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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta THundoy, April 13, 197} THt inHSRIDO! HfRAlD 5 Velar Dcsbnrals Trudeau tuned in to wrong people 1'rime Minister lias always paid public tribute to the govern- ment as an important influence in his thinking and policies. In a recent radio interview in Toronto, he repeated again tbat the weekly meetings of the Liberal caucus "tell mo about the feel of the people in the various parls of (lie coun- iy my constant input." "I don'I say I don't check it he said, "and that's why I travel a great deal and go to various parts ot our conn- try "But thai can only be a small fraction of my time, and for that reason I have to rely on the collective judgment of my cabinet and of my back- benchers." Because the party caucus meetings that are held here every Wednesday are private, Trudeau's interpretation o C proceedings in the Liberal cau- cus usually has to bo taken on trust. Parly solidarity ensures that the public has no way of know- ing whether all members of the caucus arc as satisfied with iis role as the prune minister seems lo be. That is why a conversation wilh Haymotul Rock is fascin- ating, frustrating and danger- ous at tliis time. Several 'weeks ago, when Rock crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join the Conservatives, he carried with him a decade nf experience as a member of the Liberal caucus under Pearson and Tru- deau. In theory, Rock became free at that point to discuss the Lib- eral party publicly with an un- usual degree of insight. In fact, he has been reluctant to do so because of a politician's natur- al caution, and because he moved directly from the sec- recy oE one caucus to the equal- ly private sessions of another. Too many revelations about the workings of the Liberal caucus might have made somo of bis new Conservative col- leagues a bit nervous. On (he other hand, Hock has been anxious to explain why lie left the Liberals after 10 years as the MP for the Montreal suburban riding of Lachine. Part of the explanation involves public disagreement with f'e prime minister about the pri- vate workings of tlie party. Rock claims that under Tru- deau, the influence of the cau- cus on government policy has letter To The Editor diminished considerably and that the average government back-bencher is now effective- ly insulated from the real sour- ces of power. Hack's caution in discussing the Liberals should be shared by his public. His divorce from the party was, lo some extent, by mutual agreement. He divides Liberal MPs three categories "The silent majority, the ambitious ones and those who squawk" and says (hat he definitely be- longed to the last group. His version of Liberal affairs Is obviously partisan hut it is also based on experience. Rock lias won four elect ions since 1902 in 19G5 his majority was the largest in the country his committee record in Parliament is impressive. Rock agrees with Trudeau's interpretation of caucus up to a point. There iy "constant input" by Liberal back bench- Small towns continue lo die by inches Like everybody else in Ma- gratb, I am deeply disturbed at the thought of having the RCMP post being taken from Magrath. In the first place, it is like losing a very old and beloved friend. Next, Hie pres- ence of the post meant that the policeman's influence has been with us and comforted us even when lifi was asleep. His family lias also multiplied (he effec- tiveness of iiis presence. I know they have a difficult time and no one mentions the benefit Ihey are to the community, but they do hnvc a great deal of influence in preventing crime, especially in a small commun- ity. It just can't be the samo only to .see the RCMP in a car or ticketing someone for a traf- fic offense. We won't have them here where we can talk to them and have our troubles smoothed over before any dam- age is done. Of course there is the econo- mic standpoint and that sort of makes one sick. Helping to keep the small town alive is something all governments talk about in expensive meetings with expensive booklets to dis- tribute, with no intention of doing anything but destroy the community. Every level of gov- ernment does the same thing and we can only hope that the new provincial government ac- tually is ablo to do something before it finds itself helpless. T campaigned against Ted Ilinman once, and, in nil good faith and intention, said thai both for the small town's sake and protection from air attack, I would do my best to spread out industrial plants lo smaller communities. lie replied "Well, if the companies want to be in these locations we cannot limit (heir freedom to do so nor your freedom." Of course that last phrase clinched everything and in the first place he was speaking the plain truth. It wasn't ffuite all of the truth: ho should have added the govern- ment bad every intention of doing the same thing. Any other talk has been eyewash. With- out going into the reasons (which all have valid bases) this happens; Schools are removed from centres. So how does (he store live? Our factories aro closed and go to larger centres there goes our payroll again. The machinery houses aro concentrated in Lethbridge ond how much gas does a farmer burn getting spare parts anrt repair work if he finds (lie parts closer than Montreal, as I riiri not on more than one occasion? And the agent? He is not in town anymore. We lost the plione otfice and lost about 75 per cent of the service a local operator gave us she knew how to get folks for the caller, which central cannot do now. And some of those girls are not in town now. We lost tlie station master, with a serious loss in services. Now it is proposed we lose (lift railway. Four elevator pay- checks will be lost also and maybe four families. We have no bus. We do not have as much transportation as we did in 18U9 when at least there was a stage coach. And not one single step has been taken to correct the situation. We do have freight trucks and mail trucks but they cannot take passengers. In the old days cither of them would have served. And anyway there are not many passengers, so who cares? Let them walk, beg or stay home. As for tourists bring your own car or be sura the people in the place have a car. If a farmer must deliver wheat to the city, then there is no reason why he shouldn't live there. So another family goes away And now the police go and the money goes with Ihcm and how does the business section stay alive? All we gel is soft talk of help- ing the small town while the knife in the other hand lets out more blood and we die by inches. II only depends on our own position as to whether or not we are not doing the same tiling. As I said, this is a new government. It is tlie only hope we have of any change and good luck lo them in present intentions. J. A. SPENCEfl. Magralh. -I vV m mme show your diamonds new tricks. Diamonds are everlasting. But settings'are n6t. Styles and fashions change. At MacKenzie's, We specialize in remounting dia- monds into fashionable new settings and have over 200 modern ,styles to choose from. So if you have an old diamond ring, necklace, brooch or stick pin that's gone out of style, you can bring it back to life by visiting our diamond specialist today! JIM FEENY Manager crs and the prime minister Is a good listener. He accepts criticism more easily in cau- cus than in the House, although occasionally there are flashes of impatience. Wlicn the members returned last fall from tlie summer re- cess, fresh from their constit- uents and loaded with criti- cisms of the government, Tru- rlcau effectively ended one ses- sion by saying, "well, maybe should have an election right away to find out how we're really doing." He is suspicious of the elab- orate committee system now used to allocate work among members of the caucus. Under Lester Pearson, says Rock, loss work was done in commit- tees and more time was spent in general caucus when back- benchers had a setise of "total participation" in the affairs of the parly. "The idea now is to divide and lie says. Tlie committe system makes it more difficult for backbench- ers to bring favorite concerns before the entire caucus. Rock says that he has bad to wait for three weeks on occasion for an opportunity lo address the caucus on a matter of concern to his own riding. He feels that the fighter or- ganization of work in the cau- cus had made It almost im- possible to discuss "general directions of the party." "The ministers have no lime for this. They load the agenda with so much legislation tbat there's not time to discuss the direction in which all this is taking the party." Rock himself has no doubt tbat tlie direction of the Lib- erals has been opposed by Canadian opinion in many areas and, lie claims, opposed by a growing number of gov- ernment backbenchers. He is an assiduous distribu- tor of questionaires among his constituents and their re- plies in the past few years have convinced him that poli- ticians now have to reckon with an angry middle class, particularly on issues of social stability such as law and order, social assistance and employ- ment. "But the ideas that are adop- ted by the government are coming from the lop, not from the he says, citing the government's attack on in- flation as an expert's proposal that came under heavy fire in the caucus from backbenchers who feared its effect on em- ployment in their own areas. The Local Initiatives Pro- gram and Opportunities for Youth were also used by Rock lo illustrate domination of backbenchers by the cabinet and civil service. "These ideas didn't come from the he states. "All of a sudden the minister makes an announcement and there it goes. We have no say in it. But we are the ones who have to face the criticism." Rock believes that many Liberal MPs shared his resent- ment of the "p r e s i d e n- tial office" surrounding the Prime Minister. "Most of the MPs don't even know who these people are. Trudeau has replaced his MPs with these people, and who has Iheir ear? They are tuned in to pressure groups in the coun- try and it is these pressure groups and activists that the prime minister is hearing. He's not as tuned in to (he people as he likes lo Ihink." And lhat's (lie way his old party looks lo Raymond Rock, the only Conservative MP whose office is dominated by a portrait o f Mackenzie King. Jle says it's going to slay there. (Toronto Star Syndicate) 'Crazy Capers' From AFFILIATED WITH MAPPIN'S LIMITED -DWaMOND CALGARY LETHBRIDGE In LETHBRIDGE: 613 4 Hi Avenue South Telephone 328-4214 The disappearing family farm Bv DciHiis (intending, In "yyilAT is a family farm'.' It is an elusive term. A description given by a farmer will serve. "II is a section, or a section and a half of land, with cattle, hogs, and chick- ens. It can support one family." The number of families which can he supported from the land in Saskatchewan is waning because farming is becoming a big business, supporting fewer and fewer peo- ple. I'rof. Bob Bens, agricultural economist from the University of Saskatchewan, gives this statistical picture of trends in agricul- ture: fewer farms, larger farms, and rock- eting investment, Saskatchewan's farm population was in 19J6 anil only by 19BC. The number of farms dropped to SC.OOO from during the same period, a loss of 18 per cent in each of tile two decades. As rural population dwindles, farms be- come larger. The average farm of 430 acres in 1941, became a farm of 700 acres in :966, and 828 acres in 1970. Average investment in land, machinery, and livestock rose from a farm in 1941 to a farm in ItiGS, an increase of more than eight times. !n ISM, there were Saskatchewan farms with sales of under SS.OOO. Jn 1366, there were only Farms with sales of SI5-S35.000 totalled in 1350, and in lOGii. In 1970, the average Saskatchewan farmer had a net income of just over 4 Prof. G. S. Basran, a university sociolo- gist, gives this brief analysis of what comprises a community. People with certain cultural similarities and a sense of belonging. Services necessary to maintain tile people. Some geographical boundaries, even if they are loosely de- fined. A community in rural Saskatchewan may once have been a hall, church, school and store, along with the surrounding (arms. However, economic forces, innovations in technology, transporation and the mass media have changed all that. Fanning bas become a larger and more sophisticated operation and tlie demands for services such as education and health have increased. Towns which can offer between 50-100 services, have become the centres o[ larger communities. Dr. Basran contends that rural communi- ties arc in material ways at least. De-populaiion and economic stagna- tion, each process feeding (he other, havo caused deterioration of services. As people, wealth, and power become more concentrat- ed in urban areas, a sense of powcrlcssness 'I'lic Siiskuliion and alicnulion occurs in the rural regions. Rural disintegration is due mainly lo Ircnds in technology and economics. When Saskatchewan was first settled, set- llcrs were largely self .sufficient, but farming was quite non-commercial. Im- proved technology and greater efficiency were necessary as the country became more populated, anil larger urban populations, domestic and foreign, demanded more food. As the addition of teclmoiogy to agricul- ture increased, capital and machines re- placed farm workers in the industry. Tim exodus from rurnl areas began, and at the same lime there were surplusses in agricul- tural pnxluciujn. Agricultural surpluses, largely the result of improved technology, have been a factor in keeping prices of farm produce low, and have hastened rural depopulation. According to Prof. Bens, the "economic ground in a free-enterprise economy was another major factor in the demise of the family faiTn "The rest of the world squeezes farmers so hard that the net income available in the industry is so small (hat poverty in ag- riculture cannot easily be avoided and farmers cut the pie amongst themselves so as lo have some wealthy, some uncom- fortable and some poor farmers." The pressure to produce more food for less cost leads to technological inventions like a new tandem tractor being tested. People arc being paid (o develop tlie tech- nology which puts other people out of busi- ness. Since agriculture is a relatively unpro- tected industry, that type of competition pits farmer against farmer, and only tho most affluent survive. Only wealthy farmers can purchase the new technology, and pro- duce more cheaply, putting on additional pressure on tlie less affluent. In Canada, 13 per cent of (lie farms ac- count for 40 per cent of the produce, while the bottom 40 per cent of the farms produces roughly 13 per cent of farm products. Tlie trend to larger farms and the in- creased use of technology may seem logi- cal, but at what point wili il ruin the fabric of the entire rural community? Prof. Bens says if present trends contin- ued, the average Investment per farm might be by the 1980s. Rural poverty is one of the main reasons for depopulation. Yet, agriculture generates wealth. In the years between 1863-69, Sas- katchewan's farms created enough income to allow S6.000 per farm, if distributed equal- ly. In those years, about of the prov- ince's farm families existed nt or below the poverty level. Enforced Canadianism The Winnipeg Free Press Independent Publishers Association representing a majority of Canadian- ovvneil publishing houses, is feeling its these clays. Having formed a successful lobby to secure government aici for its business, it is now trying to have govern- ment regulate the minimum number of Ca- nadian books to be displayed on boo k racks. As part of a policy statement, made following its annual conference in Ottawa last month, it asks that such a rate be established at ten per cent for the first year, 20 per cent by the end ot the second year and 25 per cent by the end of the thin] year. It advocates further that "all wholesalers and jobbers operating within or into tiie Canadian market should be Canadian-owned or lose their licence to operate." This is chauvinism with a vengeance, an- other example of the "little Canadianism" which has characterized the association since its inception. It savors of Moscow and Hitler's Germany rather than tho frea world. Dictating who will handle tho whole- saling and jobbing of hooks in Canada and what book a bookseller shall display comes perilously close lo telling people what they shall read. No one would want to discourage the pub- lication and sale of Canadian books. They deserve encouragement if for no other rea- son than that they arc our own. But surely this can be done without forcing foreign- jobbers and wholesalers out of busi- ness or telling retailers what books they can display. Restrictions of (his type should have no place in a free society, and ths Independent Publishers Association should be so advised. Canadlamsm will be much healthier if it is encouraged naturally and ia not forced. The cow doesn't gel a cut He just doesn't seem to have the s.ime inlerer.t in going for a walk til tie da vs. grocery prices Ls dull business, but with [lie other customers all bundled up in ski slacks am) parkas, what's a buggy pushing husband to do? So there i was, mentally changing grams to ounces, working mil whether five pounds of giant family at S2.09 Ls as gcxxi a dcnl as two pounds 14 ounces of large economy at (It isn't.) when I found myself staring at a two pound box of processed choose with a price stamp clearly reading Now I have an identical box on my work bench, for bent nails, stripped bolts nnd screws with paint in I lie little crack where 11m screw driver should go. Rut my box, which is only a couple of years old, bears a price stamp of 51.23. fYcs, I checked when I got home; same in every xv.iy except the price.) Up (o Ihis poinf, v.hife I'd ducked in- dignantly from time to time to show cern ant] solidarity with all consumers (and to ensure that the wifely wrath aimed at 'them' the store owners didn't fall on really I'd just been trying to ro- 1 ievo my bo om, No long er. Whet her prices are special, low everyday, dis- count, warehouse or whatever, .1 fi3 per cent difference is enough lo refer lo the guy who runs the place. Sympathetic? He turc vas. He even told me how ihc mys- terious and inexorable workings of the Jaws of economics would soon drive Ilip; price up fo and no one could do any- thing about il. A week or so later we were in Great Falls, and I sent to the .store for stuff to make a sandwich. Naturally I headed for a familiar sign, that of a well-known chain store that operates both sides of the border. And there on the cheese counter was yet a third box of the same old stuff, under a sign that announced the 'low price of Same brand, same hox. and as far as our palates can Icll, Ilia same cheese. Now 1 know perfectly veil that. Alberta isn't Montana. (Not yet, anyway.) 1 also know that the store in Great Falls has -Tiore sfaff, stays open longer hours, pays higher wages and advertises more than i's counterpart this side of the border. It has at least as much competition. Its meats, poi iltry a nd other prole in foods are no cheaper. Us customers Jiave as much or more money to spend. So I have to conclude that somewhere- on tbnl lung line that starts with the producer and ends with I ho cucumber, someone on This side of the Mnc is taking a bigger cut, 1 doubt it's Ihc cows. ;