Tuum Est – it's up to you. What a great motto U.B.C. has. I and my family are honoured to receive this Honourary Doctorate from a university that urges its students and graduates to dream big dreams, and try to make them happen.
I've had the good fortune since graduating almost 40 years ago, (definitely not summa cum laude with a BA in English and Political Science and an LLB) of dreaming dreams and making them happen. From 1967-1972 with the enthusiastic support of Dean George Curtis, Professor Jerome Atrens, faculty, students and the practicing bar, I was able to start law students offer free legal advice clinics, the community law office (V.C.L.A.S.) and the B.C. legal aid society.
Then in the 1970's and 1980's with the leadership of Dr. Walter Hardwick, an internationally renowned U.B.C. urban geographer, and other UBC types like Fritz Bowers, Mayor Art Phillips, Darlene Marzarri along with the T.E.A.M. City Council, we were able to transform Vancouver. No waterfront Chinatown freeway, the redevelopment of False Creek, the Agricultural Land Commission, Livable Region Strategy. Vancouver started to become what it is today – one of the three most livable cities in the world.
In the 1990's, as Premier, once again I was able to call on U.B.C.'s expertise and community commitment. U.B.C. grad Stephen Owens headed up the Commission on Resources and the Environment. We helped British Columbia's forestry based communities, First Nations, environmentalists, businesses and governments, resolve endless land use conflicts about aboriginal rights and title, forestry and mining practices.
In 1996, when I retired from 24 years in politics, U.B.C. President David Strangway asked me to return to U.B.C. I joined Dr. John Robinson at the Sustainable Development Research Institute. I went through the 12 step – politicians anonymous program and sharpened my understanding of sustainability issues. Many distinguished U.B.C. scholars researchers and students worked with me to develop sustainable cities and communities strategies, natural capital initiatives, aboriginal self government and self sufficiency approaches.
After my Nov. 30, 2002 accidental fall from my North Pender Island Cliffside home, and a skillful spinal cord operation by U.B.C. grad Dr. Marcel Devorak, I've been able to work with another U.B.C. grad Rick Hansen on expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. These initiatives such as B.C.'s “Measuring Up” are now part of the 2010 Olympic/Paralympics and B.C.'s Legacies Now.
So you can see that U.B.C. has played a huge role in my life over the last 50 years. Two other U.B.C. grads my wife Beckie and son Justen are here today to share in this great honour.
I conclude by urging yet another generation of U.B.C. scholars and students to stay engaged in such 21st century challenges of climate change, sustainable cities and communities, religious and ethnic conflict, peace and security – TUUM EST.
Dream your dreams. Make them happen. Thank you.