In 2010, after nearly a decade of BC Liberal rule, the youth unemployment rate in British Columbia had reached a staggering 13.8 per cent. This was the highest it had been in the past seven years.
Under the BC Liberal Government, young British Columbians have faced many obstacles to their economic success. High unemployment, slow wage growth, and a disproportionate amount of part-time labour are some of the severe threats to the financial well-being of young British Columbians.
Under the BC Liberal government, young British Columbians have not only had to deal with high unemployment, but also incredibly slow wage growth. Between 2007 and 2010, the weekly wages of BC Youth have grown around 20 times slower than the weekly wages of British Columbians aged 25 to 54.
British Columbia is the anomaly among the successful Western provinces. Young Canadians from Alberta and Saskatchewan have fared relatively well under their Conservative governments. While all Western provinces experienced rising youth unemployment from 2008 to 2010, BC’s was by far the highest. Between 2008 and 2010, British Columbia’s youth unemployment rate increased by 5.8 per cent. This is over twice as much as Manitoba’s increase and almost three times more than Saskatchewan in the same period.
Many young British Columbians are concerned and angry about their seemingly bleak economic future. They are right to be concerned and their anger is justified. There is, however, a worrying trend in how young people are directing these emotions.
Instead of demanding that governments remove impediments to success such as high taxes and cumbersome over-regulation of business, young Canadians are responding to their economic insecurity by demanding extreme left-wing reforms to our economic system. Such reforms include levying enormous taxes on successful individuals and placing crippling regulatory measures on British Columbia’s businesses.
The misdirection of their anger was visible during the ‘Occupy Vancouver’ protests. These protests were led by youth who were concerned about their financial well-being and the future of their Nation. However, instead of putting the blame on the high taxes created by left-wing governments and regulatory red tape that impedes job creation, the protesters blamed successful Canadians and corporations.
The latest provincial polling provides another example of a significant portion of young British Columbians favouring risky, left-wing economics. The most recent Angus Reid poll shows that the BC New Democratic Party will capture one out of every two voters between the ages of 18 to 34.
The future of our province lies in the hands of BC’s youth. Will young British Columbians realize that a combination of low taxes and small government is the only path to economic freedom and success or will BC continue its path to becoming a left-wing economic basket-case like Spain or even Greece?
Jesse Donovan is a political science student at the University of Toronto. He was born and raised in North and West Vancouver. Jesse has served in the Canadian Armed Forces since 2010. Currently, he works as a summer intern for the BC Conservative Party. Jesse is also the president and founder of the BC Conservative Youth Association, a grassroots organization for young conservatives in BC.