Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, December 21, 1974 Improving the neighborhood The proposals for a Neighborhood Improvement Program put forth by Alderman Tony Tobin should receive support for several reasons. One which will probably not be given much atten- tion because it is not a bread and butter issue involves the esthetics of residential architecture in Lethbridge. To say that it is bland is to put it mildly. It could also, with justification and with particular relevance to newer areas, be called stodgy, uniform and sterile. Not long ago the president of the Urban Housing and Development Cor- poration complained about dull Canadian tastes in house styles. Lethbridge offers very little to dispute this claim. Its residential areas are well serviced and well maintained but its reputation as an attractive city is based more on tidiness than style. Any claims to architectural excellence rest mainly on a few public buildings. As block after block of new housing is erected it is all disappointingly "Lethbridge bungalow" with slight variations where, perhaps, a blueprint has been deliberately reversed. When a contractor has attempted to be different, the result, as often as not, has been tasteless or totally out of keeping with the landscape. The planning and construction of apartment buildings is such that it is easy to see how one area has acquired the name Institution Row. This harsh criticism should be tempered by the acknowledgment that economics and planning have con- siderable bearing, at least in practice, on house styles. It is the city, for instance, which determines the size of lots and even in exclusive residential areas houses of widely disparate styles overwhelm their lots and in their close proximity do not complement each other esthetically. The result is a displeasing, hodge podge appearance. Any attempt to improve an old neighborhood seems to hold promise of variety and interest, not only in appearance but also in the heterogeneous make up of its pop- ulation. In a significant development in Toron- to, an architect saved a block of period buildings which were to be razed for two 24 storey apartment towers. He propos- ed to keep all the sound houses on the block and to erect four to six storey units in back yard areas and still leave enough open space to satisfy tenants. This resulted in a neighborhood which offered housing for individuals, couples, and large and small families, all of low and medium incomes. It provided as many residential units as the proposed towers, in a considerably more pleasing and varied environment. A Neighborhood Improvement Program could bring a more imaginative approach to this city's housing problems and make Lethbridge a warmer and more interesting city. The streets of Moscow Moscow has released its first traffic casualty figures and the reason for the reluctance to do so before this becomes readily apparent. In a city of seven million, 574 persons died and were injured in 1973. By way of comparison, London had 697 fatalities and injuries in the same period. At first glance, these statistics would seem to favor Moscow drivers. However, the British capital has a slight- ly larger population and, of even more importance, it also has 2.3 million automobiles and miles of roadway compared with private cars in Moscow and miles of roadway. This comparison is not flattering to Russian drivers or to Moscow city streets. It is easy to suppose that Moscow city officials have paid little attention in the past to traffic systems and regulatory equipment or to driver education programs, because there was little need to do so. But times are chang- ing and the proliferating automobile has now brought the usual problems to the Russian capital including, no doubt, the one of drinking drivers. THE CASSEROLE A coroner's jury has concluded that sodium nitroprusside, a drug widely used to reduce blood flow during surgery, can in rare cases cause cyanide poisoning. It was the cause of death of a 14 year old boy who died during an operation at a Toronto- children's hospital. The jury recommended that cyanide an- tidotes be available when the drug is used, that facilities for analyzing patients' blood be located close to operating rooms, and that there be more research on the drug's use. This makes an interesting contrast to the short shrift given cyelamate sweeteners, which were banned forthwith when tests (that many authorities insist were scien- tifically uninterpretable) showed that if rats are fed staggering amounts of cyclamates, a relatively small proportion may develop bladder carcinomas, tho' the effect on humans has not been tested. WEEKEND MEDITATION Occasionally a useful spin off emerges from all the agonizing about energy. To il- lustrate, the Davis, city council is considering a new building code that will incorporate solar heating potential into the design of any new houses to be built in that city. By such simple, common sense features as light colored roofs, more windows facing south, and provision for better natural ventilation, designers calculate that reduced energy needs for heating and cooling could cut electricity bills for an average home by to per year. As the U.S. builds approximately 2.5 million homes a year, the new code could, in time, reduce the national power bill by something like a quarter billion dollars each year. In Canada the saving would be proportionately smaller, but even with today's budgets, 25 to 30 million isn't ex- actly small change. O little town of Bethleham Bethlehem means "House of Bread." Perhaps it had that name because it was located in a fertile farmland country. From Bethlehem, however, was to come a better bread than can be made from wheat. It was the house of love, of prophecy and moral teaching, of the heroic king David, and the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It was the house of love. One of the most romantic stories in the world is the love story of Jacob and Rachel. "Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed unto him but a few days for the love he had to her." Then she died in the birth of Benjamin "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave" near Bethlehem. Never would he forget her. Here also took place the love story of Ruth and Boaz. It began with the love of Ruth for her mother-in-law who, when her sons died, returned to Bethlehem from Moab. Orpah turned back to Moab, but Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave thee or to return from follow- ing after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God. Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me and more also if aught but death part thee and me." Then comes the entrancing story of the meeting and subsequent marriage of Ruth and Boaz. Bethlehem was the house of peace. About Bethlehem the prophet Micah built his vision of the coming of world peace when warriors would beat their swords into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks. Out of Bethlehem would come a ruler who would de- fend Israel against her enemies and "this man shall be the peace." Micah also set forth the finest moral code in existence before Jesus: "What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before thy God." Bethlehem was" the home of Israel's mightiest king, it was the city of David. He loved Bethlehem and when he was a hunted fugitive he expressed a longing for some of the water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem. His soldiers who loved him made their way through the enemy's lines and returned with the waterT David would not drink it, however, because men's blood had been shed in getting it. The water was sacrificial and David poured it out on tne ground as an offering to God. The national expectation of a Messiah centred upon Bethlehem. It was to Bethlehem that the Wise Men came and there Herod slew all the children two years old and under. Justin Martyr, who came from the dis- trict about Bethlehem, says that Jesus was born in a cave near Bethlehem, which was a stable for cattle. On the floor today there is a star and round it a Latin inscription, "Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary." Above it is the high altar of the Church of the Nativity, originally built by the Emperor Constantino who turned the Roman Empire to Christianity. Jesus called himself "the bread of life." Today men may still find in Bethlehem the bread of faith and love. Here is the bread of hope, the hope of world peace. Here is the bread of the world's redemption. Shepherds and Wise Men, poor and rich, laborers and philosophers, may still find in Bethlehem the answer to life's most profound problems. It holds the heart like a magnet. "Earth has many a noble city; Bethlehem thou dost all excel." PRAYER: 0 God we bring our empty hearts, our cold, shivering hearts, to be filled with the faith and love and hope of Bethlehem and to be warmed by the fire of Christmas joy in the name of Him who said, "Be of good cheer." F. S. M. This year... in the spirit of conservation of energy... Roger has them blink on and off." NDP deserves credit By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator As Statistics Canada com- monly observes in footnotes, the figure has been rounded. Apart from members on record, it is known that there were a few dissidents (in both Houses) who were prepared to oppose the Salaries Bill. But not many. There is a reasonable objec- tion too that it was not much of a ride. Our governors and their Conservative ac- complices came nowhere near the jaws of death or the gates of Hell. The column broke in a mad stampede at the first whiff of smoke. We have been taught by the self-interested that a filibuster is an evil thing; un- seemly, time-wasting, an affront to the sovereign voters. In fact it is a legitimate parliamentary weapon which, like others, may be used or abused. It is well used when it halts the legislative process long enough to permit the force of public opinion to come to bear on an important issue. In the present case, the mere threat of filibuster by a group of New Democrats produced salutary results. Despite the halting and em- barrassed explanations, there was no failure of com- munications; no problem of public misunderstanding. What Mr. Sharp and his con- federates shared was a guilty suspicion that they did not speak for the country and a sickening apprehension that Tommy Douglas would. There may also have been an uneasy feeling that John Diefenbaker would return in time to make a scene in the House of Commons, raising the discomfort index for most of the members. It is greatly to the credit of the New Democrats that they blocked swift passage of the brazen effrontery known as Bill C-44. But grave damage has been done. It is difficult to say which group in a Parlia- ment of Itchy Palms has suf- fered most; the Ministers and Ministerial supporters or the official Opposition on which we must rely, God help us, to keep the Ministers straight. The end, however, is not yet. On Wednesday came word that "conversations" were held, presumably in some parliamentary air-raid shelter. Out of them came the Christmas surprise announced by Mr. Sharp on Thursday. It remains the intention to push the Bill through second reading. In committee, if the majority has its way, it will be amended in two respects. First, members will receive immediately, and retroactive- ly to the election, a one-third increase (instead of 50 per This will be adjusted at the end of next year to reflect the cost-of-living increase. Secondly salaries will be tied for the third and fourth years of the Parliament to the In- dustrial Wage Composite Index. In one of his former avoca- tions, Mr. Sharp had a reputa- tion as a hard bargaining trade negotiator. If Mr. Broadbent's calculations are correct, he has not lost his old skills. The Industrial Wage Composite Index has been ris- ing at roughly 10 per cent. Should that trend continue, members would more than make up in the last two years for what they lost in the first two. The reward for sacrifice in the public service would be somewhat more than in extra cash. The proposition, rejected by the NDP, is fascinating in a bizarre way for at least two other reasons. Members of Parliament customarily erupt with indignation when critics fail to distinguish between their salaries and their tax- free allowances. But the Sharp proposal makes no dis- tinction; the 33 and subse- quent increases will apply to both. Secondly, there is to be no tampering with the elitist features of the Bill. Salaries must fittingly reflect the new dominance of the executive over the lesser parliamentary orders. The huge new emoluments proposed for the Prime Minister, members of cabinet and the Leader of the Opposition will be preserved in the revision. For his paper loss as member of about 300 in the first year, Mr. Trudeau should derive some solace from the extra being paid to him in his Prime Ministerial capacity. There will be the same consolation for Ministers adding to their pay packages and Mr. Stanf ield whose equivalent ad- ditional allowance is similarly untouched. In a bid to alleviate public fury, Mr. Sharp has sub- stituted for the original monstrosity a revised monstrosity. In place of repentance, there is recalculation. Public it is hoped, will now be removed. Obviously the Government, which must sponsor a measure of this sort, is caught between its own embarrass- ment and the pressure of those who were promised much and continue to believe that a swift, rewarding coup will be soon forgotten. The manoeuvre has failed. So horrible was the initial reverse that there are now doubts on all sides. The hope that an "even greater propor- tion of support" could be built on clever amendments has gone with the winter wind. With the New Democrats blocking passage, there is neither a will nor a way to smuggle the Bill through before the Christmas recess. That meant simply that, with the nasty business un- finished, members will have to face their constituents; all sorts of awkward people angry about inflation and fearful of an economic tailspin in 1975. The resulting dialogue should be highly educational. Out of it should come a less offensive Bill and a renewed awareness that Ministers and members are our temporary political ser- vants and not, as they seem at times to imagine, our political masters. Letters A hectic buying spree Christmas has a great significance for believing Christians, and a peculiar charm even for non Christians or no longer Christians who still partake in joyful festivities and in the spirit of loving brotherhood which is the essence of Noel. Christmas above all is an oc- casion for family gathering. It is, however, regrettable that with the mounting wave of prosperity and the predom- inance of commercialism, the Christmas season has lost a great deal of its holy, calm joy becoming simply a hectic, compulsive buying spree. Everything urges us to buy quickly and as much as we can afford, and sometimes even more; special messages on the radio and television, advertisements in the news- papers, opulent catalogues published by major depart- ment stores, garish displays in shop windows and even the colorful street lights and decorations put on by the city of Lethbridge. Looking at these signs of conspicuous and compulsory consumption one would think that here in Alberta we live in carefree times of unlimited abundance and endless car- nival. Apparently a serious energy crisis, acute food shor- tages, widespread famine and starvation and rising un- employment do not occur in this province, hence they do not bother us. Let the other people who are afflicted by these woes live and struggle with their own worries! And yet one wonders whether this "I know nothing, I couldn't care less behooves the inhabitants of this prosperous city, proud of its young university, of its scien- tific and educational in- stitutions, its numerous churches and various charitable organizations. Could not, for example, the new city council, which sup- posedly reflects the awakened social concern and moral obligation towards the less fortunate people, do away with lavish Christmas lights and street decorations? The saving on energy thus realized could be used for assistance to those in need of our help in Canada and abroad. The funds which are being wasted by the homeowners and the city on unnecessary lighting from dusk to dawn could help to light many human faces, warm up their hearts and heat their chilly, dark homes. This would cer- tainly be a more fitting and fruitful expression of Christ- mas spirit than the current displays of thoughtless opulence and expensive gadgetry. I. J. ADEL- CZLOWIEKOWSKI Lethbridge Concern for children The Herald occasionally ad- vances some rather puerile comments on certain issues that concern children. Editorial opposition to a proposed ban on firecrackers a few years ago is a good ex- ample. The writer concluded at that time that the ban would deprive children of some wonderful experiences. City council wisely did ban firecrackers, but it was tragic that it took the deaths of two boys in a subsequent firecracker incident elsewhere in Alberta to bring about a province-wide ban. A more recent example of a rather pointless defence of the imagined rights of children concerns the editorial lament over the restrictions suggested for dogs. In view of The Herald's concern for children, I feel those responsible should be taken to task for publishing a recent photograph in The Herald. I refer to the one showing several boys playing hockey on Henderson Lake, at a time when the lake was still unsafe for skating. Rights and privileges for children are all very well, but I think there must also be some respon- sibility in matters concerning their safety. It is certainly irresponsible to have given the impression that the ice at Henderson was safe. To be fair, and while I am still under the word limit that is set but frequently ignored, I would like to add that I enjoy The Herald very much. My criticisms, past and present, have not altered my basic opi- nion that The Herald general- ly does an excellent job of serving our community and district. I know a newspaper cannot please everybody all the time, and The Herald dis- pleases me quite regularly but it does inform and entertain very capably. "QUID PRO QUO" Lethbridge MP pay increases Recently when Mitchell Sharp appeared on the national news attempting to explain Parliament's newest pay increases, he looked very unhappy and well he might have been. The news must have been received with mix- ed feelings; the labor unions must have been delighted, as this throws the door wide open for new rounds of wage demands, even by those who have recently signed contracts. For the rest of us the move will mean more tax- es and another turn of the inflation spiral. Mr. Sharp's attempt to justify the increase was pathetic to say the least. He tried to explain the 50 per cent raise by saying that since members of Parliament had not had a raise since 1970 and no new one was contemplated before 1978, the annual increase was actually only 6.5 per cent and not 50. The increase in 1970, we may assume, was intended to com- pensate for future cost of liv- ing increases. For the next four years or until 1974, they will be getting a double increase from 1970 to 1974 or 13 per cent and 6.5 per cent from 1974 to 1978, which comes to 9.75 and not the 6.5 that Mr. Sharp would like us to believe. And what about the former members of Parlia- ment who lost their seats in the elections of 1972 and last July? Are they going to be compensated somehow? TAGE BIRCK Lethbridge Letters are welcome and will be published providing: identification is included (name and address are required even when the letter is to appear over a they are sensible and not libelous; they are of manageable length or' can be shortened (normally letters should not ex- ceed 300 they are decipherable (it great- ly helps if letters are typed, double spaced with writers do not submit letters too frequently. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEG MUWERS, Editor and Publisher DON. 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