Nick Greenizan

REVERSE ANGLE: Premier’s pot-shot at young people aging poorly

Yes, some are breaking the rules, but most 20- to 39-year-olds just trying to get by

In professional wrestling parlance, it’s called a heel turn.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s the moment when the good guy goes bad, and for Premier John Horgan, March 29 may have been when he had his Shawn Michaels’ moment and kicked Marty Jannetty – who, in this stretched-out old metaphor, represents the province’s young adults – right through the barbershop window.

Ironically, that 1992 WWF reference is probably lost on most people under the age of 30, but I’m going to stick with it.

The merits of what Horgan said about the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically laying the blame for the recent surge in positive cases at the feet of those under 40, have already been debated for the past week, mostly on social media where us young ’uns hang out.

Yes, I am including myself in that group.

I may often wake up feeling 100 years old, but in reality, I am still in the target demo of 20 to 39 years old that was, well, targeted by our premier.

I turn 40 on Friday, though, so I have to get my thoughts down on paper quick, before I am no longer qualified to speak for a generation that is trying its best with limited government support. Next week, I’ll move into a different age bracket, at which time I guess I’ll start complaining about ‘kids these days’ while taking up lawn maintenance as a serious hobby, lest any of these young punks dare step on it.

My pop culture references will remain as dated as ever, however.

Speaking of aging poorly, Horgan’s ill-timed remarks – which he defended a day later – were almost immediately met with sideways glances at best, outright anger at worst.

Because here’s the thing – you can’t rely on the province’s youngest workers to staff your grocery stores and Starbucks counters, your banks and your gas stations, your drive-thrus and your department stores, while simultaneously admonishing them for not staying safe.

These people are getting sick because they don’t have the option to stay home; they have to work. They have rent to pay, since the government did little to nothing in the way of substantial extended rent relief.

These same people are also last in line to be vaccinated, which feels like it’s worth noting.

Now, are some of them breaking rules? Most definitely. But every group has rule-breakers, and any insinuation to the contrary is just gas-lighting.

I, as the self-appointed Spokesperson For Young People (in this space at least), can say with 100 per cent confidence that most of us are doing our best.

I have followed every single rule and suggestion that’s been put in place. I wear a mask. I work (mostly) from home. I stay six feet away from people, and I monitor my health constantly.

To bastardize a quote from Ned Flanders (he’s a cartoon character, for you actual young people): I’ve done everything the government says – even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff. What more can I do?

That question, however, should perhaps be put to our leaders themselves, which is something others – media members and the general public alike – have already noted.

Whether it’s obtaining more vaccines, implementing safety protocols and restrictions that actually work long-term, or at least speeding up the vaccine rollout, it would be nice if the grown-ups in the room acknowledged that they, too, could do just a little bit more, instead of coming off the top rope on this province’s young people.

Time’s running out, too, if they hope to live up to that earlier promise of having everyone in B.C. vaccinated in time for us to enjoy the summer.

C’mon, John, get moving. Don’t ruin this for us.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter with the Peace Arch News.

ColumnCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Winnie Peters, centre, spoke about the loss of two husbands over the years, both of who were murdered. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event in Hope on May 5, 2021 included prayers for men who have been killed as well. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Red dresses hang in Hope’s Memorial Park in remembrance

Group gathers for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

UBC Sports Hall of Famer Carrie (Watson) Watts (far right, front row) helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to the 2004 national championship, their first since 1974. She served as assistant coach a few years after graduation. (Photo/UBC)
Agassiz-born basketball star inducted into UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Carrie (Watson) Watts helped lead the team to their first championship in decades

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

JANGO the police dog helped track down a suspect on Luckakuck Way in Chilliwack. (RCMP photo)
Alleged thief in Chilliwack can’t fool the nose of Jango the police dog

An Edmonton man who allegedly broke into a storage container on Luckakuck Way was arrested

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read