Stop job-loss bleeding

Federal government needs to bring back Local Initiatives program

To the editor:

I am writing about the CBC news report about Canada loses nearly 46,000 jobs in December 2013.

If the Stephen Harper Conservatives were serious about job creation, they would not rely entirely on the whims of private-sector hiring. In 1944, Canada’s unemployment rate dropped below one per cent because one out of every three adult males was engaged in military service and many private-sector workers were fulfilling government contracts.

As former British Labour MP Tony Benn put it, “If you can have full employment by killing Germans, why can’t we have it by building hospitals, schools, recruiting nurses and teachers? If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.”

In the 1970s, the Liberal government experimented with direct job creation delivered through local organizations and citizen groups. The Local Initiatives Program successfully hired in areas such as arts and culture, recreation, tourism, research and protecting the environment.

The federal government needs to renew these initiatives. With double-digit unemployment currently among youth, do we really want a generation of young people living without incomes, without job experience, and without an opportunity to contribute to society?

Larry Kazdan

Vancouver

100 Mile House Free Press

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