Dr. Paul Kershaw isn’t trying to cause a big sensation—he’s just pointing out the generational divide in Canadian society.
Kershaw, a UBC Policy Professor is the Founder of the Generation Squeeze Campaign, which highlights the intergenerational inequities between baby boomers and the generations that follow.
He says that the B.C. Liberal’s 2013 budget is an example
of the government prioritizing public spending to suit the needs of retirees over that of their grandchildren.
“Our budgets pit the health of our grandparents and retiring parents against the well-being of their kids and grandchildren,” Kershaw says.
“The Generation Squeeze campaign is replacing anxiety and even shame among younger Canadians with the confidence to call actively for a better generational deal—one that safeguards our parents’ medical care and retirement security without sacrificing our present or the future of the kids we already have, or those we may want someday,” he says. “Put simply, we’re inspired to bring about a better generational deal that gives all generations a chance, including Gens X, Y, and Millennial.”
Kershaw adds that the term “squeeze” symbolizes the pressure felt by younger generations as they face lower incomes, higher levels of student debt, and a more inflated housing market, than previous generations.
“I meet too many young people who think somehow we’re failing because we haven’t patched together the financial foundation we’d hoped to, nor the financial foundation many see our parents established by about the same age a generation ago—often having already bought a home,” Kershaw says. “Too many young people think it’s their fault that wages are lower and housing prices higher. But no individual is responsible for these things. It’s just bad timing.”
Generation Squeeze also wishes to make the financial imbalance between younger and older Canadians part of the campaign conversation. According to <www.gensqueeze.ca>, federal and provincial governments spend about $45 thousand per person on seniors 65 and over. However, Canadian citizens under the age 45 are allotted with a mere $12 thousand.
Kershaw adds that the campaign asks Canadian governments to narrow the generational spending gap slightly by increasing expenditures on younger generations by $1000 per young person. However, he notes that the recent B.C. budget did the exact opposite by adding about $1000 per retiree.
“By widening the generational spending gap, the budget fails to address how B.C. is now the least affordable jurisdiction for young people in the country,” Kershaw says. “The province has become unaffordable, because B.C. young people suffer the largest reduction in household incomes of any province since the mid-1970s, along with the greatest increase in housing prices.”
For more information visit <www.gensqueeze.ca>.