Donald Savoie makes another compelling argument in the T&T today that things need to change in New Brunswick but I think the message is increasingly falling on deaf ears.
I really think we haven’t thought through how the demographic shift has changed attitudes.
Compared to 1971, there are 127,000 fewer New Brunswickers under the age of 24 and 135,000 more over the age of 55. There has been a 38% drop in the number of people under the age of 24 and a 130% increase in the number of persons over the age of 55.
In 1971, there were more than 3.1 young persons (under 24) for every person over the age of 55. Now, there are 0.8 persons under 24 for every person over 55.
It just seems to me a person’s outlook on the world fundamentally changes with age. When you had a crush of young people coming of age in the 1970s and 1980s, they saw the world differently. Their lives were ahead of them. They were interested in career, family and passion development.
Now, the bulk of New Brunswickers are either retired or can see retirement in the hazy but relatively near future. Their families are grown. Many of the kids have moved away.
I think the message and the medium has to be different in the grey haired world compared to the dewy-eyed world.
How do you motivate a retired person on a full pension that we need more economic development – particularly when that economic development may mean some disruption to their lives?
Even folks that do not have income stability – they will still view the world through a different set of eyes than a 20 year old.
I spend a lot of time discussing these issues with young and old and among the general public there is no more a sense of urgency now than at any time in my adult life. In fact, I remember much more concern over the economy back in the early 1990s but again, even just 20 years ago you had far more younger people than older people.