Friday morning a large clock was unveiled outside Bata Library at Trent University. Generation Screwed, a campaign of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), put the Federal Debt Clock on display for all to see. The CTF is a not-for-profit citizens’ advocacy group that seeks to hold governments accountable. The group does this by highlighting the rising tally of public debt, which in Ontario currently stands at just over 632 billion.
In a bid to appeal to younger people who may not yet identify as taxpaying citizens, the CTF established Generation Screwed. This campaign conducts workshops at university campuses across Canada with the message that it will be the youth who end up paying for the frivolous fiscal policies of today. Generation Screwed says that this debt will be paid through increases in income taxes unfair to the youth of today.
Trent University is just one of 13 schools on the Generation Screwed campus tour. The debt clock itself not only shows the total debt but breaks down the amount of debt owed per citizen. As it stands in Canada, the per person debt is currently just over 17,000; for those in Ontario, this number is closer to 21,000. For students who are already taking on debt through student loans, this can be a daunting statistic, considering that the government of Ontario estimates that students will accrue 22,000 in debt over a 4 year period.
“The Trent Conservatives and Generation Screwed are both separate clubs however. Generation Screwed is a non-partisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about fiscal responsibility in government. The Debt Clock, for instance, did campus tours while Stephen Harper was in government”.
This could seem confusing to some, as currently the Generation screwed website lists Corey Leblanc as it’s on campus representative at Trent University. When someone who has ties to a political party that represents smaller government and lower taxes as central campaign planks, it becomes difficult to the common eye to separate the partisan from non partisan action. Because of the cache that Corey Leblanc holds on campus, the Debt Clock can’t be separated from the broader context of campus politics, and the Trent Conservatives.
The move by Trent Conservatives is one that re-centers their activity to Canadian politics amid accusations on Twitter that the group has become a surrogate for the Donald Trump campaign. In an interaction with the group’s president, Corey Leblanc (@CLeBlanc4Canada), undergraduate Zafer Izer (@rapunzaf) tweeted on Monday that “the Conservatives are a Canadian party. You have become a Trump surrogate”. This was after students attending Clubs and Groups Day witnessed the iconic “Make America Great Again” hats on display at the Trent Conservatives booth. When asked for comment, Leblanc had this to say:
“Callum and myself met Corey Lewandowski’s (Trump’s ex-campaign manager) wife’s son at the Bohemian Grove in July between cocktails with Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger. He put us in touch with the Trump campaign. We have since been working in concert with the Trump campaign to establish a puppet government in Canada once Donald Trump becomes the next US President. As such, our ultimate goal is to have all Canadians ask the simple question “where my country gone?” and rise up against the stifling political correctness being pushed by our political elite, the Lutheran Church, and the Pokémon Go App. Any further questions I will have to forward you to Hope Hicks, press secretary of the Trump campaign”.
The Trent Conservatives are Trent’s only active group that has explicit ties to a federal Canadian party.