What happens when we’re young shapes us for life.
That seems obvious, but it’s worth keeping in mind, particularly when we ponder the stubborn persistence of poverty in one of the world’s richest countries.
Hugh Segal — former senator, longtime professor, lifetime politico — was born in Montreal in 1950, an “edge-of-poverty working class kid,” as he refers to his upbringing in the book.
One frigid winter day in the 1950s, his oft-unemployed cab-driver dad gave young Hugh’s treasured wooden toy box to a neighbour living in the same triplex. The man didn’t have the money to fuel his furnace. Young Hugh resented this act of charity. He would later come to understand that there were people poorer than the Segals.
His family scraped by, navigating setbacks familiar to people living with less. The events seared themselves into his consciousness.
“A bailiff arriving to seize your dad’s car and empty the house of furniture is not something that fades into distant memory. It stays with you, like a dark spot at the edge of a slice of bread,” he reflects.Read more