Prime Time Crime  


(Published in The Province week of April  2, 2007)

Ours is the generation of those who feel entitled to their entitlements


  By John Martin

The fraud charges laid against advertising executive Jean Lafleur are a timely reminder of the "sponsorship scandal," just as it was fading from memory.

Certainly the missing tens of millions of dollars and the revelation of corruption throughout every level of the former federal government are too serious to be forgotten so soon.

But Adscam left another legacy that is equally disturbing. It legitimized an ever-growing notion of "sense of entitlement."

As exhibited during the Gomery Inquiry hearings, we have among us an entire class adamant they are entitled to generous benefits for having contributed little or nothing whatsoever.

And this sense of entitlement appears to have permeated all sectors -- and is fast becoming a common trait among much more than Liberal insiders.

Walk into a beer-and-wine store and the cashier will have a tip jar on the counter. She'll expect a tip for swiping your ATM card and bagging your overpriced bottle of Merlot.

You see the same thing at gas stations where the attendant barely gets off his stool to take your money. No oil check, no clean windshield or anything else. He, too, has his tip jar and expects you to show your gratitude for the fact he made it into work at all.

The same goes for self-serve coffee shops. It's a wonder the banks don't pull this stunt.

So-called anti-poverty activists demonstrate and damage property because they're convinced they deserve free accommodation in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

People who lay around doing drugs and constantly harass us for spare change have figured out they have a right to live anywhere they want and the rest of us can mind our own business and pick up the tab. Oh yes, and they want free drugs too.

The most common complaint I hear from students after returning papers is "why did I lose marks?"

If I give someone 90 per cent on an essay, they want to know why I knocked off 10 per cent. There's an assumption anything submitted is worth 100 per cent and I had the gall to chisel it down.

People who insist on staying in chronically high-unemployment parts of the country are adamant they deserve year-round benefits for doing nothing.

Public-sector unions still cling to the notion they have an inherent right to compensation far exceeding the private sector.

Couples decide they want both children and their careers so everyone else, including singles and childless couples, should pay more taxes so they can have free daycare.

The volumes of paper to come out of the Gomery Inquiry can be reduced to one single slogan: "I'm entitled to my entitlements."

But it's much more than a bumper sticker. It's become one of the defining characteristics of a generation.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

The Vancouver Province 2007

Prime Time Crime

Contributing Writers