Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 4, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIOQE HERALD Monday, February 4, 10.4 Objections over-ruled The dismay expressed by the oil and gas industry over the provincial government's new gas royalty policy is quite consistent with the oil politics being played across the country. It is a legitimate even essential counterbalance to the criticism from those who feel the government is being loo soft with the industry. First a distinction must be made between tax and royalty, a distinction not known to many writers and speakers on the subject, especially eastern broadcasters. The gas in question is owned by the Crown, and the Crown leases to an oil company the right to produce the gas. Just as the owner of land will charge perhaps a third of the crop to another farmer who is leasing ins land, so the Crown has been charging the operating company about a sixth of tiie oil and gas crop produced from Crown mineral rights. A tax, on the other hand, is applied where the Crown has no ownership rights, where someone other than the Crown collects the royalty. Not enough has been heard about what the government intends" to do about non- Crown oil and gas. by way of taxation, probably because only a small fraction of Alberta's production is non-Crown (freehold is the One criticism from the industry is that the new rates are admittedly subject to change at any time without notice. That docs not provide the long-term confidence needed to bring new investment and new exploration, it is said. But with the industry in such world- wide confusion, any government would be foolish to commit itself for many years. And furthermore no government can commit its successors. This is one of the political facts the industry must live with. Then the sliding scale of royalties is the higher the price received by the companies, the bigger percentage they will pay in royalties. This means that as the price steadily increases, more and more of the increase goes back to the government. This too is in order. Price increases have been encouraged, even forced, by the provincial government, and as long as the industry gets back enough to keep healthy and busy, that's all it can expect. Beyond that the profits are indeed a windfall, and given the political climate of Canada and even of Alberta, windfall profits will not be tolerated. Another objection is to a kind of two- price policy other factors being equal, the royalty will be higher on gas already tound than on that not yet found. This is to encourage new exploration and new discoveries. Spokesmen for the industry have said that this amounts to a penalty on. the companies successful in the past. Again, however, they must submit to the facts of political life. The present Alberta government understands the industry. Its sympathies lie with the free enterprise system. It appreciates the vast benefit to the Alberta people from the private capital invested in this province, especially in oil and gas. At the same time it is aware of the suspicions of so many people against the .industry, especially at this juncture. It is aware that any government too friendly to the industry risks its life at the polls. To strengthen its credibility it had to venture into policies that would offend the industry. So much for the criticism from the industry voiced after Premier Lough- heed's major policy statement last week. Marijuana indicted A Columbia University study has found that regular smoking of marijuana weakens the body's defences against dis- ease. Certain white blood cells, which de- lend the body against illness, were found to have decreased ability to interact with "foreign" substances in a test-tube. The cells, known as T lymphocytes, were taken from 51 marijuana-users, of median age 22, and 81 healthy persons, median age 44, who had never used the drug. In one experiment, the ability of while cells from marijuana-users to un- dergo cell division was 40 per cent less than those from the healthy non-users. The fact that the non-smokers were older made the results more impressive because "the immune response of white blood cells is known to decrease with age." the report said. Also noted by the researchers was the tendency of marijuana products to ac- cumulate in the germ cells of the testes and ovaries, the human sex glands. What this finding means in terms of adverse effects on the offspring of marijuana users is not yet known but obviously it is a matter of urgent concern to follow up on it. Dr. Gabriel Nahas, head of the research team, has urged doctors not to subscribe to recommendations which might lead to the legalization of mari- juana until further research has been -done. His urging seems worthy of the most serious consideration in the light of what his research team has discovered to date. It would appear that the Canadian government has been wise in not allow- ing itself to be stampeded into legalizing marijuana. Softening the penalties for simple use while stiffening those for peddlars of the substance is probably as far as any government will want to go un- til this latest evidence is fully appraised and further research has been done. ERIC NICOL Swarming diabolical spirits I remember exactly when it happened, Father. I sneezed, and there was nobody around to say "Bless In the few seconds that the divine antibodies were ex- pelled from my conk, the evil spirits swarm- ed Hi, and it was game over. Sure, you think I'm imagining that I was possessed by demons, because of the notorie- ty given to the fUrn The Exorcist, and the report by Reverend Karl Patzelt that he routed the devil from a Daly City family whose members felt as though" they were be- ing choked. All of a sudden thousands of cases of demonic possession are coming to light. Nixon's lawyers are among those queued at the rectory. But if you check the record, Father, you'll find that I was hosting diabolical forces long efore it became fashionable. As a child I was not only possessed. I was repossessed my family couldn't keep up the payments on my -Sunday school. Psychiatrists tell us that those who imagine they are possessed by demons are immature ind insecure people, clutching at an explana- tion for the world's evil in terms of fieW representatives of The Inferno. Well, they're to their opinion. What I know for a act is that I spent much of my youth mutter- ing "Get ihee behind me, and he got lehind me and pushed. (You can always tell when the devil has poshed a person: the body has two dimples right above the derriere. Very noticeable on naughty Like the Reverend PaUelf s family, I had frightening experiences with objects flying across the room for no good reason. My fami- ly just thought I was clumsy. They didn't un- derstand that demons can lodge hi any part of the body, and with me it was the feet. i booted everything in the house but the cat, which seemed to be able to anticipate. As I grew to manhood, the evil spirits mov- ed up to my head because there was more room there. They were directly responsible for the bad things I did on dates. I knew when I had done a bad thing because in the morning I looked like the devil. On the plus side, being possessed by demons relieved me of responsibility for my conduct. I didn't actually sell my soul to the devil. I just leased it, on the understanding that if he let the place get too run-down I would cancel my sneeze, retroactively. So far as I can tell, the demons departed from my being shortly after I bought the TV set. One day they were there, watching the B.C. Lions with me, and the next day they were gone. To judge by the length of the iine-ups at _ cinemas showing The Exorcisl, demons find their most receptive audience among young people. Some observers fear that the younger generation may dig demonology so fervently that we shall be in for a revival of the witch hunt. Do we want a medicine man wearing a mask uttering unintelligible noises over our sick forms, or do we revert to the primitive? It is not even clear whether exorcism oi demons comes under Medicare or is a plait case of Hell to pay. Most of us would probably prefer to see evi' spirits confined to those bottled in Portugal Personally and I believe I speak withoul prompting from Rosemary's baby I douW that the demonic cult will have more than i brief vogue among the young, unles; something happens to Alice Cooper. As for as folk who are not immature or in- secure, we needn't concern cwoves aNool being terrorized by supernatural powers thai make us feel as though we are being choked The government takes care of it. Right Letters "We're busy right now could you come back when you're National Revenue worried By Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star commentator "Cracks are appearing in the foundation of our tax "public confidence in the tax system is entering a critical phase." Those remarks sound like predictable blasts coming from someone from the Chamber of Commerce on the Junior Board of Trade. In fact, they were made recently in a remarkably candid speech by the Minister of National Revenue, Robert Stanbury. Nothing alarms a government more than taxpayers revolt, whether this is Wat Tyler marching his ragged army against Richard the Second, or the Boston merchants dumping tea into the harbor rather than pay dues to George the Third. To refuse to pay taxes is to make tiie ultimate refusal: without taxes there can be no government. Stanbury isn't worried, yet, that taxpayers are about to rebel, even though he did choose Boston to make his speech, to the U.S. Institute on Federal Taxation. He is worried instead that Canadian taxpayers may be becoming increasingly cynical, and skeptical. "Our system is highly- vulnerable to public Stanbury told me in an interview. "Our self assessment sytem skates along a fine line of public acceptance." Self assessment, which means that citizens calculate their own taxes, is practised only in Canada, the United States and a few other countries (such as This system is far cheaper than the alternative; to have bureaucrats figure out how much each person should pay. Self assessment works only if everyone is, reasonably, honest. (Less than five per cent of tax returns, the precise figure is strictly confidential, are Self assessment also works only if the public believes in the tax system, and that is what Stanbury is worried about. One danger sign that Stanbury cited in his Boston speech is that 15 per cent of Canadians now rely on professional assistance with their tax forms, although "many Canadians who pay for such services are wage earners and pensioners with only one or two sources of income." Canadians also are invited to be cynical about their tax system. Perhaps the most blatant example is this advertisement for registered retirement saving plans: "Avoid taxes. Dominion Life can show you how. Honestly." A tax system may lose credibility for three quite separate reasons: that it is too complicated for the ordinary person to understand; that it allows some groups to get off lightly while others bear an unfair burden; that the level of taxes, no matter how distributed, is just too high. In its report of last November the Economic Council of Canada warned against increasing the tax load. Canadians now pay income tax at an average rate of about 26 per cent. This proportion will rise to 29 per cent by 1976 and to 33 per cent by 1980. These figures understate the problem. As more and more Canadians move across the a year level they find themselves paying 40 and 50 per cent of their additional income in taxes. That's where Dominion Life, and the professionals, move in. Government depends upon the middle income taxpayers. While studies repeatedly have shown that there has been remarkably little redistribution of income to the poor (who benefit from social security but who pay, proportionately, more of their incomes on sales taxes that are levied on necessities such as food and these same studies show that middle income citizens are the hardest hit by income tax (according to the Economic Council, the 12 per cent of the taxpayers in the range pay 28 per cent of all Finance Minister John Turner has taken one step toward lightening the burden. This year, income tax will be "indexed" which means, essentially, that individuals will not pay more tax simply because their incomes have increased to keep pace with inflation. A more effective step would be to curb the growth in government spending. Because of the progressive nature of the tax system, government revenues increase automatically each year. That circumstance is an open invitation, eagerly accepted, for bureaucrats to invent new programs to absorb the flood of new revenues. Stanbury's own scope for correctives is a toll free telephone system so that a citizen can phone in for advice, encouragement to voluntary organizations to help the disadvantaged fill out their tax forms; a 'Frustration File' that Stanbury is collecting on all taxpayer complaints. In the United States the 'tax gap' between what is and what should be collected is at least billion a year, and is growing. The problem is not nearly so grave in Canada, but, as Stanbury observes, "our system is not so different from the United States that we should be complacent." Stanbury also is uncomfortably aware that in the recent election in Denmark the party which came second, in its first attempt, was led by a man who publicly and proudly has never paid any taxes at all in the past ten years. Siege atmosphere continues By Jonathan Kandell, New York Times commentator SANTIAGO, Chile "The llth of the radio announcements blare, "was for all Chileans, not just for some." But more than four months after the violent coup d'etat that overthrew the Marxist government of President Salvador Allende Gossens and took his life, the ruling military junta has done little to convince his followers that there are "neither victors nor vanquished" to use a phrase favored by Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the new president. Chile remains a country divided between an apparent majority of anti Marxists either actively supporting junta or passively arching its excesses and a leftist minority, cowed, silent and pessimistic. Despite the absence of any effective political opposition or significant terrorist activity, the junta has not modified its dictatorial methods, continuing to govern with little regard for the constitutional rights of many citizens, particularly those suspected of Marxist Congress activity in suspension, the military men govern by a succession of decrees ferried out from the national seat of power to the smallest town by military appointees, mainly active or retired officers. A siege atmosphere remains throughout the country as a result of the continued enforcement of a night curfew. Estimates of political prisoners range from the figure mentioned most often by military officials, to the figure offered by church sources seeking legal aid for those held. Beyond dispute is the fact that almost none have even been charged with any crimes, nor have dates been set for their prosecution or release. Apparently reacting to pressure from abroad, the junta Has moved more decisively to grant safe conduct passes to Chileans given asylum hi embassies and to foreign leftists living in refugee camps in the Santiago area. About foreigners, mainly Brazilians, Bolivians and Uruguayans, are still hi The refugee camps. According to diplomatic sources, West Germany has agreed to accept but 275 of them, with lie probably going to Ccba, The Netherlands and other countries before the Feb. 3 deadline set bv the Junta far the camps to be cleared.' The junta has been increasingly concerned with its image abroad. One mission after another including professionals, politicians, jurists and anti Marxist trade unionists has been sent throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe to explain the reasons for the coup and to counter or deny reports of excesses in its aftermath. The austere economic program that the junta has put into effect to overcome the economic chaos inherited from the three year Marxist government has earned the praise of conservative economists and has reaped a number of modest successes, including loans from abroad and sharp production increases. However, virtually all Chileans have been hit hard by a sharp decrease in their purchasing power as prices have been allowed to reach realistic market values without corresponding increases in wages. The economic burden has proved devastating for the poorest Chileans, who in four Tr.onlhs have faced such increases as 250 per cent for bread, 800 per cent for cooking oil, per cent for sugar and 890 per rent far The strapping issue 1 have read with much in- terest the recent discussion regarding the question of "strapping" in the Lethbridge public schools. It appears to me that both the pro and con arguments have failed to in- clude some pertinent factors Social science research fin- dings suggest that there is a wide range of variation among children (and adults) with respect to attitudes, values, self-image, etc-----Therefore a greater effort might be made to approach the educational ideal of recogniz- ing and meeting individual needs. In our complex society there exists a wide range of permissable alternatives from which to choose. A given family does not necessarily reflect all of the values or behavior patterns emphasized by the larger general society. Our concern here is with a form'of dis- cipline. In some Canadian families children are reared in a permissive atmosphere.. It is quite likely that such children would have expec- tations of the adult role quite different from those of children reared in families where corporal punishment is the usual form of discipline... What is defined in a certain way by one of two interacting individuals, may be defined in a different way by the other. Even if a definition is erroneous, it is real for the person, and has consequences. A given act may be defined by a parent as desirable spon- taneity and by a teacher as misbehavior. A child en- countering a contradiction such as this may have difficul- ty coping with it. Another ex- ample would be the definition of the meaning of a given form of punishment. To a teacher it may be a necessary instru- ment of discipline, to the rhild it may mean rejection It must be admitted that teachers (and parents) are human and can become fatigued, harried, frustrated, and emotional. A decision to use the strap under stress, which could have severe con- sequences for a particular youngster, would be unfor- tunate. Modern penology practices suggest that corporal punish- ment is not very effective in most cases, with the common reaction of resentment. Generally, it does not act as a deterrent to crime. If punish- ment is feared or resented the desired change in values and behavior patterns does not result. I would like to conclude these comments with the suggestion that three approaches to the problem be considered at this time. First, that teachers, whenever time and circumstances permit, make every possible effort to employ persuasion, distrac- tion, patience, understanding, and, most of all, provide an at- mosphere that is conducive to creativity in teaching and learning. Second, that ad- ministrators examine existing knowledge in the areas of the. psychology and the sociology of the child, and also examine the underlying assumptions that form the basis of the current disciplinary policy in their school. Third, that parents accept their burden of responsibility and consult with the teacher and the prin- cipal with respect to the child's family environment and the type of discipline in the home. A continuing process of con- sultation between parents and teacher may enable the school personnel to consider each child's needs and problems more adequately. ROBERT DWYER Lethbridge Remarks substantiated The story appearing in The Herald (Dec. under the heading "Expensive" funerals not deserves our comments, as remarks attributed to the secretary of the Memorial Society of Southern Alberta, and labelled as untruths by a spokesman for the Alberta Funeral Direc- tors Association and by local funeral home directors, are amply substantiated by many sources of information regarding the business prac- tices of funeral homes, which are readily available to the public. One needs only to read a little of The American Funeral, by Leroy Bowman, The High Cost of Dying, by Ruth Harmer or many other books on the subject, as well as reports of numerous research studies, some of these like the recent com- prehensive study of Watkins- Neilson, which study, "Proposals for Legislative Reforms Aiding the Consumer of Funeral Industry products and Services" has now been printed The funeral industry, like all others, is concerned with rising costs, and Raoul Pinette, president of the National Funeral Directors, commended delegates at their recent Chicago convention for their fight against inflation. Although the cost of living rose 41.3 per cent in the last 10 years, announced Pinette, during the same period mor- ticians were able to hold the cost of dying to only a 32.1 per cent cost rise. A report has come to the Continental Association of Funeral and Memorial Societies of the U.S. that of the complaints receiv- ed by consumer affairs direc- tors in various states last year. 102.000 related to funerals. Attention should also be drawn to a survey of the funeral industry in Edmonton, carried out by a research team from the University of Alberta last year. The in- vestigating team turned up some very interesting things relating to the business prac- tices of establishments in this industry in Edmonton and some other parts of Alberta. The investigators found that it was very difficult to obtain any price quotations over the telephone, particularly if the caller identified himself as a researcher. Statistical figures from the Dominion Bureau of Statistics are for 1968 only, since even the government agency finds it difficult to get funeral directors to release figures, and the statistics that were due for release last fall will not be available until spr- ing of this year, since the questionnaire to funeral direc- tors had to be sent out a se- cond time before a reasonable response was obtained People are becoming aware that they will not necessarily feel better by paying Canadian average) for a funeral for the deceased. There is a trend toward asking such questions as "Why should I put myself in debt over a The newest concept in cof- fins known for many years comes from a casket maker in our neighbor state, Montana, where for a modest sum, plus shipping, one may buy a handcrafted knotty-pine casket. They are hard-sanded but not stained, so one can finish to suit yourself. Until you need it, the company suggests that you use your casket as a bookshelf, coffee table, gun cabinet, or pool cue rack. The connoisseur, for ex- ample, for a little extra, can get four shelves and two wine racks designed to fit inside. The newest casket idea in decades. These comments, certainly not based on the personal opi- nion of the secretary of the Memorial Society of Southern Alberta nor of any of the members of the society, are the results of careful and in- depth studies by competent researchers. Further, the society has. since its inception in 1971, enjoyed the co- operation of the local funeral homes and the directors with whom it has had dealings HAROLD SHAW, Memorial Society Of Southern Alberta Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald 5W Tff) Si. S. Alberta LETHBR1OGE HERAID CO I TO Proprtertars Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 CiEO MOWERS, Editor and OOMM PltUMO Managing Editor OONAiO R. General Manager BOY F. vm.es Adveriiswig Manager OOUGtAS K WALKS? l Editor ROBEflT M fENTON Circulation Manager KBWWETH 8AHWE7T Stsmess Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"