If she didn't already know, Mayor Sharon Gaetz found out that kids will ask some of the most interesting and honest questions.
"Do you have a prison here?" a young person asked Gaetz in Chilliwack council chambers Tuesday.
"How old are you?" asked another. "I'm 57," she responded, "but if you ask me how much I weigh, I'll say, 122 pounds."
The children were at City Hall for cake and to have a story read by the mayor as part of National Child Day, which is Nov. 20 every year.
The day is set aside to honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which was created in 1959.
After a chat with the Grade 2 students from Highroad Academy and youngsters from the Salvation Army's Happy Hearts Daycare, Gaetz read For Every Child, a book produced by UNICEF that outlines the rights children have in word and pictures.
After the story, the kids had cake and listened to songs performed by John Maleska in the City Hall lobby.
At Tuesday's meeting, Karen Steegstra, the new child and youth community co-ordinator at Chilliwack Community Services, gave council a presentation on National Child Day.
"The Convention on the Rights of Children represents efforts to guarantee children the right to healthy survival, to development, education and healthcare," Keegstra said.
It also advocates "Freedom from physical, mental, and sexual abuse or exploitation and it guarantees the right of children to participate meaningfully in their own destiny."
There are 193 countries that have signed the 1989 convention. Just Somalia and the United States have not. Those countries that have signed agreed to be accountable and report back every five years, something Canada did not do for 10 years, until September of this year.
[A]nd the feedback from the UN committee was not positive," Steegstra said. "The committee stated that there was a lack of analysis as to how much children's rights have been achieved in Canada and how progress has been made.
"Many of the committee's complaints were similar to the conclusions reached a decade ago: that poverty among aboriginal, black and immigrant children as well as disabled children is significant and growing."
The 2011 Child Poverty Report Card prepared by BC's Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition said one in five children under the age of six are living in poverty in B.C.
Steegstra then went on to outline many of the things the Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee have been doing to try to tackle the problems in our own community.
"While our community of Chilliwack is doing its best with the resources available to provide appropriate services for children and youth, the policy-makers in our province and country need to be pressed to make children and families a priority," she said.