Think again. It’s only spin.
At least that is what one smart young under-30 member said about the task force and its lack of representation for members of her generation. Here is her letter.
[Disclaimer – We at Compensation Watch do not blame the individuals on the Task Force for their outcome which apparently justifies and encourages even higher pay for the Directors by comparing their pay with those of bankers and others. We believe it was the process and the mandate that is responsible for that.]
We are the first generation in Canadian history that is worse off than our parents. It is not that there is not enough to go around. It is that those in power are taking the money from those without power. The Rich and Powerful are stealing from the other 99% so pervasively that people do not even see it any more. My younger generation is lost in consumerism. It is a drug that keeps them complacent and complicit in this hidden shift in wealth.
Having someone who represents me on the Task Force would be a good start. However, given that the Task’s Force mandate does not include the ability to set Director Pay, the cards were already stacked against that committee doing any real good. It is window dressing designed by the Directors to provide positive spin and is designed to make members forget about their excessive pay once again. Having looked at the new rules proposed by the Task Force, it is clear that these new rules will allow the Directors to justify still higher amounts of excessive pay for themselves.
I warn you – this will be an extremely long-ass angry rant, but it’s necessary to highlight how much these people don’t represent my generation in the slightest. I’m not saying these things are the fault of Coast Capital Directors, but I’m trying to demonstrate that people like them have made the rules which are causing problems for people like me and for those in my community. I’m totally sick of baby boomers and older generation making decisions for a future for which they are not going to be a significant part. I apologize in advance if you find this whiny, but my community is one made up of young people. The majority don’t know that they are even in the shit right now, because they’re distracted by consumerism and lack of education. But increasing suicides among young people demonstrate that the lack of purpose to life is driving them over the edge. These people on the Task Force don’t represent anyone who knows the hardships that young people today face. They are unaware of the current reality facing young people – or they just don’t care. Since this is about the future of Coast Capital, I think it would be helpful to look at the lives of the future users of the Credit Union: young people.
• A Retired union rep and grandparent
• A long time member who is a manager and board member of various committees.
• Lives in wealthy West Van, is a CEO, and specializes in corporate strategy.
• Another manager and former Director of a big agribusiness.
• One of the only younger members (father of two young sons) is also a managing accountant.
• A member who lives in wealthy West Point Grey, and another player in the agribusiness industry
• A Regulatory compliance specialist for the financial services industry and can afford to have four children.
[Editor’s Note: Compensation Watch believes that the committee members worked hard, completed their role in good faith and deserve our thanks.]
A bunch of bankers, accountants, agribusiness reps, executives, and residents of West Vancouver and Point Grey who do not represent my generation or my community.
Firstly, most or all of these people are over the age of at least 30, if not higher. They do not represent the future, nor do they represent the interests of younger members who are more likely to be more forward-thinking and whose interests are most important when considering the future sustainability of the credit union. Instead of giving old people what they want right now, why not ask what young people want for their future? Young people are the ones who will be using the credit union services for mortgages and businesses, and they’re the ones who will suffer because of mistakes made today.
Furthermore, age plays a factor because the older you get, the more you accept the status quo. Coast Capital needs a shake-up from someone who hasn’t been brainwashed by media messaging to believe that “top talent requires top pay”. Most young people know this is complete BS. But the older you get, the more you conform and move up in your industry, and the more you start to believe it. I know, because having worked in the corporate environment as an Assistant for the past eight years, I know how much Executives demand in order to have the “inconvenience” of doing work—- oh wait, of having assistants do all their work for them. You become detached from reality. Every once in a while, you’re smacked in the face with something like Facebook – the most profitable social media platform on earth… created by a college kid. But those are swept under the rug as anomalies while CEOs and Directors are congratulated for shifting numbers around to make “profits” (like BC Hydro did) and then paying themselves bonuses for profits that were actually never made.
I am 24, and when I was 16, I moved out. I was a Coast Capital member since that time. I had to argue with the clerk for a good 10 minutes to speak to a manager because they wouldn’t remove the “child limit” from my account. I had rent to pay, textbooks to buy, and tuition to pay for, with regular paycheques being automatically deposited every two weeks. Yet I had to beg for them to let me spend my money. I also had to beg for them to remove the 7-day-hold on my ATM deposits. It was ridiculous and an obvious policy that was made by people who are unaffected by it.
My mom bought her Vic West home in 1987, the year I was born, for $60,000. She sold it in 2001 – just before the housing boom – for $160,000. That house, in 2003, was on the market for $550,000 with no renovations.
But consider this. My mom, the sole income earner as a single parent, worked at Thrifty Foods in shipping/receiving for $5/hour at that time. She bought a $60,000 house with that.
If the Vic West house is now $600,000 (which it is), or ten times as much, then that $5/hour wage should go up by ten times to be equivalent to what my mom was making then. But Thrifty’s aint paying $50/hour to unload boxes of broccoli from trucks.
These people don’t represent my generation. They represent a generation that had more opportunity, and who, frankly, are entitled. The system worked for them. My generation gets blasted on the news for feeling entitled, yet these media outlets are made by a generation who had way more opportunities. It seems like we have more advantages now, but these are distractions. iPhones and iPads – these are made-in-China “things” that don’t increase standard of living but rather distract my generation from the fact they’ll probably never own a piece of land or have a job that pays a pension. Because products are less expensive due to slave labour abroad, it seems like we’re richer because we can afford more things. But my parents generation bought local groceries and local items with their wage – along with their detached house that wasn’t a pre-fab on strata property. It only seems like we get paid enough because everything we buy is unethical and are low-quality pieces of plastic crap.
My friend’s mom went to university for nursing when she was our age, and it was paid for completely. Even her room and board at the university was paid for by the government. She is now retiring with a nice nursing pension from VIHA. Me and my generation? We’ll be lucky if we even have CPP, let alone private pensions from employment. The Employment Standards Act has been hacked by the BC Liberal government, and most of it has been repealed, so my generation doesn’t even have the protection it once had without a union. Unions being something which is largely unfavourable by a public who is pissed off at being paid even less for their own jobs (“If I can’t make a good wage with my job, neither should you,” mentality).
“Hiring from within” is gone. Instead of hiring a supervisor (a trained worker) to become manager, companies hire graduates from business schools to manage instead. Because I reached the peak I can make without an education ($20/hour, the minimum living wage – and the equivalent of $2/hour when my mom bought that house in 1987), there was no where else for me to go without the education I never finished. I decided to return to school for university training. BC/Canada integrated student loans only pay $5,440/semester. Tuition is $3,000 per semester, while rent (on campus) is $2,080 per semester. Textbooks are another $700. This does not include food or any incidentals, like MSP payments (which students still have to pay monthly in full), and all the money we spent on trying to get rid of an ant infestation upon moving in, carpet cleaning, and other battles against the slum lords that are UBC – who are somehow excluded from the Residential Tenancy Act; a decision made, no doubt, by boomers in government.
Does Coast Capital have student lines of credit? No. I had to go to RBC for that. Coast Capital has no services for students at all. Zero. None. Nothing to help young people get a life that is above the minimum living wage. Only restrictions.
I have to go into serious debt because there’s no way someone like me – someone from a single parent family with no hope of advancing past living wage – could afford to go to school. My mom went to University while raising two kids in the 90s with a student loan, although a sufficient one. Could I get a job? Been there, done that (when I first moved out and went to college at 16, for a year). But I wound up in Hospital for malnutrition. In Canada. Seriously. That’s when I quit college the first time and decided to work full time. Kids like me did not get the opportunity to go to college. And in any case, working causes grades to fall; which means, in our competition-based system, that students from rich families who have no need to work automatically do better than poor students who have to spend time sourcing income. Not only that, but foreign students are entitled to win the same scholarships as domestic students at UBC. Even though they’re supposed to be there by paying private fees, wealthy international students are still entitled to the same financial help as domestic students on low-income. And, it’s based on grades. And who gets better grades? The rich.
The people in power – the boomers and above – do nothing to remedy these problems because they have already taken what they wanted from the system that worked for them.
The people on this list are all obviously extremely wealthy, just wealthy, or at a comfortable income level. They have played the system and the system worked for them. People like this think it’s fine to sell homes to rich foreigners even if it keeps house prices inflated and unattainable for locals, and who think increasing foreign students to increase the university’s income is a good idea. They’ve eaten their fill, bought their homes, got their schooling or career advancement, and they don’t care if the next generation gets a piece of that pie or not. Whatever it takes to make even more money for them. It’s pure greed and it’s despicable.
Leadership throughout Canadian agencies, institutions, and organizations are screwing up the opportunities for young people to have a life not previously unattainable (even stone-age people worked less and owned their own homes). I wanted someone on that Task Force who is younger than 30 and who the system isn’t working for. Let’s see what a poor young person who isn’t from a rich family has to say about Director pay at Coast Capital.
An Under-30 Long-Term Member of Coast Capital