An open letter to Mr. Mike Morris. Dear sir, you may recall that during last year’s general election, you often said that you wanted the economic opportunities in Prince George and the North to be like they were in the 1960s. Well, it is with great regret that I inform you there is little to no possibility of this scenario coming to pass. Let me explain to you why this is the case.
In 1964, the average family size was five people or more in a home that was anywhere from a half to a third of a size of houses built today. The amount of single parent households was astronomically smaller for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal households, and the economic opportunities were in abundance even without completing a high school education. People spent more time being active outside with their many children than they did watching television at home, and almost every child was enrolled in some sort of extra-curricular club, sports team, or group.
During the 1960s, the Western World did not have to compete with the cheap, non-unionized labour of China. There was no free trade agreement with the United States, and the American dollar was still on the gold standard. There were numerous regulations regarding how banks and financial institutions worked, which kept them from colluding and crashing like they would in 2008. During this time, an independent logger in 1964 could drive his buncher through a stream without checking if it was fish bearing. Today, that same stream becomes the site of intense investigation by all sorts of bureaucrats and scientists to ensure that no harm is done to fish and their offspring by economic activity.
Aboriginal rights, particularly in B.C., were not addressed during this time. While aboriginal groups can line up by the dozens now to oppose the building of any dam or pipeline, the provincial government of the 1960s in B.C. had little to no concern over sacred hunting grounds and burial sites. Likewise, universities were not yet spending millions of tax dollars on the identity politics of faculty members, engagement with historically discriminated groups, and scholarships specifically set aside for people of aboriginal descent.
Drug use was incredibly different as well. Cannabis, now considered the largest cash crop in B.C., was not nearly as prolific. People’s moral codes strongly condemned illicit drug use, and the cultural revolution of the 1960s (as well as the fallout from it) had not yet taken hold. The cost of illicit drug use on the public purse is hard to measure, since it truly burns the candle at all ends: psychiatric treatment of addicts, prisons for peddlers, gang warfare in low income communities, officers injured or killed in action, and court costs associated with trying offenders.
In the same decade that Kennedy was assassinated and man first walked on the moon, the B.C. government taxed items based on their related use. Gasoline, which cost 30 cents a gallon at the time, was taxed for constructing highways, and property taxes kept local schools running. Now the entirety of government funds is stashed in one pile called “general revenue”, a joke of a name meant to hide that every budget of every department is up for deficit spending. There is no reward for good budgeting or raising enough revenue in Chairman Clark’s government.
In short Mr. Morris, I’m not sure you understood what you were saying when you utter that nostalgic phrase about the 1960s. But rest assured, reality will dawn on you shortly enough.
© Copyright 2014