Growth of Population and Economy-Protection of Quality of Life

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 137, Issue 105

Tuesday, February 2, 1999

The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, the Christmas-New Year's break gave me the opportunity to reflect on how the dynamic economic growth of Alberta contributes to the strengths of Canada as a whole.

Since becoming a senator, I have met with Premier Ralph Klein, Mayor Bill Smith of Edmonton, Mayor Al Duerr of Calgary, and Jim Edwards, President and CEO of Economic Development Edmonton. These leaders, and their colleagues, are moving Alberta forward to play a dynamic role in the Canada of the third millennium.

Already, Alberta has pulled ahead of British Columbia as the third largest non-resource manufacturing centre in Canada. The statistics for growth of both Calgary and Edmonton are impressive and a population migration to Alberta is well under way. Both major cities and the other smaller centres are riding a wave of change.

With this economic boost, however, comes a set of problems concerning the quality of life in the province, for example, with transportation, housing, health, education and social services. These are growing concerns and they underlie our approach to a new social union in Canada.


How can tax dollars be funneled to improve the quality of life in the local communities where people live while at the same time protecting and advancing national standards? That is the great challenge we face as both the federal and provincial governments work out new arrangements for applying the available tax dollar to the greatest need.

The local communities need more money to pay for quality-of-life services that people need. The provincial governments need to have more freedom to direct tax dollars to health, education and social needs. The federal government must ensure an equality of standards that will promote the national unity of our country. Alberta, for economic and political reasons, is a test case on how successfully governments at all levels can address the quality-of-life issues. These issues, which impact so seriously on the daily lives of people across the country, will not be resolved by partisanship but by putting the common good of Canadians at the forefront of public policy.

Doug Roche