Government needs to listen to young voters

I grew up in the 1960’s, when if we didn’t know the meaning of certain sexually explicit terms; adults would tell us their meaning – to protect us. We learned the “difference” between a person being lesbian/gay versus being a pedophile, and we watched the evening news looking for some hope that sooner or later, the Cold War would end and we could finally shake hands with someone whose skin pigmentation was “different” from ours. 

It is therefore depressing to try to explain to our youth as to “why” many members of my generation have become the Luddites creating an artificial barrier to tolerance and progressive ideas.

Today, we pathetically jaywalk across a busy street to avoid encountering the homeless. We deny the reality of the ‘60’s when unions created our middle class and families could “get by” with only one person bringing home a pay cheque, instead allowing a Sask Party government weaned on American ultra-conservative stupidities and obsessions to pass “right to work” legislation that, mercifully, the Court condemned as unconstitutional. And now, even though the provincial election is still nine months away, we AGAIN have Sask Party trolls restarting their claim that the Romanow “socialist hordes” CLOSED 50 hospitals during their government tenure. 

Ironically, our long forgotten second hospital here in Prince Albert is on that “list”, but its “closure” had more to do with the fact the white particles covering patients, medical staff and the visiting public’s clothing wasn’t dandruff, but rather asbestos fibres. Today, let a teen from Shellbrook ask why it is that grandparents regularly stricken with respiratory ailments only recently found their hospital’s Emergency Room closed due to extreme staff shortages, and the answer they receive from their MLA – our Premier – is a deathly silence. Nothing changes, because we’re still being bombarded with 15-year-old fiction and little improvement of health care delivery to rural Saskatchewan.

Every day our kids bear witness to older family members turning to snorting, smoking, swallowing or injecting pain “killers” such as Fentanyl to ease their fiscally-based concerns, only later to having to identify their remains laid out on a slab in the Coroner’s Office. In the meantime, having no parent at home willing to exercise their social responsibility to provide direction for their offspring, their younger friends are increasingly using dangerous street drugs such as crystal meth, “cooked” from contrived “recipes” that INCLUDE kitty litter (and increasingly mixed with Fentanyl), to which the often emptied shelves at Wal-Mart or Superstore bear stark witness.

Our schools of yesteryear had their share of bullying and occasional racial tension, but not on the level that I’ve regularly witnessed in our current school environments. Today’s average high school students are increasingly exposed to violence and exploitation, often initiated by so-called “gang” members recruited by adults “selling” the idea of their being “protected by their own people”. In reality, boys as young as six are enlisted to participate in crimes of petty larceny or vandalism so their “protectors” don’t end up in jail, while young women are first turned into addicts, then kicked out onto the streets as “working girls” so that their “boyfriend protector” has money to pay the rent. Should these “recruits” eventually find this “life” not to their liking, their “exiting” takes one of two forms: their being beaten within inches of their lives by their former “friends and protectors”, or sneaking away at night with the help of a true friend, knowing fully well that for the rest of their lives they’ll be looking over their shoulders to see whether or not they’re being followed.

The irony here is that these are the SAME kids our jaded and narcissistic older generations expect to pay off the massive provincial debt our government is leaving behind, even as our provincial right-wing parties continue to find ways to try and separate individuals, whether urban or rural, or even blood relatives from rejecting their failed policies. They do so by taking the same dog whistles they’ve used in previous campaigns and giving them a totally new and even more innocuous meaning to a population now growing weary of hearing the same old arguments calling for “change”.

The Prince Albert Northcote MLA Report from January contains a simple example of what one can expect as the Sask Party tries to pretend that it is “protecting” both urban and rural populations alike by removing “ the carbon tax from natural gas home heating”. However, this is a FEDERAL Liberal initiative that may already be too late to implement, but is intended to wean our population from our reliance upon petroleum products. The report does not possess the racist implication of a rural MLA touting the implementation of the Saskatchewan Marshals Service to “protect” rural residents from “dangerous” Indigenous youth gangs, but nonetheless underscores the fact that their purpose is to further “divide” our electorate by introducing another “enemy” of equal danger on the urban front, that being the federal government led by Justin Trudeau.

The inference is a seriously specious point framed specifically to arouse our urban population’s objection to new taxes. City dwellers are bombarded by special interest groups (Canadian Taxpayers Federation as but one example) maintaining that the carbon tax is singly the greatest threat to our food prices continuing to rise. However, every successful farmer knows full well that crop yield reduction caused by environmental damage and drought as happened in 2022 most adversely affects the producers’ GROSS EARNINGS, while the carbon tax is merely an operational expenditure. 

Anyone who passed a Grade 10 Accounting course knows the difference between “gross” versus “net” profits, and the carbon tax is flyweight consideration in this “battle of the taxes”. What’s even more annoying is that recent changes to taxation laws and the introduction of Form T2043, agricultural businesses get rebated for the tax and obtain an additional 17 per cent increase in gross tax credits on TOTAL operational costs – just in case they have to use natural gas or electricity to prepare or finish putting their crop in the bin. 

We are angry, and with justification – we’re seriously economically strapped. However, the “cause” of this economic boondoggle does NOT reside solely in the personality of Justin Trudeau, “dangerous” Indigenous youth, sexual terminology defined in the Lumsden – Morse Scrolls, religious fundamentalism or immigrants now stealing “our jobs”. What we truly need is for our governments to start sitting down to formulate LONG TERM solutions to the problems we’ll be facing in the next fifteen to thirty years.  It’s depressing when our children are telling us that, and we don’t even want to listen.