New Democratic Party Vies for the Youth Vote

Mulcair’s plan promises huge boost in youth employment.

Leah Ching, Staff Writer


Tom Mulcair. PC: Matt Jiggins/ Flickr

Tom Mulcair. PC: Matt Jiggins/ Flickr

As the Canadian election campaign rages on, the NDP is one of the latest parties to make promises to young voters. The party unrolled a plan to curb youth unemployment and “crack down” on unpaid internships in Canada. The NDP’s leader Tom Mulcair seeks to work toward these goals by policy change and “establishing basic protections that aren’t afforded to youth right now.”

The NDP is not the only party keenly working toward getting the student vote. The Green Party recently released their platform, promising to slash tuition rates, and get rid of it all together by 2020 if elected. The NDP promised to provide up to $200 million over four years toward the private sector and non-governmental organizations to generate a ballpark of 40,000 jobs, paid-internships and co-op placements for young people. The party leader unveiled this plan with the goal of “breaking the vicious cycle that exists in Canada: no experience, no job; no job, no experience.”

This plan is not new to the party, with Mulcair always championing issues surrounding education and youth employment. In 2013, Mulcair spoke to Prime Minister Harper about his party’s priorities during a question period in the House of Commons saying that youth unemployment represents $11 billion of lost income since the recession in 2008, which will take over a generation to recover. He said to Harper, “The high youth unemployment rate obviously has significant consequences for our economy.  Why are our young people not one of the Prime Minister’s four priorities?”

Youth unemployment sits at 13.1% with many young people volunteering and taking on part time work with low pay and long hours just to get their foot in the door of their chosen field.

“It’s very hard to get work in your field,” says second year student Amanda. “I’m in Pre-Law, and at my age, there’s really very few things I could do that pertain to my field. My options are ‘Do I pay for my tuition with the income and tips I make as a server? Or do I take a shitty job in my field where I’m worked to the bone for low pay?’ It will give me work experience, but then I’m stuck taking out student loans and going into debt, or working two jobs and letting my grades suffer for it. It’s a lose-lose situation for me.”

Under the NDP plan, all infrastructure projects receiving $10 million or more in federal funding will hire apprentices and interns. Also, an NDP government would provide $5 million annually in grants for municipalities to create 1,250 apprenticeships. A very well thought-out plan, Mulcair promises to set in place protections for health and safety, and provisions to ensure fair pay.

The election of an NDP government could have large implications for recent graduates looking for jobs in their field. Students are now cast with an array of choices in the upcoming federal election. The promises made by party platforms mean that students who have done their research and take to the polls will be prepared to vote for leaders that support their interests, and if they win, hold them accountable to their promises.


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