Abbott, The Hon. Charles
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Thinking too much about our problems and too little about our achievements; spending too much time in worrying and criticising and backbiting and not enough in constructive thinking and co-operative action. The need for something to restore our perspective. Directing our attention to the record of Canada's growth as a nation in the last few years. A look at the record in broad terms. A consciousness of the failures of the past and of the difficulties and dangers that now confront us. Tests of growth and achievement of a nation: is it increasing its strength as an economic unit? Has it shown itself capable of expanding its production and its productivity, thereby providing a rising standard of living for the mass of the population? Second, achievements from the social point of view: is it making reasonable progress in providing its people with the services and the forms of security they consider important? Third, is it showing capacity for growth as a political organism? Is it performing its political functions with increasing effectiveness? Are the political ties that bind the people together being strengthened? Finally, is it growing in stature as a nation among the nations? A detailed response to these questions follows. The first test. A look at the national income, the aggregate of all the incomes earned by Canadians, over the last ten years. A look at the benefits of rising incomes and whether they have been widely distributed. Ways in which we are better off than 10 years ago, and to what that is due. Strides in the industrial sectors of the economy during and since the war. Canada's dollar position. The need for the program of capital expansion and improvement to be spread over a longer period. Results of the dollar-saving plan. The hope that we will be able to sell more of our manufactured products, as well as our primary products, south of the border and help to attain the better balance in our exchange relations with the United States which is imperative. The development of our natural resources; some big projects that are under way. Oil discoveries in and around the Leduc field in Alberta. Development work which is planned for or going on in the Northwest Territories, in Labrador and the lower St. Lawrence. Canada's obvious growth as an economic power by any standard of measurement. Progress in the fields of social organism; vast improvements in education facilities and services, health, and housing. Progress towards the attainment of a greater measure of social security. Responsibility for social security. The national instruments of welfare policy, less than ten years old. Unemployment Insurance dating from 1940. Family Allowances first paid in July, 1945. Much that remains to be done and what the speaker would like to see happen in the realm of social services. The test of political unity the most difficult to apply because of its intangible nature. The achievement of Canadian statesmen in 1867. A brief review of Canada as a nation. A strengthening of Canada's essential political unity by the enhanced ability of the provinces as a result of the new tax rental agreements to discharge the functions allocated to them under the British North America Act. The positive financial condition at all levels of government of Canada at the present time. The fourth test: Canada's position in international affairs; as a nation among nations. A profound transformation over just a few years. Seeing ourselves as others see us. Canada's contributions. Showing integrity and competence in our economic dealings. Reaching a stage in our national development when we must reduce dependence upon the U.S. for materials and equipment and upon Western Europe for markets, and begin the building of a more virile and independent economy of our own. Striving to solve some of our political and governmental problems. Confidence born of achievement, courage that springs from faith in a great destiny. The need to bring from our people that maximum co-operative effort which will assure such destiny.