Ahmed Hussen said the investment supports stability in the region overall and ultimately will help Canada
“Our biggest focus in our Middle East strategy is Iraq … and the way Iraq goes is the way the rest of the region will go,” Hussen said, CBC News reported.
The announcement was made in Windsor due to its large Iraqi community, according to Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk, along with the college’s efforts as a leader in education and the city’s role in international trade.
Hussen said the $9.9 million in funding will help pay for vocational and technical training for five years through a partnership with two groups, the World University Service of Canada and the Canadian Leaders in International Consulting. Both organizations have offices in Ottawa.
The Trudeau Liberals have spent $4.7 billion on their Middle East action plan, tackling extremism but also building “post-conflict strategies,” Hussen said.
“Right now, for example, Iraqi youth are suffering from deepening unemployment crisis that undermines the economic security and this is directly linked to the previous conflict in Iraq.”
Tania Jordan, the deputy director of program management and operations with the World University Service of Canada, said that about 700,000 youth enter Iraq’s employment market every year, but finding good jobs is a challenge.
“The national youth unemployment rate is three time that of adults and worse for young women, who face extra challenges due to their gender,” she told CBC.
“There’s still much more that training institutions and employers can do to ensure young people can reach their full potential and with our partners, we want to help them get there.”
Social media reaction to the funding announcement was met with concerns for youth employment here in Canada.
“What in the actual holy hell is this????” one person asked on X. “Canadian taxpayers are supporting everyone in the world except Canadians. While food banks are feeding Canadian families, these traitors are giving our money to other countries like there’s no tomorrow. This is treason.”
Another commented, “Canadians (those fortunate enough to have decent jobs) work their asses off & send half their earnings to Ottawa so they can … give it away to Iraqis? We need to focus on Canadian youth, not foreign students and not those who have no connection at all to this country. What a mess!”
In another reply, a user posted, “That’s the Iraqi government’s problem, not the Canadian taxpayers’ problem.”