October 18, 1976 (30th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

We suffer from an almost universal idolatry of giantism. It is therefore necessary to insist upon the virtues of smallness. In this connection, Mr. Speaker, I should like to quote briefly once more from the book "Small is Beautiful" at page 63 as follows:
Take the question of size of a city. While one cannot judge these things with precision, I think it is fairly safe to say that the upper limit of what is desirable for the size of a city is probably something of the order of half a million inhabitants. It is quite clear that above such a size nothing is added to the virtue of the city. In places like London, or Tokyo, or New York the millions do not add to the city's real value but merely create enormous problems and produce human degradation.
At page 66 it goes on to say:
As an illustration, let me take the case of Peru. The capital city, Lima, situated on the Pacific coast, had a population of 175,000 in the early 1920s, just 50 years ago. Its population is now approaching three million. The once beautiful Spanish city is now infested by slums, surrounded by misery-belts that are crawling up the Andes. But this is not all. People are arriving from the rural areas at the rate of a thousand a day-and nobody knows what to do with them. The social or psychological structure of life in the hinterland has collapsed.
This is where I quarrel with governments; not only this government-this is completely non-partisan-but every government in recent years. Due to the advice they have been getting they have not given enough concern or interest to rural and smalltown Canada.

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