Discussion centres on shaping up Canada’s economy

Photo: Eric Davidson

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair made a pit stop at the University of Ottawa to deliver a keynote speech about the Canadian economy.

“An NDP government is committed to building a stronger, fairer, and more sustainable Canada for today and for tomorrow,” he declared to the hundreds of U of O students and staff huddled in the lobby of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) building on Sept. 22.

Mulcair stressed the importance of promoting education, childcare, healthcare, and the environment as factors for growing the economy.

“I firmly believe that the best measure of a diversified, well-functioning economy is the strength of the middle class,” he continued.

The event was sponsored by iVote, a non-partisan volunteer branch of the University’s Jean-Luc Pepin research chair (JLP).  In addition to Mulcair’s address, the event featured a diverse panel of economists to discuss current Canadian economic policy.

The panel consisted of Pedro Antunes, member of the Conference Board of Canada, Scott Clark, former Deputy Minister of Finance, David Macdonald, from the Canadian Centre for Policy, Andrew Sharpe, from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, and Jim Stanford, from Unifor.

Their discussion addressed how the next government will have to implement policies that promote economic stability and performance within the Canadian economy, the top ranked election issue according to the CBC.

“What we learned from people who have studied the labour market is that education really matters for all sorts of reasons,” said Kevin Page, chairman of the JLP and former parliamentary budget officer in an interview with the Fulcrum. “You don’t want to sell yourself short in developing your human capital.”

This resonated well with Mulcair’s speech, during which he also addressed the importance of education, maintaining that to succeed in the current market “it will take a robust knowledge-based economy.”

Mulcair also stressed the importance of protecting the environment, reiterating his argument that economic policies that are beneficial in the long run are most appealing to Canadians. But, he said that he sees a brighter future by counting on youth votes in the upcoming elections.

As students head to the polls on Oct. 19, they will have to consider an array of different issues as they vote. Kevin Page insisted that youth participation is indispensable to make an informed decision regarding these complex problems.

“In handing down this institution there’s no shortage of big issues,” he said. “That’s why it’s really important for you folks to get engaged.”