IT IS LIKELY that you spent your summer trying to find a job. Many students in Canada were trying to make enough money to sustain themselves throughout an eight-month period of studies, but, for the most part, the jobs were not there.
Ever since the economic downturn in 2008, there have been fewer jobs for students, and the competition has been fierce for the few remaining good ones. At this point, students need some help. Since Members of Parliament (MPs) just returned to the legislative session Sept. 17, the chance has passed for improving the student employment situation for Summer 2012.
However, students can rest easy knowing we weren’t completely forgotten over the summer. Although the country sometimes forgets about the Liberal Party of Canada after their third place finish in the last election, the Liberals were the ones who didn’t forget those between the ages of 18-25. It was this party that questioned the government about their plans to address student unemployment on the first day of the fall House sitting.
The fact that students were mentioned at all during the first debate of Question Period is a blessing. It isn’t rare for students to be forgotten outright. This is because after a two and a half month break, there are so many outstanding issues to be addressed by the legislative assembly, that every five minutes a new subject appears on the floor.
Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale was the member who brought attention to the student issue, explaining that youth joblessness is nearly 15%. He asked the government, “Instead of empty spin, when will we see some real economic action to support young Canadians?”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his government was responsible for a strong job creation record, but he never mentioned the word student or youth once. Instead, he praised the benefits of GST reduction—savings for low-income Canadians.
To be fair, the government has a Youth Employment Strategy (YES) in place as a way for employers to help fund student employees. It involves 11 different federal departments; however, it has little to no direct effect on students.
Although the federal parties continue to argue who is best suited governing, students ultimately don’t care who takes the lead on jobs. The youth of Canada just want something done and they want it done right. It is stressful enough having to worry about homework, let alone wondering if you have enough money for food this week.
If the government wants a well-educated crop of young people to stimulate the economy with post-secondary degrees, they have to make sure they have the funds to get those degrees. The government needs to have a better youth employment strategy in place for summer 2013 and they need to start now.
Christopher Radojewski is the Fulcrum’s political columnist. If you have any comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org