Our technology exposes us to a mixed bag of blessings and curses.
Every day the “news” brings us examples of both really great and really stupid decisions made by those in the position to affect our lives. As it always has been. The difference is, of course, that we can read about some of those decisions as they’re being made, and react to them. And we can read other’s reactions to them as well.
Children are not possessions of their parents or caregivers. We can no longer send them off to work in the mines, beat them them for some transgression or withold the basic necessities of life from them as has been done in the past, and is still done in many countries around the world.
After all, anyone can produce a child, but not everyone makes a good – or even average – parent.
And so we have laws that protect children, just as we have laws or rules that protect workers and many other different segments of our population.
Those laws are often challenged for whatever reason, and sometimes a bad law is tossed out. But sometimes we lose sight of the good ones because they’s so common sensical that they haven’t been written down. You know, like checking to see how hot your coffee is before taking a big gulp.
Last week in Saskatchewan – of all places – Occupational Health and Safety followed up on a tip of underaged workers at a family farm and told the family that their 8 and 10 year olds weren’t allowed to work in their small poultry processing plant where the kids weighed and bagged the meat.
The CBC asked readers to vote on whether farm parents should decide whether their children work on the farm or whether provincial laws regarding child labour should prevent that. Eighty-four per cent of respondents said let the parents decide – over 20,000 responses, many of them had been raised on farms and fondly recalled the neverending chores.
The province has since backed down, but forced the family to let go the other teens from neighbouring farms who worked for them. A shame.
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal