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

Vancouver Giants recorded three power-play goals Wednesday against the Victoria Royals. This is a new season-best for the G-Men. (Paige Bednorz/Special to Black Press Media)
Giants topple Victoria to hold on to top spot

In a 5-3 victory over the Royals on Wednesday night, several highlight-reel moments

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Willoughby Fire: The aftermath of the inferno in Langley

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
9 Lower Mainland hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries as hospitalizations surge

Record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across B.C.

Sgt. Frank Jang of IHIT spoke Thursday morning at the press conference about three recent gangland murders, including the killing of UN Gang member Todd Gouwenberg at the Langley Sportsplex on April 21. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Langley man gunned down at Sportsplex was long-time gang member

Todd Gouwenberg was affiliated with the UN Gang, police said

Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman’s riding includes Aldergrove. (Black Press Media files)
‘The budget B.C. was hoping for is not there’: Aldergrove’s MLA

Liberal MLA Bruce Banman said new provincial budget has little for residents

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. Carlos Monteith, the man charged in the Clayton shooting, was sentenced April 22 on charges related to a different shooting in New West in November, 2019. (File photo)
Man gets 6.5 years in prison for shooting as he awaits trial for separate Cloverdale slaying

Carlos Nathaniel Monteith sentenced for possessing a prohibited weapon and discharging a firearm with intent

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read