Growing Old in Canada: 2035

Although at first when I was bombarded by the media of what the Harper Government was hinting at for the future generation of Canadians and their retirement benefits this week, I was angered, and despised every word that came from every Conservative M.P.’s mouth. But, after some cooling off time, and a full day’s worth of work, keeping my mind off it, I revisited the retirement issue and came to a different understanding of what is in store for myself, and other Canadians, when it is our turn to retire. My change in attitude also made me reflect on what the Harper Government is saying about the need to restructure the government on the huge shift in Canadian demographics that is ready to hit the country, like an avalanche of snow traveling down a very narrow valley. No doubt change is needed, and fast, as supporting so many Generation Xers with so little Y’s and Z’s, is a sure thing for disaster waiting in the wind to happen.

Like taxes and death, Ben Franklin also needed to include growing old, and becoming dependent once again in the cycle of life. It is going to happen to all of us who live a full and natural life. In Canada, before these social programs, like the Canadian Pension Plan, (C.P.P.) and Old Age Security, (O.A.S.), families had to shoulder the burden of looking after their elderly parents, as many did not have the luxury of saving up enough money to support themselves in retirement. These social programs were set up to help people with their retirement, while reducing the burden on their children to support them in this time of retirement.

But what do you do when the next generation of tax payers will be reduced to two-thirds of what the tax base is today?

I have to hand it to the Conservatives in their method of presenting their future legislative initiative of retirement onto Canadians like this. With a majority government, and stacked Senate, they fear nothing as they are only less than a year into their four year term of rule until the next election. It is no secrete that the Babyboomers voted towards the right, while a very large group of the population never bothered to vote at all. So keeping the largest demographic of the Canadian population “happy,” is good business. The Conservatives played this hand very smart. As the media will turn its sights on other issues, this issue of retirement will fade away, and Canadians will forget and worry about the here and now as retirement will just be part of the background noise amongst the bombardment of our daily does of information.

What I see when I look into my crystal ball?

I see a lot, and it is not pretty. I see more Canadians voting Right wing in the Future. I see Country music being the dominant music, defining our Canadian identity. And it gets worse.

The money that I am paying right now into the C.P.P. and O.A.S. is me supporting a broken system that when comes my turn to benefit from, the money jar will be empty, and I can put the label, “sucker” on my forehead afterwards. To add insult to further injury, the expectation of Canadians living in a devolving society means that the children beyond Generation Z will be far worse off than anyone could ever imagine, when they are expected to fully shoulder the burden of supporting their parents just like Canadians did back before these social programs were first implemented. The realization that all retirees will be working well pass the age of retirement, and the extension of the age of retirement from 65 to age 67 means a very crowded labour force for the Generation Z’s and beyond.

At this point I turn off my crystal ball becuase I want to throw it across the room, and crystal balls are not cheap now days.

Am I disgusted at this whole situation–of course I am–growing old scares the living bejesus out of me! However, can we blame it on any one person, or thing? No, no we cannot! All we can do is try and mitigate the problems the best we can. There are several solutions to this problem, we just need to have the guts to implement them, whether through immigration, or just leave it and let the total collapse of these social programs happen; it is up to us to change and adapt to this new environment.

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