I want to speak now for a few moments of other changes I have seen, some of which I am happy with, and some of which make me less happy.
One of the changes that I have seen over the last 25 years is the rapid urbanization of our country. I realize that this urbanization is not necessarily due to the vital growth of urban centres but also represents, on the other side of the scale, a hemorrhage of the life's blood of the small towns in rural Canada.
I regret that our development as a country has been so uneven. Over the last 25 years there has been a lusty but sometimes malignant growth of our urban centres, especially of areas based on the rapid exploitation of non-renewable resources. It is obvious, of course, that a civilization, a culture, or an economy based on non-renewable resources is, by definition, non-renewable itself. I regret the prodigal squandering of our natural resources which should be the precious capital of a civilization as long as it lasts, for a continuing civilization and culture must be based on renewable resources to be renewable themselves.
Of course I am probably biased in this matter because by birth and a long life of experience I am a country man, vividly
October 18, 1976
aware of the fact that we as humans are part of the web of life and that, if we forget that fact, we forget it at our peril.
I believe that this uneven development of our country is not entirely unavoidable or inevitable. Much of it has been caused by bias, often unconscious bias, in the whole apparatus of government at every level, based on the false premise that was instilled perhaps 40 or 50 years ago but which is no longer valid, namely, that the good life can be obtained only in an urban setting. Experience has proved the opposite to be true.
There was a time some decades ago when modern conveniences, modern communications and so on, were the prerogatives of the urban area, but that is no longer true. Technology has advanced to the point where those who live in rural Canada can enjoy all the modern conveniences, if they can afford them, that the urban dweller can, and have the joy and benefit and recreational facilities-and I mean recreational in the best sense of the word-and the experience, of living in the country. I believe that the highest and best quality of life is achievable more easily in rural Canada and in the small towns than it is in the large urban centres.
I do not think it is inevitable that modern technology forces us to the large urban conglomeration of society. This has come about, I think, because of a worship of giantism and an over selling of the benefits of large scale. In the process the human element has been lost, and I do not think it is good that that should be the case. I have from time to time been talking along this line over 25 years and, as far as I can tell, nobody has been listening, but as I said, I found by accident that I made my maiden speech in this Chamber exactly 25 years ago today.
Topic: ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE