Social spending gap to favour seniors: election analysis

Posted on October 16, 2015 in Equality Policy Context – epaper/News
15 Oct 2015.   Patrick Colvin

An associate professor at the University of B.C. has been crunching the numbers on campaign promises ahead of the federal election, figuring out which generation will benefit the most from the parties proposed platforms. Spoiler alert — if you’re under 45 it’s not you. The results of Paul Kershaw’s study were published in a report on Oct. 14, titled By The Numbers: a generational guide to voting in the 2015 federal election. Kershaw is the founder of the organization Generation Squeeze, which he describes as a, “national non-partisan science-based lobby for citizens” that seeks to lobby on behalf of Canada’s generation of 20 to 45-year-olds.

He found that the four major parties have all promised a significantly higher amount of new investment dollars by 2019/20 to Canadians over 65-years-old compared to their younger counterparts.

“So the Conservatives will do 18 cents per person under 45 for every dollar they put into a retiree, the NDP will do 27 cents, the Liberals will be 28 cents, and the Greens will do 34 cents,” said Kershaw.

“So in other words the Conservatives are investing nickels, the NDP and Liberals quarters, and the Greens are cobbling together a quarter and almost a dime.” Kershaw founded Generation Squeeze after conducting research into the generational inequality in Canada, finding that young Canadians today are facing tremendous challenges with rising housing costs, minimal job opportunity, lowwages, and debt. He hopes his research into campaign promises will provide young people with the knowledge they need to be informed voters.

UBC research assistant Anita Minh understands first-hand the struggles facing her generation as a 25-year-old with $30,000 in student debt. But she is still optimistic about the future.

“It is really heartbreaking to see all the things like income inequality, persistent poverty, all of these things that go on and specifically (for) young people,” said Minh.

“There’s lots of challenges with having to delay family planning or home ownership, the possibility of that is much less, and wage advancement, so all these things it is really disheartening that (we’ll) be facing it.”

Chart:  “Dollars for Retirees and pocket change for Generation Squeeze”  < >

“But the efforts that people go through to change that is really hopeful, it provides a lot of hope and I think Generation Squeeze represents that for me, which is why I’m so willing to be a part of it.”

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