QUEEN’S PARK — Faisal Hassan, Ontario NDP Youth Engagement critic, said it’s insulting for Doug Ford to announce a committee to look at the challenges facing marginalized young people particularly when the Ford government has let Black youth down at every possible turn.
“If Doug Ford had been listening to Black youth for the last two years, he wouldn’t need this committee — he would have been busy tearing down the barriers disproportionately faced by racialized young people,” said Hassan. “Rather than expanding opportunities for Black youth, Mr. Ford has been making cuts that are ripping opportunities away from them.”
The Ford government made it harder for Black, Indigenous and racialized students to access tutors and extra supports when it cut $25 million from programs that deliver these services. And the Ford government made it 300-per-cent more expensive for community groups to rent school gyms when it cut the Priority Schools Initiative.
“Black youth in Ontario have a right to be skeptical that a government that has been ripping opportunities away from them is now all of a sudden interested in hearing from them,” said Hassan. “Doug Ford’s apparent 180 on the question of systemic racism in our province won’t mean anything if his words aren’t backed up with action.
“If Mr. Ford is serious about creating opportunities for Black youth, he can start today by implementing my motion to create 27,000 paid co-ops and internships.”
Hassan’s motion to establish tens of thousands of paid positions to help students, recent graduates and unemployed youth gain work experience passed on Feb. 28, 2019. More than a year has passed and the Ford government has yet to make good on this commitment.