Seniors going to pot?

The recent case of two senior citizens arrested at a Kamloops-area marijuana grow-op paints an interesting picture of the economic reality for many older Canadians.

On one hand, many retirees today are richer than ever before. The baby boom generation witnessed the birth of a national pension plan and the longest sustained period of economic growth in modern times. With prudent saving and wise investing, many of today's seniors are better off than their children and grandchildren will ever be. But, on the other hand, there is a segment of the older population who, through no fault of their own, perhaps did not fare so well. 

For seniors on a fixed income, life is not full of exotic vacations and fine dining.

For those who receive only Canada Pension and have no other investments or source of income, benefits average only about $550 a month. Try living on that for a while.

It's true the maximum CPP benefit is $1,038 a month, but not everybody qualifies for that much, based on criteria such as how long they paid into the plan, income while they were working and so on.

That's why seniors love to gripe about the small increases in prices that often go unnoticed all around us. They pinch pennies most often because they have to.

It's also why, if you follow the courts, you will notice more and more seniors getting busted for drug offences. 

Sure, you could put that down to the boomers being the hippy generation of free love, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But, really, it's more about keeping a roof over their heads.

There's easy money to be made in the drug trade. And the reward is large while the risk is relatively small.

Can you blame them?

The couple busted north of Kamloops were 66 and 76 years old, not the typical age that comes to mind for dope growers.

We owe it to our seniors to look after them in their old age. They raised us and paved the way for younger generations. They shouldn't have to resort to lives of crime to make ends meet.

— News Director Jon Manchester



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