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The Golden Age… Really? by Gerald Roy


Gerald J. Roy is a former Federal Human Rights mediator and educator. Originally from Sherbrooke, Québec, he has retired to Port aux Basques, where he once taught French, to be near his family. His voracious book reading appetite trends towards westerns, spy novels, thrillers and mysteries. You can find him on Facebook or via email at: info@wreckhousepress.com.

A whole generation of people like me, having reached the age of retirement, expect to start enjoying a more peaceful, restful period far from the hustle and bustle of what has often been termed the “Rat Race”. But unless one is of the small minority who have managed to salt away a small fortune or defied overwhelming odds and won the lottery, their dream is often quickly dashed.

Take, for example, the way the Canada Revenue Agency claws back a substantial portion of the pension plan we have contributed to for all our working years. It’s far from me to begrudge the help the Federal Government has provided to the country’s workers who are now struggling to put food on their table or keep a roof over their head, thanks in part to COVID-19, but it does seem that the same treatment should be afforded to the senior generation.

We also need to eat!

In addition, in most cases, some require medication, which they either have to venture out to procure at the drugstore or have delivered at an additional cost. The measly $500 one-time stipend sent some months ago doesn’t go far if it’s a condition that will always necessitate medication.

Having contributed to the economy of the country, served the community in any number of ways, paid taxes either directly or through their purchases, it seems to me highly unfair that seniors appear to be an afterthought of the governments at all levels.

Safety net, they will say!

Allow me to point out that the very income tax programs we paid into, and that form the basis for these safety nets, are being “re-taxed” when even the Old Age Security money is reduced as is the Canada Pension, meager as it already is.

I have no way of verifying this, but I am convinced that I am not the only one who has to depend on his children to provide for a roof or other services. At my age, I naturally thought it prudent and responsible to give up my driving license.

Therefore, I now have to rely on them to drive me around, either to a doctor’s appointment, or to fetch my prescriptions at the pharmacy. These adults have their own lives and are facing financial obstacles of their own as the cost of living escalates while wages do not, and a global pandemic that is crippling the economy isn’t helping.

I had visions of spending my declining years in a warmer climate, walking leisurely on some faraway beach, admiring the sunset and other beautiful sights, and not have to contend with the reality of snow, ice, and the never-relenting wind that is the norm in our part of the province.

Alas, the reality of my circumstances is that I am here, bundled up with a heavy parka, with a tuque and mittens on, having to ask one of my children to abandon their current task in order to drive me to some appointment, or to go get a loaf of bread or some other necessity.

Of course I still dream of the beach, of the sun on my back, of sitting at some outdoor bar with a mojito or some other exotic drink, served by some friendly staff. But it shall remain exactly that – a dream.

It seems to me that the golden age is little more than the age of second class citizenship. So like countless others like me, I will dream of a better world where, when their turn comes, my children will not be a forgotten generation too dependent on their own children and living off whatever scraps all levels of government graciously dole out after a lifetime of taxing them egregiously for being responsible, contributing members of society.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll stop complaining and go back to sitting in the corner.

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