The Great Young Offenders Act Debate

The debate for November 1999 is:

The Harris Government in Ontario is introducing legislation to outlaw squeegee kids. Are squeegee kids young entrepreneurs? Are they criminals? Are they really a problem to society or is society's treatment of the poor and homeless the problem? What do you think?

Read what other people have said

Comments Made by Participants

02 Nov 1999

I think, that Squeegee Kids are normal human beings trying to earn a living like everyone in this world. But there way of earning a living is through clean car windshields. That brings us to the question "Should Squeegee Kids be Outlawed" well, maybe there should be some means of control over the Squeegee entrepreneur business, not control over the Squeegee kids. Therefore, Squeegee Kids should given a chance to make some sort of income.

03 Nov 1999

I believe there are much more serious problems out there then eliminating squeegee kids. I agree with the fact that they are nerve racking, but shouldn't we be dealing with bigger problems, instead of a bunch of kids that are not harming anybody?

04 Nov 1999

I think that by removing Squeegee Kids it will lead to other crime and since washing windshields is not that bad we should leave it alone. Also by giving fines to them will make the teenagers rob places to pay of the tickets so I think the society has other problems to be worried about

09 Nov 1999

Squeegee Kids are just trying to make some money so they can survive. Personally, I would rather see them doing this than selling drugs or committing crimes.

09 Nov 1999

Squeegee kids have to be removed. If they want money, there's tons of jobs out there. They are just lazy to get a real job and therefore make a living by washing car windows on the streets. Not only, does this intimidate the people, but it is a major risk for the driver. Accidents can be caused because of this.

09 Nov 1999

The Harris Government should create laws to deal with the source of the problem (poverty / education / lack of opportunity, etc.) By outlawing squeegee kids the Harris Government is doing the "knee jerk" thing and dealing with a symptom of the problem, instead of dealing with the cause. They SHOULD pass a law outlawing shortsighted government leadership....

10 Nov 1999

I think that squeegee kids are dumb and should find a real job instead of harassing innocent and unsuspecting people.

14 Nov 1999

I strongly believe that Harris and his "followers" only want to punish the young entrepreneurs who are trying really hard to survive in this "wonderful, helpful, we will take care of our brothers and sisters" country of ours!!!!!! Harris, what the hell kind of human are ya? Leave the squeegee kids alone! They are not hurting anyone! They need jobs to survive, but you keep taking them away!!!!!!!

14 Nov 1999

I THINK THE SQUEEGEE KIDS ARE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS. TO OUTLAW THEIR ACTIVITY IS GROSS OVERKILL. ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS SOME REGULATIONS ON WHERE, TIMES, AND HOW MANY CAN WORK AT ANY ONE LOCATION AT A TIME. IF YOU FORCE THEM OUT OF THIS VISIBLE AND LARGELY HARMLESS ACTIVITY YOU WILL SURELY DRIVE THEM TO FAR WORSE ENTERPRISES SUCH AS DRUG-DEALING, THEFT AND CHILD PROSTITUTION. THE VERY SAME KIDS THIS LEGISLATION WILL DRIVE OFF THE STREET CORNERS MAY BE THE ONES THAT STEAL YOUR CAR OR BREAK INTO YOUR HOME. INSTEAD OF HARASSING THEM, THESE YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD BE OFFERED SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE INTO OTHER WORK SUCH AS THE TRADES. THE TEACHING OF POLITE METHODS OF OFFERING TO CLEAN A WINDSHIELDS WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. BESIDES THESE KIDS ARE A VISIBLE TESTIMONY TO THE POOR IN OUR SOCIETY. MANY POLITICIANS AND OTHERS WOULD LIKE THEM TO JUST DISAPPEAR SO THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE. I SAY LEAVE THE KIDS ALONE AND DEAL WITH THE POOR IN OUR SOCIETY IN CREATIVE AND POSITIVE WAYS. ISN'T IT IRONIC THAT THE GOVERNMENT THAT CONSTANTLY CALLS FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO START BUSINESSES, AND BUILD THE ECONOMY IS NOW GOING TO 'SIC' THE POLICE ON OUR YOUNGEST ONES. SURELY WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS! 

15 Nov 1999

Most squeegee kids don't cause any harm and are out there to pay for real things not drugs and alcohol it is better for them to work to get their money than to rob a people or something. If your scared of someone that washes bug guts off cars for a living then just drive away. If you have a brain in your head let them wash your window. I think if you want to be scared of a person, be afraid of the ones that defend murderers and abusers!

15 Nov 1999

Squeegee kids have been portrayed by Harris' government and the media as a negative force, specifically in Southwestern Ontario. They are in fact young entrepreneurs who may have, on some level, consciously chose to make a living this way or, they were forced to resort to this as their source of income. Many Squeegee kids have been known to prefer this form of income than to resort to begging people for money, which is considered as the lowest point in mere survival known as absolute poverty. Squeegee kids do, however, pose a threat to drivers in that some of them are reckless enough to run in front of cars that are still moving. Thus, this would lead to some unfortunate person unintentionally hitting, and possibly even killing, a human being. And we all know what will happen after that. Instead of bitching and complaining about how Squeegee kids are a hassle to society, the Harris government might want to start looking at some incentives to institutionalize the situation. If they start implementing laws to "outlaw" Squeegee kids, realistically, all they are doing is sweeping the problem under the proverbial rug. The problem at hand may be taken care of, temporarily. Essentially, the Squeegee kids will try to find some other ways to make money, without begging. They will always, however, continue to be seen as some form of inconvenience to others. So my advice to Harris is to offer some guidelines when "squeegee-ing" or set up an employment program, for people's sake, and give them a chance!

22 Nov 1999

Squeegee kids  should get a real job

22 Nov 1999

They shouldn't outlaw squeegee kids unless they're annoying like some are

22 Nov 1999

I'm not sure if they should or if they shouldn't. For some it's all they can do.

22 Nov 1999

I don't think Squeegee kids should be outlawed because if the Squeegee kids are outlawed, the squeegee kids would get frustrated and possibly commit a criminal offence, and possibly murder. I think, as a experienced driver, squeegee kids are fine where they are and I would rather see them doing this than using drugs and committing crimes. 

24 Nov 1999

No, squeegee kids should not be outlawed the industry should be regulated like any other industry in legal industry in Canada .

24 Nov 1999

Are Squeegee kids really hurting anyone ? If they are, who ? I mean, these are kids who need some money but have nowhere to go ! I think if kids have to wash windows to make money, it is not their problem, it is the economy. Where are their parents, these kids could be doing so many worse thing such as prostitution, drugs, or vandalism. They aren't harming anyone!!!

25 Nov 1999

Instead of spending time and money on outlawing squeegee kids the government could actually work on something productive such as supporting social institutions that help kids get off the streets. I find it amazing how they simply ignore the cause of the problem.

02 Dec 1999

They're hungry and poor give the kids a break.

03 Dec 1999

Yes I believe it should be illegal for squeegee kids to wash car windows unless asked to do so. I personally would find it threatening. However I also believe they should be helped to find both meaningful employment and accommodation. I don't think they should have a criminal record unless they will not comply with regulations.

04 Dec 1999

Outlawing squeegee kids is in itself criminal. The horrible truth is that many of these kids are on the street because they have to be -- they have no where else to go. Squeegeeing gives them some dignity in that they are working for their money instead of simply begging. Maybe if we cared enough about our youth to look seriously into ways of helping them, the squeegee "problem" would begin to solve itself. These kids have little hope for obtaining a "real" job when they have no address, little education, and little or no experience in the work field. The problem is with us: we are more concerned with image and how street youth reflect on us as citizens of a given city or country, that all we want to do is sweep them under the carpet hoping they will go away. HAVE A LITTLE COMPASSION!! THOSE ARE OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS OUT THERE.

07 Dec 1999

The squeegee kids don't care how much you pay them, and they need the money. If they start threatening you, call the police!!!

08 Dec 1999

Squeegee Kids are a disgrace to human kind. They are sorry excuses for people, and I am disgusted when I see them. I think they should get real jobs, like garbage men or McDonalds workers. All right, maybe those are not real jobs either, but hey, they make more money then pushing a squeegee!

08 Dec 1999

I think that people should leave squeegee kids alone. They don't hurt anybody and they are just trying to earn a living 

12 Dec 1999

Show some compassion, if not just look at the facts; they need to money, would you rather have them selling drugs to your children or commit theft all over the city? they're going to get money any way they can, what importance is mere pocket change to a person who's driving a car, while they're out there hungry in the freezing cold and our "mere pocket change" has value. 

13 Dec 1999

I think squeegee kids should be allowed to squeegee other people's cars. They have to make a living just like the rest of us. Some people are homeless and they need a job to support themselves

13 Dec 1999

If only the government would give these people jobs ,they wouldn't go around and bug people to wash their cars, not that I have a problem with squeegee kids .I think it's great that they are getting out and trying to get some type of income instead of sitting around in the house asking there parents for money. They are not dirty people, they are trying to make a living.

07 Jan 2000

In my experience, squeegee kids are civilized kids trying to make a buck. Contrary to many of the stories that are circulating throughout the city, I've never seen a squeegee kid harrass a motorist. If you do not wish to have your windshield cleaned, simply say no, and the squeegee kid will move on to the next car. In all honesty, with other issues such as the homeless and emergency-room situations, do we not have more pressing issues to worry about?

10 Jan 2000

squeegee kids offensive? our government is offensive!!! I have driven downtown for the past 25 years and have never had a problem with any squeegee kids. Is this the land of opportunity, freedom of enterprise? Look at all the illegal phone fraud companies that rape people their hard earned money. How easy. What is the government doing to rectify this massive problem. Give me a break, go after the real criminals and stop wasting my hard earned dollars.

14 Jan 2000

i think that squeege kids are all right and if thats their way of life then at least they are earning one.

15 Jan 2000

I'm doing a school speech on the squeegee kids and I'm finding some things that people are saying that shock me! The poor kids are doing their best to make money! For all the people out there who say that they should be banned, and that they are lazy and should go out and find a job, how do you find a job if you have no education when people with at least some education can't even find jobs! Maybe their parents didn't have any money, and therefore could not supply them with a good education! It's much better that they work than have them sitting in the middle of University Avenue wrapped up, sleeping in blanket, doing nothing! So give them a break!

19 Jan 2000

Squeegee youth show both motivation and stamina to work proving this time and time again by day to day activities involving "squeegeeing"...I have known youth to brave the weather for hours at a time in the hopes of earning enough money to survive the day. There is always a bad apple in every bunch and there always will be but I think it not fair to sit and condemn the good along side the bad. I feel that the youth should be given a chance and the only youth that should be targeted are the ones who prove that they need to be. If they are to be banned, then the government should instill programs that will supplement what they are striving for through squeegeeing, and I am not saying to support their habits!