Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 5, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
The neiv leader . Schmidt family receives accolades of delegates. Schmidt pins �es on faith By JIM POLING The Canadian Press EDMONTON - He lacks political poise, experience and a legislature seat but Werner Schmidt, the Alberta Social Credit Party's new leader, has something he considers more important. Faith in himself, the party and the wisdom of God, he says, will help him march Social Credit back to its rightful role-the people's government. Mr. Schmidt, a 41-year-old deep thinker with intense religious convictions, will need all the faith he can muster to meet mind-bending problems which are only as far away as today. He pulled off one of the most stunning political upsets in Alberta history Saturday. A novice without an election win, he came from behind to squeeze out former education minister Robert Clark, 35, by 39 votes on the second ballot. Whom to appoint opposition leader in the legislature, how to direct the party from outside the house, when to try for a seat, even how to get paid are a few of lias problems. Also requiring immediate attention is charting of strategy" and policy for the spring session of the legislature which opens Feb. 15. Mr. Schmidt, a personable man with dark wavey hair, first tasted politics 18 years ago when he campaigned for a Social Credit candidate In northern Alberta. However, positions as a superintendent of school and chief executive officer of the Alberta School Trustees Association kept his interest in politics "a distant one.". In 1971, Mr. Schmidt who was born in Coaldale east of Lethbridge, was in a position to pursue political ambitions -and entered the provincial election as a candidate in Edmonton Belmont. He was badly beaten by Bert Hohol, now labor minister, in a Progressive Conservative tide which swept away 36 years of Social Credit rule. He says he had no aspirations for tho leadership, but was approached by "some influential people" about a year ago when it became evident that leader Harry Strom planned to retire. Two of these people were former cabinet minister Ray Speaker and William Johnson, then party president. Inside 'George Harris. Occupation. Concorde airliner salesman.' Classified .... 14-16 Comics.......... 12 Comment ........ 4 District ......... 3 Family..........11 Local. News .. 9, 10 Markets ........ 13 Sports .......... 6-8 Theatres ......... 5 TV .............. 5 Weather ......... 2 LOW TONIGHT -10, HIGH TUESDAY 10; COLD. SUNNY Bob Clark's career up in the air EDMONTON (CP) - Robert Clark's political career, which started on a baseball diamond 12 years ago, is a bit up in the air right now. Mr. Clark, 35, elected to the Alberta legislature at 23 and appointed to the cabinet before he was 30, was defeated in his bid for the leadership of the province's Social Credit Party Saturday. He was beaten by Werner Schmidt, a 40-year-old scholar and businessman from Lethbridge. Mr. Schmidt is a political unknown and does not have a seat in the legislature. MIDDLE COURSE Mr. Clark had planned to march Social Credit to middle ground between the New Democratic Party and the governing Progressive Conservatives. From there, he has said, it could become a more aggressive opposition, presenting the voters with "bold visions" backed by "dynamic" alternatives to Conservative government. The New Democrats, he says, are committed to government which dominates the people. The Conservatives were controlled by eastern big business and were not in a position to listen to all the wants ot the voters. Mr. Clark, a snappy dresser with a flair for action broke into politics almost 13 years ago in the central Alberta farming community of Carstairs. Someone at a baseball banquet asked him to consider running in a byelection in the Olds-Didsbtiry constituency. He had spent hours arguing politics with team-mates on a baseball team, for which he was pitcher, and they encouraged him to try. He won the Social Credit nomination and later, the November 1960 byelection. T li e two people he.defeated for the nomination were trustees for the school board which employed him as a physical education . teacher. Mr. Clark, married and the father of two children, was born in Acme and was educated there, at Carstairs and the University of Alberta. He says Social Credit fell from power in 1971 after 3G years because it had not been successful in broadening the base of the party. VOL. LXVI - No. 47 LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1973 PRICE: TEN CENTS THREE SECTIONS - 34 PAGES to By GREG MclNTYRE Herald Staff Writer EDMONTON-In one of the most stunning upsets in the history of Alberta politics, Social Crediters Saturday placed the fate of their party into the hands of a political novice-Werner Schmidt, 41, vice-president of Lethbridge Community College. The Coaldale-born Mennonite promoted religion and old-line Socred principles in narrowly defeating the early favorite candidate, Boh Clark, 35, former youth and education minister. Mr. Schmidt squeezed an 814-to-77-5 win over Mr. Clark on the second ballot of only the second Social Cedit leadership Convention in the party's history. Schmidt supporters, who had been drowned in the razzle, dazzle of the far more youthful and colorful Clark campaign, broke down and wept with joy as the final polls flashed on a huge electric scoreboard on the stage. Mr. Schmidt, who was defeated in the 1971 provincial election in Edmonton Belmont and doesn't hold a seat in the legislature, was meeting today with college president Dr. C. D. Stewart to resign the 25,000-a-year job he's occupied for just one year. Caucus meeting The 24-MLA Socred caucus is to meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday with its new leader to discuss how he will run the opposition in the Alberta legislature which starts Feb. 15. It is not clear whether he will qualify for any of the $35,-500 salary of the opposition leader - he may be eligible for the $22,500 indemnity portion. Otherwise, the party will . have to maintain him - likely for some time. Although Gordon Taylor, 62, the opposition house leader and another leadership candidate in the weekend convention, publicly offered to step down to make way for the new leader to seek election, it's unlikely Social Credit could win such a byelection. "I am under no illusions that the Conservatives would bring all the resources at their disposal to defeat the new Social Credit leader in a byelection," Mr. Schmidt told a post-victory news conference. Mr. Schmidt said he will, instead, spend his time visiting the 75-constituencies in the province, telling people about new Socred policies and developing candidates for the next election. The Schmidt campaign, piloted by Ray Speaker, 37, the former Socred social development minister, won with hard v/ork and an appeal to traditional anti-socialist philosophy. At the half-way mark in the first balloting Saturday Mr. Schmidt moved away from Mr. Taylor and the fourth candi- date, John Ludwig, 40, dean of business at Alberta College, an Edmonton private school. At the 68th poll - with only eight ridings left to count - he stunned the 1,595 voting delegates by passing Mr. Clark. To ecstatic cheering - answered by even louder chanting from the Clark sections of the crowd - Mr. Schmidt passed Mr. Clark again on the 71st poll, but the final 76 poll count on the first ballot was Clark, 583; Schmidt, 512; Taylor, 406; Ludwig, 71. Mr. Ludwig was automatically eliminated from the second ballot, and after a five minute consultation between campaign managers, Mr. Taylor withdrew publicly. Mr. Taylor said he did not endorse either candidate because "I can work with either of them." On the first three polls, Mr. Clark jumped to an 88 to 39 lead. At 10 polls it was Clark ahead 209 to 128, at 41 polls Clark still ahead 564 to 386. But on the 66th poll the unexpected happened again. The majority of those who had voted for the old-line politics of Mr. Taylor began to be felt for Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Clark, who had avoided religion and monetary reform during the three-day convention, dropped behind Mr. Schmidt 685 to 688. By toe 74th poll, with Schmidt ahead 796 to 775 and certain to win, pandemonium erupted. Cry openly Young girls and old men cried openly for the youthful college administrator with the dark wavy hair who just that morning was swept on stage to the rhythms of Jesus Christ Superstar. Orvis Kennedy, long - time party organizer who chaired the balloting, could hardly be heard over the din as he announced the final, official tally: Schmidt 814, Clark 775. Mr. Clark offered "my sincere and very genuine congratulations," and called for unily with a motion that the vote be made unanimous for the [ycthbridge candidate. Amid standing applause, Mr. Schmidt and his wife came to centre stage. "This is the most exciting time in my life ... I have never, ever experienced anything like this." As the applause died clown, he asked: "Would you help me pray for the wisdom we need so desperately , . . and secondly would you help mc pray to become a humble man." He said "we have today begun the march back to the government of Alberta." At a news conference later, Mr. Schmidt was asked if the party hadn't been badly split: with the majority of front bench Socred MLAs in the Clark camp - including Mr. Clark's n o m i n a I. o r, Walter Buck; Art Dixon, former speaker of the legislature; George Ho Lean, Albert Ludwig, former public works minister; Jim Henderson, former health minister and Roy Wilson. "Tension was very high but I don't tlu'nk there was any bitterness," replied Mr. Schmidt. "The fact that some MLAs were for Bob Clark doesn't mean they won't support me." The victory will mean an eventual m o v e to Edmonton, he said, but until school finishes in June the family will likely stay in Lethbridge where sons Allan 14, and Dwayne, 13, attend Hamilton Junior High. In line with his call for a "strong, wholesome family," Mr. Schmidt was flanked in the auditorium by his wife Teena, his parents Mr. and Mrs. George Schmidt and his wife's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Friesen, all of Coaldale. Lethbridge cablevision Channel 2 will carry portions of the nominations and balloting at the convention tonight and Tuesday at 8 p.m. 'We're over the top9 . . . Werner Schmidt and his wife, Teena, cry out in 'joy after Mr. Schmidt's victory as the new Socred leader became apparent. Canada rules out Irish MONTREAL (CP) - Canada is not interested in pooling resources with the United States in a continental energy policy, Energy Minister Donald Macdc-nald said Sunday. In a two-hour CBC radio program, Cross-Country Checkup, the energy minister told listeners across Canada and in the United States that this country has surpluses to meet its own needs. However, Canada has reached a situation where it may not export any more gas and may not in future increase its oil exports, he said. The program was broadcast on a U.S. network as well, and callers from several states and from Washington joined Canadian callers in debating the energy question with Mr. Mac* donald. Several of the U.S. callers urged Mr. Macdonald to take a firm stand against selling more oil and gas to the U.S.-"or if you do, make us pay." A continental energy policy would "be disastrous for Can- ada," said one caller from Delaware. Names of callers need not be given. Alvin Hamilton, Progressive Conservative MP for Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain and a former cabinet minister, said a continental policy has always besn in effect, controlled not by the two governments but by the large oil and gas companies. "The time has come for governments to have the say; you can't leave it to the large companies any longer." The U.S. doesn't have a shortage of energy, Mr. Hamilton said. "There's just a shortage of cheap energy." DUBLIN (Reuter) - Prime Minister Jack Lynch announced today that a general election will be held in the Irish republic on Wednesday Feb. 28. The election, widely expected for the first half of this year, follows the republics entry into the European Common Market last Jan. 1. Political observers said Lynch wants to strengthen his narrow mandate at a time when his government faces serious political and economic problems. Bank robbery hostages Seen end heard About town rpABER - WARNER MLA. Doug Miller catching attention by accidentally setting off a fire alarm while trying to sneak out. of a meeting .. . Gordon Ross claiming he doesn't work Sundays -he just gets ready for Mondays. r CORNWALL, Ont. (CP) -Three armed gunmen escaped from a Bank of Montreal 'branch here about two hours before one of nine hostages inside untied herself and telephoned police to tell them to enter the building. There was an unconfirmed report that the gunmen, who police said were accompanied by a lookout man. may have taken a hostage with them and escaped in a stolen car. Police entered the bank about .11:10 a.m. EST and freed the hostages who included bank manager Robert Evans and. assistant manager. Angus Robertson. No one was injured. BELFAST (CP) - Gunfire continued to ring through the streets of Belfast early today as the death toll in one of Northern Ireland's bloodiest weekends rose to 10. More than 20 persons-were wounded. In London, It was reported that William Whitelaw, Britain's Northern Ireland administrator, is pressing the govern-m9nt to reinforce the 17,000 troops on duty in Northern Ireland. The latest victim was an 18-year-old Roman Catholic who die.-1, in hospital today. He was shot in the head at a gas station where he worked. Seven of the deaths occurred early Sunday morning in the Catholic New Lodge area. The British Army says its soldiers are using new night sights on their rifles which make targets easy to spot even in pitch darkness. The sights are eventually to be issued to all soldiers in Northern Ireland. Canadian PoWs may be freed shortly Fighting continues to slacken off as peace teams take up posts SAIGON (CP) - Fighting in South Vietnam continued to slack off today as members of the International Commission for Control and Supervision of the ceasefire took up their posts throughout the country. Five officers from each of the four countries on the ICCS- Canada, Poland, Indonesia and Hungary-flew for Hue, Da Nang and Pleiku. A bus carrying another 20 officers drove to the town of My Tho in the Mekong Delta. Three more teams left by air or bus for Bien Hoa, Can Tho and Phan Thiet.the three other bases the peacekeeping force is to occupy. In other developments, Michel Gauvin of Canada, acting head of the ICCS, said arrangements are being made for the release of prisoners-including two Canadians-this week, "probably by the middle of the week." U.S. officials sr.id U.S. aircraft; and ships might soon be clearing mines the U.S, Navy planted in North Vietnamese waters last year. Despite the decrease in (he fighting, U.S. B-52 bombers and fighter-bombers continued operations over Laos Sunday at the request of the Laotian government, U.S. spokesmen said. U.S. officials were reported planning to receive one of the first groups of prisoners in the An Loc area, CO miles north of Saigon and 10 miles from the Cambodian border. A subcom-mission of the four-power Joint Military Commission met for the third successive day in an effort to make final arrangements for the firsi phase of the prisoner release. The two Canadian prisoners-are Marc Cayer of St. Raymond, Que., a civilian volunteer teacher captured near Hue, South Vietnam, in 1958, and missionary Lloyd Oppel of Ccurtenay. B.C., seized when a southern Laotian village was overrun last October.