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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Ihundoy, April 13, 1972 1H[ IHH8RIDOI 5 Pelcr Dcsbarals Trudeau tuned in to wrong people I'rimc Minister Trudcaii has always paid public tribute; to the govorn- incnL cauru.s as an important influence in his thinking and policies. In a recent radio interview in Toronto, he repealed again that the weekly meetings of the Liberal caucus "tell mo about the feel of the people in the various of Ihe. coun- is my constant input." "I don't say I don't check it he said, "and that's M'hy I travel a great dcul and go lo various parts of our coun- try "But thai can only be a small fraction of my time, and for that reason I have Lo rely on the collective judgment of my cabinet and of my back- benchers." Because the parly caucus meetings that are held here every Wednesday arc private, Trudeau's interpretation o f proceedings in Ihc Liberal cau- cus usually has (o bo taken on trust. Party solidarity ensures Hint ilic public has no way of know- ing whether all members of the caucus arc as satisfied with Its role a a the prime minister seems lo be. Thai is why a conversation v.'ilh Kaymotid Hock is fascin- ating, frustrating and danger- ous at this time. Several ago, when ,Eock crossed the floor of the House of Commons Lo join the Conservatives, he carried with him a decade of experience as a member of the Liberal caucus under Pearson and Tru- deau. In theory, Hock became free at that point to discuss the Lib- eral party publicly with an un- usual degree of insight. In fact, he has been reUtctant to do so because uf 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 trio xvorkings of the Liberal caucus might have made Komo of his ticw Conservative col- leagues a bit nervous. On Ihc other hnml, Kock has been anxious lo explain why he left the Liberals after 10 years jis the lor the Montreal suburban riding of Lacbine. I'art of Die explanation involves public disagreement wilh f'c prime minister about (he pri- vate workings of the parly. Rock claims ttiat under Tru- deau, the influence of the cau- cus on government policy has Letter To The Editor diminished considerably ami that Ihe 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 maiorily, the ambilious ones and those who squawk" and says that he definitely be- longed to Ihc last group. His version of Liberal Btlaivs Is obviously partisan hut it is also based on experience. Rock has won four elections since j9G2 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 is "constant input" by Liberal backbench- Small towns continue lo die by inches everybody else in Ma- grain, I am deeply disturbed at the thought of having Llia RCMP post being taken from Magrnth. In the first place, it is like losing a very old and beloved friend. Next, Ihe pres- ence of the post meant (bat the policeman's influence has been with us and comforted us even when be was asleep. His family lias also multiplied Ibc effec- tiveness of iiis presence. I know they have a difficult lime and no one, mentions the benefit I hey arc to the community, hut Ibey do bnvc a great, deal of influence in preventing crime, especially in a small coiunum- ily. It just can't be Ihe samo only lo sec (he 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 (he econo- mic standpoint and that sort of makes one sick. Helping lo keep the small town alive is something all governments talk about In expensive meetings with expensive booklets lo dis- tribute, with no intention of doing anything but destroy tha community. Every level of gov- ernment "does the same Lhinft and we can only hope that the new provincial government ac- tually is ahlo to do something before it finds itself helpless. T campaigned against Ted Ilinman once, and, in all good faith inlemion, said thai both for Hie small town's sake- and protection from air attack, I would do my best to spread out industrial plants lo smaller communilies. He replied "Well, if the companies want to be in these locations we cannot limit their freedom Lo do so nor your freedom." Of course Ihnt last phrase clinched everything and in the first place he was speaking Ihe plain truth. It wasn't all of the truth: ho should have added the govern- ment bad every intention of doing the same thing. Any other talk bets been eyewash. With- out going into the reasons (which all have valid bases) this happens; Schools arc removed from small centres. So how does (he slore live? Our factories aro closed and go to larger centres there goes our payroll again. The machinery houses aro concentrated in Lelhbridge OIK] how much gas does a farmer burn gelling spare parts and repair work if lie finds Ihe parks closer than Montreal, as I riirl not on more than one occasion? And Ihc agent? He is not in town anymore. We lost the plione office and lost about 75 per cent of the service a local operator gave us she knew how lo get, folks for the caller, which central cannot, do now. And some of those girls are not in town now. We lost the station master, vdlh a serious loss in services. Now is proposed v-c lose Ihfi railway, four clevalor pay- checks will he lost also and maybe four families. We have no bus. We do not have as mueh transportation as we did in 18U9 when at least there was a stage coach. And not one single step lias been taken to correct the situation. We do have freight trucks and mail I rucks but they cannot take passengers. In the old days cither of them havo served. And anyway there ara not many passengers, so who cares? Let Uicm walk, bog or stay home. AH for tourists bring your own car or bB sura the people in the place have a car. If a farmer must deliver wheat to the city, then (here is no reason why he shouldn't live there. So another family goes away And now the police go and the money goes with them and how does Iho business section Ftay alive? All we gel is soft talk of ing the small town while the knife, in the other hand lets out more blood and we die by inches. It only depends on our own position as to whether or not we are not doing the same thing. As I said, this is a new government. It is the only hope we have of any change and good luck lo them in present intentions. ,1. A, SI'ENCEfl. Magralh. let me show your old diamonds new tricks. Diamonds are everlasting. But settings'are not. Styles and fashions change. At MacKenzie's, We specialize in remounting dia- monds into fashionable new settings and have oyer 200 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 From AFFILIATED WITH MAPPIN'S LIMITED crs mid Uic prime minister Is a (joocl listener. Ho accepts move easily in cau- cus than in the House, although occasionally llicrc are flashes of impatience. Wlicn llio members returned Insl fall from Hie 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 we should have an election viRlil away to find nul how we're really doing." lie is suspicious of the elab- orate committee system now used to allocate work among jiicmhers of the caucus. Under Lester Pearson, says Krjck, Ic.'iS work u-as done in commit- tees and more time was spent id 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. The conuuitte system makes It more difficult for backbench- ers to bring favorite concerns before the entire caucus, nock .says thai he has had lo wail for three weeks on occasion for an opportunity lo address the caucus on a matter of concern (o his own riding. He feels thai the lighter or- ganization of work in the cau- cus had made It almost im- possible lo discuss "general directions of the party." "The ministers have no lime (or lliis. Tliey load Hie agenda with so much legislation tbal there's not lime (o discuss the direction in which all this is taking the parly." Rock himself has no doubt that the 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 liave convinced him thai poli- ticians now have (o reckon with an angry middle class, particularly on Issues of social stability such as law and order, social assistance and employ- iiicnt. "But the ideas (hat 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 thai came under heavy fire in (lie caucus from backbenchers who feared its effett. on em- ployment in their own areas. The Local Initiatives Pro- pram and Opportunities for Youth were also used by Rock- to 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 Ihe ones who have to face (he criticism." Rock believes that many Liberal MPs shared his resent- ment of (he "p r e s i d e n- tial office" surrounding the Prime Minister. "Most of (he MPs don'l even know who these people are. Trndeau has replaced his MPs with Ihese people, and who has (heir ear? They are tuned in to pressure groups in Hie coun- try and it is Ihese pressure groups and activists that, (he prime minister is hearing. He's not as tuned in (o (he people as he likes lo Ihink." And lhal's (lie wav his old party looks lo Raymond Rock. Ihe only Conservative MP whose office is dominated by a portrait o f Mackenzie King. Jle says it's going to stay there, (Toronto Star Syndicate) 'Crazy Capers' CALGARY LETHBRIDGE The disappearing family farm DCIHHS Gruc-niling, In is a family farm1; n is an elusive lerm. A description given by a farmer will serve. "II is a section, or a section and a half of land, wilh cattle, hogs, and chick- ens. H can support one family." The numlier of families which can he supported from the land in Saskatchewan is waning because farming is becoming a liig business, supporting fewer and fewer poo- pic. I'rof. Tioh Bens, agricultural economist from the University of pive.s this statistical picture of trends in agricul- ture: fewer farms, larger farms, and rock- cling investment, Saskatchewan's (arm population was in I9K anil only by I9M. The number of farms dropped to E6.000 from during the same period, a loss of 18 per cent, in cadi of the two decades. As rural population dwindles, farms be- come larger. The average farm of 430 acres in 1941, became a farm of "GO acres in I960, and 828 acres in 1970. Average investment in land, machinery, and livestock rose from so.oOO a farm in 1941 to 552.000 a [arm in 1066, an increase of more than eight times. In IDjO, there were 05.000 Saskatchewan farms with sales of under In 1065, llicrc were only 3J.OOO. rarnis with sales of SI5-M5.000 totalled l.ooo in and in In 1570, (he average Saskatchewan farmer had a nel income of jusl over 4 Prof. C. S. Basran, n university sociolo- gist, gives this brief analysis of what comprises a community. People certain cultural similarilies and a sense of belonging Services necessary lo maintain Hie people. Some geographical boundaries, even if they are loosely de- fined. A communily in rural Saskatchewan may once have been a hall, church, school and slore, along with Ihe surrounding (arms. However, economic forces, innovations in technology, transporalion and the mass media have changed all that. farming lias become a larger and more sophisticated operation and the demands for services such as education and health have increased. which can offer hctwcen 50-100 services, have become the centres ol larger communities. Dr. Basran conlends thai rural communi- ties arc disadvantagod, in material ways al least. De-population and economic stagna- tion, each process feeding (ho other, havo caused deterioralion of services As people, wealth, and power become more concentrat- ed in urban areas, a sense of powcrlessness I lie Siiskulnon Slar.l'luicilk