A government bent on lowering the living standard of Canada’s next generation couldn’t do a much better job than Stephen Harper and his colleagues have done.
The Prime Minister and his high-octane employment minister, Jason Kenney , have thrown one barrier after the next in front of young job seekers. Canada’s youth unemployment rate (15-24 years of age, both sexes) was 12.2 per cent when the Conservatives took power in 2006. Today, it is 13.6 per cent . But the numbers tell only part of the story. Hundreds of thousands of young people have given up their job search and gone back to school. Others have simply disappeared from the head count.
Even young people Ottawa counts as “employed” are struggling. Almost half work part-time and don’t earn enough to live on. They’re not using the skills they acquired at great personal expense. Their contracts may or may not be renewed.
The millennial generation — born between 1980 and 2000 — was already facing strong economic headwinds, corporate cost-cutting and the curse of being born in the long shadow of the baby boomers when it reached adolescence. These young job seekers needed a government that was on their side. Instead, they got one that systematically obstructed them.