By Dave Harrison
The recent, thoughtless and insensitive tweet by B.C. MP Marc Dalton (Conservative for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge) did not go unnoticed by Canadian seniors. To utter such a statement suggesting that Canada should get back to work because most COVID-19 deaths are among seniors in care homes, who would have died anyway, is more than inhumane and cold-blooded.
This MP obviously lives by the creed, “I’m OK, Jack,” so we should look past the deaths as insignificant and ‘carry on’ as though nothing tragic is happening. Also, his statement implies that seniors – who should be living their golden years – are nothing more than a burden to younger, healthier, more fortunate members of Canadian society.
Marc Dalton needs lessons in sensitivity, tact, and empathy for these members of society who have greatly contributed to Canada’s welfare of today. By the time he was born (1960), much of the hard work of establishing this country was already done by his predecessors whom he disparages in his tweet. Those adults – now seniors – and their parents, and grandparents, did the real, hard labour to make Canada what it is today.
Unfortunately, MP Dalton seems to have forgotten his heritage and continues to show disrespect to seniors who have made such extraordinary sacrifices and contributions to this country called Canada.
We must remember that war babies and Baby Boomers have witnessed a vast expanse of Canadian and world history. Firstly, their parents laid the foundations of this country before the First World War and the ‘tween-years’ into the Second World War.
During the Second World War, many of them participated in historic battles to save democracy in a global fight in far-off lands. Others lost husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, and nephews in important clashes during years of brutal warfare. At home, all citizens suffered shortages for the entire duration. Today, seniors’ stories of hardships are forgotten and relegated to ‘ancient history’ until Nov. 11 rolls around but, for many seniors, every day is Remembrance Day.
Our valiant soldiers fought while others worked in factories for low pay and suffered through a scarcity of many goods. Having ration cards is not something most, younger Canadians can even imagine and the pandemic shortages of today pale by comparison. Everyday insufficiencies of sugar, beef, pork, butter, cloth, clothing, sundries and, of course, gasoline were unrelenting hardships for six, long years.
After the war, these shortages persisted for another decade until our fighting men returned home and factories were re-tooled to produce much-needed, consumer goods rather than murderous weapons of war as our country’s focus suddenly shifted to peace from war. post-war boomers and their parents gave Canada hope for future peace, a peace which every Canadian enjoys today.
One must also remember that war babies and baby boomers have seen many changes during their lifetime. These include: the Great Depression, arrival of the Atomic Age with bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the end of the Second World War, the post-war boom, the Cold War, the Korean War, the arrival of television, the Cuban missile Crisis and threat of Second World War, the moon landing, the Vietnam War, the October Crisis (1970), the 1970s energy crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall, several music eras, the arrival of computers, cellphones, smart phones, and entry into the new millennium.
Everything Canadians have today was built and developed by boomers, senior citizens, and their predecessors. For example: the exploration of this country from sea unto sea, the development of two, national railways across Canada in the 1880s and 1890s, the completion of our national road system in 1962, the completion of the Canada Health Act (1984), the Trans-Canada gas pipeline (1950s), the development of agricultural lands across the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic provinces, mining and forestry projects in the taiga, fishing grounds in the open seas, and the defence of our freedom in two world wars – all at great hardship, endurance, and cost of life and limb.
MP Dalton has slighted, demeaned, insulted, and given affront to the most precious resource this country had in its last hundred years – the seniors who built it.
Dave Harrison is a retired teacher, writer, and author who splits his time living in Ruse, Bulgaria, and Chilliwack.