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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 3, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta S. THI UTHMIDCt HMAIB Publishing Canadian textbooks By HaroU in The Winnipeg rpORONTO The Ontario 1 government's decision to have a public inquiry into the book publishing industry could easily be dismissed as a political diversion. Announced on the eve of the closing date of the sale of Ryerson Press to McGraw-Hill, which sale the government declined to pre- vent a royal commission is the least Premier Robarts could do to appease his critics on this issue. Yet there is some evidence for thinking the inquiry will be taken seriously. Mr. Ro- barts, it is true, has made it amply clear that he regards the whole question of eco- nomic nationalism as a dan- gerous and phony issue; but he has discovered, as a result of his involvement in the Ryerson that American own- ership of Canadian book pub- lishing cannot be so con- veniently pigeon-holed. A pub- lic inquiry, if it does nothing else, should provide the gov- ernment with the information it needs to construct a new pol- icy if it wishes to do so. Patently, the old policy, em- bodied in circular 14 of the de- partment of .education, is no longer adequate. Circular 14 is the department's annual list of approved test books for the school curricula and includes, "Wherever possible books written by Canadian authors and printed and bound in Can- ada. But in the last few years circular 14, as Liberal Educa- tion Critic Tim Reid has right- ly said, has been "leaking like a sieve." For one thing, it covers only "textbooks" books which school boards are re- quired to provide in suffi- cient numbers for students in Grades 1 to 12. It does not cover reference books, school library books or supplemen- tary reading. It does not apply to all courses and programs. The result has been more ami more U.S. books in Cana- dian schools not just On- tario schools, but across the country, since the Ontario mar- ket by its size determines what is produced. Just how many, no one knows. Some publishers claim less than half of current school books are of Cana- dian origin; the Canadian Teachers' Federation says less than one-third; the On- tario department of educa- tion contends 87 per cent of the items in its circular 14 are "Ca- nadian." One of the first tasks for Mr. Robarts' public inquiry will be to define and describe just what the situation is. With such basic facts estab- lished, it should be possible to determine what public policy ought to be and what has to be done to achieve it. No doubt analysis of the book publishing industry will indicate some solutions are to be preferred over others but even at this stage it is apparent enough that the answers are going to have to be more pertinent and probably a lot more radical, than anything heard so far. The publishers, for example, are telling the government pri- vately that their condition would be much improved if there is a return to greater provincial control over book purchases by local school boards, so as to reduce the number of American books. Perhaps as an interim mea- sure this has some merit, but it can hardly serve as a long- term solution because it as- sumes school books will con- tinue to be the economic cor- nerstone of Canadian book publishing, and this is at best a questionable assumption. Elementary school popula- tions are now starting to de- cline (there will be few- er pupils in Ontario's lower grades by 1980) and the Pill promises a relatively sta- tic school-book market in the future. In addition, "books" are being increasingly supplanted in pedagogy by other learning materials "learning kits, with film clips, records, jack- daws, and so on, are the com- ing thing. With a contracting school market, it would seem that some kind of rationaliza- tion of the book publishing in- dustry is justified and that Ca- nadian publishers cannot be saved from American take- overs simply by preserving the Canadian school market for them. Yet the provision, wherever appropriate, of Canadian books for Canadian schools ought to be the major objective of pub- lic policy; it is surely basic to the development of Canadian culture, such as it is, that Ca- nadian children should not learn to read from an Ameri- can reader which (to take one horrendous example) glori- fies guns and the U.S. marines. How then is this objective to be achieved? One must begin, it seems to me, by defining what is meant by a "Canadian school book." The department of education de-fines it as one written by a Canadian author and printed and bound in Canada. This ob- viously does not meet the prob- lem, since a book written by a Canadian author for an Ameri- can audience, printed and bound in Canada by the branch plant of an American publish- er (and there are many can be just as wrong cultural- ly for Canadian pupils as a purely American book. A bet- ter definition therefore would be a book written by a Cana- dian author for a Canadian au- dience. If departments of educa- tion were to authorize only the purchase of such books, would not their production then be assured? This, of course, is a key question which the public inquiry, hopefully, will answer but all the indica- tions f r o m the record to date are negative. Canadian pub- lishers have been less than en- ergetic, as a group, in search- ing out Canadian business. W. J. Gage Ltd., for example, was once the importer of the American "Dick and Jar readers; when the departm of education suggested thi be Gage C. clined and the department ha. great difficulty finding another pu'uiishcr to do the work. Even- tually a Canadian "Dick and Jane" was published, Gage lost its market and was brought a step closer U> the sale of its textbook operations last fall to Scott Foresman of Chicago. On the other hand, Canadian text books can hardly be left to the tender mercies of the foreign owned publishing houses. If it were possible for departments of education to in- sist, totally and exclusively, on Canadian books, there would be no great problem. But this is neither possible nor desirable: Many imports will always be required. The door is therefore always open to push imports at the expense of domestic, and the record is clear that, given half a chance, the Arnerican- owned publishers will do it ev- ery time. Report from Venus The New York Times exploration of the solar system still have a long way to go before Uww l has been enormously advanced by automated planet; The perils of publishing By Tom Sounders, in The Winnipeg Free Preis T.OOK publishing in Canada who are. having a hard enough lishing houses may be too_an- nas always been a pre- time without having to com- cariouf businL, and there pete on the retail market with their publishers. have been signs over the past few years that the hazards in the way of a successful pub- lishing venture, far from di- minishing, are on the increase. Even old and established firms have been having their troubles and have had to re- sort to gigantic fire sales to get rid of their surplus stock. Obviously this cannot be done too often. It may give the publisher a lift for the moment in the form of ready cash. But at best it is a losing game: It is a salvage operation rather than a money-making venture, ll antagonizes book retailers, Bui what is the alternative? Canada obviously needs its own publishing houses, if for no other reason than to help give Canada a voice. Our lit- erature may not be the best in the world, but some -of it at least ought to be published, as Ryerson's late editor Lome Pierce used to say, "because it's ours." The paradox about today's situation is that hard times for publishers have come when more Canadian titles are being published and sold than ever before. But that may be part of the trouble. The pub- CARPETS SHAG NYLON CARVED ASSORTED DISCONTINUED CARPET LINES CLEARING AT GREAT DISCOUNTS ALL INSTALLATIONS INCLUDE HEAVY DUTY UNDERLAY REMNANTS PRICED TO CLEAR SOF-WOK CARPETS bilious. They may be flooding the market with more than the market can stand. This has always been a problem in Canadian publish- ing. H is a problem, as far as English language publishing in Canada is concerned, which has been compounded by the fact that its market is not its own. It is not a Canadian pre- serve. Books flood into this country from Britain and the United they make for tough competition. In more pessimistic mo- ments, people in the book trade complain that me Cana- dian public doesn't read. cite the fact that sale of 3 000 copies in this country can make a book a bestseller. But the problem is not so much that Canadians don't read as the fact, already noted, that they are not restricted in their reading to Canadian books. They have a choice of all the books published in English anywhere in the world. It is not a happy situation for publishers; but what should be done about it? to Australia, where book-publish- ers are encountering similar difficulties, the government is said to be planning a 25 per cent subsidy to support the publication of Australian books. Canadian publishers would be happy to see a sim- Uar subsidy here. But subsidies can be dan- gerous. They may encourage an industry to take the easy not always the best way out. No matter how much we may sympathize with the plight of the book-publishing industry in Canada, it has not always helped itself as well as it might. It has not been se- lective enough in its publica- tion lists. Some years ago, for exam- ple, Kyerson bought, at great expense, a monster web press which was obsolete almost be- fore it was installed. It had the further drawback that, if it was to operate economically, it had to be "fed" virtually 24 hours a day. In trying to keep its op- eration efficient, Ryerson was forced into job printing and the printing of books which, under other circumstances, might never have been pub- lished. The installation of this press, plus other items of questionable strategy in man- agement, turned Ryerson al- most overnight from a publish- ing house which had been pay- ing its way and making a mod- est profit into a house faced with continual deficits. Almost equally bad manage- ment all but proved fatal for McClelland and Stewart. One of its worst miscalculations was a s e r i e s of picture-story books for which it anticipated an audience that didn't exist. Another was the fiasco it was lured into as a result of the success of Pierre Berton's The Comfortable Pew. Be- cause this book had such huge sales it assumed that another book by Mr. Berton on the Es- tablishment would do equally well and printed copies. A run of to copies might have been good business. The publisher could have made money on it. But a run of copies was an invitation to disaster. Not all Canadian publishing houses have miscalculated as badly, but their experience suggests that, before Canada's book publishers come hat in hand to the government, there is a need to set their own house in order. The first requisite is an efficient operation. If that can be proved, and our pub- lishing houses are still in trou- ble, there may be need for another look at the problem. But it is not good enough to say simply, "We arc in (rou- ble." the success of Venera-7. For the first time, a man-made device has landed on another planet and radioed information from its surface back to earth. Both the United States and the Soviet Union, of course, achieved this feat on the moon; and two teams of Americans have landed on and returned safely from that satellite. But the moon is a mere quarter of a million miles away, while Venus is tens of millions of miles distant even when it comes closest to earth. And the surface of Venus is an inferno with a temperature of almost degrees Fahrenheit and an at- mospheric pressure nearly 100 times that on the surface of earth conditions far more trying for men's instruments than even the- terrible cold and vacuum of the moon. Soviet scientists have now demonstrated, after a series of earlier failures, that they have finally produced an instrument pack- age capable of landing on Venus and op- erating there for some time depite that planet's extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. The significance of this fact becomes plain if one recalls the exploits of recent Soviet unmanned rockets to the moon, one of which scooped up a few ounces of lunar dust and returned it to earth, wbile the other has been perambu- lating about the lunar surface seeding back television pictures and other data. It requires little imagination to realize that the Soviet objective is to combine the technological capabilities that have now been demonstrated separately on the moon and on Venus. The goal must be the crea- tion of a system for the unmanned explor- ation of the planets. This will presumably include devices that will land on Venus, Mars and other planets and seek to bring samples of the environment of those worlds back to earth. It will also include future and "Marskhods" that will roam those planets much as the present Lunakhod-1 inches over the moon. Moscow's engineers ________planetary exploration systems ere available and operating properly, but the exploits of Luna-16, Luna-17 and Ven- era-7 have row demonstrated that the basic concept of such systems is sound. These perspectives for Soviet space ex- ploration must inevitably force a rethink- ing of Ihe American space effort. The Apollo program for manned study of the moon has scored two magnificent triumphs, but it is perilously close to a dead end, as only a few more Apollo flights are planned. The long-term thanking in NASA has been dominated by the idea of sending men to Mars; but that enor- mously expensive project will require dec- ades and it has never caught fire poli- tically. The attractiveness of spending huge sums to send Americans to Mars in the 1980s or 1990s is further dimmed by the likelihood that within the present decade Soviet unmanned devices will have brought back samples of Martian soil and atmos- phere as well as transmitted data gathered by mobile machines traversing that planet. This country's present program for un- manned planetary exploration is much more modest and technically limited than Moscow's apparent plans. Fortunately there is enough pressure in Moscow and Washington now, originating in the scarcity of resources, so that space officials in both capitals arc likely to be more receptive to joint ventures than they were in an earlier period when intense ri- valry dominated. The important steps re- cently taken toward greater Soviet-Ameri- can space co-operation are still small, but they provide a beginning for a much wider and mutually advantageous effort. This recent progress also suggests that there is now a political interest in co-op- eration in Moscow as well as in Washing- ton, a welcome change from the situation in earlier years. Truth or consequences The Washington Post W7E are once again not being told the truth about Ihis war. And once again we are, all of us, suffering the conse- quences of disquiet which breeds dissent which prompts the congres- sional hearings which feed administration defensiveuess; the breakdown of public trust and the imputations of disloyalty which fan debate; the political division which robs our efforts their force by conveying irresolution to the enemy. The Nixon administration would have us believe that this is all the fault of the war critics, but those who have been around this vicious circle more than once in recent years are in little doubt about where the process begins. It begins with solemn pledges from the highest government offi- cials which are not fulfilled. Then comes the fine print and the fancy rhetoric and the political finagling which canmt quite be put down and probably shouldn t be as lies or even calculated deceit, but yet have that look. And so the value of we next pledge depreciates. What is a senator or a citizen to make, for example, of the current reassurances of a strictly limited American role in Cam- bodia? Only seven months ago the Presi- dent told us there would fce "no U.S. ground personnel in Cambodia except for the regular staff of our embassy in Phnom Penh" and yet, a day or so ago, an Asso- ciated Press photographer caught on film an American in combat dress running to a helicopter. The President tells us in June that there will be no U.S. advisers with Cambodian ground troops; in January they are discovered hovering just overhead in helicopters, calling in air strikes, and there are reports of "military equipment delivery teams" at work. In June, Mr. Nixon drew a careful dis- tinction between U.S. air-interdiction mis- sions specifically aimed against efforts to re-establish the Cambodian sanctuaries along the South Vietnam frontier and U.S. air support for South Vietnamese incur- sions into Cambodia. "There will be no U.S. ah- or logistics for those South Vietnamese operations, he declared emphatically. Yet, in January, the Secretary of De- fence disdains "semantics" and taunts the Congress with the promise that "as far as Cambodia is concerned... we will use air power, and as long as I am serving in this job, I will recommend that we use air power to supplement the South' Vietna- mese forces The simple fact of the matter seems to be that we are using air power, including close-in support from heli- copter gunships, not just in support of the South Vietnamese in Cambodia, but !n sup- port of embattled Cambodians as well, anywhere local American commanders see a need, to help the Cambodians with their own defence. And American military aid, of course, is no longer talked of in terms of million for "small arms and rela- tively unsophisticated already, it has ballooned' into a mammoth, across- the-board, million affair. The administration has an easy answer to all this, of course, which is that It is not violating any laws or exceeding the letter of congressional restraints and while this may be technically true it is beside the point. For if the President chooses to determine on his own that the fate of "Vietnamization" runs with the fate of Cambodia and that it all somehow relates to buying time for the safe withdrawal of American troops if that is where we are now, by contrast with where we were in June then he can probably get away with it, legally. But there is some fairly recent history that suggest; this is an ex- ceedingly dangerous business politically and even militarily. The experience of the early days of President Johnson's stealthy expansion of our Vietnam effort lurely tells us that. Yet Mr. Laird airily refuses to deal in "semantics" and lets it go at that. We doubt, somehow, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will let it go at that when the hearings on Cambodia get under way. But we also hope that those proceedings do not bog down in raucous debate over congressional-vs.-presidential prerogatives. What we need to know now is what happened between June and January and how we got where we are in Cam- bodia and why, and where we are headed. If this administration has learned netting else about Vietnam, it should have learned by now that the truth, whatever it is, will be easier to live with than the conse- quences of not telling it. False statistics The United Chnrch Board 01 Evangelism and Social Service TT has been more than three years to show us what the link is between crime since Canada began its five-year ex- and punishment, periment with abolition of hanging for all but slayers of policemen or prison guards. Since then, unfortunately, Canadians have been exposed to a numbers game. False numbers. The Dominion Bureau of Statistics has been very unselective about figures pro- vided it by the nation's police depart- ments, all of which are firmly opposed to the abolition of the death penalty. In 1967, for example, the DBS reported 220 murders in Canada. But last year that figure had risen to an estimated 341 mur- ders, a considerable increase since the ex- periment in abolition started. The reasons for this increase all lie in the way you count. When the police be- lieve that a murder miRht have laken place they so report to the DBS. But if the judi- cial process later finds that death was manslaughter or accidental that first re- port of murder is not changed. DBS is do- ing us a disservice 'ny ils inaccurate re- porting and it certainly has done nothing That we should know is very important While we know that our police depart- ments still believe that capital punishment is a deterrent to murder, we also know that most murders committed are not pre- meditated crimes. But the argument will not be settled by DBS. It is important that we should know the real facts. For in December, 1372, the amendment to t h e Criminal Code which provides for the abolition of capital punish- ment will expire unless both houses of par- liament jointly direct that it will continue. There never has been evidence to prove that capital punishment is a deterrent to murder and false, misleading statistics at a time when objective study of this issue could be carried out in Canada are not worthy of our police departments and cer- tainly not worthy of the DBS. The primary concern of society is with the rehabilitation of the offender, whatever his crime has been. Our concern should not be one of useless vengeance, ;