In “Flaming Youth,” Gladys Arnold says the youngest Member of the British Columbia Legislature is over forty. The youngest member is Harold Winch, representing Vancouver East and his age is twenty-seven. Another Member, Dr. Allan Harris, South Okanagan, has just entered his thirties. The youngest Member in the House of Commons is P. G. Davies, but he does not come from Ontario as Miss Arnold declares. He represents Athabasca, an Alberta constituency.
Miss Arnold deplores the fact that we are governed by old men, meaning men over forty.
She is all wrong. The country is full of young men and women who are taking an active interest in public affairs. But it is obviously impossible for them to step right into the House of Commons or the Legislatures. Membership in these institutions represents years of hard work acquiring experience in the conducting of public affairs. Now and again some youth with the help of a flaming speech and in the absence of more seasoned material lands in Parliament, but for the most part it results in his getting his parliamentary training at the expense of the taxpayers. It takes years before he is of any real value to the State.
The writer is in his early thirties, a member of a city council, with other public experience dating back at least five years. Edmonton city council has a young lady of twenty-two among its members, and other cities throughout the West can readily refute the assertion that “youth is too sluggish to notice.” Most of them would laugh at the idea that they should bombard the legislative halls and replace the middle-aged and old men. After all, few of us have the nerve of Mitch Hepbum, but even he will have to rely on the counsel of the elder statesmen in his Cabinet.— A. W. Lundell, Revelstoke, B.C.
No Profit in Farming
Some youths in a few rich homes may be pampered, but what of thousands in the relief camps, and those who ride the rods from province to province looking for work which does not exist?
With regard to youth spending its time drinking liquor in hotel rooms, listen to this from the brewers at a recent conference: “The youth of today are not drinking. We must advertise and get them drinking, for they are our patrons of tomorrow.”
How can youth marry? What could they live upon if they did marry? Where is the work that Premier Bennett said was to be had? With 8,000 single men in the relief camps here and a queue of waiting peoph outside every business firm that advertises for help in the cities, it is adding insult to injury to blame youth or say “They are too choosey.” Not much choice about going to a relief camp or riding the rods.
Youth is urged to farm. Well, if it’s a bare subsistence you want and no profit, the farm is the place for you. Potatoes cost $1.25 per 100 pounds to produce, they are selling for $1 per 100 pounds, thus losing the grower 25c on every sack. Nice fat profit in that, isn’t there? Then take the strawberries: the profit on them is one cent a basket after all expenses are paid. And so it goes. Yet Premier Bennett told a youth gathering in Vancouver that “they should manifest the spirit of their forefathers and go back to the land.” Back to the land and starve!—Martha Bennett, Mission City, B.C.
Young Men Are Active
There are more young men taking an active interest in public service today than at any period since Confederation. Evidence in the form of junior boards of trade, young men’s political clubs, and the personnel of our service clubs, points to an increasing
desire on the part of our young men to grapple with the problems of State, Additional evidence is provided in the recent provincial elections, particularly in Ontario, where the largest vote in the history of the province was recorded. Incidentally, the Premier-elect in this province is a young man of thirty-seven, with eight years experience in public life. In Saskatchewan there were many examples of young men taking an active part in the campaign.
Modem youth is indicted by your contributor for the enthusiastic interest it takes in sports, in what she terms “smart" literary criticism, and in certain popular entertainers. Well, thank heaven for the happy hours we have spent in the invigorating atmosphere of clean sport, for the mental stimulation of clever criticism, and the harmless nonsense of modem humorists. Experience over many years has demonstrated the beneficial effect of these forms of relaxation on mind and body.
The optimism of youth, the ambition of youth, the vitality of youth, are needed in the ranks of our citizenry, quite as much as “up front.” There is room for only a few on the bridge of the ship of State, but an alert, steady, and loyal crew is required to perform the less spectacular but none the less important duties on deck.—Kenneth A. Ross, Fort William, Ont.
No Leisure for Public Life
One reason why youth does not come more to the front in public affairs is that the average young person is so busy getting a start in life that any time left from business is taken up in recreation and sports, which, after all, are part of youth itself.
I believe it is safe to say that the majority of men and women in public life have reached a stage where they can well spare the time necessary when one steps out of his or her own business realm.
As a young doctor, lawyer or businessman, I look forward to spending the first ten years of my life, after leaving university or school, establishing myself. After that 1 will probably find time to step on the soap box and air my views.
As long as there is no age limit on men running for public office, just so long will you have youth kept in the background. As long as Members of Parliaments are permitted to be farmers, lawyers, doctors, directors, just so long will it be necessary for youth to first consider bread and butter before stepping into the political arena.
The position of youth today is entirely different from what it was. Times have changed, opportunities are fewer, money interests play a more vital part in deciding the affairs of our country. But youth is present today, just as it was years ago. Today however, youth is under the surface, ready when the call for action comes.— G. H. Giles, Regina, Sask.
Our forefathers? Oh, yes! Big, determined, pioneering cusses who could go away and leave all their worldly goods and chattels to the care of a twelve-year-old boy away out on the savage flats of Manitoba with Indians and wild animals galore to fight. We had some of these ancestors ourselves, and they claim a lower position in the Hall of Fame than even our striving youth. They could always borrow the necessities of life from the Indian, and pinch his territory while his back was turned.
Your modem youth leader is a sprier, more alert gentleman than his predecessors were. He goes about his work with a keen quietness lest his name be dragged before the heartless public by a Winchell or a Babson and besmirched into disrepute before he is well started.
Is he extra clever in one branch of work? Then let him take care or half the world will
laud him as a prodigy and the other half condemn him for the same reason.
His ancestors succeeded because there was material to grab for the grabbing. They helped themselves liberally to land, lumber, mines, fish and money. Now they refuse to part with any share of it, even though all the available youth labor indefinitely for it. 'They took good care to see to it tliat seventy-five per cent of the tax dollar of all future citizenry went to satisfy the interest on bonds, etc., that they themselves had created. They entered a debt-free country and made a lop-sided job of settling it, and now they squawk because their own offspring cannot follow a road that they themselves made a thorough job of barricading. -Cyril J. Bennett, Mission City, B. C.
The Cause of Immaturity
It is stated that a school principal declares boys and girls immature at twentyone, and that they have no idea of citizenship. Is there not something radically wrong, then, with our educational system? If gotxl citizenship is lacking, it is because instruction in this matter has been neglected.— An Old Geezer of 31, Vancouver, B. C.
Cheap (?) Labor
It was with genuine pleasure that I read the two articles, recently published in your magazine, presumably written by two young people of my own generation. They were so appallingly true that I blush for myself and the generation to which I was born. We are evidently going down in history as nincomixx>ps and deservedly so.
Let us start now to contribute part of our time and a great deal of thought toward the welfare of our Canada. We can, I think, attain success by forming these New Canada movements throughout Canada, in every hamlet, town and city.
Recently a friend of mine returned from Vancouver, where he was shown through a huge liner that was being reconditioned. He noted with profound disgust that the entire
corps of workers, which included carpenters and painters, were Orientals. On the docks the white-faced youth of Vancouver idled. Cheap labor? 1 wonder, especially as this gentleman also noticed that it took ten yellow men towing with effort, to tow a ship to anchor, while three white men pulled with ease a similar boat.
Let us take upthis New Canada movement of Mr. Shugg’s. Let us make ourselves powerful through unity.—Frances Stacey. Saskatoon, Sask.
A Leader Needed
Miss or Mrs. Arnold tells us that there are thousands of youths such as she described in every province of Canada. I cannot refute such a statement, for my experience does not extend dominon-wide. I only know that there are none in my home town.
Is she looking for a great political upheaval? Well, she won’t find it. Not if youth as a whole has found out what I have found. Granted that most politicians should be removed and disposed of, do you think that youth can supply you with a better set? After all, for the most part, we are the product of those generations which have gone immediately before us. Our educational system is designed to foster economic efficiency but entirely disregards any idea of character building. Only by a tremendous change in character can we expect to get ahead.
I feel that youth is quiescent, waiting and working. No new movement, no great change came without the aid of some splendid leader. Usually such a leader has been young. For instance the authoress mentions Alexander the Great, Caesar and Pitt. Why Victoria, I don’t know. These men were leaders, they had real genius, and of course it was evidenced when they were young. We have none today of that calibre. Neither has the last generation, or he’d be noticeable today. But are you going to blame a whole generation because they fail to have such a genius?—Harold Tull, Courtenay, B. C
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