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Different Trajectories, Same Week Both Indicate Youth Frustration Abounds in Nova Scotia

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
An inflatable clock in Victoria Park shows the time is nigh for action on a 29-year trend of young people leaving Nova Scotia. Photo: Jessica Flower - See more at: http://unews.ca/students-politicians-call-for-action-on-ivany-report/#sthash.aiK9hSoa.dpuf
An inflatable clock in Victoria Park shows the time is nigh for action on a 29-year trend of young people leaving Nova Scotia. Photo: Jessica Flower - See more at: http://unews.ca/students-politicians-call-for-action-on-ivany-report/#sthash.aiK9hSoa.dpuf

Federal politician, Peter McKay calling those who plotted to stage a public shooting "murderous misfits" does not help the situation. The fact that youth contemplate these atrocious acts begs a question in response to McKay's use of the term "misfit." Exactly into what are they "missing fitting?" The young man who killed himself graduated from high school and went to work at a low paying Walmart job. Perhaps he didn't have the money to attend any training. Perhaps he had few choices and that drove him to suicide and feeling enough despair to "go bad and get involved with the wrong things like guns and Columbine fixations." Maybe he felt so angry for the dead end life he thought he could not avoid that he just went bad." 

I can say this though. When I was a youth, the federal government had numerous programs to develop youth and raise awareness of communities, Canada and cooperation; build self-esteem and/or give some capital to start a small business or create a service in the community type project for which numerous youth would be hired to work. Among these were grants that paid wages called OFY (Opportunities For Youth); LIP (Local Initiative Projects)and experiential travel opportunities such as Katimavik, Canada World Youth, CUSO and Young Voyageurs. How many programs are there to build the character of youth now? Also, low paying jobs where someone cannot live on the minimum wage in this country must be depressing. Maybe, just maybe, the current governments have some complicity in the fact that nothing much is offered to young people anymore as far as I know. It seems that governments don't have the concept that designating seed money for individuals, especially youth, is more important than giving millions to failing corporations and those who don't need the money. Why not invest in Nova Scotian young people? 

I spoke with passionate (braving the frigid weather) members of the 'Students NS' association at their rally "Farewell to Nova Scotia" last Thursday at Victoria Park. They've been repeatedly contacting  the government body called One Nova Scotia, formed in response to the Ivany Report, for months, to no avail. One leader for Students NS, Kayti Baur, said that there is nothing being done at One Nova Scotia to retain youth here, even though Ray Ivany pointed to out migration of youth as a major problem.  

MLA David Wlson showed up at the demonstration and had this to say:

“Action has to be now. Governments tend to wait until crisis, but out-migration is a crisis now. The demographic shift that will take place … there will be a smaller labour pool to draw from … it’s an issue that will affect all services and industries,”  [from "Students, Politicans Call for Action on the Issue of Student Migration from Nova Scotia" by Jessica Flower at unews.ca February 12, 2015]

- See more at: http://unews.ca/students-politicians-call-for-action-on-ivany-report/#st...

Maybe, instead of knee jerk name calling, our leaders should look at the root cause of youth suicide and murder the way Dr. Gabor Mate does, who writes in "Are Violent Teens Suffering the Rage of the Unparented?":

“The engine of aggression is frustration. Behind every violent act, word or feeling is pent-up frustration, unrecognized, undeclared but powerful. The adolescent erupting in hostile speech or behaviour either against himself or others has no clue about the nature of his frustration or its basic causes. The immediate target is incidental.

The young man trying to protect his home did not create the violence that killed him. The knife wielders most likely had no personal hatred toward him; perhaps they did not even know him. Their murderous frustration when he barred their entrance welled up from they knew not where.

Frustration is the primitive human response to not getting one’s way, especially to not having one’s essential needs satisfied.

Violence is a measure of immaturity, endemic in our teen population. And immaturity has the same root as the bitter frustration that accompanies it — the unmet emotional requirements of youth deprived of nurturing adult contact. American poet and social critic Robert Bly has aptly referred to this as “the rage of the unparented.”

It may be coincidental to see youth in Halfax protesting the absence of an adult response to their needs for employment at the same time youth are so disconnected as to be planning or carrying out acts of treachery but, given what a leading thinker like Dr. Mate is saying, I think a commission or symposium on "Are adults addressing the emotional and economic needs of youth in Nova Scotia?" is in order.  

Forget name calling.  The only naming necessary is to answer the question "Why?"

 


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