Strange way of defining success

Strange way of defining success Open letter to MP Ryan Leef: On July 27, you penned a letter to the Yukon News lauding Stephen Harper's efforts to "set the next generation up for success." As a somewhat youthful 27-year-old, my question to you is: How do

Open letter to MP Ryan Leef:

On July 27, you penned a letter to the Yukon News lauding Stephen Harper’s efforts to “set the next generation up for success.” As a somewhat youthful 27-year-old, my question to you is: How does your government define “success” for young Canadians?

Are we successful when we get a full-time job?

This spring, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was quoted as saying, “There are no bad jobs.” Don’t get me wrong: having a job is a good thing. We all need to make a living.

To this end, your government’s recent investment in Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy is appreciated. But would you consider a trained architect or accountant to be “successful” when they get full-time work as a barrista or dishwasher?

In case you didn’t notice, full-time work isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to the Harper government’s unprecedented attacks on workers’ rights and unemployment benefits, my generation will not have the same job security that our parents did.

Worse, by increasing the age at which we can access Old Age Security from 65 to 67, your government has made it harder for us to retire.

So, if I understand you correctly: Harper is supporting young Canadians by helping us to work jobs we don’t want, without the security we used to have, for longer than we want to?

That can’t be right. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Are you instead defining success, as you mention in your letter, by the degree to which young Canadians align their job-skills with the needs of our economy?

This seems logical: if there is high demand for a particular type of work, it helps to get more training or experience in that area. But how will young Canadians fare when most of the jobs being created by the Harper government – notably in the oil and gas sector – are unsustainable?

Building an economy based primarily on resource-extractive industries (and refusing to take real action to reduce emissions) is setting up our generation for potentially disastrous climate change. But this is also a myopic approach from a strictly economic perspective; in case you failed to notice, the rest of the global economy is diversifying away from these resources.

Germany, the country you cite in your letter as the world’s leading example of youth employment, has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs by investing in renewable energy technology. In contrast, the Harper government ranks last among its G8 counterparts on clean-energy investment, but still gives $1.4 billion dollars to Canada’s oil industry every year.

So, according to this logic: Harper is helping Canada’s youth by creating jobs in an industry that is harmful to our future, so we can get training and experience that other countries are making obsolete?

As much as I appreciate everything that you and Mr. Harper are doing to “set the next generation up for success,” I can’t help but feel that Canada’s youth are better off without your help.

Stephen Roddick

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read