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.
This is my favourite post yet. Thank you for illustrating the connection between macroeconomics, youth unemployment and global unrest with plain language that anyone can understand … and hopefully many will begin to reconsider from our insulated Alberta perspective.
You nailed it Brad. In a former city that I lived in the Board of Trade recognized that we can pay now (helping with child care and single moms and youth engagement programs) or we can pay later, when these kids enter our criminal justice system. As your post detailed, those issues have been ramped up in recent times and by looking from a global prospective. But the game is still the same: engage now or engage latter. The only thing that isn’t an option is to have it not affect us.
Awesome post Brad. As we remember the one young man with a life so full of hope and promise who gave his life in the service of his Canada, we cannot forget the other young man who took it from him. So desperate and downtrodden and weak of spirit that the dark side took him over.