A very Liberal lunch date
By Karena Walter
Talk about student employment was on the lunch-hour menu March 27 when two of London's Members of Parliament responded to meaty questions in the University Community Centre's atrium.
Joe Fontana and Sue Barnes participated in a town hall meeting hosted by Western's Young Liberals Club.
The two MPs were asked a series of questions about the justice system, female representation and immigration but the entrée of choice was whether students would be able to get jobs and keep them.
London West MP, Barnes, said she was proud of the Liberal's achievements in this area which include putting aside $315 million for youth employment in last year's budget and the establishment of a new government Internet site for finding jobs.
Part of the federal youth employment strategy is Youth Link, a booklet for 15 to 30-year-olds about 200 career programs, resources and job opportunities at home and abroad offered by the federal government.
"We recognize the transition between education and the work place is not easy," said Fontana, MP for London East.
Canadians are now poised to have the best employment opportunities yet, Fontana said, but added there has to be better communication between universities and provincial governments. For instance, there are 20,000 jobs available at present for computer programmers in Canada but employers have to go outside the country to fill them because there are not enough qualified people in Canada.
"The whole nature of work has changed," Barnes said, adding students must go out and make sure they are qualified for the jobs available in the work force. But she explained the demographics have also changed, making job searching difficult as there are more people of working age now than in previous years.
Research and development is the key to make sure Canada is on the forefront, Fontana said. The government does not want to lose the young minds of the country to American recruiters or "head hunters," he added.
The economy will create one million jobs by the end of the year, Fontana said. "[Mulroney] created the mess in the first place and we have to clean it up."