I am worried about the way that seniors exert our influence

I am worried about the way seniors exert our influence at every government level. I am among this cohort, being a reasonably (by no means perfectly) healthy 70 year-old, having lived almost all my life in Canada. There’s a general outcry for lower taxes, tuition discounts, more senior centres, less wait time, and cheaper services from bus to ferry fares.

Ever since we were about 15 years-old we considered ourselves independent but upon reaching the age of 65 (some it's 55) we seem to be scrambling to acquire some sort of benefit or advantage we didn't have before to improve our situation. It seems like we are suddenly playing the victim card.

From this discussion I exclude those born before 1930, as they were possibly aware of, and suffered from, the hardships of the depression, and secondly anyone seriously ill or in some way handicapped at any age, deserving cradle to grave care from all of us.

For those of us who have lived in Canada we have benefitted from a standard of living far beyond that which we were willing to pay for, having enjoyed the benefits of significant federal and provincial borrowing through the decades.

I am not the beneficiary of an indexed, defined benefits pension but live on the money I saved and earned from investment, providing an annual income less than most people who worked during that time for government, banks or railways (most of which are deserved but I do question the level of some government pensions). Some baby boomers unfortunately never thought to save any money and live on little, but for most of those people, that was their choice. I had an uncle who worked for a Canadian railway and in the early days of their pension system, I believe the 1940's, an employee could opt out and not contribute. He chose that option and lived to 91 on CPP and OAS.

If we reach 65 and beyond, can afford a rental flat, eat nutritiously, and go out for an hour's walk each day, we are doing just fine. If we have to wait 2 hours for a doctor, that's okay also, just take a book. And for those of our cohort who have lobbied (and succeeded) to have larger TFSA contributions and longer deferred RRIF it's nice to know you do not need those funds, but it is  just another scheme to avoid paying our way.

We had extraordinary opportunity throughout our lives. In 1965 when I was 20 years-old I worked as a waiter at a golf course in Vancouver making $175 per month. After 6 months I was able to buy a new house in Burnaby (my friend did that and kept buying one every 6 months). After university I could get a job almost anywhere. Let's now try to assist in opening things up for those who follow.

Younger generations need the benefit of government investment in the environment, research and development and job training, all being limited by the significant debt we have built up at the federal and provincial levels, the need to now balance budgets, and the ever increasing demands we make on the public resources. Please, as elders, let's try to be part of the solution.

Ryan Vandecasteyen
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I am worried about the way that seniors exert our influence
I am worried about the way that seniors exert our influence
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