Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is duking it out with the NDP over which federal party would do the most to create jobs for youth.
Trudeau released his party’s youth employment strategy during a campaign stop ahead of the Oct. 19 vote in Burnaby, B.C., this morning.
The Liberals are pledging nearly $1.5 billion over four years for programs aimed at helping young people find work.
Trudeau said a Liberal government would spend three times as much as the NDP, $300 million per year for three years, on a youth employment strategy which the party claims will create 40,000 jobs annually.
“Our future is the future of our young people. It means giving them the right tools to succeed and to contribute to our economy,” the Liberal leader said.
Trudeau also wants to hire another 5,000 youths to work as guides and interpreters at Parks Canada and increase to 35,000 the number of federally funded jobs under the Canada Summer Jobs program.
Rounding out the Liberal promises are a pledge of $40 million per year to create co-op positions for engineering and business students and $25 million annually for a youth services program that would send young people across the country to gain work experience.
The Liberal announcement comes just one day after the NDP announced its own youth employment strategy. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said he would create 40,000 youth jobs over four years through co-op and paid internship programs.
Mulcair said an NDP government would do this by opening up internship spaces in federally regulated industries, like at airports and port authorities and by working with municipalities and indigenous governments to create positions for young employees.
Trudeau, however, said that the NDP wouldn’t be able to deliver the program because Mulcair’s pledge to balance the federal budget in the first year would require him to either cut it entirely or come up short on funding commitments.
“This is assistance that Mr. Harper has no intention of providing and Mr. Mulcair doesn’t have the means to do it because he’s decided to follow Mr. Harper’s plan and eliminate his deficit at all costs,” Trudeau said.
“We can do this and he can’t because we’re prepared to invest in the future of our young people.”
The youth unemployment rate sits at 13.1 per cent — almost double the national average — as about 170,000 fewer young people are in the workforce than before the recession of 2009.