Powerful youth message on human rightsis focus of Canada week in Washington


October 23, 1998

"A very powerful message," is what Ambassador Peter M. Boehm, the permanent representative of Canada, called the exhibit of art works by young Canadians that is now on display in Canada Week at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington.

The fifty-piece display highlights the interpretation Canadian children give to the human rights question. "Young children in Canada share with other children in the world a basic concern for their rights and the rights of individuals.... They’ve put their crayons and their pastels to paper to indicate their vision," added the ambassador at the opening Thursday evening. Ambassador Boehm heads Canada’s Permanent Mission to the OAS that sponsored the program that included a performance by Canadian band Barnacle coming in from Nova Scotia for the event.

Fifty voices strong, another group, from Washington D.C.’s Burrville Elementary School, added children’s presentations that included the Canadian national anthem ‘O Canada,’ among other songs. Burrville has been adopted by the Canadian embassy in Washington.

At the opening reception, OAS Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria welcomed the ambassadors, staff and many other guests, highlighting how similarly Canada and the OAS viewed youth development. "Canada and the OAS have many of the same goals. The OAS has often used the expertise of Canadian youth in much of its research and initiatives."

The OAS Week dedicated to Canada is taking place as the directing council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute is in session for four days at OAS headquarters. This, according to Dr. Boehm--who launched this year’s Canada Week program--was the happiest of coincidences: "We have the directing council meeting here, we have this exhibition and we have a lot of school children in the OAS."

Meanwhile, the evening’s affair culminated with Barnacle serving up a menu of Celtic rock music as it introduced Washington to its Nova Scotia flavor in a routine that contained several tracks from the soon to be released first album which, the members say, it still looking for a name. They described playing at the OAS as an amazing experience.

As a last number, ‘I Love Nova Scotia’ came with Barnacle’s stamp of pride in the Eastern Canadian province the members call home. It is one of the original pieces Barnacle says

it put together. Offered lead vocalist Craig Flemming in an interview afterwards: "Barnacle definitely has its own unique style." And this style he explained to derive from a melding of influences they have taken from other bands in Halifax. "It’s a different style of Celtic.... We’re trying to explore new areas of Celtic...," entered Kevin Bohaychuk, who plays the fiddle, Irish drum, guitar and tin whistle, among other contributions he makes to the Barnacle sound.

Barnacle (also with Brian Zinck as guitarist, bassist and vocalist and Geoff Fleming on guitar and vocals) came together only about six months ago, and already expects its first CD out in a month. From the from the energetic sound of things, it seems well on its way to something big.

This their US debut includes a performance slated for Friday night at Ireland`s Four Provinces Club in Washington, D.C.

In the mean time, the display of children’s drawings, entitled by the Canadian National Arts Centre as ‘Imagine You’re An...Human Rights Through the Eyes of Our Youth,’ will remain open to the public, at the OAS, until next Thursday, October 29.