It's not about generations

The "boomer hate" is not that serious.

The frustration many people my age feel is due to the opportunities that were available to (Baby Boomers), opportunities that seem out of reach for us today. It’s not their fault times are tough. Times have always been tough, but they are particularly challenging now.

As a young man, I am faced with the need to save $40,000 to purchase a home, which is 70% of the average annual income. In contrast, in 1980, one needed $3,700, or 8% of the average annual income, to buy a house.

I acknowledge (Baby Boomers) faced high mortgage interest rates, and paid 70% of the average annual income towards a mortgage in 1981. I would be paying 90% of the average annual income towards a mortgage today if I could afford one.

Younger generations understand no-one is here to spoon-feed us. Similarly, we may not be able to spoon-feed you in your later years, given that many healthcare workers are not earning enough to live comfortably, resulting in a shortage of caregivers. Who's going to change your diaper?

Perhaps the reason my generation isn’t buying electric vehicles is simply due to financial constraints. Yes, (previous generations) were tough, starting work at 15 and couch-surfing. That’s commendable. Many of us, including myself, also worked full-time throughout high school and now work 60 hours a week, yet we can hardly dream of building a house by Okanagan Lake.

The challenges we face are not the fault of any particular generation or even isolated to one generation. They are the result of poor legislation and leadership. Rather than arguing about political divisions or generational differences, we should focus on supporting each other and overcoming these divides. Politicians and corporations are exploiting us all. Why do we let them?

We need to take care of our neighbours. Who knows if they have enough to eat? We need to support local businesses that barely made it through the COVID pandemic and are still struggling. We need to volunteer in our communities, attend local events and use local services instead of relying on mega-corporations. And we need to help those in need and foster a spirit of community.

If we all do our part instead of feeding into the divisive narratives propagated by media and two-faced politicians, we can make this country a better place for everyone, regardless of which puppet we elect.

Times will continue to remain tough until we support each other.

Christopher Hamer


Questions code of conduct

Re. David Buckna's letter Step down from RDCO (Castanet, May 13)

I concluded my letter (referenced above) by asking, "Isn't the Regional District of Central Okanagan an external committee?" I've since learned it is not.

The City of Kelowna's council code of conduct was developed through a series of reports to council beginning in March, 2023. The distinction between committees, task forces, agencies and the regional district board was discussed during former Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming's presentation on Sept. 11, 2023, just before council adopted the code.

Fleming said he expected the code, should it be adopted, would evolve and change as it’s interpreted, so he didn’t see it as a static document, but one that would change and be amended as it was used. He said the section that talks about stepping aside from committees and task forces, does not apply to the regional district board.

“The regional district board is a bit of a different statutory beast, if I can put it that way, and with city council having the number of required seats on it, and a need for alternates, it wasn’t felt that that would be something that should fit into the policy should anyone choose to find themselves in that situation,” said Fleming.

At the May 13 afternoon council meeting, Coun. Ron Cannan asked for clarification that Coun. Wooldridge can still keep his seat on the RDCO board. City clerk Laura Bentley said that was correct

“The regional board appointments are made by resolution of council, and it’s a statutory obligation of council, and so the code of conduct does not essentially limit that statutory responsibility of council,” she said.

“The reference to external committees, task forces or agencies is essentially other committees of council or other agencies that members of council may be appointed to by the mayor…The provisions around a leave of absence were written sort of recognizing what responsibilities of individual members of council and what the responsibility is of council as a whole, and so without limiting that decision of council in terms of a council resolution for appointments to the board, that’s how it’s addressed through the code."

Cannan asked what if a council, in the future, wanted to identify the regional district board as one of the committees a councillor wasn't allowed to be on if also a candidate for a political party. Bentley said that would be separate from the code.

From Sept. 11, 2023 to the present, why haven't any councillors put forward a motion, separate from the code of conduct—stating a councillor would have to step down from the regional board if becoming a candidate for a political party?

I also wonder when members of council and city staff first learned Wooldridge was considering putting his name forward as a potential (provincial) candidate.

In 2019, Kelowna’s former council, led by then-mayor Colin Basan, discussed the topic of a council code of conduct. Before that, as early as 2017, the topic of a code of conduct was discussed.

A “loophole” is a technicality that gives someone the chance to avoid having to do something, without violating a policy, law, bylaw, or piece of legislation.

To those who follow Kelowna municipal politics closely, do you think "loophole" applies here?

David Buckna, Kelowna

(Editor's note: The code of conduct states a council member running for elected office outside of a local government should consider requesting a leave of absence from council once the writ is dropped for that election to avoid conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest.)

Agrees 'boomers' to blame

Re. Baby boomers' contribution to the current state of affairs in Canada.

Baby Boomers did a lot to establish post-war society. In expansionist economies that is quite easy. They took that opportunity and did well for themselves. Nobody should criticize that.

As boomers held most positions of power in both public and private sectors during the last two or three decades, they also have to take responsibility for their awful neglect of our communities, education systems, transport, trade, crime and security and healthcare. They abandoned their responsibilities and let the creeping neglect and deterioration of services and civic standards progress and fester.

Now Gen Xers and Ys have to step in to repair the vast damage and, to be frank, most of it is irreversible. Many aren't prepared, having been held back by boomers extending their work career to improve their pension situations. Ageing boomers clogged up the workforce and prevented natural growth and development. Companies had "dead men's shoes" cultures for years.

I don't see boomers generally accepting how much harder it is for youth today to get ahead, or even make anything of their lives. The odds are stacked against them—post COVID inflation, the cost of living, cost of shelter, lack of high value employment, interest rates, a mental health crisis, spiralling crime on a local level and insecurity on a global scale.

I am not Gen Y or a Millennial, but I understand their dilemma and find it easy and lazy to criticize them. They have been set up to fail. All government can offer them is handouts, medical Assistance in Dying and promises of some future work-free “woke” utopia. They have their faults but every generation does.

Boomers, look at the world around you and the awful state of Canada is in right now. Who was at the helm to oversee that failure? Boomers.

Take the good with the bad, the successes and the failures. Own what you have created.

Ricky Daytona, West Kelowna


Offended by boomer blame

Re. James Carter's letter ‘Boomers’ are to blame (Castanet, May 17)

I take super offence to (the writer) bashing us "boomers".

I started working when I was 15 year’s of age and still in high school. I held down three part time jobs, kept my grades up, crashed in hippie pads because that's what we did back then. We looked after each other. I slept on a couch for years, sometimes more than 10 people slept on the floor—me too when needed—and often went hungry. I saved up and got a degree in law, paid off my five-figure school loan and, yes, most often worked 60-plus hours a week, built my home on Okanagan Lake when I was 28 and took me 35 years to pay it off.

This three-bedroom, three-washroom beautiful home, is one I will never sell. I earned it. I often paid 21% in (mortgage) interest rates.

Finally, after working hard for 53 years, I have made a very comfortable life for myself after paying millions in tax dollars. I never inherited a penny.

My advice for the writer is to dig in hard, roll up his sleeves and make an effort to get ahead. He’ll need to give up a lot. Trust me, he can do it too but it ain't easy.

I’m 71 now and retired when I was 68. It’s hard work and please, never bash us "boomers" again. Let's see what he’s made of.

Debbie Boyne, Vernon

'Boomers' had it so good

Re. James Carter's letter 'Boomers' to blame (Castanet, May 17)

I am one of those despicable Boomers who had everything easy —low housing costs, everything easy and are to blame for all today’s evils. We had it so easy. We are the ones who didn’t contribute to today’s problems.

We are the ones whose ego set us apart from reality. We were so bad, we made it so hard for today’s generation. We were also the ones who didn’t contribute to Canada’s wealth and didn’t contribute anything to make Canada a good place to live.

My contribution to Canada was minimal. I guess my excessive demands for health care and my extreme demand for a quality of life should be rewarded by denying me basic service because us Boomers never contributed anything but ego about our white privilege.

I guess my ego is so strong I could never expect a result for transferring to a small town which didn’t have a tub or running water. Standing in the wind trying to fill my can from the community well in 40 kilometre per hour winds so my family could have drinking water. I really enjoyed not being able to shower or bath until I went back to my parents home twice a year. Yes, that was so great.

I was employed by a bank that transferred us at its leisure. We had our relocation paid for but had no input to where our next location was. My rent doubled from the small community to a city—my final location—but my salary didn’t match the increase. It cost me 25% more, but who cared. We boomers were so fortunate.

We were able to buy homes cheap. We remember that after former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, we renewed our mortgages at 18%. Great times. My payments went up 50% but we were so lucky, weren't we?

Boomers are, for some reason, today’s punching bag. Don’t worry, soon we will be dead and the "left" will find some others to vilify.

Robert Hepting, Kelowna

In defence of 'boomers'

Re. James Carter’s letter Boomer to blame (Castanet, May 17 )

Regarding James Carter’s letter - grow up and own your own problems.

We are not here to spoon feed you and I think you are past the age of needing your diapers changed.

No generation is perfect, and we own problems as a society. We should solve them together, constructively, and with a lot less finger-pointing and the blame game. That is the way of our (current) prime minister. We can, and should all do, better.

I won’t say what I think about the generations after the Baby Boomers, nor will I run through the long long list of credits to the “boomer” generation.

“Boomers” buy more electric vehicles than any other generation in Canada, including me.

Let me know if you want to compare taxes paid by generations. It’s not even close to what we (boomers) pay.

Shawn Thomas, West Kelowna

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