Retaining youth

Retaining youth is, and has been, a concern in most every region of this country and studied to varying degrees.

Retaining youth as editor Harding raised in his March 17 editorial is, and has been, a concern in most every region of this country and studied to varying degrees. So please permit this geezer to offer his analysis and solution.

Since Saskatchewan was formed in 1905, the population increased slowly hovering below one million with a high in 1966 of 955,000. It was largely rural and a family with three-to-six children once resided on every quarter section. There were no suitable jobs, there was no McDonald’s and post secondary training was rare.

With mechanization, the major employer (agriculture) could not absorb them so after high school they relocated, mostly to jobs in the industrial East. Thus three of five communities were disseminated and many disappeared. It was harsh economic reality.

Suddenly, in the 1960s, another transition began as most high school, community college and university grads found a decent livelihood on the Prairies as the oil and mineral industries emerged. Later, workers and their families came in as work opportunities expanded.

The solution is clear and it is not rocket science. Unless there are employment opportunities the youth will, and are, relocating.

Of course there will always be some who choose to relocate for other reasons, but having an income is key. This scenario is common in many regions of Canada, as studies have shown, so it is not exclusively a Vancouver Island phenomenon. We have to find our niche too, as happened in other places.

Alex KobelakParksville

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