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Ontario Labour Minister Catches Heat For Mocking University Degrees On Twitter

He compares "Paul" with an Anthropology degree to "Mike" who works in trades.

Ontario's Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development is getting mixed responses to his tweet about "ending the stigma around the skilled trades."

Minister Monte McNaughton tweeted a photo on June 25 depicting two young men, "Paul" the university graduate who is $100,000 in debt and "can't find an anthropology job," and "Mike," who completed a four-year paid apprenticeship and "disconnected Paul's electricity."

The tweet has gotten almost 1,000 replies, many of which criticize McNaughton's approach.

"This is totally arrogant. Many of us have both a skilled trade and a university degree, and a level head about what each has to offer. There is no need to insult any pursuit of higher learning to demonstrate the value of another," reads one tweet.

"I have a degree in anthropology that I used to build a successful career in sales," says another tweet. "The valuable perspective, empathy and understanding I have about people is applied every day personally a professionally. Also, I make more than mike. What's your point, again?"

McNaughton defends his tweet

McNaughton addressed the tweet in an emailed statement to Narcity. "University isn't the only path to a good job. We need students, parents and educators to know that a career in the skilled trades is well-paying, in-demand and can allow you to be your own boss. It's time we end the stigma around the trades and stop telling every young person they need to go to university," he wrote.

"There are tens of thousands of jobs going unfilled every single day. There are paycheques ready to be collected. When you have a trade, you have a job for life. With over 140 trades, I want people to know about the opportunities out there."

The minister also spoke about it on Newstalk1010's Moore in the Morning. "I understand that it made some university profs and some university folks upset, but it did get millions of views over the weekend," he said, adding that it's important for people to know that "a career in trades is worthy and noble and has benefits."*

*This article has been updated.