The very idea of progress is under real threat in Canada for the first time in generations.
The Canadian promise – that if you get educated and work hard, you can guarantee a better life for yourself and for your children – is being seriously questioned.
Middle-class incomes have stalled for a generation, leaving many Canadians feeling anxious about whether we can afford the education our children will need, and whether we can afford to upgrade our own skills and knowledge to keep pace in an economy where seven of 10 jobs will require a diploma, degree or skilled trade.
While the provinces have constitutional responsibility for education, there is a long history of federal efforts to supplement and support provincial policies. The federal government should support the efforts of individual Canadians to go to university, college or trade school, as well as to continue their education throughout their lives.
A high-quality education serves as a road map to a rewarding career and fosters the kind of innovation and productivity required for Canadian businesses to succeed.
Yet the education policies of the Conservative government have been failures. They have ignored a serious problem with low graduation rates for apprentices, which deprive the economy of highly skilled people. They have done almost nothing to help offset the growing costs of education, letting student debt skyrocket under their watch.
Even their new job grant program is a shell game which actually takes money away from training programs, and does nothing to support the type of training used so successfully by small businesses.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau believes we need to take education more seriously as a driver of economic success and security right across the country. He has argued that Canada needs a new national focus on education, which would build Canada’s competitive advantage around a highly skilled, creative and innovative workforce, because Canadians’ ingenuity and work ethic represent the best investment we can make in an era when change is the only constant.
Liberal Party of Canada Social Development Critic