Today is Mother’s Day in Canada and the USA. Probably elsewhere too. It is going to feel a bit strange.
COVID-19 was raging the past two Mother’s Days. People might call Mom, but they didn’t go see her. This year, I think, a lot of people will risk an in-person visit. But not me.
This is my first Mother’s Day in Canada since my mother died. It didn’t have much of an impact on me the past couple of years, given how topsy turvy the world was. The previous two Mother’s Days I was living in Germany. At least I was able to Skype with my mother and arrange to have flowers delivered.
It is going to seem strange to be in Canada for Mother’s Day and not see her. I guess it is that stage of life – we let go of some of the familiar routines. Not because we want to but because we have to
Canada is an aging society, as I think are most western nations. There are more seniors, over 65 than there are people under 15. The baby boomers who haven’t yet retired are on the brink of leaving the workforce.
Which means Canada will soon be facing a labor shortage. Or people will be required to retire later than they had planned. The alternative would seem to be a reduction in our standard of living. If there aren’t enough doctors, bus drivers or grocery store clerks we’ll get by, but we won’t like it.
In addition to that, one of the major policy questions facing our political leaders is: who is going to care for all those elderly people? It is an especially pressing question given that most politicians are themselves in late middle age and will be retiring soon. For them this is personal..
Immigration might help solve the problem. Bring in people to change bedsheets and bedpans of the elderly. But will that be sufficient? And will people want to come to Canada for those jobs?
There is an alternative that I suspect has been considered, even if no+one has been willing to vocalize it. Introduce an age limit for Canadians.
We already have legalized doctor assisted suicide. How big a stretch is it to expand that so that all Canadians are euthanized on, let us say, their 75th birthday?
Health care costs increase when you are older. The smaller tax base isn’t going to be all that thrilled by the amount they will have to shell out to keep the oldsters alive. Why not just kill them off, if you do it humanely?
You won’t need as many doctors, bus drivers or grocey store clerks if your population is shrinking. And most people use more health care resources in the last couple of weeks of their lives than in all the days that came before. Killing off seniors while they are still mostly healthy would be good for the system.
Such a question is unthinkable. Just as unthinkable as gay marriage or doctor assisted suicide was fifty years ago. Yet today both are accepted as societal norms.
You could even argue there will be ecological benefits in reducing population in this fashion. It stands to reason that fewer people means less pollution.
Do I expect this change in my lifetime? Probably not. Is it coming? Almost definitely.
Preventing it would require a shift in the way we as a society think. It would require a new, or more accurately an old, understanding of what it means to be human. That is, someone who is precious and created in God’s image, who derives their value from that and not from what they have to offer to society.
Do you see that happening anytime soon?