Opinions

For a millennial, the government’s economy platform is shady

Illustration by Tina Wallace

This is the fifth article from Stephanie Piamonte in a series that examines why millennials are, or seem to be, disengaged from politics, and whether the problem is our generation, or if it is generational. The first article can be found here, the second article can be found here, the third article can be found here, and the fourth article can be found here.

Money can’t buy you love, but the current Canadian government’s obsession with the economy has shown it can’t buy you peace, a preserved environment, or productive debate either.

Having discussed issues of importance to millennials in this series, including social issues, the environment, and peace, there seems to be a disjuncture between millennial concerns and government priorities. In each case, the government has ignored millennial concerns in favour of the economy.

The economy is an essential part of any state’s agenda. Yet for the most part, millennials aren’t buying into the current administration’s economic platform. Perhaps that is because when it comes to their government, millennials are thinking like citizens rather than consumers.

Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected on a promise to reduce the GST, he has consistently employed economic incentives to entice voters. We are told the Canadian government is working to create more jobs and economic growth, and hear officials talk about the economy as if it is a tangible organization, rather than an abstract concept affected by global trends and corporate interests.

Now the government wants to balance the budget, and while this might sound like a good economic goal, should it really be our top priority?

Beyond the fact that an economy-first Canada reflects conservative values, we have to consider the consequences (or to put it in conservative terms, the costs) of these policies. Is making money the only goals we have as a country? What about social responsibility? No matter what the government ads say, a strong economy doesn’t make a strong country, community, or citizen.

What else, besides an economy, can millennials build Canada upon?

Former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson believed there was a great gulf between material advance and social and moral progress. He believed if that gulf became too wide, we could lose ourselves in it.

Millennials are a substantial demographic, and we have the opportunity to form a government that bridges that gulf.

Millennials can elect a government built on ideas rather than ideologies, on sound policy rather than party politics, and on a vision for the future rather than the status quo. We can build a Canada we value, a Canada that is consistent with our values.

We will decide if we want a wealthy Canada, if that is even possible for the average Canadian, or if we want a Canada that is rich in debate, the arts, and the sciences.  We will decide if we want a Canada that stewards the environment, treasuring it as a natural resource rather than an economic opportunity. We will decide if we want a Canada that seeks peace, no matter the cost.  We will decide our legacy.