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The West End of Vancouver is one of the saddest examples of the ruining of the quality of life by monied interests. Beautiful old houses were razed to the ground in order to put up high-rise apartments. In the words of Vancouver City Council in 1986, this was done, quote, "in order to increase the population density for the purpose of servicing the industrial base", unquote.

While this undoubtedly served the "industrial base" very well, it turned a quaint area of lovely old homes into an urban wasteland. Where one house and a homeowner had occupied a city lot before, there now stood a concrete egg-crate. Where before, someone who had paid off their home and property, and was living comfortably and securely, in days whey they were reasonably priced, one absentee-landlord now gouged renters for the right to subsist in a concrete box, while living a life of uncertainty.

Vancouver was a great place to live, until the monied interests began screwing with it in the 1960's, buying up lovely old homes, razing them to the ground and putting up highrises, and curdling the quality of people in the city by crowding it full of apartment-dwellers.

I have nothing against apartment-dwellers. I just don't want them in my neighbourhood. Apartments are like prisons- they create a subculture of people who are messed up in some way, becoming a walking collection of writhy-twitchy citified habits. The word for this is "neurosis", and it's a condition that is a direct consequence of living in cities.

Most of us Vancouverites who fled the city as the monied interests took over, left because the writhy-twitchy-ness of apartment-dwellers became unbearable. It seemed we were suddenly drowning in people who couldn't concentrate, couldn't sit still and shut up for ten minutes at a time, who always had to be doing something that cost money, that was more like an addiction that something that was fun to do.

Television got like that, too. What was free and came out of the air was suddenly a pay-by-the-month demand on everyone's time. In essence, television itself became the analogue of a high-rise building. Where before, a few stations were free, they were suddenly ALL stacked on one another, coming out of a cable.

When you live in the country, you can really feel it. When you visit the city, it's like stepping into a zone of manic rats that are always in motion. The distraction, the anxiety, is palpable. And all you can think of is, "How can anyone live like this?"

When the NDP was in power here in Saskatchewan, they tried their level-best to kill small towns and force people to move to cities. It's not just a Saskatchewan thing. I experienced the same thing in BC, Ontario and Quebec. Pat Atkinson and other NDPers were fond of saying that people should leave rural Saskatchewan and move to more urban areas.

What we heard, out here in the country, was the inane squeaking of a city rat.


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by gsmonks





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