Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, April 19, 1974 Inspiring leadership needed At times, Prime Minister Harold Wilson, politically embarrassed by the business activities of his personal secretary and what fiction writers might describe as her "ne'er-do-well" brother, may wish that he lived in Quebec not to get away from it all but because Quebecers do not look askance at such activities. Quebec has a higher tolerance for political patronage than any other place in Canada, as opponents of Premier Bourassa are discovering. It was recently revealed that a supply company which is owned 23.7 per cent by Premier Bourassa's wife and 23.7 per cent by his brother in-law, who is also a cabinet minister, has received more than million in government contracts since the Liberals came to power in April, 1970, and that only one of the 141 contracts came through public tender. No charges of illegality have been raised, since tenders can be issued by invitation for services costing less than and since it is not illegal in Quebec, although it is in other for cabinet ministers to hold shares in companies doing business with the government. And this has been the premier's successful stand against charges of impropriety that he has done nothing illegal. He seems likely to fend off the current round of charges just as he did last year when it was revealed that his government had a secret practice of asking elected Liberals to name contractors to a preferential list being compiled by the party hierarchy for tenders of less than as a reward for political support. Public scandals and charges of public scandals throughout the world are usually compared with Watergate. They make pallid comparisons, since most of them arise from matters of financial gain, whereas Watergate sprang from greed for political power, a greed so strong that it subverted the integrity of national institutions and national dreams. It was political patronage on a gigantic scale and the cost has been sickening. According to a public opinion analyst quoted by the New York Times, who based his comments on a historical series of attitude surveys, "Most people believe they have lived through the high point of the American journey." Today, when asked about attitudes, Americans indicate feelings of frustration, of discontent with leadership, and of cynicism, and optimism about the future is strikingly less than it was in the late 1950s and early' 1960s. Although the Wilson "embar- the continuing Bour- assa scandal which never gets off the ground, and Watergate all differ in scope, in kind and in consequence, they add up to a sad state of affairs. They tell of a world that is desperate for inspiring leadership at all levels of government, for men and women to whom service is more important than acquiring power or possessions, whose understanding leads to compassion rather than to craftiness, and in whom vanity has not supplanted integrity. Although politics takes a toll of all its practitioners, the talents of political leadership are not incompatible with inspiring traits of character. In fact, true leadership demands them. And a world engulfed in cynicism demands true leaders. Long-term predictions Don McGillivray, writing in the Financial Times of Canada has made some interesting observations about the future, and business potential of Canadians, due to the slowdown of the birth rate. For two years the fertility rate has been below the replacement level, something new for Canada, but something that will cause the population to peak early in the next century and then gently decline, providing the birth rate continues at the present rate. Basing his comment on an economic review published by Dominion Securities Corporation, Harris and Partners Ltd., Mr. McGillivray has predicted more families with fewer children in each, which, with the larger numbers of working motffers means more discretionary income. Children will be pampered he says, which is good for the toddler industry; and the demand for housing and furniture will be strong. Since the under-35 age group are apparently borrowers not savers, demands for mortgage funds, consumer credit and personal loans will keep the interest rates high. All this for the next five years. After 1980 there will be fewer people entering the working married age so growth of the labor force will diminish; housing demands will lessen, reducing inflationary trends; and a large number of people will enter the 40-plus age groups where savings become important, thus reducing the interest rates. RUSSELL BAKER The disappearing baby Is the baby going the way of the manned bomber and the nickel candy bar? The population figures suggest that such is the case. Increasing numbers of women decline to reproduce and those who proceed are cutting down on quantity, with the result that pediatricians are looking for other lines of work and the night howl of the tooth cutter is becoming as rare as the mating call of the loon. The birth rate may, in fact, be down to zero population growth level, at least for the moment. This is ecologically satisfying in the long run, but people live and suffer in the short run, and in the short run say over the next 30 years this change in population balance will not be easy for us. The chief difficulty arises from the existence of a very large body of people who are now under 30. Most of these people are not going to go away over the next 30 years. They are simply going to get older. If they do not reproduce significantly, we will become a country, first, of the middle aged and then of the old. The existence of this disproportionate bulge in the population created the famous youth culture of the 1960s when merchandisers discovered that half the population was under age 28 and had money to burn. As they age they will become an even richer market, and we may anticipate that merchandisers will gradually accommodate to it by replacing the already faded youth culture with, first, a middle aged culture and, finally, a graybeard culture. All very well for the bulge group, you may say. It will continue to dominate society as it passes through the decades like a pig through a python. But what sort of country shall we become in the passage? There will be small gains. Grandmothers will no longer be obliged to cavort to feel anti- social because they lack youth. This could become unpleasant, however, for a generation that has imposed the burdens of youth on its elders may find it only natural, as it ages, to impose the burdens of age on its young. If at the age of 22 they could make dad 'get into blue jeans and mom into blue hair, is it inconceivable that at the age of SO they could have their outnumbered children wearing dental plates and surgically produced double chins? Many of these people, remember, will not have children of their own, 'and so age's natural bent for tyrannizing youth will not have been tempered by the long, loving education of having had youth around the house, ruining the towels and denting the car. A large number of these people, in fact, will be cut off from young society. Lacking children to open windows for them on a changing world, they will probably suffer from the stifling viewpoint toward variety and change which characterizes people insulated from other age groups. We can also anticipate political tensions between the childless group assuming it will be big enough to worry politicians and those who have children. At first these might involve quarrels about school taxes, military service, curfew laws, juvenile crime and income tax breaks. As the bulge group passes into retirement age, both the childless and the child bearing factions will probably make common political cause against the diminished young population, which would be increasingly hard taxed to pay retirement benefits for the aging majority. There are also unanswerable questions about how the remnant American youth will adapt to a country in which youth is in short supply. Women who have babies now are tending to stop after one or two, which means that the "only child" will soon be a commonplace and that his peers will mostly be other "only or children who have had inordinate quantities of parental attention. This will surely affect the temperament and expectations of young Americans, and eventually change the nature of the country. In 40 years we may very well have a governing class of "only which would radically change the ecology of American society. Imagine a world where practically nobody has brothers and sisters, where there are very few relatives of any kind to come to dinner. I think it will be rather lonely, and I believe an "only child" governing class, with typical "only child" decisiveness, will act decisively for change. When Mussolini was threatened with population decline in Italy, he had the church bells rung loudly in the dead of night. Sirens would be more the American style. Whatever the awakener, I would bet a small sum on baby over the long run. ON THE HILL Uy Ovrt Hargrove, MPfor Medicine Hal "The treasury department's considering your request to have your portrait on currency how does the bill Arab world opinion divided By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator DAMASCUS, Syria For a month now Syria has stood toe to toe with Israel, slugging it out in battles around the Golan Heights. Soldiers in battle dress can be seen everywhere in the streets. Listening to the news bulletins is a round the clock family pastime. "Everybody." a Syrian businessman told me, "wants to know whether it is going to be war or peace with Israel." The diplomatic front is as hot as the military front. President Hafez Assad and half his government have just returned from a visit to Moscow. The military intelligence chief here Hikmat Shibabi is also 'reporting back on talks in Washington with Henry Kissinger. Syria has been obliged to undertake all these activities because she finds herself, as often in the past, standing alone as the great partisan of Arab unity. The Arab world has split into two currents of opinion, moving in opposite directions. One current is the so-called "front of refusal." It includes the countries and movements actively hostile to the efforts being made by the United States to act as honest broker in arranging a settlement between Israel and the Arab states. The spearhead of the "front of refusal" is the extremist Palestinian terrorist organization headed by Georges Habache, which was responsible for the massacre of 18 Israelis in Qiryat Shmona. Iraq, which provides a main base for Habache, is involved, as in Libya under Col. Quaddafi. The Russians, apparently jittery about Washington's role in producing a peace made in America, tend to egg on the "front of refusal." The other current is an openly pro-American group led by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. Having made it up with Washington and achieved a disengagement with Israel, Mr. Sadat is urging everybody else to follow suit. In the bargain he is losing no opportunity to take a shot at the Soviet role in the Middle East. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who worked with Sadat to help lift the oil boycott against the U.S., gives him powerful support. Both King Hussein of Jordan and the more moderate Palestinian groups have, been talking with President Sadat. Algeria, despite a hard-line past, also seems to be edging into the camp of compromise. President Assad is in the middle. He has led this country a long way from the diehard intransigence which marked the Syrian role only five years ago. He has a genuine respect for the efforts being made by Secretary of State Kissinger. Hence the dispatch of a high-level intelligence official to Washington for the disengagement talks. But President Assad nurses deep suspicions that the Israelis want to divide Egypt from Syria by freezing disengagement where it stands now. He has not been prepared to disengage in easy stages on the Sadat model. On the contrary, he is insisting that disengagement be tied to a full Israeli commitment to total withdrawal at an early date from lands occupied after the 1967 war. To hammer home his determination, he initiated the fighting on the Golan front. For the same reason he went to Moscow. For the moment, at least, President Assad seems prepared to wait a while. "We are reasonable; we are not saying accept our terms or we go to war the chief career diplomat in the Syrian foreign office, Zaccaria Ismail, said in a chat the other day. Still, the Syrians are convinced that the only way to hold the rest of the Arab World behind them, the only way to prevent a slow drift into the Sadat position, is to raise the threat of major new fighting. With so many pressures at work here, war though unlikely could break out again. Unions bid for living allowance By Dian Cohen, syndicated commentator We should not be surprised if there is serious labor unrest in Canada this year. The cause is the oldest in the history of the labor movement the widespread feeling among 'workers that they are not getting their share. We have been in an inflation for some time but not everyone is sharing in the benefits of the rising prices. Last year, prices rose to nine per cent; interest rates to businessmen rose by 50 per cent but to consumers by only one per cent. Business profits rose by 30 per cent but negotiated wage settlements averaged only SVz per cent. This year we can expect the groups which were left behind to try to get theirs. And that is a danger to the economy. Labor quite legitimately eyes the sharp rise in profits last year and says "We haven't profited from inflation, or even kept pace with it. This year's bargaining is going to be tough. We want the amount by which we've fallen behind and then some because by the time our contracts come up for renewal we'll probably be way behind again." This creates a leap frog effect from which it is difficult to escape. Another factor adding to the unrest is the attention paid to inflation in the popular media. That vague feeling of workers that everything is getting too expensive for them is confirmed regularly in their newspapers and on TV. They know somebody is benefitting and it's not them. There are ways out of the interminable spiral and one of them is a campaign objective. of many unions bargaining this year. That is a cost of living allowance known as COLA's to labor negotiators. The COLA is beautifully simple. Wages rise with the' rate of inflation. So far only one out of every five negotiated contracts has a cost of living allowance. Last year, when labor unrest and walkouts were at an all-time high, the industries which had negotiated cost of living allowances were relatively strike free. Most of the unions which have won COLA's have refrained from demanding much more than that. The United Auto Workers have asked for only a three per cent increase in base pay over the next three years. But they have a COLA clause. They get an extra penny an hour every time the consumer price index goes up a third of a per cent. Some Saskatchewan and Manitoba public employees also have COLA clauses. Other unions are eyeing these contracts and suggesting not only that their new contracts should contain COLA's but that contracts already signed and not yet expired should be RE- OPENED to adjust for inflation. The situation has gone so far that in Quebec major union federations have announced they will give moral and financial support to member unions which take ILLEGAL action to back their demands. The labor leaders' reasoning is that workers locked into two or three year contracts which seriously worsen their economic position will be resentful of management and unco- operative, prone to wildcat strikes and other action which will only make catching up even more difficult when it comes time to negotiate new contracts. Adding to all of this is the workers' view that only they are locked into long term losses. Businessmen can raise their prices at will. A classic example of an incident where workers campaigned to re-open a contract which was already in force was at the Brunswick Mining and Smelting Corporation. There was a six week disruption until management finally agreed to re-negotiate the contract. It is true that our society has always viewed a contract as a concrete deal which cannot be re negotiated. But in times of stress the views of society change especially if it seems to be in the best interests of business, and society in general. crazy 0 1 TO LUNCH BKK Recently there were two developments relating to the Suffield closure announcement. The first was a reference in the local Ottawa press of the plans to transfer certain chemical research and "184 staff" from Suffield to Shirleys Bay, another defence research establishment on the outskirts of Ottawa. The second item pertains to a further private conversation I had with Defence Minister Richardson. In view of these two items, it is my personal view that the minister is not likely to make any further formal statement about the ORES closure in particular a possible statement about reconsidering his initial announcement. I asked Mr. Richardson if the Medicine Hat-Redcliff- Suffield communities should be encouraged to develop a variety of long term plans for the future use of the Suffield lands and facilities. He responded very positively and stated his department would welcome ideas and proposals from any interested individuals or groups. I have already received some suggestions and would like to receive further comments and ideas on this subject. The government beef subsidy program announced on March 15 with subsequent modifications, has kept Canada's beef cattle industry in the headlines as well as in a state of confusion and uncertainty. I am sure the government recognized that cattle feeders had been operating under severe financial losses over the last five months. Mr. Whelan and the Cabinet chose the subsidy route costing the taxpayer million a week, in order not to risk a possible price rise in beef that would antagonize consumers. The cattlemen had recommended a short term temporary surcharge, as was used so successfully last fall, to control imports and a long term reciprocal and proportional quota such as the U.S.A. uses on our cattle exports. I was personally very much opposed to the subsidy program because it did absolutely nothing to correct the problem at its source which was right at the U.S. Border. The confusion and chaos on our Canadian cattle markets during the first week of the subsidy as a result of no available operational details, resulted in an immediate market drop all across Canada. This increased to to during the second week due to over deliveries of heavier cattle caused by deadline dates'for subsidy qualification. This total market decline, brought our Canadian cattle markets down to the approximate level of the U.S. and did indeed finally curtail their exports. But what a costly and cruel way to do it! More recently the government has announced its DES certification policy to deal with DES treated cattle and beef coming into Canada in contravention of our ban on the use of this growth stimulant. This policy will act as an unofficial embargo on U.S. fat cattle and beef and should result in some market strength in Canada at some later date after we eat our way out of a current over- supply situation. The recent announcement to extend the VLA for another year will be welcomed by all Legion Branches and war veterans. The new deadline for qualified veterans is March 31, 1975. The qual- ification deadline of October was not included in the minister's amendment bill. However, those veterans who could have qualified in 1968 but failed to do so, will now be handled on an individual basis. Such veterans should write directly to the Hon. Daniel MacDonald, minister of veterans affairs, with a copy to my office in Ottawa. Meanwhile, back in the House, Mr. Lalonde brought in his football bill the same day that the cost of living rose another one per cent for the month of March and a cumulative rise of 10.4 per cent from the same period a year ago! Inflation and football seem to reign supreme down here on the Hill. Letters Typical south attitude A letter in The Herald (April 16) titled Opposed to freedom states that Anyone or all of these 'socialists' parties are opposed to all human freedom." This statement is, typical of Southern Albertan attitude towards the NDP or Communists! Most people in Lethbridge don't have a clue what a Communist is, leaving little room to draw comparisons between them and the NDP party. Socialism is simply a doctrine of placing community interest above that of individual freedom which is certainly true of most countries today. Marxism should not be judged by an oppressive system calling itself the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Neither should opinions be formed by the propaganda and ignorance of our brothers to the south. The word "communism" has been destroyed by Russian misrepresentation and is better termed a fine example being the Hutterites of Alberta. In retrospect, does not the Soviet charade of "cloak and dagger" resemble the antics of our Royal Canadian Mounted Police! BILL WEST Lethbridge EDITOR'S NOTE: The writer of this letter is not Inspector Bill West of the Lethbridge City Police. Penalize tidy citizen For a good many years I've been burning old papers, cardboard cartons, and garden litter. I've never tried to burn cabbage leaves with rubber tires. And I don't think many people have, in spite of claims to the contrary. Hedge-clippings interest me. How on earth are sharp brambles packed away in a garbage-bag that tears as easily as a postage stamp? This burning-ban affair started out as an air-polluting, odorous matter, now, according to the press, it has become a fire-hazard. Not too long ago the council raised quite a squawk about "unsightly houses." In taking away the householder's right to burn dry-combustible, they are taking away the only means he has of keeping, at least the garden, from becoming, unsightly. There will always be some irresponsible people who will light an unattended fire in a 50 m.p.h. wind. It's the city's job to weed these people out. The easy way is to pass a bylaw and penalize the citizen who tries to keep his property tidy. Lethbridge A. C. PADLEY The Lethbridge Herald StM ttn si S. Lethbrldge. Alberta LETHBHIOOE HERALD CO. LTD. and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON H1 PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DOflAM General Manager ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"