Thank you for the question.
I'll kick it off this way. I think it really needs to start at a very early stage at the school level. I recognize the difference in terms of the provincial versus federal jurisdiction issue on education. But that aside, I think a national strategy is needed in terms of making sure our kids are exposed to the right programs at an early stage so their learning capacities are for what's needed for tomorrow and so they are not faced with choices in grade 8 or 9 such that when they come out on the other end their options are working either at Walmart or at Tim Hortons.
If we're going to build a knowledge economy, the most critical ingredient is knowledge. We need to start building for it, and it needs to start before we get to the high school level. Universities play a huge role, but I think we need to start at a high school or junior school level and make sure that the programs are there and the leadership is there to drive kids into the programs we need, which are mostly around STEM, around science. That keeps the doors open. Kids can do other things if they want to later on, but at least the doors are open for them to where they need to go.
Having been a parent of two children who are grown up now, I'd say that the biggest issue for a lot of kids is what program you go into during your early days in order to have the maximum number of opportunities and options available in front of you. Don't shut your doors until you know what you want to do. Way too many kids shut their doors too early, and then opportunities are very limited downstream as they come out of high school on the other end. This needs some national discussion and leadership in terms of programming and how we do that.