Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 24, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Wcdntfday, April 24, 1974 A piddty bylaw? The inability of most aldermen to appreciate the meaning of their new burning barrel bylaw is incredible. They can't be ignorant. They shouldn't be uninformed, although obviously they have lost touch with the people. Innocent? Naive? Whatever their problem, it's serious. Deputy Mayor Hembroff called it ''a piddly bylaw." What business has City Council passing piddly bylaws? Alderman Vera Ferguson said nothing has been changed. Then why the bylaw at all? Of course something has been changed. It used to be legal to dispose of corn flakes boxes and broken tree-limbs and wind-blown litter from the alleys by carefully burning it outdoors. From now on it must either be carted into an indoors incinerator (curiously the aldermen seemed to have no idea of what an incinerator costs or how it operates) or stuffed into a plastic garbage bag and left for the city garbage trucks to haul away. Alderman Kergan, who is not always right, hit the mark right on when he said 'the added cost and trouble will discourage those who want to keep the city clean. Why clean up the streets and back alleys now? The wind brought the stuff. Let the wind take it away. Why bother? The point the aldermen have missed is that there was no problem until they were conned into a "piddly" "innocuous" bylaw that makes citizenship more troublesome and costly for the average householder. Strikers losing support The rash of strikes in Canada is not unexpected, but the grievances behind them are surprising. It was inflation, with its attendant difficulties of making ends meet, that was supposed to be the cause of labor unrest this year. Yet inflation can scarcely be invoked as the reason for the several major strikes now afflicting or threatening the Canadian economy. Air controllers and seaway pilots, with salaries in the to bracket, may deserve more money for the services they perform but they cannot surely claim to be suffering because inflation has cut their purchasing power. If they are having trouble making ends meet it must be becaus their wants go far beyond their needs Inflated prices may not be the problem so much as expanded desires. The shutdown of the postal service does not seem to have anything to do with wages. It appears to focus on dissatisfactions relating to the introduction of automation. This roots back to policy disagreement, not to anything springing out of inflation. With important services disrupted, the country is seriously disadvantaged in carrying on its normal business. Much as most persons are likely appreciative of the value of the work done by the strikers and generally sympathetic to their desires for better wages and working conditions, disappointment even disgruntlement is growing. It is particularly hard to be charitable toward the postal strikers who do not appear to have a clear idea themselves what the issue is and may be involved in an illegal action, in addition. While it might be difficult for the majority of Canadians, living on far less than the air controllers and seaway pilots, to empathize with them, at least there is not doubt about the purpose of those strikes or their legality. World inflation rates Finance Minister John Turner's comment that the upcoming budget contains no instant cure for inflation should disappoint only those who believe in the economic efficacy of magic wands. Besides, it is tar more likely to contain measures to make inflation palateable, if the government sticks to its past assertion that most inflationary pressures are coming from outside and are beyond its control. Figures just released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development would seem to bear this out. At the least, they point to the fact that Canada suffers less from inflation than most other countries. For all except seven of the 24 nations of the OECD. inflation has now reached two figures. The United States has joined the larger group with a rate of 10 per cent. Canada is among the seven, with a rate calculated at 9.6. These figures are based on the 12- month period up to February. Of all the members of the OECD, Greece leads the list with an increase of 33.4 per cent, followed by Iceland, 32.3, Japan, 26.3; Portugal. 19.3; Turkey, 19.2; Finland, 17.4; Spain, 14.2; Denmark and Ireland, 13.5, Australia, Italy and Britain, 13.2; France, 11.5; New Zealand and Sweden. 10.2, United States and Switzerland, 10; Canada, 9.6; Norway, 8.8; Holland, 8.5; Austria, 8.4: Belgium and Luxembourg, 8.3; and West Germany, 7.6. It may not be much solace to the Canadian consumer to know that he is better 'off than his Icelandic counterpart, but it does put the problem of inflation in a better perspective. ART BUCHWALD The trials of the Ford family WASHINGTON One of the controversies swirling around Washington is whether Vice President Gerald Ford is thinking seriously about moving into the White House. It was started when John Osborne of the New Republic interviewed Ford, and the vice president speculated about whom he would appoint to his cabinet if he became president. This was followed by columnist William Safire's article in which Ford tried to clarify what he said to Osborne which, of course, increased the speculation. In fairness to the vice president, particularly in view of what's going on in Washington, no one in his position could help but think that he may be called to take on the reins of government, and the whole Ford family must be under tremendous strain. I can just imagine what happens when the vice president comes home. He opens the door and hears music: "Who the devil is playing 'Hail to the "We were just having fun, his wife Betty says. "Well it's not very Ford replies. "Suppose I had walked in with the "Then we would have said we were playing it for him. You look bushed. Do you want a "Yes, give me a White House I mean a White Horse on the rocks. What are all those swatches on the "I was just looking at drapery material. You know the drapes in the Lincoln Room are so'ugly." "Why are you looking at drapery material for the Lincoln Room, "You have to order this stuff six months in advance. You can't just get them by calling up Macy's." "Betty, I don't think you should be ordering drapes for the White House, even if it takes six months to get them. If I've told you once I've told you a hundred times there is absolutely no way I will be president of the United States." "Then why do you keep standing in front of a mirror every night in a morning coat with your hand on a Bible repeating 'So help me "I thought you were asleep when I did that." "How can I be when you keep talking in your sleep all night "What do I the vice president asks nervously. "You mumble over and over 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.' "Do I do "That's not the worst of Betty says. "You keep stretching out your arms with your fingers in a V for victory signal." "Gosh, I hope the secret service men haven't seen me. Betty, every vice president dreams about being president of the United States. It's only natural. I'll bet you Nixon even dreamed about it at one time." "Well, if you can dream about being president, why can't I dream about being first "You can dream about it, but you shouldn't be ordering things for the Lincoln Room." "All right. I'll just keep the swatches. I'm sure if anything happens they'll put through a rush job for me." "Where are the "Mike is working on his memoirs. He received a advance for a book titled 'Downstairs at the White House.' "But Mike's never been in the White "They don't want the book until Christmas, dummy." "Holly smokes! Who put that 'Impeach Nixon' sticker on the "The maid. She's already sold her story to the Ladies' Home Journal about what it's like working at Camp David." "Our county is so big most tire alarms involve a are the key to fighting inflation By Bruce Whitestone, syndicated commentator The speed up of inflation that started a year ago has continued to produce unpleasant surprises. In both timing and decision it has now reached a critical point for the general business outlook. All together inflation in Canada appears to have accelerated to at least a 10 per cent rate. One factor that could tend to reduce inflation rates is that we manage to avoid any sizable acceleration in wages. Much will depend, therefore, on what happens in labor negotiations. If increases are pursued too hard, an even more vicious price spiral will set in. Also, the wages of hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers with cost of living escalators will chase prices automatically. It is, therefore, obvious that if wages rise less quickly, this will be fully reflected in more stable prices. While no sane worker or group of workers is going to accept a reduction in after tax pay increases, workers may show restraint in wage negotiations on certain conditions, and this is what should be borne in mind by our financial managers. Some of the things that need to be true to ensure moderate labor demands are relatively obvious: That industry provide concrete evidence of restraint in its pricing policies. That enough other workers would also show sufficient restraint to reduce the national average rate of pay increases. That aggregate indirect taxes should not rise as a percentage of the total value of the goods on which they are levied, and that there would be no "excess" increases in public sector charges, such as municipal taxes, electric power rates, and the like. The list is not exhaustive, obviously, but it emphasizes the tasks that government should strive to accomplish so that pay settlements do not get further out of hand. Government cannot provide a copper bottomed guarantee that workers will go along with a policy of moderation, but it is the best task that can be taken here. Workers are usually responsible and rational, and it can be assumed that they will accept a plan that seems reasonable and does not involve rigid controls. In past inflations, employers were able to raise prices rapidly while wage increase lagged behind the rising price level. This shifted the burden of inflation on tc workers and decreased their share of the national income. This time, however, it is clear that for the larger portion of wage earners, pay has kept up with the pace of inflation we have experienced since 1950. Workers thus have made real wage gains despite continuous erosion of the dollar's value. Therefore, this is a period when stability should be sought as workers' real gains have just about balanced increases in the cost of living. If workers over the next few months achieve wage gains in excess of the growth in productivity pushing up unit labor costs, the whole concept of price stability will receive a further postponement. The entire process of prices and wages playing leapfrog at the public expense will begin again. If the country can keep wages from accelerating here (a big if, to be sure) the inflation speed-up could be contained short of the horrible examples in Britain and South America. If wage increases are to be moderate, the government must attempt to set an example of voluntary restraint by promising not to increase indirect taxes, and eliciting provincial 'co- operation so that local taxes are also kept level. Then, industry concurrence to a plan under which pay restraint would be matched by industry price stability could be achieved. A reasonable appeal to the business community just might succeed now. The government would be very foolish not to be working very hard to prevent disaster happening on pending wage negotiations. Perhaps some new actions could generate a whole new era in the key area of wage negotiations. Economic forecasters will be keeping their fingers crossed in the hope that a better, long- term balance between wages and prices can be provided now. Party resolutions fortunately are not binding By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA The resolutions of the recent Conservative general meeting published re- cently, are prefaced with a warning that they "are not intended to be statements of party It is well that this should be made clear. For the paper is another of those largely mean- ingless exercises in partici- patory democracy to which our parties have become strangely addicted in recent years. There are a number of rea- sons for taking the resolutions, not with a grain LETTERS but with large chunks of salt. In the first place the delegates did not come to Ottawa primarily to do puzzles. They came to give their leader some rousing backing, to elect a president, to perform other necessary party chores and generally to work up the en- thusiasm required for an elec- tion campaign. Mixed up with these endeav- ours, however, were dis- by various degrees of non- revolving around 179 resolutions. In accordance with the best traditions of participatory democracy, some dele- gates, afflicted by the usual distractions of a political con- vention, were supposed to pon- der these in whatever quiet time was available, consider alternatives, render value judgments and produce harmonious policy. Experience has demonstrated that participatory democracy works best when not, as formerly, by resource personnel but by caucus com- mittees. A further, and helpful, refinement of the art Catholic education in jeopardy The time has come to bring the whole issue of Catholic schools and Catholic education out into the open arena of public debate and to make a public appeal to Catholic people to assert their rights. As the matter is complex and Lethbridge tends to be cut off from the sort of debate that occurs in other places, it is necessary to indicate briefly the circumstances which prevail throughout North America. First, few people here know about the extent to which influential Catholic theologians clash in their teaching with the official teaching authority of the church. Some of them are relativists in their moral theology (holding that there are no absolutes in this some ignore or attack Humanae Vltae which forbids contraception, some condone divorce in some cases, while other condone abortion in "extreme" circumstances; some teach a very unorthodox version of 'God is dead' theology. Secondly, few people here know that there are influential Catholic groups which defend orthodoxy and which document up to the hilt what Catholic parents concerned for orthodoxy have known from experience: the so- called "new" catechetics is unorthodox in large measure, muddled in its theology, and based on a poor understanding of human psychology and the educational endeavor. Fr. Paul Crane, editor of an important journal, Christian Order attributes much of the decline in religious practice to this "new" catechetics. Bishop Leo Blais and Henri Routhier have both severely criticised as Catholics United for the Faith, Pro Fide and the St Athanasius Society in various countries, including Canada. These groups are growing in influence as is recognized by the voice of the official church. They want Catholic doctrine taught in our Catholic schools, not some Californian or Washington theological substitute for it. The news that the Lethbridge Separate School Board is to introduce the Edmonton "family life" program into schools here is part of a pattern, and CUF and other groups exist to fight that pattern and restore parental rights. I can put any reader in touch with these groups on request. What are parents' rights? Are they determined by majority vote? Not at all. A parent has the right to have his child brought up in the philosophy or religion of his choice. That being the case, Catholic schools which do not teach orthodox doctrine in its fullness betray parents. Why, after all, should I send my child to a Catholic school if the system is run by unorthodox minds, no matter what their goodwill. In other words, if Sister this or Father that want to teach the latest theological dreams out of California or Washington, let them set up new schools, and not fly under the banner of Catholic. The assumptions and assertions made here can be fully documented. And it's time the bishops stepped in. A year ago, I complimented a trustee on his stand. Today, where are those people who said we would reject the Edmonton scheme of things? With no guarantee that the "family life" program here will be much wiser than that elsewhere, and an impending conference on Catholic education, there will be need for people who think, and don't give a rap for being avant-garde. Finally, an appeal to all parents. Are you wise to trust the educational administrators as you do? Or are you abdicating the task which belongs primarily to you? Remember that if you should withdraw your child from school on your own, the state will quickly let you know precisely how much freedom you have. PETER REA HUNT Lethbridge is the "should be" resolution which gives expression to the heart's desire while avoiding the traditional error of commitment. Before the advent of modern political science, parties relied on election pledges. Thus: vote for us and we will create a wheat board or build a railway to Hudson Bay. Such pledges could elect a party; they could also hang it if the promise was read by the wrong people or if circumstances made fulfilment impossible. The value of the "should be" resolution is that it limits liability. Thus: "Federal policies and programs should be geared to encouraging Canadian ownership and control of at least one major multinational company in each industry of major significance to the pursuit of our industrial strategy." This does not say that any, let alone each, such company is going to be owned and controlled in a manner consistent with a strategy undisclosed. It merely says that policies should be geared in a fashion considered by 81.4 per-cent of the voting delegates to indicate that the hearts of the Conservatives are in the right places. If the should be resolutions seem rash, which may be un- likely, consider the admirably prudent paragraph on monetary policy. Some Conservatives in the past have advocated regionalism, arguing that a policy of restraint which may be neces- sary to check inflation in Toronto works hardship on the Atlantic provinces. The resolution says: "There is a definite need to find the means to regionalize monetary and fiscal policies to a much greater extent." Many needs exist; the trouble with this one is that no one has yet found a workable means although it has been pursued for many years in House and Senate financial committees. Even wise guidance cannot ensure a party against the zeal of misguided delegates. If Mr. Stanfield is to implement a comprehensive incomes policy, which the convention endorsed, he will gain no help from resolutions calculated to increase purchasing power and thus inflationary pressure; for example the proposal that basic tax exemptions be doubled. One of the housing resolu- tions, calling for deductibility of a proportion of property taxes and interest on mortgages, seems inconsistent with the views of the Conservative financial critic. James Gillies, in agreement with John Turner, said last week that subsidized mortgage rates (which amount to the same thing) would increase demand in the housing market and that any policy on the demand side now would be '.'catastrophic." Thus, for a variety of rea- sons, it is fortunate that Mr. Stanfield is not bound by these resolutions. Participatory de- mocracy, expressing itself in galaxies of propositions, mix- tures of the sensible and the nonsensical, is much more likely to confuse voters than to elect either party. This is not to suggest, however, that it is altogether lacking in value since it may be of some use in keeping dedicated delegates out of mischief and off the streets. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second Ciau Mall Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager ROY F MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. 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