Grey power for seniors?

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan


Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

A provincial election last year, and we are heading towards a federal vote this fall — with all parties courting the senior vote.  It’s not hard to make promises, as must do the parties out of power. How realistic and affordable are their promises? That’s our task to figure out. Their numbers have to balance; we look for careful fiscal management, but without destructive austerity. 
It’s easier for us to evaluate the promises of those in power. We can see what they’ve already done, just how senior-friendly have been the last four years (or is their proposed budget).
Ottawa keeps calling itself senior-supportive, but aside from this as propaganda, there isn’t much for us to cheer about – or to vote for once again. 
As a senior, I don’t look only to my bank account. We are also responsible elders. It’s our grandkids and the world we are leaving them which matters more than income-splitting or a 100 bucks extra at year’s end.  Here’s my algebra for deciding if the current government actually deserves seniors’ support (putting aside fear-mongering, the government assuming seniors are fools, afraid some religious fanatic from Syria will firebomb a nearby park.)
I refuse to pass on
a degenerating, unpredictable, and destructive climate to my grandchildren. I want climate change addressed.
I refuse to accept and pass along decaying roads, streets, public transit and missing bridges.
I refuse to pass on a
failing education system, to be further crammed and removed from all local control, to my grand
children.
I refuse to accept a
government run from the Prime Minister’s Office, not run by the elected
parliament/National Assembly and the
cabinet.
I refuse to pass along a country deliberately
divided upon itself: French/English, Native/non-native,
immigrant/citizen, poor/
millionaires, university educated/dead-ended youths, etc.
I refuse to accept a Quebec which allows unelected agencies, like the Office de la langue française, to set standards, interpretations, and rules for the functioning of our society’s most important elements.  I refuse the
view that how one says
something (language) is more important than what one says.
I refuse to accept the immorality of selling
uranium to a nuclear pariah state (India) or pumping dirty oil into a already near-polluted world.
I refuse to support a government which has
flattened one of our nation’s finest accomplishments, a national broadcaster, the CBC, in favour of private, US-
controlled media.
I refuse to accept a
government which has given itself the mandate to dismantle public health, rather than strengthen it, or the mandate to open public education to private voucher schools run by religious and political evangelicals.
I refuse to support a government which has laid the groundwork for a secret police, with capacity and permission to spy on citizens, minorities and on protestors. My grandkids use Facebook; they should not be spied upon.
I refuse to give our grandchildren a country with its election watchdog muzzled and denied
permission to encourage voting by youth, women, minorities, First Nations, and others.
I especially refuse to endorse any military adventurism by our once-praised peace-keeping and pro-UN government.
I refuse to vote for politicians of any party who decline to be
interviewed by the media or who refuse to answer questions in the public interest, and who
constantly attempt to manipulate the media by restricting information and explanations.
This is just the start!
We seniors are not stupid.  We can see clearly the
difference between action and self-congratulations. Seniors are not fear-
ridden, prejudiced, and selfish!  We believe our children should have the best opportunities, not only the cheapest — or
the most small-minded.