Don’t get me wrong: I like dogs. But our society’s love for dogs sometimes goes over the top. Is it because they are a substitute for the children we haven’t had for decades? Or the children we will never have, period? Whatever it is, it seems wholly disproportionate to the other challenges we face, especially those faced by actual children.
Shelley Fralic’s recent op-ed on the Whistler sled dog controversy captures my thoughts perfectly:
… there is something almost obscene about the reaction to this story, especially coming on the heels of some of the most disturbing news to have been released in this province in recent years: the report by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.’s representative for children and youth, who is the diligent canary in the coal mine for the many abused and neglected kids among us.
Turpel-Lafond has been sounding the alarm for years, but no one seems to be listening, because it never seems to get better for children at risk. Her latest report? Turpel-Lafond found that 21 children, between 2007 and 2009, died before the age of two in homes where the government’s child-welfare system was aware of the “tremendous challenges” facing those families, including domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.
Twenty-one babies. Dead. For no good reason, except our lack of care and caring. Where is the public outpouring? The public memorials? The letters and tweets and Facebook posts and on-air callers and letters to the editor demanding justice, demanding heads roll, demanding changes to the system?
Dead dogs? That gruesome news was enough to make Premier Gordon Campbell launch an investigation, as he did Wednesday, a taxpayer-funded panel that will examine how and why 100 sled dogs came to meet such a grisly fate.
But babies? We just let them die, with nary a whimper.
Edited on: Saturday, February 05, 2011 9:50 AM