Dan Davies: Parents, not government, should choose when their kids can work

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Your first job probably sticks out from memory of your teenage years. It was the first time to be handed responsibility and carry out a task with the eventual reward of a pay cheque. Earning enough money to purchase something all on your own is a rite of passage. For most of us, it’s also our first lesson in managing money, too.

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It’s the kind of experience that you won’t find in a classroom. Unfortunately, Premier John Horgan and the NDP are taking all that away.

There used to be a time when parents had a say in when and where their child could take on a part-time or summer job. Not anymore. During the dying days of the spring session of the Legislature, Horgan brought in legislation that hands that particular responsibility over to the government.

From now on, if your child is 15 or younger and wants to referee a hockey game or work on the family farm or business, they will have to seek permission of the government, not the parents. I see this as a highly inappropriate attack on the role of the family in our society. This heavy-handed labour law essentially takes away a parent’s own discretion on how to raise their own child.

In our region, it’s going to hit the agricultural sector the hardest. Rhonda Driediger of the BC Agriculture Council put it this way: “It’s very typical of the NDP… they tend to write legislation and ask questions later. Agriculture certainly should have been exempted. These are kids’ first jobs.”

In fact, the agriculture sector wasn't even consulted before the legislation was suddenly dropped on the desks of MLAs.

No one is suggesting that a teenager should be placed on a hazardous workplace or endanger their safety, but it seems Premier Horgan and the NDP want to regulate everything, including parenting.

Dan Davies is the BC Liberal MLA for Peace River North.

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