LET'S KEEP THE STATUS QUO
I like my life right now, I am retired and approaching my 81st year. I have had to give up a lot of the pleasures that once were everyday activities. That takes a bit of an adjustment but when you have aches and pains doing those things like golf and sailing and even in my case just walking, you know that you are destined to change your ways or be very frustrated and angry. My wife of almost 60 years and I have moved into a very nice upscale community where my lawn’s are cut and snow’s removed and we have a lovely community center that serves our needs to a T.
Naturally my neighbours are going to be much younger as our community lends itself to attracting newly retired upper middle class couples. This is good as these kind young people are very helpful if they are required. It is also good for me as an observer of human nature to see what a difference a few years has made in the average person in political outlook, religious thoughts, lifestyle and attitude.
I guess that for those who know me, I would be understating myself if I didn’t admit that I am opinionated, somewhat religious and lean a fair way to the right in my political and moral attitudes. All character traits that put me out front as a lone soul in a wilderness of not so understanding neighbours. I must be fair to those who have similar leanings as myself, but they tend to be in my same age bracket and so my point if ever I reach it is, the next group coming forward would be called the “baby boomers” I have a brother and a sister in law that are in this grouping and they are different.
This phenomenon was brought squarely between the eyes to me at a recent dinner party where I was the only non-intellect in the room. My background is in sales and even though our world revolves around making the sale, and trade would grind to a halt without the sale, it still holds a stigma that just can’t be shaken. To make matters worse, I only completed my grade 9 before taken out of school. I then could contribute $15.00 to my family’s income per week in room and board. Being the oldest by far at this occasion, I had no problem holding my own. I listened with interest to the tried and true (pat me on the back for being so benevolent to the world lingo) until I felt that I had something to contribute to this dialogue.
The discussion transformed with my help to the present increase in Muslim immigration into Canada and how as I stated that we as a large country geographically but our population is small, we needed immigrants but they must be cleared by stiff immigration rules. I was still on firm ground, however, I continued, any one not following our laws and conforming to our culture must be rejected. Now I am feeling some coolness so I cited a case in point that being my own family back ground. It went like this.
I am 3rd generation Canadian, my grandsons are 5th Generation and when my grandparents arrived here in Halifax as a family of eight. With only $10.00 between them, looking at a few days train ride to their destination of Toronto where my Grandfather was assured of a job with the Grand Trunk railway. The food basket had to be rationed for the trip. A bed at the Ford Hotel was twenty-five cents per person per night and a small meal the same, it was obvious the $10.00 was not going to go far.
In days of steam, the great iron machines needed thousands of gallons of water for the trip east. Every 15 miles or so a large water tower was ready and waiting for these thirsty giants. While the train was stopped, Farmers would walk down the car looking for immigrant family’s that would be destitute enough to sell their oldest and strongest boy. Some would be forced to sell their child into slavery. A look of shock came over the women’s faces. I continued, the other side of my family goes like this. You may have heard of Dr. Bernardo and Dr. Faegan in London England? The answer was negative and so I continued. These well-meaning physicians saw the need to relieve the pressure on many young widows that were hard pressed to care for their children. There were many reasons for this condition in the early 1900’s. Many were widowed from the wars that England had endured, not the least was the Boer war. My great grandmother had two daughters and a son named George. George came through Halifax in the early years of the last century as a Faegan boy destined for a small village of Caledon, Ontario. A farmer there applied for and received my grandfather to work on his small farm. Many boys were sent to all destinations in Canada and also to Australia. Most were treated rather well and taken in as part of the family. My grand father was not and in spite of frequent inspections by the authorities, he was treated like a slave and worked very hard with no pay except for a bed in the cold cellar and meals. The deal was that money would be accumulated until the boy reached 18 and then he would be paid for his years of labour and would have a choice to continue or leave. My grandfather escaped his master when he was 13 after only five years. With very little education he made his way to the big city of Toronto, there to make his fortune. He did pretty well for what he had endured leaving my grandmother with two houses in Toronto, a summer cottage on Lake Simcoe, and a Truck. In the late 30’s, I accompanied them to Orillia in May where they laboured 10 hours a day clearing land with a cross- cut saw and an axe. They were hard working plain folk.
I explained to my friends that Canada was not always the land of milk and honey. We have reached this place of opulence with our two-car family’s, our million dollar homes and restaurants every other day, day care and extended vacations with hard work. Our way of life has been hard fought for and for people like myself, I was born in the depression and do not want our culture, our laws, our religion and our way of life changed by a completely different group that have no regard for our ways. Come one come all from all walks of life but only if you are willing to change. I for one do not want to change to your ways. If I did, I would be the immigrant.
Paul D. Scott