Engaging our youth

I think we need to get a whole lot better at engaging young people in the discussion of the economic future of New Brunswick. I’ll define ‘young people’ here as anyone under 30.

Please note: I am not talking about another child Premier. I am talking about getting them engaged in the overall process of economic development.

It’s not hard to find kids that are quite engaged about the environmental future of our province and planet. It’s not hard to find kids railing on about injustice and equality but to find somebody in their 20s that would actually take a keen interest in the future of the province – i.e. its economy – is a very difficult thing to find.

At one level, this is counterintuitive. When we are young, we are the most apt to carve out strong opinions on issues. We are, after all, just starting to realize that there is more to the world than music, movies, booze and girls (guys). So young people will picket, wear tee shirts with clever slogans or pictures of Che or whatever.

But would’t our draws drop if 100 high school kids protested the lack of effort to fix our economic problems?

I honestly don’t understand this. I would think the youth would be outfront on this. The student newspapers, Boom, Here, blogs, etc. – but for the most part it is left to old fogies like Alec Bruce to ruminate on these issues.

Take that magazine Boom. I don’t know if you have seen this but it claims a circulation of 20,000 (publication of 20,000) and it has some groovy articles.

Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a magazine called Boom that was actually referring to the future of our economy instead of the same old music, writing, entertainment and sex? Sure there should be a readership for ‘sexual exercising’ (this edition’s major topic) but shouldn’t there at least be a similar readership for the fundamental issues that will shape the future of the province?

Maybe not.

I think we have always taken economic matters for granted. Governments are about health care. About roads. About social programs. The economy will take care of itself.

But the last decade is clear proof that the economy is some disconnected entity that runs in parallel to our communities. It is our communities. And if we don’t do anything to stop it, the economy is going to run into the ground and take this province with it.

And then we will have to publish Bust, the new magazine about New Brunswick.