Student Budget Consultation 2018: Youth Voices

February 22nd, 2018 by Dan Allan

The Student Budget Consultation is a civic-education and financial-literacy program for high-school students across Canada. The process gives young people an opportunity to learn about government and current affairs, debate varying viewpoints about public policy, and offer their own opinions on the priorities of the federal budget.

Since November 2017, more than 7,000 young Canadians have participated in the 2018 Student Budget Consultation survey. Results have come from more than 450 schools throughout the country, representing every province and territory. A preliminary report on student opinions was shared with the Department of Finance in December 2017, and a final report will be shared by CIVIX upon the conclusion of the project.

New to this year’s project, CIVIX invited youth representatives to share their views on issues that matter to them, and explain how they could be addressed in Budget 2018. These include issues such as debt, mental health, the environment, women’s representation in government and Indigenous rights.

We also invited student participants to share their own views on important issues through audio or video clips, and we received some great responses. Excerpts are available below:

 

Catharine Laflamme (Grade 11 student)

“I think one of the first issues we should be looking at is tax savings and dealing with the top one per cent avoiding paying their taxes. We cannot balance the budget if we’re not getting the proper income from taxes first. Everyone should have an equal opportunity and be paying their fair share.

“Next, the federal government needs to look at how they’re spending Canadians’ hard-earned tax dollars. Instead of looking at short-term solutions, such as funding the oil and gas sector, we should be looking at long-term solutions to benefit the future generations, such as renewable energy and resources. Canada should be working on lessening the heavy financial and environmental weight we are leaving for our children.

“Finally, Canada needs to make sure the middle and lower-class citizens are being heard. All politicians at every level should be approachable and accessible even to the Canadian citizens who have to work 12 hours a day to support their family.

“There are many ways to get citizens involved, such as open houses, public hearings, delegations, public planning sessions and more. When the federal government starts opening up to public opinion, that’s when we will start to get more diverse budgetary solutions.”

 

Shelby Dirksen and Ashley Williams (Grade 11 students)

“We want the student budget to focus on the environment because we are dependent on the environment and the resources it provides.

“Without the environment, the economy will drastically decline and people will be left without jobs. We want the government to focus their funds on certain issues like pollution, the destruction of habitat and most importantly climate change.

“Climate change is a growing issue and by not putting the environment first we’re endangering all of our lives. The environment hasn’t always been first priority so this year we need to make it one and find a way to save our homes and cut back on our waste.

“We are all capable in contributing to this issue. We’re the ones that started it so we need to end it.”

 

Joey Gilderdale (Grade 11 student)

“Canada’s federal budget should be equally spent amongst all needs, wants and priorities that Canadians have and things our country needs as a whole.

“The upcoming federal budget, I feel, needs to include a wildfire fund. In the past 2-3 years we’ve had horrible wildfires in Alberta, and then in 2017 all amongst B.C.

“Wildfires are becoming more common during our summer months. These wildfires can happen anywhere and the budget should not only cover money to help train people to help deal with fires, but it should give people basic fire-prevention tips and emergency gear, training for firefighters, police forces, the Canadian armed forces and paramedics.

“Support should be given to those affected by wildfires and to help with future problems of wildfires. The budget should include enough money to train those mentioned and fund firefighting and fire prevention, and emergency situations.”

 

Logan Huband (Grade 11 student)

“The environment is one of the most important areas that the budget should support greatly. Creating new ways to reduce waste, and making clean renewable energy the norm, should be a top priority. Because at the end of the day, the budget won’t matter if you don’t have a planet to use it on.

“Secondly, post-secondary education should be made more affordable to increase accessibility to lower economic classes. This is also a key priority to ensure the future stays strong with well-educated people.

“Lastly, affordable housing should be invested in to grow the economy as well as grow cities and the population as a whole.”

 

Looking for more of what Canadian high-school students want to see in the upcoming federal budget? CIVIX will be releasing the 2018 Student Budget Consultation results next week! Results from previous years are available here.

Posted in English, News, Student Budget Consultation, Student Budget Consultation |

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