Commentary by @michael.frind on 'Waterloo housing: the dream … and the surprising reality - Despite a growing population, planners say
home ownership patterns are shifting and the region doesn’t need much
more suburban single-family housing' which appeared recently in the Toronto Star:
'The greenfield development industry likes to perpetuate the notion that Canada
has a wealth of land, because of course they want to justify building more
subdivisions. But in reality, Canada is not land-rich in terms of land that we
can grow food on -- and this land happens to be the same land that is in close
proximity to cities (and this is what makes that land attractive to
urban-sprawl developers, so they buy it on speculation).
And, Waterloo's farmland, like that of the Toronto area, is indeed excellent
farmland - land which we cannot afford to lose.
So, urban economist Peter Norman is dead-wrong when he says "Canada is
land-rich and it's part of our culture", because even though our gross
land area is huge, the vast majority of our gross land is effectively
undevelopable (in particular our vast northern areas). And, that's why our
population is so heavily crowded along our southern fridge -- and most of that
is concentrated in the Windsor-to-Québec-City corridor (so, including Waterloo
Region, Toronto-Hamilton-Niagara, and so on). And, this corridor happens to be
where most of Canada's prime farmland is located. So, we cannot afford to let
the developers use this prime farmland as a speculative investment and make big
bucks off suburban-izing the farmland that current and future generations will
need to grow food on.
We should also remember that our need for farmland can be expected to be
greater in the future than it is now, and this increase in needed farmland will
be due to several factors: -
The latest Canadian manifestation of the international rise in pressure on Caucasians to atone for the wrongs of colonization is the report of a federal Truth and Reconciliation commission for the study of the past treatment of native children at church-run schools and orphanages. One conundrum that arises from its appeal that we as our institutions apologize for the behaviour of mostly now-deceased individuals, is in finding a way to do that which also recognizes that the minorities persecuted by government in the past are not only our ‘first peoples’. The Acadian expulsion from the Maritimes has not benefited from government atonement, and probably should not. Displacement of the weaker by the stronger civilization is one of the forces that have shaped who we are throughout human history.
If every national government was required to atone for the many sins of previous generations, most older societies in the world would be thrown into chaos. American blacks descended from slaves, Ulster Gaels displaced by Protestant Lowland Scots and West Country English, Metis whose territory in Manitoba was removed from their management – the list of grievance is endless. How far back to we go? The Welsh were expelled from most of England and parts of Scotland when the Anglo-Saxons arrived.