The UTM Liberals organized a discussion with former Liberal MP Omar Alghabra on Friday afternoon in the Student Centre. Alghabra addressed the continuing need for students to be involved in and aware of politics. He emphasized that a possible reason for low youth involvement is the lack of representation of the interests and needs of students in academic institutions.
Alghabra stated that students need to be aware of what are achievable and possible goals when discussing student issues, such as tuition fees and employment. Students brought up low youth employment rates at the discussion. Alghabra said that society is quick to establish scapegoats in the problem of unemployment. He also said that a contributing factor was that Canada faces the challenge of an aging population and the need for new immigrants.
On the subject of immigration, Alghabra sympathized with new immigrants and stated that the dynamics of employment for new immigrants and citizens have changed, with extra focus on language skills, and said there was a need for a better immigration system. New immigrants need to be educated to help them integrate into Canadian society.
“Canada must continue to improve its system of cultural integration of new immigrants in helping them transit into Canadian society smoothly and respectfully,” Alghabra said.
Alghabra encouraged students to develop their own ideas on politics. He said they should continue to be committed to their own causes and beliefs.
“Students are bringing a positive outlook into the future and a powerful desire to make the world better,” Alghabra added. “Education should be made affordable, and the[re is a] need to create accessibility for all students and for local students to vocally and physically support the concerns of international students, as they play a very important role in U of T’s student body and representation into tuition fees.”
Alghabra, once an international student from Syria, was elected MP for the riding of Mississauga-Erindale in 2006 for the Liberal Party of Ontario.