Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, December 17, 1974 I'lHIOICIAIS Special status obsolete Wjth a meeting scheduled soon between Indian Affairs Minister Judd Buchanan and four Alberta chiefs to dis- cuss extension of treaty rights it might be well for everyone to think some more about the issue at stake. Douglas Fisher, former NDP member of Parliament turned columnist, recently put the matter bluntly when he compared the special status of Indians to the once entrenched rights of the aristocracies of Europe and asked if Canadians want to enshrine the divisiveness of special rights in perpetuity. Special rights have not worked to the advantage of the Indians in the way they once did for the aristocracies of Europe. They may actually have been to the detriment of the Indians in that they prevented them from entering the main- stream of Canadian life. The romantics, of course, see it differently. They argue that the Indians have been mercifully protected from absorption in a decadent social order and are now free to cultivate, with renewed vigor, their superior way of living. Never has the interdependency of life been more apparent than at present as profound social and economic forces con- spire to shape a new world. The Indians cannot live in a separate world of their own choosing, unaffected by what is transpiring. The very resources that they are drawing on at increasing rates belong to another world and it may not survive to be tapped much longer. Douglas Fisher has calculated that if the present trend of government spending for Indians continues for another decade one-ninetieth of the population will be getting one-tenth of the federal budget. Clearly that will not be possible. The claim to special status based on "blood" is fraught with contradictions of a general and specific sort. The new awareness of the oneness of mankind makes special status peculiarity obscene and irrelevant. Practically, it is im- possible, except for the employment of arbitrary and artificial criteria, to define blood status. Because of inter marriage there are either more to be included in the Indian status or less than can claim it. Sorting that out with any degree of accuracy or fairness looks hopeless. It would be better to abandon the whole notion of special status. Getting turned off on Christmas By Doug Walker I entered the composing room one morning recently just as a familiar Christmas carol made more familiar by having been played a jillion times came over the PA system. Simultaneously, as if someone had given a signal, several of the fellows began to whistle along with the music. They weren't all in tune in fact the dis- cordance was gosh awful. A plaintive cry went up from Dave Asplund: "No wonder I can't get in the Christmas ERIC NICOL There must be someone to blame Open letter to the Hon. Otto Lang, federal minister of justice. Dear Sir would you be kind enough to tell me where I can lay a charge of criminal negligence, against whoever is responsible for Canada's running out of oil? I asked a policeman, but he turned nasty According to the recent Ottawa announce- ment of a 30 per cent cut in oil sales to the U S. next year, Canada won't have enough oil for domestic needs "in 7.3 years' time." Now, sir, 7.3 years is not long enough for my purpose, which is to keep warm till I go to that Great Thermal Unit in the sky (or There is a distinct possibility that I shall still be alive, 7.3 years from now, and if I'm going to be freezing my ass off I think someone should be found guilty of low-degree murder. As recently as 10 years ago the punjabs of Canada's petroleum were assuring me assuring all of us in fact that this country had enough oil reserves to last for centuries. About five years ago the estimate shrank to the year 2050. Two years ago, to our lifetime. Today don't make any plans for after next Friday. Those 7.3 years could be the fastest passage of time since I was trapped in the elevator with a girls' volleyball team. The National Energy Board has one of those calendars that we used to see in old movies, the ones whose months were gusted off in rapid succession till. August, 1914! The board's office floor must be a mess of paper litter from tempus fugiting. But who is the culprit who lulled the entire nation into believing that we could export as much oil as we could sell, because Alberta and Saskatchewan were blessed with bot- tomless pits of black goo? If it was the oil companies and I'm certainly not suggesting that it was even though my finger seems to be pointing straight at them then we should have the name of the government official who accepted their assurance with "Duhh, Roger." I can live with the fact that I am about to become extinct because of an exhaustion of the planet's natural resources. What is in- sufferable is that I don't know who to blame for it. I resolutely refuse to blame myself (or you, dear as we both saw the handwriting on the gas pump, as early as 1950. I have a large natural talent for becoming alarmed, with a minimum of government assistance. If those responsible for our welfare had whispered the slightest mis- givings about depletion of our reserves of oil, I would have responded with the panic now proved to be fully justified. But Big Brother allayed our fears. He showed us sexy maps of Canada's northern regions wearing nothing but a necklace of oil rigs, any one of which was capable of produc- ing enough barrels of crude to keep the country wheeling along without so much as a squeak. Big Brother is the johnny I want to see hauled before the Beak on the charge of criminal negligence If his offence was that of trusting the Arabs to be so fond of Canadians that they would never menace our supply of imported oil, then the sentence should be delayed pending psychiatric examination of the accused as a certifiable filbert. The only thing blocking this stroke of justice, sir, is that we don't have his name the name of the accomplice to the theft of our heritage. Maybe you could turn the case over to the RCMP. They have an incentive. In 7.3 years they're going to be back on those hard- seat horses. Letters Government tyranny "Anyone who works as bard as us at beating inflation damn well deserves a 50 per cent pay I note a report in the press of dissent and dissatisfaction with the Ottawa government, and report of talk of Alberta withdrawing from Con- federation. Certainly Alberta's position of dissent is justifiable, as is the dissent of all the west and the Maritimes, with Ottawa dictatorship. However, withdrawal from Con- federation is no worth- while answer to the problem. We all know that Ottawa has long skimmed the cream from our labors, returning a well watered milk to placate us. Outrageously poor provision for the aged, miserly raises in pension allowances, useless bureaus of political leaders, manpower centres, training centres, welfare centres, duplication of many provincial services, maladministration of practically every branch of government, skimming off excessive salaries for themselves to weather inflation they cause, and neglect of others of the nation, as well as countless other acts of evil and corruption we all know of. We are familiar with such tyrannies, being the victims of them. Also we know, having learned, that the Ontario and Quebec electorate choose the national government, and it is such power that must be curtailed to secure better government for Canada as a whole. Territorial representation with equal number of representatives from each province, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, perhaps 15 members trom eacn, plus representatives of the native peoples incarcerated on disgustingly impoverished reserves, would effect better government than we have had. In co operation with provincial governments, less discrimination, less political patronage and favoritism would be existent, and efficiency would initiate the many changes necessary for factual progress of Canada to nationhood, also necessary for the future of Canada. Such territorial repre- sentation must be pressed for by the initiative action of all dissenters, for the preservation of Canadian unity, and a fair deal and fair treatment for all who have pioneered Canada, and their offspring, inclusive of the many respected descendants of America's original inhabitants. STANLEY V. MACKINNON Regina, Saskatchewan Politicians wasting time sheltered workshops By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator OTTAWA No winner arises from the settlement of the dispute over oil revenues between the federal and Alberta governments and that is the way it should be. The federal minister of fi- nance, John Turner, backed off substantially in his November budget from the position he had taken in May. Premier Lougheed has now moved back about as far from his most extreme position through the program of rebates and incentives he has worked out for the oil in- dustry. He seems, indeed, to have with some care a movement about equal in distance to Turner's. It is always best, in the tes- ty relationships that con- tinually develop between the governments within the Cana- dian federation, if the settlements bring no victory. Triumph inevitably leaves one side embittered. Mutual com- promise is normally the only healthy way out of the problems that are created with some recklessness by our various governments. If there is no victor this time, it is still highly likely that there was a loser: the nation. The federal-provincial disputes of the last year over oil created a climate of uncer- tainty which was not helpful to exploration. Too many men lost sight of the fact that our paramount need is to find new sources of oil. Otherwise, we will, before long, begin to face the painful balance of payments problems that are doing other nations such severe damage. The new sources of oil the country needs are not likely to be found within Alberta but that is not the main point. There has been a psy- chological spill-over. Uncer- tainty is always the enemy of cup of milk... ill it u investment. At a time when soaring costs and new relationships between major sources of oil were creating endless doubts, a bitter political dispute compounded that problem within this country. A combination of ex- ploration, discoveries and geological knowledge has left oil experts convinced that something like three quarters of Alberta's oil has already been found and that the remainder is likely to lie in small pools, costly to locate and less rewarding to exploit subsequently. That oil is worth having and Premier Lougheed's incentives are designed to encourage oil men to go for it. By itself, though, it will not solve the Canadian problem even if it is all located and brought on stream. The history of oil sand ex- ploitation in Alberta is one of pessimism alternating with periods of optimism. After a year's optimism, the industry is reverting to its long-term pessimism over that source, despite the huge amount of oil locked into those unyielding sands. Oil from that source would, on an ordinary com- mercial basis, have to be com- petitive with oil from other unconventional sources. As things are developing, it is beginning to appear that North Sea oil will become the bench-mark against which other sources will have to be measured. This is raising doubts about the commercial viability of oil from the Alberta sands. Geologically, there should be oil in the Canadian North but it does not follow inescapably that it is there in quantity. Exploration is progressing and there have been finds of interest but none on a scale that hold promise of meeting this country's future needs. Uncertainties over- hang the industry in the Arctic too because important elements of government policy are not yet known. Ex- cept around Newfoundland, there does not seem to be good promise of adequate supplies of off-shore oil. While exploration has been progressing in the Arctic, it would be difficult to argue that everything possible is be- ing done to shove it along as a matter of priority. If that were the case, the govern- ment would be resolving the uncertainties that continue to exist: For instance, over what sort of royalty regime the companies would face and what sort of disposition would Book Review be made of exploration land that must revert to the Crown under the terms of the per- mits. New permits have not been issued since 1972, although it may be that work under existing permits is ab- sorbing the available million this year. There is nothing in this situ- action to justify complacency. When the National Energy Board was estimating the life of this country's reserves as the basis for export policy it took a very conservative view because new sources involve such great uncertainties. Canadian oil consumption, however, has gone on rising during this last year and there has been no government policy aimed at slowing con- sumption. The effect of some policies is to encourage con- sumption. This is particularly true of tho otiKoiHiTAH slnmncii-tn Because the economic impact of a sudden, drastic jump in oil prices would have been severe, a phase-in period made sense. Since our oil supplies are so limited, however, the transition period should have been kept brief because there are no real benefits to be gained from putting off indefinitely 1 the day when we must live in the world as it exists around us. Fuel oil probably ought not to be subsidized beyond this winter and it was difficult to justify the subsidizing of gas- oline as far back as last spring. There are new relationships to be worked out between energy sources and fresh bal- ances to be struck. There is no advantage in putting this pro- cess off. There are similar balances to be worked out between alternative ways of using energy. We are, for instance, almost certainly making far too much use of both aviation and the private automobile as a means of inter-city transport. Few things would be more likely to reduce airport the need for great new airports which are both exceedingly costly and unwelcome in the areas where they are high speed rail service between such cities as Montreal-Toronto. Heavy ex- penditures of the public funds on the development of STOL services are questionable even now and far more dubious once gasoline is realistically priced. We have had a margin of time in Canada. We have not been using it well. In visiting Letnbridge from northern Ontario, I would like to give something of a comparison that I have made between life in Lethbridge and life in Sault Ste. Marie. There is a noticeable slowing of the pace here. The local media do not seem to try to think up crises at a municipal level, especially as far as city council is concerned. The cut and thrust of ward politics is something one must get away from to realize how histrionic much of it can be. Scads of concerned and irate citizens do not continually make the headlines. The pace of traffic for the pedestrian is still not as selfish as it is down east, if the majority generally take care at the crosswalks it encourages others to do the same. If the hectic pace of living reaches Lethbridge there will be some who will welcome it, yet many will regret the passing of a decided way of living. I would like to compare a similar situation in the world of work that is almost identical in the two areas, that of the situation of workers in rehabilitation of the handicapped in sheltered workshops. They are often paid between and per month. They may have a cut in pay without recourse to means of protest. (Except of leaving) They can be pressured into leaving merely at the whim of their employers. They can be pressured into using an automobile for work purposes, without mileage. They can be called upon to do any job, any task, regardless of job description or title. They are subject often to a change of direct supervision. The executive personnel are mostly benignly autocratic in their approach. I do hope that moves be made to reconsider sheer Puritan ethics as the dominant factor in rehabilitation. My observa- tions as a steelworker for 12 years have shown me that sheer work makes some, but indeed is the breaking of others. PETER GILES Sault St. Marie Ontario Supports dog bylaw I think the editorial of Dec. 6 on dogs is all stupid rubbish. (I am a 10-year-old Several days ago my seven year old sister left her overshoes outside the door. As I was babysitting this dog came around growling and snapping and scratching at our windows. The next morn- ing one of our boots with a new shoe inside was gone. My mother said it will cost to replace. When I go to parties there is dog fecies all over the sidewalk and my party shoes! Also this dog is very unfriend- ly and is always growling and coming and bugging us. I think that the rule should be en- forced. There are hardly any responsible owners in Lethbridge. If they were, there would be a lot more children less afraid of dogs. If you came to Park Meadows on a certain dirt-hill you will find a lot of unmatching shoes. I'm sure other kids, as well as myself, have these problems. Up with Tarleck. SIAN PARRY Lethbridge Addresses published Just a note to those who read the excellent articles by Norma Shologan (Pollution in the living room, Nov. 28) and about Yvonne Storfie (City mother taking action, Nov. 30. "Teh, tch, tch." Won't make things better Pick up your pen and write a letter! Mrs. Storfie gave names to write to will The Herald kindly publish full addresses of these people and state whether stamps are required on the letters to government officials? HOOMIE Lethbridge Editor's note: Mrs. Storfie wrote to the CRTC (Canadian Radio Television Com- 100 Metcalfe St. Ot- tawa; CBC, 1500 Bronson, Ave., Ottawa 8; CTV, 42 Charles St. E., Toronto, On- tario; Mr. Ken Hurlburt and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, House of Commons, Ottawa; and Premier Peter Lougheed, Mr. Horst Schmidt, Mr. Dick Gruenwald, Legislative Building, Edmon- ton. As for the stamps, if the reader feels the compulsion to write, surely he would not begrudge the cost of sending the letter. Another Clark book "Grandma Preferred Steak" by Gregory Clark (Inforcor Limited, 175 pages, dis- tributed by General Publishing For fans of Gregory Clark no words of commendation are needed to arouse an interest in his latest book all they require is the news that it is out, and the title. In this book there is a selection of 125 of the short pieces that ran in many newspapers un- der the title of "The Packsack." Unnecessary as it is to comment on the contents, I want to say that dipping into this book is a sheer delight. DOUG WALKER The Lethbridge Herald 504 7tn St. S. Lethbridge. Alberta LETHBRIDCfE HERALD CO. LTD Proprietors and f Second Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager ROY F. MILES Adverting Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Buurms Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"