The Senate Years
This page inventories work by the Honourable Landon Pearson during her years in The Senate of Canada from 1994 to 2005. During these year on Parliament Hill, Landon Pearson became established as “Canada’s Senator for Children and Youth” (Une sénatrice canadienne pour les droits des enfants). Central to this was Landon Pearson’s firm and ongoing conviction that young people understand and involve themselves in the Canadian political process. Her Senate website included a Canadian Youth Guide to the Senate entitled On Second Thought. From 1998 to 2005, Landon Pearson published a regular newsletter and legislative report entitled Children & the Hill, which provided a review of Canadian legislation affecting children. It continues to provide an important public record.
In addition to her duties as a Senator, Landon Pearson advised the Minister of Foreign Affairs on children’s rights and was named Personal Representative of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children (New York, 2001). The special session saw the adoption of the document entitled A World Fit for Children. In its follow-up, Senator Landon Pearson submitted A Canada Fit for Children to the United Nations on April 22, 2004, on behalf of the Government of Canada.
In March of 1998, Landon Pearson co-chaired Out From the Shadows, which brought together 54 youth delegates from Canada, the US, and Latin America including the Caribbean, to tell their stories as youth exploited in the sex trade. Landon Pearson also chaired a Federal Committee against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth as follow-up to the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Stockholm, 1996). By working together across federal ministries, the police and NGOs concerned with the issue, real progress was made. Landon Pearson appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights in 2009 to examine the scope and prevalence of the sexual exploitation of children in Canada.
In 1997-1998, Landon Pearson co-chaired the Special Joint House Committee on Child Custody and Access. The much-anticipated report For the Sake of the Children was the product of lengthy hearings attended by more than 500 witnesses from across Canada. In addition to testimony by parents and children (who are most affected by the Divorce Act), there was testimony by legal, mental health, child development and child protection experts, and other interested groups. The document truly sought to have the best interests of children in mind.