Why we make generational comparisons

GradPic.jpgConcerned with the growing squeeze on younger Canadians, Dr. Christopher Mackie — a medical officer of health in London, Ontario — recently asked his Board to support Generation Squeeze. [1]

Great, right? Not according to Canada’s biggest lobby for seniors and retirees (“CARP”). Their spokesperson made news by calling Dr. Mackie's request “idiotic,” and even went so far as to assign us a motive; saying Gen Squeeze is  “trying to start an inter-generational war."

 

Though I’m not sure what the phrase “inter-generational war” even means, the obvious hostility of the critique caught many by surprise. 

So, knowing that journalists are sometimes driven to find, exaggerate, or even fabricate conflict where there is none, I decided to reach out to CARP directly to find out what was going on. [2]

From that conversation and others, I think I have an answer. 

Generational Comparisons 

Here’s the heart of it: some people see generational comparisons — e.g. showing how much more Canada's governments spend on seniors and retirees compared to younger Canadians — as intrinsically and unavoidably divisive. [3]

The comparison itself is what CARP thinks is “idiotic.”

The comparison itself is what they think pits generations against each other and is presumably where things get all weird and disintegrate into talk of “inter-generational war.” 

Let me be clear: I think this is a completely natural response. I mean, the irritant is right there in our materials: two generations visually placed side by side, with a clear message that one group is getting more than the other.  

It’s easy to understand how after seeing those images or reading our materials, some people look up and think “they want to take things away from seniors and retirees, things they’ve worked their whole lives for.” [4]

It doesn’t always matter how obsessive we are in stating the contrary. When we slip up in our imagery, choice of headlines or content (for an example see footnote [4]) sometimes first impressions just stick. And that’s on us. 

What statements like Ms. Eng’s demonstrate is the topic of generational equity (also known in the literature as “Intergenerational Justice” or “ Intergenerational Equity/Fairness”) is a complex and extremely sensitive issue. 

That sensitivity is why some people think we should simply organize around the need to invest in younger Canadians full-stop, and leave demographic comparisons out of it. [5]

But then we get “the cupboard is bare”

The trouble is, for decades, groups have been calling for increased investments in younger Canadians, with arguably little to show for it. The answer frequently comes back from our governments that "the cupboard is bare." There's simply no money, or so the claim goes.

Sounds reasonable, right? If you don’t got the money, you don’t got the money. 

But then every year our governments seem to find a way to increase spending on programs and services that primarily benefit our parents and grandparents, the most notable draw being increases in health care spending. [6]

So governments can and are finding ways to fund improvements to public programs, just not so much for you (if you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s).  

We showcase generational imbalances in government spending because they point to imbalances in government priorities. With our governments making tradeoffs no family would.

THAT is the uncomfortable truth. THAT is what generational comparisons allow us to see, clearly. And it's something we don’t think we have time to dance around. 

If it stings, it’s probably because it should 

If learning about things like the generational spending gap stings, we think it’s probably because it should. 

In a recent cross-national comparison of levels of Intergenerational Justice in 29 OECD countries, Canada placed near the bottom, at 25 out of 29. [7] Reading that study, it stung to learn that Canada has among the highest ecological footprints of all OECD countries.

It stung to learn that we have the 6th highest fiscal debt per child, and to be reminded that our child poverty rates are 3X higher than our admirably much-improved rates of poverty among seniors. [8]

When we see that our child poverty rate is 3X that of seniors, should we dismiss that generational comparison as divisive?  Or can we take that stinging feeling and feel all the stronger for having faced it, and be inspired by the comparison that shouts at us: “LOOK, here is proof that we can do better”? 

Funding the future 

If you take us at our word that we want Canada to invest more in younger Canadians, WITHOUT taking anything away from our parents and grandparents, your next question probably is “OK, but then how would we pay for that?” 

Excellent question. Turns out we’ve got some pretty basic options: (1) we can re-allocate money (e.g. from programs that aren’t performing well to more efficient/effective programs); (2) we can reverse inefficient tax cuts; or (3) we can raise new revenue. 

Which leads to long and fascinating debates about the many specific options at our disposal. To keep things moving, I’ll sum up by saying “lots of ways!” and direct your attention to this footnote —> [9] 

The point is, before we get distracted by the many options governments have to invest in a Canada that works for ALL generations, we need to have the courage to face this fact: our governments are prioritizing older Canadians MORE than younger Canadians.  

Well then go vote! 

If Canadians in their 20s, 30s and 40s voted at comparable rates to Canadians 50+, would things be different? Yeah, probably. But resist the urge to simply point the finger at younger Canadians and walk away. 

We all know about the vicious cycle, where younger people don’t vote because politicians don’t speak directly to their lived experiences and their dreams — and actively discourage participation with hyper-partisanship, attack-ads, scandals and general short-sightedness — so younger people don’t vote, so...

While we all need to take individual responsibility, increasing turnout and engagement among younger Canadians requires a bunch of things simultaneously:

  • Leaders who DO speak directly to experiences and dreams of younger Canadians, and inspire us with their visionary, competent, collaborative approach;
  • Measures to increase access for younger Canadians (e.g. polling stations on campuses);
  • Pure hustle at the peer, family and community level to get people out and into the habit;
  • Groups like Gen Squeeze working on a daily basis in between elections to help keep issues of generational equity front-and-centre, and our politicians accountable to their promises. 

Facing reality  

Maybe we could find a way to organize ourselves and win victories for younger Canadians without actually pointing out how much we’ve done and are continuing to do for our elders.

But to me, that feels a lot like beating around the bush. 

I’d prefer we state the obvious that young people want the best for their parents and grandparents, who want the best for their kids and grandkids.

And then face the current reality that our governments are making generational tradeoffs that no family would. 

Then, we can all work together to chase a vision of A Canada That Works for All Generations.

Here’s the thing. With millions of Canadians struggling to make ends meet, with our global climate continuing to spiral out of control, with biodiversity continuing to plunge, with resources becoming more scarce and conflicts spreading, and as billions of people struggle to get out of poverty, we have no shortage of complex and harrowing problems to deal with. 

How can we hope to solve these problems if we can’t look the evidence in the eye, feel the sting of uncomfortable truths, and move forward together?  

Idiotic or not 

We don’t claim to have all the answers. And we admit our small team sometimes makes poor choices with imagery, headlines or content, which makes it all too easy to mistakenly assign us a divisive motive. We’re truly sorry about that. 

That said, history is full of examples where those trying to point out problems with the status quo are dismissed and marginalized by claiming they’re trying to incite conflict, just out to disturb the peace. And I suspect no matter what we say or do, some people will continue to look at us that way. 

I don’t know, maybe making generational comparisons (e.g. look how much we spend on Canadians 50+, now look how much we spend on our kids/grandkids) IS idiotic. But it sure doesn’t feel that way. It feels like a deeper level of understanding. It feels motivating.  

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 Eric Swanson is the Executive Director of Generation Squeeze and the Association for Generational Equity. Image caption: Author (2nd from left) with wife Shannon, mother (left) and mother in law (right), having a laugh after Shannon's grad ceremony. We all want what's best for our families. 


[1] On July 16th, the Board voted unanimously to invite a speaker from Gen Squeeze, as a first step, presumably. 

[2] I was able to reach Michael Nicin, CARP’s Director of Policy, and we had a good, if spirited chat. Afterwards, I also consulted one of my most trusted advisors, my Mom, who’s a member of CARP AND Gen Squeeze. Those two conversations helped me get to the heart of the matter.

[3] Our use of generational comparisons includes analysis showing: 

Just a note on spending gap graphic I link to in the text: obviously, we can expect to spend more on people as they age. That’s just biological reality. We should make that clearer in the graphic. The point is: there’s a BIG GAP. More importantly, it’s a gap that governments tend to make bigger every year.

[4] This is especially easy to understand when we make silly mistakes in our use of imagery: for example, as of writing our Twitter banner still uses a teeter-totter graphic to illustrate our public spending comparisons, with seniors and retirees on one side, and younger Canadians on the other. Unfortunately, basic teeter-totter physics necessitate that if one side of a teeter-totter goes up, well, the other side goes down…which visually contradicts our assertions that we DON’T NEED OR WANT TO TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM OUR PARENTS/GRANDPARENTS. After I post this, I’m going to fix that. 

[5] You’ll notice that the major political parties are taking this advice, sticking to age-neutral concepts like the middle class and avoiding generational comparisons altogether. That’s certainly the safe route, but I think it throws away an opportunity to directly connect to younger Canadians’ lived experience and intuition around existing generational inequities. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a leader who had the ability to give voice to what so many of us are feeling, the courage to face uncomfortable truths, and the positivity and leadership to unify us around that and move forward together? I think so. I think if done right, that could be a game-changer. 

[6] Our analysis of government budgets can be found here. Notably, unlike the Canada Pension Plan for example, health care is NOT pre-paid. Meaning today’s working population is responsible for paying that tab.

[7] You can download the study, “Intergenerational Justice in Aging Societies: A cross-national comparison of 29 OECD countries,” here. It’s a good one. 

[8] As of 2012, 19.1% of Canadian children lived in poverty, as measured by the Low Income Measure (LIM) after income taxes. During the same year, Canada's seniors' poverty rate was 5.8%. Source: B.C. 2014 Child Poverty Report Card.  

[9] First, we should clarify that when we say we “don’t want to take anything away from our parents or grandparents,” that statement refers to OUTCOMES. E.g. if our parents or grandparents are currently receiving services or benefits they would say they don’t actually need, that they would say aren’t producing better outcomes for them, then we think those things should be on the table.

Overall, funding options we explore include:

  • Containing the growth of public medical care spending in order to reallocate funds to our policy recommendations that promote the social determinants of health
  • Putting a price on pollution
  • Reducing subsidies for industries
  • Adapting the age of retirement
  • Saving government money by preventing school failure, crime and avoidable injury and illness
  • Revisiting tax loopholes, a small percentage of recent tax cuts, or taxes on wealth (e.g. homes worth more than $1.5 million and cars over $50,000)
  • Legalizing and taxing marijuana as some US states now do

We look forward to a lively debate about these options to pay for a better generational deal.  However, we won’t let disagreement about the merits of these options distract attention from a fundamental problem with the status quo. 

 

 

 


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  • commented 2015-07-27 10:07:23 -0700
    That explains why when my family was young and S ontario prices were blasting off into the stratosphere we chose to return to the prairies and why so many now are doing the same to the Maritimes and Manitba now. Its also why we have an Asian university migration that is truly awesome . Here is a sight which compares living costs across cities of the world and many Canadian Cities in substantial detail along with incomes and Property and Rental costs. It is how they made up their mind to come to Xxxxx Canada. And in many ways we are so fortunate that they did.
    http://www.numbeo.com/property-investment/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Canada&country2=Canada&city1=Toronto&city2=Winnipeg

  • commented 2015-07-27 08:51:45 -0700
    And if you happen to live in Ontario, Calgary, and Southern BC… your student loan debt, eye watering cost of childcare, transit, gas, grocreies, RENT will leave us wanting… why? Because we’re tired. Not because we aren’t bloody well working our asses off. Not because I wouldn’t rather be at home with my daughter, I don’t have any choice but to work hard. While our parents generation take another holiday abroad. While they renovate another bathroom in their house, while they upgrade their SUV, again. The irony is that I don’t want those things. I just want a secure place to raise my children (we’ve been evicted twice because our neighbours don’t want to hear a crying baby). The irony is that my husband and I are educated and hold management level positions. We’ve worked hard since we were teenagers, and we’ll continue to work hard. But when will we have a chance to come up for a breath of air?

  • commented 2015-07-26 19:04:20 -0700
    You couldnt have said it better. Agree totally this is a mild response. We would have been much more forthright in our day. But its not just jobs because in the central west there are lots of them , its decent wages and good jobs that are not available. I wasnt as fortunate as you in some ways but for this grade 8 graduate competing with actuaries and accountants in the techniacl side of the industry was rather easy. And the Pay was outstanding in my mind Two kids at home and still i
    Like you housing all across canada was affordable even on entry level jobs.. That situation only exists in Manitoba and the Maritimes now. To some degree saskatchewan and Quebec. Where it isnt available is southern Ontario Calgary and Southern BC

  • commented 2015-07-26 09:57:13 -0700
    I am a new to being senior and want to respond. i agree that Gen. Squeeze is disregarded and treated unfairly by governments.
    I and most of my friends were lucky to work at stable jobs, take advantage of the booming and relatively cheap housing market (I bought a house as a single woman in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, in a good area in the second year of my first job teaching), and even more, take advantage of cheap university education (my fees and books could easily be paid with a month of babysitting in the summer).
    What I enjoy now is not the result of hard work,though i worked hard no harder than young people do now. I am a demographic accident and won the jackpot of time, place, and economic growth.
    I don’t know the political answers. But I see the horrendous, crippling impact of education that for most is out of reach, the impact of insecure jobs with low pay and minimal, if any benefis, and the lack of jobs that waste the talents and hearts of a generation.
    Young people deserve cheap or free education throughout University, more tax breaks, more jobs. I look at too many in my group collecting pensions, continuing to work through cronyism in teaching, in nursing, and many other fields, and many hanging onto jobs that they love, that they don’t need, that bar the door to qualified, eager younger applicants.
    So apart from a general redistribution of wealth in this country through more progressive taxation and extra taxes on those lucky enough to earn in the top brackets, and more pressure on corporations to stop obscene pay to top executives and crumbs to entry workers, to provide training for young workers, full benefits to everyone who walks in the door, and meaningful support for young people/ with housing assistance, cheap well-regulated child care, and even a guaranteed income ,
    I think we need to accept that our society is metaphorically eating its young .GenSqueeze strikes me as mild in its anger. The solution begins with voting -I agree completely, and a little less self righteousness on the part of those lucky enough to have pensions, jobs, money, and security.
    Time to contribute, stinging or not, to improving the lives of our people.

  • commented 2015-07-25 18:53:09 -0700
    With a little more thought
    This comparison of so called generation Squeeze, government inadequate funding appears to be a thinly veiled ruse to scare the senior voters . The fear, a new government would reduce retirement programs or healthcare so as to fund GSqueeze programs. Having had significant involvement in campaigns of the right I am only too familiar with the tactic. And since Susan Eng is far more the mouthpiece for Moses Znaimer, and his pal Conrad Black and their ilk. I can see why. Perhaps the terrorists scare isn’t working all that well, let’s come up with a new one. We can’t have too many.
    Multi millionaire Moses’ Zoomer Media owns the rights to marketing the Name CARP.. Look up their consolidated statement notes for filings for 2011 and 2012 . The terrorists scare isn’t working, let’s bring out a new one. ROBO Calls won’t do it this time unless of course they originate in another country. Interesting co incidence that Znaimer has taken CARP entry Age down to 45. In the last few years. The numbers used in the comparison are ill suited at best and a downright scam at worst . But this one is designed to get out the seniors vote In reaction.

    As to Susan And Zoomer Media . She will be the scare mouthpiece.
    You will understand what I mean If you saw this advert sent to me byZoomer/CARP for an exclusive weekend only the elite 1% of. Canadians could afford . A weekend in paradise for 6 for the discounted price of $50,000 dollars gulp. CARP and Zoomer Media who own it are catering to a far more elite earner and camouflaging it as Retirees over 45 . Zoomer Media is the one that brings us all those religious appeals for money on TV and owns a number of local broadcast interests in Ontario.
    Can’t understand it. Conrad isn’t interested in another media empire is he? I thought he went to jail once already.

    And no, but thanks for asking, my income qualifies me for minimum wage in some provinces.

  • commented 2015-07-25 13:21:35 -0700
    Continued again because of declining small muscle motor unit plasticity…My finger keeps hitting the pad.

    What can really bring change is breakthroughs in otherwise costly Government Programs such as using drones to chase weather and deliver mail. Battery powered of course. Curing the fourth leading cause of death in North America, Medication Error. although this may have further cost implications.
    Almost any improvement in Healthcare Delivery will produce windfall gains for govenment and could seriously fund many programs in education and childcare. Carrying through with both the family stipend just mailed out and the 1 million daycare spaces promised by some in this election is an example Taxing realestate speculation and absentee especially offshore real estate ownership would go a long way to reducing the realestate bubble in both east and west.

    There will be many more excellent ideas presented in this election . Lets hope we will all listen and get out there and vote. Intergenerational feuds benefit only one party and in the end no Canadians. Its like blaming unions for the ills of government when except for public service orgs they are almost extinct. They certainly dont have the clout they once had.

    Making scapegoats tends to backfire with an educated intelligent electorate. Be careful what you wish for.

  • commented 2015-07-25 12:57:31 -0700
    Continued from below
    To distrust the embellished angst at election times.. Probably a good thing.
    I wont bore you with " we chose poverty by having one married partner stay home and mind children perhaps many of those you are trying to appeal to . Nor will I bore you by stating we chose to stay in Marriages at least until the childcare burden was over,. Because those are specious arguments. They may make us more crotchety.

  • commented 2015-07-25 12:49:33 -0700
    Once again I value your objectives but not your descriptive comparisons and means. Ironically you have chosen to suggest reprioritizing programs which basically choose when the benefit will be received by youth. It reeks of we want/ need our share NOW. That implied motivation will definitely create an intergenerational reaction equivalent to what most of those parents of young families give to their children when they Stomp their feet and wail Now mommy.
    Comparing Apples and Kangaroos in the statistical analysis of where new expenditures are placed ( i will err on your favourable side here) is disingenuous at best. Dare i say apolitical at worst.
    And you are encouraging that thought with your followers.
    The current government thought that taking away freedom 55 wasn’t enough and have established Age 67 retirement. A definite reduction in the generational transfer of wealth. While I also do not accept their premise that the CPP was not adequately funded, I do agree that the burden on our shrinking workforce would be far to great to sustain fairly.
    Comparing new discretionary spending of the Manitoba Government with the increased Federal and Provincially mandated programs increase in spending is not only a red herring but also bound to produce more of the intolerant reaction from seniors thats caused by many years of health breakdowns and pain and smarts. We’ve been fooled before by so called statistical comparisons by those in the political process. We tend to smell rot a lot faster, particularly during an election. Ergo Figures never lie but liars figure.

    Using these statistics in this way will do nothing but educate the next

  • commented 2015-07-24 11:17:43 -0700
    @debbie. Interesting. I’ve had to re-read your post. At first glean, I read in agreement at your reflection, thinking that, yes, this is how people feel and reflect on their life in senior-hood.
    But then I am shocked at the 2nd reading along with Andrea’s take.
    Yikes!

    What I understand, is that you haven’t read the research. You don’t get it. You’re missing it all! ‘Simply’ doesn’t exist any more. The numbers do not monetarily hold the same value any more. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the narrative to replicate itself ie: work harder = pay off.

    The only way I am able to live well and spend my time and energy negating your non-informed personal opinions is that 15 years ago I bought a cabin 40 minutes outside of town without running water (= as cheap as possible). I have no children. I teach at a college so earn a living wage. I shop second hand, which fortunately is something I really like.

    Others are living on credit. CREDIT.
    My friend with children left her abusive husband. Social assistance said she had too much $ in her bank account. She utilized the food bank and took to living in a tent all summer so she could save enough to make it to winter if she could find a place that would take her with children.

    It is so great to hear first hand why we must work so hard. People like you, who create their facts from opinion. Thank you for this more than valuable reminder.

    Enjoy your pension that we won’t have because you’ll have drained it; perfect example of the not-so-efficient infrastructure.

    Enjoy your lunch. Don’t choke from big bites.

  • commented 2015-07-24 10:12:47 -0700
    @debbie

    Your perspective is exactly why this lobby group needs to exist. You’re out to lunch.

    (probably a good one too)

  • commented 2015-07-23 20:41:05 -0700
    I think that the older generation had to work hard for what they have. In most cases with the younger generation, they think they should have it now and should have what there parents have now. They feel entitled. Get off your ass and work for it. It takes time. When you are older you should reap the benefits after you have worked all of your life as well. Simply, get to work or school. Get a good job and support yourself. When you have done that, you should reap the benefits. Money put into taxes, employment Assitance, that I am sure most didnt take advantage of. If they did, good. They paid for it. Get off your ass and go to work.

  • commented 2015-07-23 19:28:32 -0700
    I don’t think I share anything new beyond your reflective article and foot notes, along with the comments that have come before mine. Still…

    One point I do wholly disagree with from a commenter is whether or not we are being squeezed. It might be located within a shift, but yes I feel we are being squeezed – it is about priorities of where money is spent. This government is hanging on tight to the Elizabethan period where if you just get it together and pull up your boot straps all will be well. Seniors moved through the 1970’s and are now at the top of the food chain and are making conscious choices for the benefit of big money and older people; young families are not included in an equitable equation.

    In my opinion we live in a world that is built upon collection of as much as possible; the liberal-democracy at the roots operates on getting the greatest return possible. The so called reptilian brain operates on fight or flight; there has been a reflex for the Senior’s senior rep Ms. Eng to fight in order to guard what seniors have. It is unfortunate because the human brain has so much gray matter capacity to reason.

    As in most, if not most outcomes from human interactions, comes back to relationships. If the Seniors were willing to really understand the whole story, engaging in educated discussion, asking questions, or even trade emails before firing off a one-way arrow, they would without a doubt would provided at least an educated response.

    Ensuring equity for health child development means that the seniors could actually benefit with gains beyond their current status. In my vision, I see a whole that would be greater than the sum of it’s parts. I would take your points, Eric, and add another layer. Break down some of the silo’s between programs… why are seniors and children segregated? We know that the science shows what is excellent for the beginning of life also supports the whole person at the senior part of life. Senior and early childhood actually highly complement each other.
    -re-imagine programming:
    +why aren’t children’s programs connected geographically and philosophically to each other?
    music, sound, touch, physical movement, art, activity… all require indoor and outdoor space, leadership, caring, facility costs… we know that children learn from elders and elders are very often inspired by children.
    -re-imagine housing:
    +children’s families need safe, affordable and well maintained living quarters as do elders.
    -food security:
    +elders and children require good food in terms of nutritional value and cultural relevance in order to age / develop well
    -love, care, empathy, compassion
    +child abuse and elder abuse are not uncommon. just today I read in the news that three adults caring for an elderly man in a nursing home abused him and led to an early death.
    +more healthy people to engage staff, be eyes and ears could only have positive outcomes
    +elders having more community interaction with children and parents would decrease isolation, loneliness and depression (beautiful relationships)
    +children need real human interactions for brain development -why can’t seniors engage in buddying
    =it is not necessarily being on top of each other in a room, but absolutely about sharing resources and strengths so that the outcomes for both can be multiplied
    AND then at the end of the day, seniors will have healthy, empathetic, caring, loving adults who will be looking after them.

    Obviously these are nuts and bolts and things you already understand. I think that if Seniors could get a glimpse of how equity doesn’t mean removing, but actually multiplying, adjusting and improving their own position with the health and well-being of children, there might be a willingness to engage. BUT they need to choose to get past “idiotic” reptilian statements and giant blockers first.

    Your graphics are top-notch. I have learned that you cannot control down to the minutia of others will reading of the message. People in these organizations (ie: Senior’s) should supposedly have the capacity to read beyond the graphic. The point of imagery is to capture people’s attention, give them a snippet and hope they take something away and consider further. You can only do the best you can do. I’d say you’re rock’ing it.

    Thank you for your Very Important Work
    -kate swales
    whitehorse, yukon
    canada

  • commented 2015-07-23 18:52:52 -0700
    Really appreciate how you’ve taken accountability for your messaging. I think that shows a lot of vulnerability and intention, which we desperately need – not just in our society but also – in our politics! Also really appreciate the empathy I’m seeing of Gen Squeeze for ‘the other’ generation. I hope you receive an equally empathetic response from Ms. Eng.

  • followed this page 2015-07-23 14:13:39 -0700

  • commented 2015-07-23 12:50:30 -0700
    Why would I care about the reactionary, conservative response of a Boomer, who responds with viciousness to the suggestion that her wealth be shared with her own grandchildren? Many Boomers fought, in their youth, for social and political change, and against the entrenched views and rigid social structures of their parents’ generation. All that seems to have disappeared with the advent of wealth and comfort within the establishment, and they jealously hoard the ‘entitlements’ they now enjoy, at the expense of the future generations. I can’t imagine that anyone is shocked at this response. It seems naive to expect otherwise.

  • commented 2015-07-23 12:01:23 -0700
    Given the name ‘Generation Squeeze’ and the fundamental values of baby boomers to have material wealth, I can see why , from their perspective we are threatening that stability.
    What they fail to appreciate is that perhaps we, as a younger generation of 20, 30, 40 and even 50-year olds is that we may not share their values for life-long careers, mortgages, cabins for recreation and the trappings of colonial and capitalist wealth.
    Perhaps we of the ‘Generation Squeezed’ need to promote our values around social justice, equity, share economies, public education, democratic engagement, de-colonization, access to information, stewarding the environment, renewal energy, responsible government and the list goes on and on. These are fundamentally different values from our parents and grandparents and because they cannot understand why we would want something different from what they want, they cannot endorse our prosperity. If they did it would threaten their own prosperity because the very structure that sustains them is the structure that oppresses the younger generation.
    Only very open minded and trusting baby-boomers would risk everything they have known to embrace a new model of sustainability for the generation coming up behind them.
    We’re not being squeezed, we’re part of a major socio-economic shift. I am working to go toward the opportunity of these new models. Education, promoting and supporting democratic process and engaging young people is the path to prosperity in this contemporary model.
    Thanks Gen Squeezed!

  • commented 2015-07-23 11:12:48 -0700
    I live in Victoria, BC and recently there’s been a big push to remind people that at any point we could experience a major earthquake that could kill a lot of people. As a young mother with ailing parents in this city with me I cannot help but constantly think of how I would respond to this devastating situation. In my heart I realize that without a doubt I would run to my daughter. She is the future. And its forced me to really think about where I am in my life right now, particularly financially. 30 years ago my mother was raising her young children in her newly built house that she owned, while I am raising my daughter in a two bedroom rental. (In a duel income household). It is undeniable that I will continue to spend the next 20 years constantly juggling the needs of my children vs the needs of my parents, and the government is not recognizing the severity of my situation. There is a comparison to be drawn between us. I don’t have a 4 bedroom house that I can prepare for my ill parents when they can’t be on their own anymore. And I certainly can’t afford to help support their transition into a nursing home when I cannot even afford to own my own home. It’s frustrating, but I can say without a doubt that I will be choosing my daughter’s future over theirs.

  • commented 2015-07-23 06:24:42 -0700
    As a senior supporter of Gensqueeze, my experience might offer some guidance. If one has read “Tragedy in the Commons”, and other information regarding Members of Parliament, it should be evident that change will not happen as long as the political parties and their special interest supporters are in control. Until young people get to work during elections, as I did, to elect functioning representatives, it will not happen. Go to my web site and see some questions that should be asked of candidates. www.eddtwohig.ca Also there are articles regarding changes needed and how to do it.

  • commented 2015-07-23 06:18:49 -0700
    I think that if Susan Eng had used the word “inconvenient” instead of “idiotic,” she’d have been far more truthful. Sorry, Susan. You’re just wrong.

  • commented 2015-07-22 11:51:56 -0700
    Well said! Thank you for taking the time to write this response. It is really empowering to be a part of building a Canada that works for all Generations! Thanks!

  • commented 2015-07-21 18:17:13 -0700
    Thanks for stating BOTH sides of the obvious, that also parents and grandparents want the best for their kids and grandkids. My mother also is a member of both CARP and Gensqueeze and I doubt she’d take too kindly to Susan Eng’s comments. If Susan is the spokesperson for CARP she should be darn sure her members – parents and grandparents – agree with her comments. Also, any form of the word “idiot” is NOT allowed to be spoken in our home.

    I can see how at first, second and even third glance it could look like Gensqueeze is some kind of “threat” to seniors but only an idiot (I’m not at home so it’s ok) wouldn’t do their homework before publicly commenting so negatively on it. You’d like to think some common sense would kick in too – like stating the other half of the obvious – kids want the best for their parents and grandparents.

    I think Susan Eng is missing an opportunity to band together with Gensqueeze to make this country better for her members as well as the rest of Canadians. Maybe if she does her homework she’ll come around. I’ll offer to tutor her for free!

  • commented 2015-07-21 17:53:09 -0700
    I love Generation Squeeze info graphics and editorials- they tell very clear and precise facts about the inequality in generational spending in Canada. Anyone offended by those facts needs to consider how squeezed their children and grandchildren are and have a chat with them about student debt, childcare and the skyrocketing cost of housing instead of getting their back up that we are starting to point out the scales have been tipped in their favour.

  • published this page in Blog 2015-07-21 15:38:24 -0700

“Yes, Canadian governments need to make younger people a priority. I want a Canada that works for all generations."

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