H.B. Beal Secondary students ask local MPs their questions

London Morning visited H.B. Beal Secondary school and asked students to pose the questions to a panel of local MPs.

London Morning turned the floor over to H.B. Beal Secondary School Grade 12 students

Isabelle Harder is a student at Beal secondary school. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

Throughout the year, CBC Radio One's London Morning has convened a panel of local MPs to speak about decisions being made in Ottawa that are particularly pertinent to the London region.

The London Morning team decided to bring the MPs together one last time for 2018, but this time we did something different.

Host Julianne Hazlewood visited H.B. Beal Secondary School and turned the floor over to grade 12 students in Mr. Watson's history class — a chance for the teens to ask London MPs anything they want.

From left to right, Liberal MP for London West Kate Young, NDP MP for London-Fanshawe Irene Mathyssen and Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London Karen Vecchio. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

CBC London was incredibly impressed by the well-informed questions. Here are a few,  and the responses from Liberal MP for London West Kate Young, Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London Karen Vecchio and NDP MP for London-Fanshawe Irene Mathyssen.

Hear the full panel here

Luna Broadhurst Alers  

QUESTION: The arms deal in Saudi Arabia is going to vastly affect London, and I know personally speaking it will affect my family and many of my friend's families ... If that deal [is cancelled], I'm wondering how you would compensate for the loss of work?

Kate Young: "Whatever happens we have to save these jobs ... We've talked to them about looking outside the box, trying to come up with new ideas. We are discussing this with [General Dynamics]. I've had many meetings with them, the suppliers and the workers trying to figure this out."

Karen Vecchio: "We understand the human rights issue ... l am here to work with the government, that is what I'm going to do to. Our job is to work with the Liberal Party right now and the Liberal government to say we need to sustain the jobs here ... There are other markets ... We need to make sure we are working with those other trade partners and seeing what we can do if there is a fallout."

Irene Mathyssen: "I think it's important that there's some clarity around what is going on. We don't know the details.  They keep talking about a $15-billion contract, how many of those vehicles have been shipped? ... There is an opportunity for all parties to discuss it."

Sam Goldschmidt 

QUESTION: The Ontario government is cutting $25-million in funding for specialized school programs, as they consider it wasteful spending. And I want to know what effects this will have on students involved in these programs and is there anything the federal government can do about that?

KY: "This is so serious because as a mother of a special ed student, my daughter was in special ed in grade 7 and 8 and that turned her life around. And this news is just terrible for young people who struggle ... I certainly will be finding out what we as a federal government can do to somehow encourage the provincial government to change their mind."

KV: "At the end of the day we need to make sure the tools and the resources are there for all of our students so that they can be successful. So I think each and every program needs to be looked at and say is this what we need and how can we do better."

IM: "$25-million will be taken away from the most vulnerable children in the system ... I think the federal government should step in and say we have transfer payments that we provide to the province and we expect all of those transfers are going be made and used properly, used to the benefit of students. And use whatever strings, whatever muscles the feds have."

Grace Beaumont 

QUESTION: Is it possible to start a Canada-wide call centre for mentally ill patients instead of only having it by province?

KY: "We are working with provincial and territorial governments to improve Canada's access to mental health services. We believe that there are as many as 500,000 young Canadians who aren't receiving what they need to. And so we are moving forward with a $5-billion program to make sure that young people who are facing mental health issues get the care that they need."

KV: "One of the most important things is that things are done at the local levels as well ... If you're calling into Manitoba and living in New Brunswick, is that really the best thing? .... I love what some of the communities are doing with having mental health officers within the police services ... That's a great initiative and maybe we should be doing more things like that within our local communities as well."

IM: "We've seen cut after cut after cut to health care and particularly to the mental health issue. The federal government once again needs to sit down with the provinces and talk about the greater good for the entire country."

Isabelle Harder  

QUESTION: I want to know how youth voices are heard in Parliament, given that we are only given the right to vote at 18. And I want to know how youth can get more involved in politics and have their voices heard.

KY: "We have youth advisory councils at every level ... Personally, we have about 15 young people that come and meet every month and tell us what's on their mind ... We need [young voices] heard."

KV: "It was wonderful this year, it was the first year Western (University) brought students to Ottawa ... They're able to shadow us for the day ... Being engaged with the youth in the high school, through the shadowing programs, that's what we need to continue to do."

IM: "We try very hard to get out to the schools, I will visit schools and listen to young people, hear their concerns, and they have to be listened to with great care and respect ... (It's) very very important that there's this clear understanding that they have a contribution to make and we will honour that contribution."