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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

alberta child labour continued...

Alberta's Human Resources and Employment Minister told reporters yesterday that the Tory Government would not revisit changes to the province's employment rules that make it easy for 12-14 year-olds to work in restaurants.

From an interview with the Edmonton Journal: Minister Mike Cardinal said Albertans as young as 12 should have the opportunity to work if they want to.

"Albertans are very hard workers,"

"You have to give them credit. They work hard, including the young people."


"Some parents may be in a position where the children don't have to work, but not everybody is like that."

"There are some areas where some parents are not in a financial situation where they can afford to completely support the children without the youth going to work. I think that option should be there."

Cardinal said he worked his first job at the age of five, earning a nickel once a week for emptying a slop bucket for the store owner who lived next door. Then at the age of 12, he worked for $2 a day skidding trees for a sawmill on horseback. He went to work full time at the sawmill at the age of 15 to help support his 12 brothers and sisters.

"Thank God I had the ability to work (at a young age), because we wouldn't have survived, probably," he said.


"Work is healthy, it doesn't hurt. That's what keeps our high standard of living in Alberta and in Canada," he said. "People work, everybody works."

How about improving social programs to help low-income families so their 12-year old son or daughter won't have to go out and find a job? How about allowing 12 year-olds to concentrate on their schooling so that they can increase their chances of one day attending a post-secondary institution? What happend to childhood?

Quotes from the story: Child labour law will work, minister says
Cardinal notes some families need cheques from 12-year-olds; child advocates say education should be bottom line
in the Edmonton Journal.


Mike said...

So Alberta has no provincial debt, yet there are still unacceptable waiting lines at hospitals AND families so poor that they require their 12-year-olds to work to support the family? And a Minister in Ralph Klein's government is okay with this?

If that's the cost of not having debt, maybe having a little debt isn;t so bad.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mike Cardinal's kids were working when they were 12... oh wait, he's a minister in Alberta, he probably has a nice 6 figure salary to go with it...

Rick Barnes said...

Holy crow,

BC actually beat Alberta to regressive labour and Child welfare laws. Heck we made it legal for 12 year olds to work 2 years ago.

Watch out, kids will be getting "Carpet" knit by number kits soon, direct from India.

Kevin said...

Why can't we let kids be kids? There's plenty of time for them to work. Childhood is the time to learn and grow.


PR said...

If 12-year-olds want to work, then they should be able to. Why not? But Cardinal frames it in a way as to make it seem as though families in Alberta actually need this. What exactly do we have social assistance for?

The man is just not very bright.

Aaron said...

Well,from an economist's perspective (not saying whether it's right or wrong), look at the service industry. In Fort McMurray, for example, Tim Horton's offers like 12 bucks an hour to work the till, well above minimum wage.

All the 18 year olds can get fairly high-paying jobs, and perhaps there is a labour shortage in the service industry that younger kids could fill.

Now, as for whether this is right or wrong:

It's the right thing to do if the majority of 12-14 year olds who enter the labour force actually want to get jobs. Kids that age are already working on farms right across Alberta and even drive some forms of heavy equipment. Not because they have to, but because they want to. With proper training, this can benefit these kids.

It's the wrong thing to do if the majority of these kids are doing it because mom and dad are too poor. It's the wrong thing to do if kids this age do not know their rights and get exploited.

I think that if you asked kids in rural communities, you'd get quite a positive response.

daveberta said...

Yes, well, I tend to think that Mike Cardinal is more likely in cabinet because of his fishing skills (he's Ralph's BC fishing buddy) rather than for his intellectual prowess.

Aaron, I have no doubt that children in rural areas work on farms with their families. I have no problem with that. The changes in Alberta's child labour regulations dealt with 12-14 year olds working in the service sector, mainly the restaurant industry.

"It's the wrong thing to do if the majority of these kids are doing it because mom and dad are too poor. It's the wrong thing to do if kids this age do not know their rights and get exploited."

Exactly. This is what social assistance is for.

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