It’s been eight years coming

After the highest voter turnout since 1993, Canada declares it’s ready for “Real Change” that will profoundly affect Canada’s youth

Despite Gerretsen’s history with Queen’s students, he will be a good advocate for our interests as an MP.
Despite Gerretsen’s history with Queen’s students, he will be a good advocate for our interests as an MP.

The longest, most expensive and quite possibly the most important Canadian federal election is finally over. The Leafs almost don’t suck, the Jays are in the playoffs and we’ve finally gotten rid of Harper. What a time to be alive. 

I’ll preface this article by saying that I’m truly and deeply happy about Monday night’s results. Canada’s new government promises financial security for our demographic and our local representative is well equipped to advocate for our interests.

For anyone who was too busy caught up with Netflix and chilling, Mark Gerretsen won the Kingston and the Islands riding and the Liberal Party won a majority government — the largest majority government since Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives in 1984. 

With the new prime minister-designate comes change for our youth. It’s widely known that many of Canada’s youth, especially here at Queen’s, were boldly in support of Trudeau. This isn’t only because of Stephen Harper’s right-wing standstill mentality and Mulcair’s “let’s spend money like we’re at Stages” plan, but also because of Trudeau’s robust initiatives for young people. 

As Queen’s students, the most pressing questions right now are what a Liberal federal government will translate into and how Mark Gerretsen’s appointment will affect us specifically. 

A topic that will have an impact on youth will be the reduction of the middle class tax rate. Individuals earning $44,700 to $89,401 will see a tax cut from 22 per cent to 20.5 per cent. 

According to the Council of Ontario Universities, the average salary two years after graduating is $49,277. Now, for those who don’t dwell in Jeffery Hall, this tax change means direct savings. After receiving your paycheques, you would save $68 a year more than graduates before the tax change. 

The second big change will originate from the Liberals’ fiscal policy. The Liberal Party plans to invest over $350 million each year for the next over years. This will translate into 40,000 new jobs a year, better co-op and apprenticeship programs and employment insurance breaks for companies that hire young people. 

To ensure proper monetary distribution and a deeper understanding of youth interests, a Youth Advisory Council will be established. This will serve to bridge the gap between the needs of Canadian youth and government policies. 

The last change is by far the most controversial. What everyone’s been waiting for. The topic of the hour. Marijuana. Maclean’s reports that 58 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 want marijuana legalized, according to a 2012 survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion.  Think about that for a second. That’s a lot of Canadians who’ve potentially been involved in criminal activity. 

With these three monumental propositions, Canada will enter a new era. Although only time will tell, in the current international sphere, growth is necessary for survival. 

Shifting now to our beloved Kingston — let’s take a look at Mark Gerretsen. He’s about as nice as his last name is easy to type. Although Gerretsen has had a brittle past with Queen’s students, he’s done well to mend that. By showing enthusiasm at the Kingston Youth Strategy panel and mingling with students at the Grant Hall Debate, he’s worked to gain student approval. 

This renewed friendship couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s no secret that student support was the cherry on top of his landslide pie. As Queen’s students, we sometimes forget how important Kingston is to us as a city. It’s our home. Its streets are our streets, its water is our water. We’re a part of its 120,000 residents. By the time I graduate, I’ll have never lived anywhere longer other than my hometown.

We have to work with Gerretsen to make sure our own voices are heard. Not only for our needs in Kingston, but for all the needs of all young people around this beautiful nation. Irrespective of who we wanted to see win, we have to utilize this reciprocal relationship. 

In this generation of instantly accessible knowledge and heightened political interest, I’m excited to see how we move forward. With the Liberal’s youth-sensitive stance, and the strength of our voices, the following four years can kickstart the rest of our lives. Real change is possible.

Zohaib Ahmed is a second-year Political Studies and Philosophy medial.


October 27, 2015
The planned tax cut for the middle income tax bracket would save an individual earning $49,277 approximately $68.65, not $670 as was originally stated in this opinion piece. This is because the tax rate of 22 per cent is applied to the income an individual earns over $44,701 (and less than $89,401), not to their total income.

The Journal regrets the error.

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