Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
With crunch looming, universities hope public's on their side By JIM GRANT Herati Staff Writer 3 Aiberfe's universities know need public support if they are to avoid a collision department of advanced education. However, they are handicapped by internal structure and tradition, making lobbying for political .pressure a difficult route to take. To present a more lobby for their concerns, the Opinion faculty associations are considering reorganization. -Thesenate and board of governors have expressed their concerns through the press and by the presentation of briefs to the government. But there isn't a more effective political lobby than that of a concerned public and the universities know it. So some reason the public hasn't come to the support of the universities in their battle with the department of advanced education over financing, programming and university autonomy. It could be the public has agreed with the political accusations that suggest the universities have been wasteful with the tax dollars. It could even be the public feels the politics of higher education is beyond its influence so it remains apathetic on such issues. But it is more likely that the public is suspicious of universities much like the university communities are suspicious of the department of advanced education. .The suspicion may have developed because of a general uncertainty in the public of what higher education is supposed to achieve or it may have been created as a backlash against the criticism the universities have levied at society in an effort to make it aware of alternatives to the directions 'it is taking. However, it is evident the major reason for the suspicion stems from the failure of universities to make their business public. For many years, universities were closed shops in Canada and some still are. The universities have criticized, society and without a doubt society has benefited, but the universities have failed to allow the public close enough to internal operations so some criticism could be levied by public at the universities, True, public interests are supposed to be represented by government appointees on the board of governors of the university. But tawr effective is a representative woo is not responsible to the public? The senate may be slightly more representative if in numbers than the board of governors but it has little power to make policies. Some universities, such as University of Alberta and Calgary, have opened their doors to the public by allowing the press to attend most meetings. University of Lethbridge is not one of those with an open-door policy. Only its senate meetings are open to the public: If it is fair to assume that isolation brews suspicion, it is logical Lethbridge residents are more suspicious of the activities of U of L than Edmonton and Calgary communities are of their universities. Some academics realize they should have been informing the public about the role and value of universities in society long before It, UN people began qvestioaiag aid poUttdant opportuaitr to uaiwnttr programs as a political JtatfeaU But the ualverslUes ussrloaked the for, of were too smog to aotfaar wtta, out public support of tbatr rate at a aotiree criticism and of truth.. They may have avoided facJag the maasive government machinery alone tf had solicited public support prior to their confrontation with the department of advanced education. Ini fact, Minister of Advanced Education Jim Foster makes no banes about it. The department of advanced education would be in a much better position to request more financial support for-' universities in the legislature if universities had public opinion behind their demands. "The day? of the university thinking it's separate and apart are over. They must find out what the public thinks of Mr Foster says. He maintains there "are very good people in the university" but the universities do taaetlaa of "aaoato doa't __._.j. A need aoucii iaa puouc tktag It will tkam if ttMy fetflhi to rwp-ad to what people really of tarn, he aadt "I fttttaf Bpstt. Ttey'U start attacklag and that CBcttai me" because they'll haw to dcfunl tfeamseives to attack and that will help people realize the of Mr. Foster told The Herald: This series of articles on the division betweea unhwBitiei and tbe department of advanced could lead a reader to The division could be creating an unsettled situation within the universities in which the professoriate is spendinfroore time reacting to government policy than to teaching duties. But it could well be the people of the province were in a greater degree of peril when they let the universities operate behind closed doors without questioning their function or spending. District Local news SECOND SECTION Lethbridge, Alberta, Saturday, April 1974 Pages 19-36 Platt keeps cool Meeting flays Hutterite land dealings By DARCY RICKARD Herald District Editor citizens' meeting hare Friday night decided to write a letter to Premier Peter Lougheed to oppose further Hutterite land acquisition ifi the province. And after a flurry of speeches by Cypress MLA and former premier Harry Strom, Little Bow MLA Ray and Arnold Platt, chairman of the special advisory committee on communal property and land use, the meeting also decided to urge a meeting of five groups to present several resolutions. The speeches didn't add much substance to the stewing controversy over communal property in the Vulcan-Carmangay hotbed of opposition to Hutterite expansion. But for about 15 people in the gathering of about 150, it was a chance to blow off steam. The meeting followed in the wake of the Waterton colony purchasing five or six sections'of land near this community 40 miles northwest of Lethbridge. People at the meeting said nobody knew. the Hutterites were buying up land and asked why the special advisory committee didn't call a: meeting before the land was sold to get the feeling of the community. Answered Mr. Platt: "I am not going to call any public meetings they get too far out of hand." Turns into laughter The meeting Friday almost did. But the imperturbable Mr. Platt kept his cool and even .turned what could have been a terrible-tempered audience into a bed of laughter. This came when a woman asked him who she should complain to about the advisory committee and Mr. Platt himself. He told her to complain to the premier because he appointed him. It was Mr. Speaker's idea to bring together, within two weeks, the cabinet committee .comprising the agriculture minister, deputy minister, the premier, municipal affairs minister, consumer affairs minister, the appeal committee, Hutterian brethren and members'of the opposition. All these people will be given the Carmangay meeting's they agree to meet. The resolutions include the letter to the premier, and another urging that communities be given the right to turn the brethren away from their areas. (This caused one dissenting citizen to say the people might start turning anyone away they din't happen to That's a good question' Applause was bestowed on questioner who asked: "If the advisory committe advises the Hutterites that they shouldn't move into a district, if this is sort of a verbal agreement, and they still can go in and they still go what is the use of wasting money "on an advisory Mr. Platt said he had asked himself that same question many times. The committee had, however, "made things better than they might otherwise have been." Mr. Strom said he had about one-year left in public life and, "I am not going to try and destroy my credibility in one year, so I am not going to stand up here and say I have any pat answers. "I don't think that the politicians, I don't think that the municipal council, I don't think many people have a pat answer as to this land use." Mr. Strom said direction on these land use questions must come from the people and that is why the land use forum is now under way.: County of Vulcan school committee chairman Don McNiven followed Mr. Strom's moderate line when he said, "I would like to appeal to you as humanitarians. No one of us had anything to say whether we were born red, white or black." He said there wouldn't be any Hutterite colonies in Alberta if people didn't sell land to them. They sell the land becauase Hutterites offer the best price. This is everyone's right. Bill Hoffarth of Carmangay, chairman of the meeting: "If we let minority groups of people go to the government and have legislation passed to meet their way of life then why can't the majority do likewise. '73 plant record 'not satisfactory' The city has been told it will have to the end of October to make its secondary sewage treatment plant totally effective. A letter from the provincial environment department on city council's Monday agenda says the degree of treatment obtained by the plant during 1973 is not satisfactory. By the terms of approval for the plant, the city is not allowed to discharge in excess of pounds of biochemical oxygen demand per day and not to have a suspended solids content in the effluent in excess of lOO milligrams per liter, the letter says. During 1973 the city exceeded the allowable BOD loading on 44 days and the suspended solids level on 191 days. "We do not feel that the sewage treatment plant is capable of handling the variations in loading or the shock loadings presently generated by industry in the the department .says. "We are Waiting to see if the new bylaw enacted by the city will be effective in curtailing the loading from industry. "If the situation does not improve by the end of October, we will be asking the city to take further measures in meeting the loading requirements on the Oldman River." While not specified in toe letter, it's generally understood these further measures will involve plant expansion and improvements costing about million. Such an expenditure could severely curtail city capital spending in other areas. The environment department also suggests the city may not be eligible for funds under the Municipal Sewage Treatment Assistance Program for the improvements because it failed to enact a bylaw earlier requiring industry to pre-treat its sewage. City engineering director Randy Holfeld was unavailable for comment Friday as to whether or not sewage plant performance has improved since the sewage surcharge bylaw came into effect Jan. 1. (More council agenda reports Page 26. Down the spillway Water slips down the spillway at St. Mary's Reservoir, about 35 .miles southwest of Leth- bridge. BILL GROENEN photo Rail cutbacks meeting topic in Magrath A public meeting discussing proposed rail line abandonment and country elevator cutbacks will be held in Magrath Tuesday. The meeting, which will hear Kenneth Appleby, producer representative oh the Canada Grains Council, is set for 8 p.m. in the High School gym. The meeting is being arranged by the Magrath Chamber of "Commerce. Alberta prisons 'debtors-Jails' April 22 set for meeting with Alberta Ammonia head A meeting between city council, the chamber of Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.'and Alberta Ammonia Ltd. to discuss the company's proposed huge fertilizer plant has been' tentatively set for April 22. The meeting had been requested by Alberta Ammonia to explain its project to the two groups, and company president Duncan Sim is expected to be at the meeting. The.date for the meeting could change, however, depending on finalization of site selection for the complex and other details. Since announcement of the some million project last month, Alberta Ammonia has been under fire for the amount of Alberta natural gas that would be used and because all the plant's anhydrous ammonia output was said to be destined for United States farmers. By KEN ROBERTS Herald Staff Writer "Debtors jails" and the provincial government's sale of the Bowden Correctional Institute to the federal government came under fire Friday night at the Lethbridge district meeting of the John Howard Society. Jim Jackson, former warden of the Calgary Correctional Institute and now executive director of the JHS, claimed any one jail in the province may have "60 to 70 men" serving sentences because they couldn't pay fines or didn't want to. An inmate of the Lethbridge Correctional Institute attending the meeting agreed with Mr. Jackson. He claimed 60 to 70 per cent of the inmates of the Lethbridge jail were there because they couldn't pay fines. Those in jail for 30 days use the time "to dry out and get in good shape." Another inmate told The Herald when the inmates are released they are given and usually end up getting drank-, and back in jail. Mr. Jackson said when a person is given a choice of 30 days in jail or a fine and he chooses to go to jail the government is out the pluti the a day U costs to keep the person In jail. He claimed people who go to jail rather than pay a fine cost the provincial government over million in 1973. This "is coming out of your pocket and mine." He said it would be more practical to send a person who didn't want to pay his fine to a work camp where he could repay some of the money he owed. It is "an uneconomic practice to put these people in jail." a person couldn't pay a fine and went to. jail it could cause him many hardships. If he has a job he will lose it, he may lose his place and prestige in the community and in his family and his family may have to go on welfare. These people should be given .time to pay. Rev. Ron Hunt of Fort Macleod, who was elected chairman of the JHS for the coming year at the meeting, said the or six days option available was "incredible." He said if he's given the choice he's "going to jail." 'Prevent crime before it Some of the money being spent in federal and provincial prisons should be spent outside the prisons preventing crime before it happens, says the executive director of the John Howard Society of Alberta. Jim Jackson, who recently resigned as "warden of the Calgary Correctional Institute, told the Lethbridge district meeting of the society the federal government spends million a year keeping prisoners. "Give us the funds you are spending uselessly in jails.. said. ..Give the money to the John Howard Society to do something outside. He said JHS would settle for one-tenth of the federal jail budget million. The provincial government spends a day on inmates now in jail. "I can stay in the best hotel In Edmonton or Calgary for Mr. Jackson said.