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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 7, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE UTHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, December 7, 1970 Maurice Western Dayan's diplomacy The big guns on both sides of the Suez canal arc silent, presumably until Feb. 5th, 1971, when the present ceasefire runs out. But diplomacy is busy at work behind the scenes, giv- ing some reason for hope that those long anticipated peace talks will take place one of these days. On the Is- raeli side, General Moshe Dayan, the charismatic Israeli defence minister, is planning a mid December trip to the U.S. where he will have talks with the President, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Laird, and other top- flight foreign affairs officials. Gen. Dayan has come out with a plan which might form the basis of a lead- up to peace talks. He suggests that if the Arabs will pull their big artillery further back from their side of the canal, the Israelis will do likewise. That would mean that the Israelis had backed down a little from their former adamant position no pull- back of Russian missiles moved up since the beginning of the ceasefire, no peace talks. General Dayan, is one of the top contenders for leadership of the Is- raeli Labor party, a post which will be decided at a convention sched- Bouquets to the Post Office Christmas, as seen by the under thirteen-year-old children of Canada, is reflected in the representative group of twelve crayon and brush creations chosen from tens of thou- sands of submissions in the Canada Post Office nation wide stamp de- sign project. The project was conducted with the co-operation of the departments of education and art galleries in each province during the 1969 Christ- mas season. More than entries express- ing the theme "What Christmas means to me" were received from all parts of Canada. The 12 original drawings to be used on the 1970 stamps were selected by the advis- ory committee on Stamp Design and were released in October. 0 n e of the winners i s Anthony Martin, a 5 year old Indian boy from Manitoba, another winner is 12 year old Joseph McMillan, an Indian lad from Summerville, P.E.I. His de- sign depicts a lighted church, and is printed on a 6 cent stamp. The 12 youngsters were given an all-expense trip to Ottawa where, it has been said, they had a real ball, visiting the National Gallery, the Museum, and Man in his World in Montreal. They also met Governor- General Roland Michener and toured parliament. The post office comes under critl- cisim time and again for all sorts of reasons, but when its officials encour- age contests such as this one, with such excellent results and with such wholehearted youthful response, a good deal of its faults may gener- ously be forgiven. Our Christmas stamps this year are pretty, gay, and most important, reflect what the season really means to children. Superfarm Over the agricultural scene today there looms the prospect of super- farm the disappearance of the family farm into huge holdings. The federal government's intention to make it possible for people to un- load marginal farms is seen as ac- quiescence in the trend. There is justification, of course, for the acceptance of superfarm by the government. Viewed economically it makes sense to encourage the indus- try to be efficient and self-reliant. Only through farming large tracts of land with the means of technology and business management does that seem to be possible. The trend does not need the en- dorsement of government. It seems to have a momentum of its own. The farm population has declined from 32 per cent in 1939 to eight per cent of the total population at present. And farmers are selling out as fast as possible. But some spokesmen for farm or- ganizations think the trend.should be resisted rather than supported. There are other factors to consider besides the purely economic. The major con- sideration, they think, is whether it is socially desirable to have every- one congregated in large urban cen- tres. Problems of pollution are certainly intensified by urbanization. Crowding of people appears also to be a major cause of social unrest. If the switch from farm to city contributes to the unemployment problem even the eco- nomic argument for superfarm may need re-examination. The federal government's task force on agriculture has made recommen- dations looking ahead to 1990 which are of major importance. They re- quire the most serious kind of scrut- iny before their implementation. Reclaiming tiie Bonavenlure rpHE other day my old Uncle Dud A phoned me up, his voice quivering with excitement. he said, "did you hear the great news? All us old folks finally got a "Yes, I I replied, "but I didn't think it was anything to get excited about what can you do with an piddling little 42 cents extra a "Now, now, tut girl, after all it's Christ- mas and it's the thought that counts. It shows that somebody down there is still thinking of us." I agreed, "but not very much. Too bad you have those savings of a vear otherwise you would have qualified for the guaranteed income. In that case, next April you'd get the a month basic old age pension, plus month guaranteed income supplement which adds up to, let's see, a total of a month or a year. Folks who get that are lucky; and if they live another fifty years they'll be luckier, at that rate of increase they should almost have reached the poverty level." "Now, now, my dear, no need for sar- casm. One thing my generation learned was to be grateful for small mercies." "Well, She mercies can't get much small- er than 42 "Oh, it encourages resourcefulness, and perhaps that's what our leaders have in mind. Developing good old-fashioned re- sourcefulness in our declining years, and that's what I'm excited about." I was having a time foilov.ing poor Uncle Dud, and won- dered flectingly if the shock and excite- ment of the pension raise had affected his mind somewhat. "Now rion't start thinking I'm a littio By Margaret Luckhursl unhinged." Uncle Dud has always been good at mind-reading. "Just wait until you hear the resourceful plan we came up with down at the old folks' club. It was moved by the program chairman, and seconded by everybody all at once, that we'd all be a lot richer if we pooled our pensions, that way we'd be better off." "That doesn't make sense to I re- plied, "you'd all have to live together and someone would have to handle the "Aha, we're away aliead of you my dear, that's what I mean about developing resourcefulness. We have already drafted a brief and forwarded it to the govern- ment urging them to reclaim the Bona- venture and turn it into an old folks' floating paradise. After all the money that's been spent on it, it's a shame to send it to the scrap heap. Those of us who are able would be the crew, and we even have a couple of old navy types who could take turns being captain. Of course we'd have to elect a purser, and iron out a few details on administration, but can't you visualize what a god-send such a plan would be to all concerned? The govern- ment would save face, and thousands of old folks would have a great time floating off into the sunset. No more money wor- ries, no ir.ore need for resourcefulness." Uncle Dud's enthusiasm finally got to me. I could see it all clear as day; the Bonny, riding the sea with old folks happily playing quoits and shufflcboard on the decks. Why hadn't somebody thought of it before, I wondered? I said excitedly, "would you like to .sign me up for nbout twenty ye-.irs from now? It .sounds like a wonderful solution to growing old." The government's latest white paper uled lor next January. If lie wins put, lie could very well be the next prime minister of Israel, succeeding Mrs. Golda Meir. Win or lose on the politi- cal scene, Gen. Dayan is making news on the diplomatic scene. He lias intimated that Israel would par- ticipate in peace talks will) Uie Arabs, but would hold to certain "guide- lines." These are, broadly speaking, a continued Israeli presence on the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and Sharm el-Sheikh at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba. The Arabs would almost certainly balk at these "guide- lines" which, after all might as well be called "conditions." The Arabs, just might, however, settle for a UN presence at these key points. There are new grounds for hope in the Israeli attitude, although little has been heard from the Egyptians. Nevertheless, the Russians appear to be taking a more moderate attitude to the whole question, and though the negotiations will be tough protracted, and often threatening, there is reason to believe that there might be some improvement in the Middle East situation early in 1971. The government's latest white paper is not intended solely to implement Mr. Trudcau's principle of sel- ectivity in social security pol- icies. It will also effect a substan- tial expansion of the system. Expenditures are to rise by billion over the next three years. This assumes agreement of the provinces on proposed chan- ges in the Canada Pension Plan and Youth Allowances. It also assumes very substantial infla- tion with average wages rising as much in the next five years as in the period since January 1866. The most dramatic change will result from a complete ren- ovation of the Family Allow- ance system. This has been m u c h criticized as socially wasteful. Much of the money has obviously gone to families who had little need of it. The Economic Council found that the program had no clear purpose and this now appears to be admitted, at least implic- itly. According to the white pa- per, "it was initially intended also to bolster income and em- ployment in the post war per- iod by providing a steady flow of income security payments into the cons u m e r spending stream1." In other words, the govern- ment's advisers in 1945 expect- ed a recession and sought to avert it by injecting purchas- ing power in this form into the economic system. An income ceiling on allow- ances has sometimes been ad- vocated as a means of curtail- ing huge annual increases in the federal budget. But the new scheme is directed solely to re- distribution of income. It will not reduce but increase expen- ditures by million. Through graduation of benefits in accor- dance with income, a cut-off at the income level and the inclusion of benefits in tax lia- bility, it will be possible, how- ever, to effect a shift of millions within the system. The new monthly payments, up to a child (a 100 per cent increase in some will have a substantial effect on family budgeting. So will the large increases in guaranteed income supplements for aged persons, which are to cost an additional million. But in fact about 52 per cent of pa-sons in receipt of old age pensions do not receive the GIS payments. They are people who managed to set aside some sav- ings in their active years or perhaps find means of supple- menting their income. Some of them may now have a double grievance. If they w ere pensioners in January they were automatically ruled out of the Canada pen- sion plans. They were, of course, entitled as of right to the universal old age pension: a point emphasized at its incep- tion by Mi'. St. Laurent. But since 1906 they have suffered from inflation for which they have been inadequately com- pensated by cost-of-living incre- ments limited to two per cent. Now what happens? Their pensions are to be frozen at although the government antici- pates continuing inflation. They are to lose the slight conces- sion they gamed. Those, how- ever, whose incomes are low enough to entitle them to claim GIS payments will continue to receive price related adjust- ments both for tiie flat rate pay- ment and the supplement. By this change, which seems mani- festly unfair, the government will make unassisted pensioners subsidize others by some million'in the first year, rising to 5100 million in 1975-76. In the case of unemployment insurance, the principle of se- lectivity is shunted aside. Instead, the government in- vokes universality. People are to be insured against unemploy- ment, whether or not they want or need the insurance so that more money can be poured into the fund and larger benefits paid out. The white paper is very vague about the costs but presumably they will account for a good deal of the additional anticipated billion dollars. Although the Canada Pension Plan is relatively new it is al- ready a victim of inflation. As the white paper observes: "If action is not taken to update the earnings ceiling, the earn- ings related basis of the plan will be undermined." Immediate change is impos- sible, the provinces being en- titled to three years notice. As- suming that two thirds of them agree, contributions will rise, three stages reach- ing in 1975. The paper also contemplates changes in the various social assistance programs but these also, being within the jurisdic- tion of the provinces, will re- quire inter governmental ap- proval. This, is an "opening state- ment" which will.be subject to the various modifying influ- ences implicit in the white pa- per "dialogue." It certainly has one characteristic in common with Mr. Benson's earlier pa- per: it strikes at the same tax-