One of the longest election campaigns in Canadian history is finally in the homestretch. (Hooray for the end of those attack ads on Trudeau’s hair.) Even more good news: this time around, the major parties are making some pretty serious pledges about issues that matter to you. There are real promises to address gender inequality and violence against women. The long-ignored issue of murdered and missing indigenous women has actually made it onto platforms. And the major parties are attempting to outcompete one another on childcare promises.
But don’t just take our word for it. Hear it straight from our federal party leaders—all invited to complete FLARE’s federal election questionnaire (Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe declined). We grilled Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May on everything from consent education to access to abortion to gender parity in parliament. Read on for an excerpt, click through to read each individual interview, and then rock your vote on October 19. (Not sure if you’re registered? Click here.)
FLARE asked: Millennials are now the biggest generation in the Canadian workforce, but they face an increasingly precarious job market. What will you do to address that instability?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper answered: The economy is our number-one priority. We have a positive plan to protect our economy over the next four years and create another 1.3 million new, well-paying jobs, including for young Canadians entering the job market. Our plan includes job creating policies like the Home Renovation Tax Credit, reducing taxes on small businesses and the Canada Job Grant—just to name a few. Further, the new Trans Pacific Partnership agreement will create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians across our country. That’s why the decision on October 19 on which government will manage our economy is so important: The wrong decisions on spending or taxes will damage our economy, and cause downsizing and job losses across the country.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau answered: Under Stephen Harper, a shortage of good youth jobs has become the new normal. Thousands of young Canadians remain unemployed or underemployed, and opportunities are so scarce that many have stopped looking for work altogether. This lack of job opportunities places a heavy burden on young Canadians and their parents. We need to invest in our shared future, and that means investing in young Canadians.
A Liberal government will immediately invest $1.3 billion over three years to create jobs and opportunities for young Canadians so they can get a strong start in their careers. Our government will create an additional 40,000 youth jobs each year over the next three years through a renewed Youth Employment Strategy, including 5,000 new green jobs each year. We’ll also offset the costs for employers to hire co-op students in science, technology, engineering, math and business.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair answered: Right now, youth unemployment is double the national average, and CIBC has said that the quality of jobs in Canada is at an all-time low. The NDP has a plan to create the quality jobs young people need to thrive. We will kickstart manufacturing and small business job creation. We will partner with the private sector and NGOs to create an additional employment opportunities for 40,000 young Canadians. And we will put an end to the abuse of unpaid interns in federal jurisdictions, ensuring that young Canadians are fairly paid and receive important workplace protections.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May answered: When young people finish school, they face increasing pressure to take unpaid work. The Green Party will introduce legislation to ban unpaid internships in federally-regulated industries and work with the provinces to cease the practice altogether.
Many young people just getting out of school face a Catch-22: They cannot get hired in new jobs because they lack experience. But unless they get that first job, they’ll never have experience. Greens will create a national Community and Environment Service Corps, which will provide $1 billion per year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth to do work that needs to be done.