Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 27, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE IETHBR1DGE HERAID Thuntfny, April 77, 1972 'Knice Hutchison The cost of illness Health 'MmislcT John Alunro re- cently stnted in no uncertain terms thill "there's a crisis on Hie way" in Canada's health care costs, lie was probably over-optimistic; the crisis seems to liave arrived. Nevorllicless Mr. Munro's well- founded note cif alarm sounded on behalf of Ills denarlmenl, "ill un- doubtedly encourage provincial health ministers to take a long hard look at health costs in their own provinces with Ihe hope thai some formula be introduced lo main- tain a measure of control over es- calating costs. Cost-culling certainly is in order lo reduce the number of unnecessary tests and operations and the unneces- sary duplication of hospital services. Putting into better service public health agencies, nurses and para- medical workers would relieve doc- tors and outpatients' departments and would also he cheaper. Mr. JMunro however was unneces- sarily negative when he said that government medicare and hospital plans "haven't worked" because their emphasis is on curing disease rather than preventing il. It would of course be ideal if disease could be prevented but as much of it can't then curing the conditions which exist is the responsibility of the medical profession and others who are directly engaged in the various facets of health care. Certainly vnedi- ca! and hospital insurance, available to nearly ranmlinns regardless of Iheir mentis, have spared thousands of iamilies the financial woes that uninsured serious accident or illness can cause. The Economic Council of Canada has pointed out dial Ilierc are two main factors which have contributed subslaiitiiilly to Ihe rising costs of health care. The first is thai "care" necessarily involves people caring for people. Therefore it is a labor-inten- sive industry, and an average of 70 per ceil! of health care expenditures goes inlo the earnings of health care per- sonnel. The second factor is that hospital costs have gone up, not just because of rising hospital wages bul because hospitals today offer far more intensive, sophisticated and costly treatment than they did years ago when a nurse simply "watched" over someone who was ill, unable very often to be of much help. To date the health insurance costs in Canada have not exceeded the es- timates of the Hall royal commission whose report on health services laid the basis (or federal support of medi- care. TliPt report predicted costs ris- ing from S200 per capita at. present to JGOO in 10 years. The need for economics is urgent. Doctors, hospital adrmnistralors and the public will have to become more concerned over health care costs or they will surely disappear out of sight. Brazil's economic growth Brazil has a thing or two lo teach the world about stimulating econo- mic growth while keeping inflation under control. In the past four years, Brazil has sustained a steady real growth, excluding inflationary distor- tions, that averaged 9.8 per cent a year. Last year, the rate reached U.3 per cent, one of the highest in the world. A decade ago, the country de- pended on coffee for 70 per cent her exports. Today the bean accounts for less than one third of total ex- ports. Before t h e military seized power in 1964, inflation was soaring at the rate of 150 per cent a year Today the rale lias been cut to less than 20 per cent a year. The Brazilian government's meth- od may not be popular in countries like Canada. The military dictator- ship instituted price controls, held back wage increases, slashed public spending everywhere, even on the armed forces, and frequently reval- ued the currency by a small margin of two per cent, A major success has been her taxa- tion system. After a few convictions of prominent delinquents, the num- ber of taxpayers is increased from to seven million. Having ex- panded the taxation base, the govern- ment established a system of tax in- centives under which corporations and rich individuals can invest up to 50 per cent of payable tax in indus- tries the government wants in speci- fic regions to provide employment. The government also encourages export through tax reduction and exemptions, allowing Brazilian ex- ports to cut prices by as much as 20 per cent in the world market. The result: the balance of payments has been in the black for the past four years. "The economic health of the coun- try is good, but the people are Brazilian President Emilio Garras- lazti Medici admits. Many Brazilians cannot afford marriage licenses, costing S10 each which acounts for the fact that almost hall of the children do not have legiti- mate births. Unemployment is still widespread, estimated by one source to be in the region of 30 per cent, and the purchasing power is being constantly cut by currency devalua- tions. U is difficult for an outsider to say whether the Brazilians as a whole are better or worse than yes- terday, but if the economic growth continues, the future should be brighter. As an American observer points out, "You have probably 26 million people with no education, mentally stunted by malnutrition, suffering from diseases what can any underdeveloped country do for so many marginal When one realizes that the future is in the hands of disciplined people, one also has to lake into account whether national interest necessitates the sacrifice of freedom of the in- dividuals. In this sense, Brazil slill has to learn from Japan, which has the best of two worlds: Japan is a democracy, yet Ihe Japanese are a disciplined people. Perhaps only a disctatorship can look after the nation's economic growth in Ihe way it sees fit without having to worry about the nexl elec- lion. Such a program can hardly be implemented in Canada: the govern- ment, or the opposition for that mat- ter, cannot advocate price controls without offending the industry, can- not call for wage freeze without angering Ihe workers. Canada is a democracy. A model school Terence Morris VU1TH all the money, talent, and effort lhat has been poured into education during the last few decades one would think that by now professional educators would know whnl is Ihe best kind of public schooling. Unfortunately, charting the course in education is still beset by inde- cisions and uncertainties, that make School education a very hazardous experience for most of our children. Everyone will have his own definition of a model school but there are certain cha- racteristics that we should expect to see in all progressive schools. School would be non-graded. Each child would proceed at his own paco so there would be nothing unusual in a child com- pleting a one year course in six months or another child taking two years lo do the same work. An idea that still prevails in some of our schools is that all children should slart and finish at the same time. A non-graded program would the need to provide extra help for tha really bright child. In educational jargon, exceptional children invariably means the mentally or physcially handicapped and scant regard is paid to (he child who has superior ability. Some of Ihe money (hot is spent on special scwicps for the handi- capped would be diverted lo assist tho specially gifted students. Tho.se who work in schools would work a team, sharing all Ihe duties and re- i ij..-.imliiics ihiic are pan of educating (Vii'.dron. One nf Ihe of leaching profession is Ihe cuslom of giving enormous extra allowances plus freedom Energy crisis will force more frugal use the art of politics is largely (lie discovery of llic obvious jlisl before il be- comes the intoU-rublc, sonic rc- ccnL news from should cause no surprise. The Congress lias been warned by its bcsl exports lhat the United Stales socm face an "en- ergy crisis" wilh electrical dim- outs anil fuel shortages. Even in a less prodigal Canada, ac- cording to the chief economist. of (he Shell oil empire, "the period of cheap energy is over'1 and Ihe price will rise from now on. Of course it will rise altogether from Ihe worldwide inflation of all the brutal law of supply anil de- mand is operating and no gov- ernment lias yet found a way of repealing it. As the demand for e-ncrey increases much faster and Ihe supply of petroleum, coal and running water is lim- ited by the physical contents of the cartli, shortage and crisis were inevitable. ai'L- assured, however, llml the fusion method, which no layman can understand, will provide more than enough nuclear energy later on. But when? One of Ihe leading American authorities on the subject tells me that the grand breakthrough is probably 25 years away and if it succeeds the resulting energy will be very expensive. In the meantime a crunch will come, in (he United States if not in Canada, and a public long urged to use more electri- city and bum more gasoline will be advised to cut down its consumption. Besides, higher prices resulting from the short- age will help to cure if. When gasoline sells for or more per gallon we may have the, sense to drive less and buy smaller cars' in place of the thirsty monsters now crowding the lilghways. When oil and electricity become sufficiently expensive we may build better- insulated houses against the cold and turn out the lights now burning unnecessarily, millions of them, in empty rooms, store windows and hideous street signs. If nothing worse than some household inconvenience faced us we would grumble but doubtless get through il some- how, as in wartime, but the ap- proaching energy shortage is only a part of the larger pro- cess described by Hie Club of Koine. The coterie of heretical scientisls (so absurdly named, like a branch oi the Mafia or the gangsters in an Italian mo- vie) predicts the imminent ruin of our civilization. The predic- tion may be right or wrong in ils figures and liming but cer- tainly it is right in expecling a from Ihe responsibilities of teaching chil- dren to a large number of teachers. This form of stratification effectively destroys any form of team approach to teaching. It makes more sense lo do away with ex- tra allowances and also to insist that free time is allocated as the needs of the stu- dents and the school dictate. The money saved could be used to hire extra teachers whore they will do the most good in the grade one classrooms. We should have a much greater involve- ment of the local community in our schools. There are many knowledgeable ci- tizens who could come and teach our stu- dents about the real world that exists out- side school. No institution has a monopoly on learning and our public school systems provide only a part, often a very small part, of the priH.css of education, it is is disgrace that Home ami School Associa- tions are so often regarded as a nuisance except when they are needed to act as a fund raising organization. Community in; rik-cmcnl, a true tram or sharing spirit, a non-graded program, sod more attention tn Ihe needs nf our students would combine to give us an excellent start in developing a 'model school'. We do not have to wait for this achievement: it is already within our grasp. Wo bavc Ihe per- sonnel, Ihe physical facibties, and the lech- nical knowledge to bring it to life. The trouble is that we. appear to be a little nervous about Unking the big slr-p forward, '.'.'ha! a IrsfcVdj that what shcuici be reality (or our children must, he regarded as a wishful dream. 'Lucky you, comrades THEY'LL all be preoccupied with their huge imperialistic salary drastic change in Ihe world's affairs by Ihe end of the pre- sent century at latest. Thai fact should have been obvious long before the compu- ters disgorged their horrifying statistics. A child (rained in elemenlary arithmetic could see that a planet of limited re- sources, a pie of finite circum- ference, must he diminished sooner or later at our present i-aic of use. Also that the oceans and the thin envelope called the almophore could hold only so much poison. Why the surprise when the United States Congress sudden- ly discovers Dial an energy cri- sis is ahead, as the first clear warning of a later planetary crisis? The reason for the sur- prise, 1 imagine, is not econo- mic, financial or physical but psychological we don't like to face unpleasant facts. Indeed, the whole apparatus of society and the whole politi- cal process are joined in a gen- ial conspiracy to hide the facts. They have to Ije pried out by the computers before we are ready to believe them, and even Ihen uc try lo tlisljelieve them because we are men and not computers. To be sure, the detailed facts are garbled in the computers, with wide margins of error, but the general truth remains (bat the world of ever-multiply- ing human creatures cannot go on indefinitely as il is going now because the world of limit- ed physical contents will not al- low it. Yet the world of pobtics tries to tell us that everything will be all right, with no serious trouble for anyone, if we adopt one partisan policy or another and elect the good guys. Ah, if the problem were only as simple as that! If it were soluble by private enterprise, socialism, communism, fas- cism or some other known sys- tem and by known methods! Unfortunately it is not. For no existing system has yet con- ceived, much less attempted, a real solution. Instead, all the warring sys- tems, tinder different names are increasing the same wast- age of man's basic capital. All systems pretend thai they can make us perpetually richer, that the pie in the sky will last forever regardless of our appe> tile, thai Ihe computers are ly- ing and the Club of Rome is crazy. But once energy runs short, even in Ihe United Slates, and once that superaffluent society tries to fill its needs in Canada, then, perhaps, shall begin to realize that Ihe problem is more complex and urgent, the hour Inter than we used lo think, only yesterday. (Herald special bureau) Paul Wliitdaw Quebec's labor dispute far from mutual agreement After singing the largest strike in Can- adian history what can the leaders of Quebec's "common front" do tor an encore? Thai's the problem facing Quebec's labor movement, fol- lowing the collapse of the 11-day strike of 1'-e province's civil servants and para-public em- ployees Friday night. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the labor move- ment has been exhausted, while the unions are still far from achieving the monetary and po- litical goals wluch motivated the massive walkout. A tough, back-lo-work law rushed through the National As- sembly on Thursday and Friday outlaws strikes in the public sector until June 30. and stipu- lates fines of SSO and n day for workers didn't return lo their jobs. II also requires that a contract be negotiated by June t. If no agreement is worked out by lhat time, the government will he free to im- pose whatever collective agree- menls il sees fit. The unexpected collapse of Ihe strike late Friday night has put union leaders in an unenvia- ble position, and nobody proba- bly realizes this [acl belter than Premier Bourassa. Earlier in the day. the top leaders of thp common groups 900 separate unions represent- ing more than employ- been calling on the rank-and-filc lo defy the hack- fo-ivork law. However. lion was dramatically later in the clay afltr rritisiiltfl- (ions wilh slrikcr.s srmss the province revealed that loss lhan balf were willing to go along v.ilh such militant aclinn. Union and government nego- tiators must now sit at the bar- gaining table knowing that Ibn common front isn't the cohesive and publicized force that bad been originally envision'-d sides also knmv thai Ihe ultimate massive, lengthy been tried and that it was far from suc- cessful. Just how badly the union lead- ers would like to save face is pointed up by the consideration being given Ihe call for a one- day general slrike nexl Monday of all union members in the province. The appeal was issued by the Montreal Central Council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions. However, it is highly uncertain how many rank-and-file members would take part in such a protest If it is sanctioned officially by other labor organizations, and how much effect it would have on the public service negotiations. Disruption of every service Letter fo the editor under the jurisdiction of (he provincial courts, lo licence bureaus, liq- uor slores, schools and hospitals failed to produce more than a few minor concessions from the government during the recent walkout. The slrike, especially Ihe chaotic and dangerous with- drawal of hospital services, alienated any public support that the unions might have had and made il easy for Mr. Bour- assa to pass Ills special legisla- tion The collapse of Ihe walkout was particularly unsettling for common front leaders because they had originally felt they Unfriendly Lethbridge read the letter written by "a sadder but wiser PhD" on Ihe unfriendliness of Lelh- bridge people. I think it a very sad situation, but I have lo agree with him. I came to this cily 18 years ago from an east- em province, and am still liv- ing a lonely life. At first I made my way round the block, inviting myself into people's homes to get acquainted, al- ways inviting them into my home. Ooly one lady comes for coffee once in a while. They arc very nice to iiiik io wheti we meet on the street, but Hint's il. 11 y daughter was two years old before a lady two doors aw iv realized we had a family. I thought maybe thera was somnhing wrong with me, bul I hear of people who have moved to other areas who have no problem meeting neighbors. I guess some towns and ci- ties arc definitely friendlier than others. Why? I have no idea. I.cthhridgc is a beautiful city with IfAely scenery within easy driving distance. What is wrong with Ihe people? My old. esl child is half way through lu'gh school now. We plan lo wait until she completes grade 12 and then move back east again. Here is something I find in- teresting. A year ago we went to visit friends in Portage La Vrairie, Manitoba. They lived in a new residential district, and no one in that neighborhood had a fence around (heir prop, erly. There was a row of high bushes on one side of our friend's place and we were told they planned on removing them iKcausc the bushes made them feel cul off from Iheir neigh- bors. Maybe wt in Lclhbridge need to remove a few fences. 1 enjoy Doug Walker's fillers, lie is always carrying on about the lack o' his fence-building abil- ity. We need more people who don't .vanl to build a wall around themselves. My apology goes out to our U.S. T uuiy iiui.e they won't judge all of Canada by their experiences here. I am a Canadian and intent on remain- ing one. hut maybe not an Al- hortan for very much lunger. ANOTHER DfSIf.LUfilONKn PERSON would "win" the confrontation with the government, at least in lerms of public opinion and their own political aspirations. At recent rallies here and in Quebec City, men like Louis La- bcrgc of the Quebec Labor Fed- eration and Yvon Charbonneau of Quebec Teacher's Corp. bave made no secret of the fact they want nothing less than a com- plete ovivhaiil of the capitalist system. It has been assumed by Ihese men and their colleagues that the government would either buckle tinder pressure and make generous contract concessions, or failing that, pass back-lo-work during the lirsl days 'of Ihe strike. Agreeing lo a high wage settlement would have been embarrassing for Mr. Bourassa, while a hasty strike- breaking law would have rein- Looking Through The Herald IK2 All government re- lief will be stopped Saturday evening. Official notice of this has been sent out by Ihe gov- ernmenl employment bureau. At a meeting of the Arcade Football club, held in the basement of Ihe Garden Hotel on Monday night. Mark Johnson was elected president. Elliot M. Little, direc- tor of national selective ser- vice announced today lhat per- mits to work in restricted in- forced the rhetoric of the union chiefs that the government is mil lo crash the working class. However, Mr. Bourassa al- lowed the negotiations to con- tinue, making minor conces- sions which were not recipro- cated by the unions. At the same time, he permitted Ihe largest slrike in Canada's his- tory to run its course for nearly two weeks while the anti-labor backlash reached n near-fever pilch. 'file long term etfccls lhat the events of the last two weeks will have on the Quebec labor move- ment are still unclear. But, one thing seems certain: The province's top imion leaders will have to reassess the poten- lial of their common front as a powerful and militant force IB the wider political arena.