To the Editor:
So John Armstrong thinks the Summit has become a “mouthpiece for right wing politicians.” (Letter to the Editor, January 2000) I think he has missed the point of the December 1999 news release on the national youth poll - the National Election for the Rights of Youth taken in some schools in late November.
The press release was submitted by me as a follow-up to my November story entitled “Rights vote causes concern” on page 10. That story was an edited version of a press release by the same MP Eric Lowther, opposition critic for Children and Families, supplemented with information from the Elections Canada web site. I am not aware of any protestation by Mr. Armstrong or others to the use of Mr. Lowther's press materials at that time. Nor have I seen exceptions taken to the presence of materials submitted by other politicians such as Richard Patten or Marlene Catterall.
Because the youth poll issue was causing some consternation in the local school boards, and the schools had more or less been left on their own to decide on their participation, I felt the story was of sufficient local interest. Rather than edit the press release issued by Lowther, I chose to submit it as written given that it presented quite clearly the results of the ‘vote.'
The “fed-bashing calls for tax cuts” as Mr. Armstrong puts it was secondary to the issue of the costs of the national youth poll. As the story (press release) stated: “The federal government just spent half a million taxpayer dollars to find out that 3.8% of kids feel their family and food are important.” If, as indicated in the Ekos Research poll reported on in Mr. Armstrong's letter, Canadian's top three priorities are health care, education and child poverty, perhaps the money for the youth poll would have been better spent in meeting the basic needs and education of those same youth, some of whom reside in our community.