settle this tonight on Countdown with Mike Duffy.

Indeed, it appears even some of the hardened media folks who travel around with the campaign were moved. Indeed, columnist Paul Well's in his blog wrote of the event on December 7:

I actually enjoyed watching the PM read a children's book called I'll Love You Forever to the preternaturally photogenic children. When things get this surreal, you might as well just go with it.

However, you'll note from the following photo that his attention span was a little shorter than the children's:

Not to be outdone, the Conservatives also had some photos of Stephen Harper with really, really cute kids too.

And on a more substantive front, I found this article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

PUBLICATION: The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
DATE: 2005.12.09

MPs ' drive collects 10,000 books

About 10,000 books have been donated to the Saskatchewan Literacy Network after a local member of Parliament spearheaded a campaign to collect books for the organization.

For the past month, Carol Skelton, the Conservative incumbent in Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, and fellow Conservative MP Lynne Yelich, representing the Blackstrap constituency, have been collecting books.

On Thursday, they announced they had collected about 10,000 books.

"The books that have been collected during this book drive will be distributed to families and programs across the province," said Debbie Griffith, executive director of the Saskatchewan Literacy Network, in the release.

For all you NDPers out there, I didn't notice any photos of Jack Layton playing with children - but will be sure to post one when I see it.

Will keep you posted if anything comes up on the literacy front!



Update, December 14/05: Okay, I know I'm a little late on this - but in the interest of fairness, I feel compelled to tell you that the NDP came out with their commitments for children (read: daycare) on Monday. Info HERE. While I didn't find any photos of Jack Layton with kids on the website, I did catch him singing Christmas Carols with kids on the news on Monday night.

On a further point, as a former child athlete, I was interested to read about the Conservative promised for a Child Sport Tax Credit. I tend to think anything that encourages kids to be active is a good thing - ties in to health, more involvement in community - healthier kids are happier kids.


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