Is The Government Fiddling While The Country Burns? You Be The Judge.

What an amazing force Mother Nature is–I’m not sure why we keep messing around with her when she can put forth this kind of wreckage.

I was watching Question Period on Sunday and one of the guests to be interviewed was Kevin Page. For those not familiar with Mr. Page-he was the first Parliamentary Budget Officer for Canada.

Mr. Page is perfectly positioned to comment on economic conditions in the world as well as the state of the Canadian economy. Part of his interview with Evan Soloman (host of Question Period) had to do with Canada’s current economic condition and some of the things that NEED to be changed as quickly as possible if we are to regain our economic stability and security. He made several important ‘observations’ that, in his view, are important for the government of Canada to address sooner rather than later. Some of those points follow:

1. Our national annual growth rate is stagnant at 1% growth per year. China’s growth rate is close to 6.5% and we are spending money as if we actually have it to spend. The next point should be an eye-opener for many.

2. It is important to point out here that Mr. Page did not say we need to re-think our immigration policy. He did point out that our immigration policy suggests a dramatic increase of immigrants into Canada to just over 300,000 in the year 2017. Many of those are to be skilled labourers and their families.

My question is why have we not continued to train our own skilled labour force and dramatically decrease our own unemployment rates (less $ going out for EI payments), increase income tax to the coffers and increase our growth rate. Need skilled workers–importing said workers for less money per hour I’m sure–we have high unemployment rate among young workers (double digits)

The other question here is can we really afford to continue to expand this unprecedented level of immigrants into Canada which many authorities say could cost the Canadian tax payer between 29Billion Dollars per year and 35 Billion dollars per year.  We are trying to project a picture of generosity and welcoming to the world that we cannot continue to live up to. We are on the verge of legalizing cannabis for the sole purpose of increasing revenues of about a billion dollars per year. That is how challenging our monetary situation is currently. If anyone were to receive that kind of funding it should be our homeless, our First Nations Peoples and those who are living in poverty-including some kids who go to bed with empty bellies or who depend on the good will of church groups and community activists. Truth is we are not so well off that we can afford this level of ‘compassion’. In comparison the U.S. states will welcome 110,000 immigrants this year. (Click on the link underlined above to find out the REAL reasons for increasing a number of new Canadians to our shores. You might be surprised).

3. More students are dropping out of school and either defaulting on their student loans or limiting the amount of their student loans because they don’t feel as though they are going to be able to find a decent paying job after graduating. The jobs that become available tend to be more of the lower income type and they are competed for by huge numbers of applicants many who are immigrants. There is no great hope that they will find adequate employment.

4. As Kevin Page rightfully pointed out one of the immediate concerns should be how we educate our kids. The educational system continues to teach our children using methods that are virtually useless and certainly outdated.  In earlier times most students were taught the basics by using a ‘rote’ style of learning. As we teach our children using the same/similar methods we find that many students today are ill prepared to compete for good middle/upper paying jobs. Employers say that many of the students that come to work for them are not prepared to work independently nor do they demonstrate the skills that encourage innovation, creativity and linear thinking. These are the ‘must haves’ of today’s job market. That’s not to say that there aren’t students who bring these skills to the table just that they are in short supply.

5. The other issue connected to education concerns the curriculum, the topics covered and the learning environments. So much research has been developed over the past few years that suggests ‘top down’ education doesn’t work. It is not interesting to students who are able to learn much more quickly in work groups with their peers. Using modern technology and utilizing a more student centered approach to learning is also more beneficial. When the question is asked why student enrollments are down and why are we closing schools the most direct answer (the boards of education don’t want to entertain this thought unfortunately) is that students are attending more private schools, more home schooling is happening, more students are attending more alternative schools like Alpha ll schools and schools that feature ‘flipped classes’. They are much more interesting and the students get engaged in the leaning process because they have much more of a say about what they learn and how they learn it.

The system is failing us as a community and there seems to be too much complacency, no political will and an over stated concern about having no money to change how we teach our kids.

We need to stop trusting that others have our best interests at heart and that they know what they are doing. We need to begin to take some responsibility as parents and taxpayers for what is the most important period of our children’s development and provide them with every chance to succeed. We owe them that as their parents.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

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