In this case, the question is almost a literal one. One of the Liberals' campaign promises was to save home delivery of mail. And early this week, the head of Canada Post decided to halt the installation of new community mailboxes. But even if the eventual decision is to keep home delivery for those who still have it, for us it will be too little too late. Or as Maxwell Smart put it, "missed it by THAAAT much!"

We got the keys for our community mailbox last Thursday and began picking up our mail there on Monday. So far it's gone fairly smoothly, although we still don't know what time the box gets filled, assuming it even does happen at a consistent time of day. If you check it and it's empty, you can't be sure if you just didn't get mail that day or if it'll come later... unless of course there are neighbours there at the same time who do have mail. Then again, maybe some folks don't check their boxes every day, so it could be yesterday's mail they're collecting.

It won't be much fun in the dead of winter, when we'll all have to bundle up in winter gear just to get our mail. Or to see that there wasn't any mail after all, or just junk mail that other people have scattered about because they don't figure it's worthwhile carting home! It won't be fun if I get another flare-up of my rheumatoid arthritis and my knees swell to three times their normal size. And for a week or so after my eye surgery in November, I'll be spending nearly all my time face-down, staring at the floor or couch or whatever while the eye recovers, so I doubt that I'll be getting out much then, even to fetch mail!

Of course there are a lot of important issues on the Government to-do list, and it could be argued that the matter of mail delivery pales in comparison to Syrian refugees and long-form censuses (censi?) and trade agreements and anti-terror legislation and electoral and senate reform.

Maybe in spring, just as the weather is getting nicer again and it's easier getting out and about, we'll actually get door to door delivery back, if we're lucky. But I have a catchy little ditty for the incoming government, one that I used to see on postmarks way back when (btw, does anyone actually collect stamps and first-day covers and postmarks any more, you might well ask?): Why wait for spring? Do it now!
Back in 1968, Canada elected a swinging "young" prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Only thing is, he was nearly fifty!

Also in 1968, a movie was released, Wild in the Streets. It featured a catchy soundtrack of songs by the fictional band Max Frost and the Troopers, one of which was "Fourteen or Fight", advocating a lowering of the (U.S.) voting age from 21 to 14. At that time, you had to be at least 21 to vote in Canada as well.

In the "Wild in the Streets" scenario, folks were shipped off to concentration camp once they reached the age of thirty. Of course, the inevitable happened. The leader of the youth uprising, Max Frost, already 25 when the film began, soon realized he was rapidly reaching the artificially-imposed age of decrepitude. "Nothing can change the shape of things to come" warned another song from that movie.

According to Wikipedia, which may or may not be a reliable source, folksinger Phil Ochs (who committed suicide at a rather early age) was offered the role of Max Frost but turned it down. Apparently he didn't approve of the storyline, though evidently he later decided he wanted to die before he got old.

Fast forward to 2015. Our voting age has been 18 since the early 1970s, round about the time Trudeau fils was born. He'd like to be Canada's next prime minister, but his detractors are saying he's "just not ready". Really? Personally, I'd have said he'd been groomed for the role since birth, if not before! But then again, it's not young people who are clamouring for the vote these days! Fourteen or fight? It's enough of a battle to get the 18-to-30 demographic out to the polls! Apparently it's only about a third of them who plan to vote and presumably even less who are taking a more active role in the current election campaign. Those most likely to vote and get actively involved are seniors, especially the younger seniors, those baby boomers who would have been between 14 and 21 back in 1968!

To be sure, it may simply be that baby boomers are more likely to be retired and have the time to get involved. It may be that more young people would vote if we made it more convenient for them - say, by allowing them to vote online, or by making the identification process less stringent. Still, many seniors manage to vote in spite of major mobility and identification challenges!

Were young people more or less political back in the day? Certainly the anti-Vietnam war protests spread to Canada, for a variety of reasons. But then there was also the turning on and dropping out and going back to the land movement as well.

Is it a question of apathy and complacency, of feeling that the feminists and the other human rights and civil rights activists have already won all the major battles that need to be won? Or is it that young adults are so preoccupied with the day to day battles of finding un bon boss et un job steady, of taking care of the next generation, and of just getting by in life?

I don't have the answers, but I do still hold the perhaps old-fashioned view that voting is a civic duty, assuming you are eligible. Even if you don't really feel your vote will make much difference to the election outcome. And for this election that's coming up in October, it looks as if the outcome is anything but a foregone conclusion.

So get out and vote. You may be pleasantly surprised by what happens!



October 2017



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