Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 6, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thuridoy, April 6, 1972 THE LETHBRIDG! HERAID 3 Maurice. Constitutional report disappointing According to Hie 30 learned parliamentar- ians who reported recently. WG stand in "urgent need" of a new constitution. according In Ilia Concise Oxford, means "press- "calling for immediate action or attention." The puz- zling- reality is that the need, thus discerned, is much less ur- gent than it was years ago before Ilowcll-Sirois ami its eventful aftermath. On any ob- jective assessment, govern- ments now are far freer to do what they think we want them to do than they were four de- cades ago. Bui it is doubtless true, as the committee finds, that most Canadians want a now consli- lution until they sec it. The project unveiled by the parliamentarians is not without interest. H recalls one of the more profound observations of this century; that a camel is a horse designed by a commit- tee. No one, apparently, is willing to profess unreserved admira- tion for the whole camel. Some think it should have more humps and some fewer. The number of minority reports suggests that others would pre- fer to haul (he poor beast back to the drawing board. On the other band, it would be very difficult to disagree with everything in the report. With so much camel there are bound to be some parts which from some angles suggest a horse. For the chapter on the head of state, there is nothing good to be said. It is an essay in the politics of expediency. The message to supporters of the monarchy is: Don't worry. The. message to republican'; is: Be of good cheer; deep in our hearts, we are on your side. There is one further word. "We therefore support the lutionary process by which the Governor-General has been granted more functions as the head of state for Canada." If thij is a reference to certain recent tour, the committee is for evolution by stealth because Parliament was never consult- ed about the changes which the East block had in mind. What an attitude for n committee of constitutionalists. On the senate, the committee has some sensible things to say; possibly because it in- cluded some very sensible se- nators. It rejects abolition but proposes a suspensive veto, as achieved many decades ago in backward Britain. It does not favor a special power in the -Senate to confirm appointments of Supreme Court judges, am- bassadors and heads of cultur- al agencies. This is an Ameri- can practice and a good argu- ment against it is American ex- perience. On the other hand the committee accepts the view, al- ready accepted by the govern- ment, that the provinces should have a voice (in fact a halt share) in senatorial appoint- ments. The major change proposed for ibe House of Commons is a fixed four year term, unless the government is defeated on a Book Review confidence vote or the House it- self by formal resolutions calls lor dissolution. This is to achieve a "better balance'' be- tween the executive and Uie leg- islature. Evidently, then the committee, accepts the argu- ment that we have moved too far towards cabinet (or prime ministerial> dictatorship. But the thought is obscure. H the powers of the prime min- ister should be reduced, why ignore those which he lias ac- quired in recent elecades while taking away from him a power which prime ministers have al- ways possessed under our sys- tem? These may be sound rea- sons for a dissolution other than those foreseen by the com- mittee. And what is the signifi- cance for balance of Ibe second recommendation? If a prime minister with a majority wants dissolution, presumably the House will give him the neces- sary resolution. If it will not, how can be be said to have (he confidence of the majority? And if it acts against his will, he will have to go to the country Humanness portrayed "Napoleon" Vincent Cronin; Andre Dculsch, S11.S5, 'ISO T don't know why, but I al- ways thought Napoleon was a rather ill-bred man with little home-life and a bourgeois background. This biography ot one of the most noted military men of all liine, presents an altogether different picture ot Napoleon from what I've enter- tained all these years. The squatty, plump soldier image with bis hand inside his coat (purportedly to scratch is dispelled and a new picture emerges. Napoleon, it turns out, was a C( "sican semi-aristocrat, born to a family who loved and pro- tected him and saw in him great potential. His height or lack of it stems from his mother's side, and his strong will comes from a long line of successful and noble Corsicuns. The book eloesn't deal so much with Napoleon's military genius. Rather it sets out to portray bis personality, bis ed- ucation at a military college in F'rance, and his slow but even- tual rise to the heights be achieved. One of the. interesting quali- ties that emerges is Napoleon's inherent humility; his republi- can outlook, and the fact that be became Emperor because of popular demand, rather than through any self-seeking on his own part. The writer of this biography has done a real service in por- traying the humanness of one of the world's great, yet lar- gely misunderstood figures. It would be a fine book to place on the shelves of our schools and universities. MARGARET LUCKHUKST as a defeated prime minister. It is always interesting to ob- serve the action of '.he parlia- mentary chib when its own fu- ture is under consideration. The West has loo few senators.....21 as compared with :tu tor the At- lantic provinces. What i.s the solution? Reduce the Atlantic seal-s? Perish the thought. The proposal is tha' the "grand to- tal" of senators from the prov- inces be increased by 2-1, with an addilion.il four from the Yukon and Northwest Tcri- tories. Facing a smaller hut still ticklish problem in the House, the committee reacts in the same vray. Add six com- moners, thus 'keeping everyone, happy with the possible (and usual) exception of taxpayers. On the general uuc-Etion of pov.ers, the majority report re- jects special status and also legislative delegation (except, perhaps dubiously, in the case of criminal There will probably be wide support, in theory, for the proposition that the federal government should have a larger jurisdiction in economic matters affecting the country at large and that the provinces should have more scope in areas touching culture and social policy. In practice, if negotiators ever catch up lo (he commit- tcemen, we may doubtless look forward lo a last ditch fight over property and civil rights. The report offers a number of specific proposals, largely in- spired by the government's leading concerns of the mo- ment. Thus it is anxious lo as- sure the paramounlcy of the federal government in tire fields of competition, air and water pollution, foreign owner- ship, securities r.nd financial instilulions. It would empower Parliament to define cases of national emergency, in which the federal government could secure by delegation all powers necessary to control prices, wages, rent, dividends and pro- fits and to implement its prime responsibility for full employ- ment and balanced economic growth. The plain and admirable in- lent is lo rescue "peace, order and good government" from undue fetters clamped upon it by the judicial committee of I he Privy Council. "In prac- says the committeenu'ti, "wi trusi Parliament would be very circumspect in Ibe use of any such power." If the Inisl of Ihe provinces equals Ibe trust of Die members, we may in- deed achieve a useful reform. It is nol easy to follow the committee on its rambles through the chapter on sell-de- termination. The right of a province lo secede is rejected; Ihe point being made that the French Canadian people (for whom Ibe right is claimed) is not co-extensive with the boun- daries ot Quebec. Rut Ihere should be a right in Ihe people presumably the French Ca- nadians. But why not also Ihe F.skimos? and preamble to the constitution should there- fore say that Canadian society rests on free consent etc. etc. Further, if cilizens democratic- ally asserl thai Ihey desire re- lease from our society, the dis- agreement should be resolved "by poiiical negotiation not by the use of military or other co- ercive force." The right which does not exist, exists. In a distinctively Canadian constitution, a rose by another name will smell a great deal sweeter, the commit- tee hopes. FOWL! The new Malthusians Tlic New York Times Get together with the cool bright taste of Old Vienna Canada's best tasting lager beer BREWED RIGHT HERE IN ALBERTA. O'KEEFE BREWING COMPANY LIMITED There is a practical diffi- culty. It is apparently assumed in this self-denying paragraph thai any secessionist, revolu- tion will be a tidy and gentle- manly affair distinguished by any amounl of dialogue and general goodwill. This has not been Ihe common experience. It has nol been our own experi- ence lo date since the law-abid- ing Parti Quebeeois and the ter- rorist FLQ emerged roughly at the same lime. Suppose thers is no agreement; the secession- isl government, pleading a mandate (which may be debat- able) lakes aclioit implement- ing a right of self-determin- allon not provided for in the constitution. As a general rule unconstitulional action is a great stimulus to Ihe breaking of heads. Is the federal govern- ment to say to the constitution as wisely revised on the urg- ings ot senators and com- moners, "we can do nothing whatever to protect you.'' If is not the business of con- slilulion-maker to anticipate re- volutions. The best place for this chapter, accordingly, is the nearest waste-paper basket. A sound constitution should be as brief as possible, as clear as possible and as readily amendable as possible. The commillec is of an other view. Its report reflects ils work since il is manifestly an attempt to accommodate in ils observations and recommenda- tions as many as possible of Ihe concerns (some of them only marginally constilulional) of the people who attended meet- ings. Every currently fashion- able concern is worked into the fabric in some form, although the events of Ihe past five years are a fair indication that our concerns five years from now will be quite different from those ol today. When the committee runs low on positive thought, its remedy is to propose thai a given sub- ject, be included in Ihe pre- amble. It has been generally un- derstood that the purpose of Ihe preamble is lo inspire this and succeeding generations, From current indication it should have all the inspirational value of Ealon's mail order cata- logue; perhaps less if (he ac- fuat writing is left lo a parlia- mentary committee. But this approach is not a practical rod lo constitutional reform. The heller way is to proceed by stages, beginning with the Victoria charter; lack- ling practical problems as the shoe pinches and seeking con- sensus on each. There is (his difficulty with grand designs: they may be re- lied upon (o increase (o a maxi- mum the number of potential cr-nlres of resistance. The alter- native method is much less d.amatir but probably offers more hope of practical pro- gress. What was started at Vic- toria came close to success may yet yield success. If it fails, "it will be difficult lo es- cape the conclusion that Ihere is no will for these "urgent" re- forms, whether grand or other- wife. (Herald OltKw.n bureau) >So They Say V, f could extend the data fmther by piling garbage higher, but you need some space between Ihe seagulls and tho planes. David McGregor, environ- mental assistant to the mayor of New York, on when Ihe city mil rim out ol land for dump- ing garbage. rpHE new MalUwsiaiu'sm, rapidly becom- ing a major intellectual current in West, fundamentally challenges traditional wisdom about the dp.virabilily of growth, progress and expansion. That challenge finds dramatic expression in "A nine-print for just issued by a group of Bri- tish ccologisls. human survival on this planet, they argue, requires rever- sal nf the (rends t'liat have dominated the earth since the Rev. Thomas Mallhus first sounded h i s warning about population growing faster than food supply. Vndcr their proscription, populations must be cut, standards of living reduced, much of mod- em technology abandoned and tlic great urban concentrations of humanity replaced with a multitude of small communities. The goal would he a stable society and an economy which could persist indefinitely in equilibrium with the earth's resources. For Britain, to take a specific example, tire "blueprint'' entails reducing the popu- lation bv 50 per cent or more over the next two centuries. The private automobile would vanish, and so would many of the common household appliances. Agriculture would have to be pursued without most synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals (hat have produced the last cen- tury's enormous increase in food supply and in farm labor productivity. Every pos- sible natural resource would have to be recycled fo minimize new production from virgin raw materials. And London to say nothing of New York and other of I h e world's great cities would have lo broken up because of the intolerable long- run burden tlicy impose- on the environ- ment. Is such a program practical? Can politi- cians, for example, be expected lo cam- paign on slogans of "Down With Children." "No Autojnobi'cs in Any Garage." or "Only One-Quarter of a Chicken in Every I'o! Aral il one or more industrially advanced nation were willing to embark on such a program, could its course be long maintain- ed if the people making the needed sacri- fices saw that other nations were both panding their numbers and raising their Jiving standards1.' Even within a single nation could such a program be initiated without setting of! bitter Mru agios ,-Jxiut the degree of sacri- fice In be" demanded of different groups. The current bickering in this country over the minor dislocations caused by wage and price controls provides basis for pessi- mism. Nevertheless, there may still be time b.it not much to face up to the reality that s finite earth has finite re- sources anil therefore cannot be. subjected lo endlessly escalating demands and drains. If man not take the needed measures rationally and in good time to adjust his requirements to the planet's capabilities, then modern civilization will prove impos- sible to sustain. Sooner or later, in that case, necessary readjustments wilt be accomplished by wars, famines and other catastrophes far cruder than even the most extreme sacrifices envisione-d by the "Wucrrim'' of the new Malthusians. Interesting experiment The Winnipeg Free Press rFHE New Yorker magazine has to use the title Ms. (pronounced Mizz, as in misery) as a female counterpart to Mr., and although The New Yorker has long ceased to bo a magazine of elegant whimsey, having turned into a shrill radi- cal chic, indeed into an east-coast equiva- lent of Ramparts, it is nonetheless worthy of nole that its editors should have taken the plunge. Whatever views one may have of Women's Liberation, views that must needs be jaundiced by their antics and their very appellation (liberation from Ihe experiment is interesting in many ways. First of all, it is undoubtedly useful. How olten is one caught in an embarrassing .sit- uation when writing to a woman and not knowing whether to address her as "Dear Miss or "dear Mrs. Jones." Sec- ond, it is exciting to be present at a radi- cal change in customs. The convention of Mr., Mrs. and Miss has developed over the years, with the handles gradually changing their meaning. We no longer say Master John, we say Professor Smith, yet both mean the same. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase states that Miss used to bo spelled and as late as ihe reign of George II unmarried women used to styled Mrs. When Shakespearean charac- ters speak o( "mistress' they mean some- thing cn'.ircly different Irom v.hal Me would infer were Norman Mailer to speak of his mistress. "Mistress was originally an honorable term for sweetheart or says Brewer. Elizabethans usually addressed women as which in our bilingual coun- Iry would sound heller than Mizz, but would bo hard to sell to the Americans where the term now has an entirely dif- ferenl connotation. Barbara Castle, the former British La- bor minister, has described the whole Ms, effort as r.n unmitiEaled farce, but then, shortly afterwards, she herself was in trouble with modes o! address, having call- ed Prime Minister Heath, five years her ju- nior, "my (tear boy." Despite The New1 Yorker's brave at- tempt, one doubts whether language, which is an organic tiling, can be changed by a conscious decision. Nonetheless, it is an interesting experiment and even though those who have such terms constantly on their beautiful lips could hardly call it either "meaningful" or it de- serves notice. JIM FISHBOURNE Snow shovelling Probably by the time this sees print all the stuff that fell recently will have melled and you'll wonder why on earth anyone would want to think about snow. Well, a thought just slruc-k me, and I can't afford to waste it. During the height of the storm, you'll re- member, there were quite a number of calls to the local radio station expressing concern for senior citizens and shut-ins who were stranded and who couldn't get in or out of their houses until someone did some shovelling. It's a credit lo a lot of decent people that there seemed to be. adequate response to such appeals. But I can't, help wondering what happens when there isn't all the drama ami excitement of a spectacular spring storm, when it's just, plain old garden variety winter snow- fall. I suppose I'm especially interested be- cause a neighbor of mine just finished a six-weeks stay in hospital. Ihe first few days nf it spent in the intensive eare ward. as' the. result of a heart attack that hit him while he shovelling snow. A mild altack, (his lime, but as WP all know, a lot of them aren't. Every winter. Ihe snow claims its victims, either from shovelling sidewalks or shoving stuck cars. A man old enough to have lo worry about his heart nol all that old, by the way- can usually avoid having to push cars. Me can make sure his own Is properly equip- ped, and use discretion as to where and under whal conditions be drives it. And there's always well nearly always tow trucks. Rut what do you do about snow shovelling? Most o! us want lo be able lo get into and out of our houses', and the poslman. the milkman and the paper- boy to call. For that matter, isn't there a city bylaw that makes you responsible for clearing the snow from Ibe sidewalks ad- jaccnl lo your properly? Anyway, for one reason or another, you can't just let it lie there all win'or, which means it has to shovelled. And ninety-nine limes out of a hundred, (list means Ihsi you shovel il yourself, because you just ean't hire any- one lo elo il for you, attack or no heart altack. Maybe someone at city hall should think aboul this. There are hundreds of retired people in town, people who've paid taxes all their lives, who just aren't physically capable of dealing with heavy' snow. Il wouldn't be easy to assist them and prob- ably it would cost a few dollars, as snow just won't conform to bureaucratic sched- ules; il comes when it pleases and in what- ever quantities it likes. Bill easy not. it should be consider- ed; it's probably a little hard, too, 10 have lo go out and shovel snow when you know the consequence could be a hearl altack. We're, (til Irishmen Hong Wall-rr I'M ai> Irishman. 1 dor, 1 know Imc 1 form thai required him In list his na- eot (o be one not being a Mormon tionahty. He was at a loss to know what i in nut down inasmuch as he was a dis- haven't much interest in genealogical ._ delving. As far back as 1 can trace, there arc only Canadians in the family tree, but I'm listed as an Irishman 11 musl be that placed person from a much shuffled re- gion of Europe. We agreed thai he had become an Irishman. Thai's why I was prepared for Joe Ma, anvonc who isn't definitelv something else. a recent immigrant from Hong Kong, to Irishman. m an em- ,111 11 Once I was helping a young man fill in merald green shirt as Joseph O Ma.