I’m generally a very optimistic person. You have to be to be effective in this role. I tell people how the future looks bright and how capital expenditures are expected to keep flowing. I get to celebrate our wins, and share how we are outperforming every other economic jurisdiction in North America.
I also sleep with one eye open.
As I travel to different regions, it doesn’t take long to realize that we in the Edmonton Region are insulated from a lot of the pain and struggle in other places. Specifically, the short, medium and long term impact of youth unemployment … which in my mind is the biggest risk to our economic freedom.
Whether it be 26% in Greece, 24% in Pakistan, 22% in Turkey, 20% in Spain, 18% in Italy, 16% in the USA or 14% in Eastern Canada … it adds up to over 100 million people (largely young men) who are being economically, socially and politically left behind.
And that is not good.
Because what do young men do when their bored? When they can’t make a contribution? When they are tired of shooting things on Xbox? When they can organize through social media?
So when we send off our CF18s yesterday, or when there are shots fired in Ottawa today, or when there is a rally to ban a pipeline tomorrow … I encourage you all to take a moment to really start understanding that the real risk to our economic prosperity is not the price of oil … but growing social unrest in our country, across North America and around the world.