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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 15, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Thursday, February 15, 1973 A remarkable disclosure Recently in Calgary Labor Minister Hohol made a comment that must have startled labor leaders throughout the province, and perhaps some others, too. To make a point while discussing the pros and cons of a four-day or even a three-day work week, he referred to the Alberta Labor Act, and went on to mention some revisions to be presented to the legislature. One proposal is for a change in the act to make more explicit the government's power to call a halt to union attempts to organize an industry, or a particular firm. In the eyes of labor, this is bound to be regarded as a seriously retrograde step. The particular firm referred to by Dr. Hohol is Great Canadian 0 i 1 Sands, the company that so far has had the greatest success in recovering oil. from the Athabasca tar sands. According to the minister's statement this firm "should be protected (sic) for the sake of the provincial economy." The background of his concern is that for the past four and a half years, organizers for the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union have been attempting, by all the usual methods, to supplant a company-organized employees' association as recognized bargaining agent for the 600- odd CGOS employees. The company objects, and last October it petitioned the government for an order requiring the union to suspend these attempts for a three year period. From Dr. Hohol's remarks, it would appear the government is preparing to accede to the company's request. It is easy to understand the minister believing that CGOS is an important undertaking; its magnitude alone would sustain that view. Experts claim the Athabasca sands represent one of the world's major oil reservoirs, equalling all of the Middle Eastern oil-producing countries combined. At a cost of some $200 million, CGOS has developed a process and built a plant that, while still not problem - free, is today producing nearly 50,000 barrels of oil a day, with hopes of many times that figure in the not-too-distant future. In an energy-shot world, and with prospects of substantially increased well head prices for oil, this must be regarded as an important source. But so is labor an important resource. The rights of labor to organize have been dearly bought, by generations of devoted men, whose efforts have resulted in carefully, agonizingly constructed labor laws. These cannot lightly be tampered with. Compulsory seatbelts Automobile manufacturers, highways ministers, auto clubs and others seem very impressed with seatbelts as a safety feature for modern automobiles. This year, or at any rate soon, belts, buzzers, flashing lights and what-not will start up whenever the driver -- and presumably the passengers - in a car fail to keep their seatbelts fastened. There is even talk of car insurance premiums, and any claims an owner might make, being affected by whether or not seatbelts are installed and worn. If the installation of seatbelts is mandatory in cars, with devices built in to harrass those who don't use them, and if they are to be a factor in the settlement of insurance claims and the setting of premiums, it won't be long before there is legislation put forward to make the wearing of seat-belts compulsory. If this comes to pass, it will come to pass, though there are some who (a) resent the addition of any more rules making this or any other ac- quisition or behavior compulsory, and (b) believe that the police have quite enough to do now without stopping and inspecting motorists to check whether their seatbelts are properly buttoned up. (It is assumed this would be a job for the police; even in this zany age, legislation that passenger cars carry hostesses is unlikely.) But what about buses? If seatbelts are material to everyone's safety, if car owners are not to have the right to decide about wearing them, it seems obvious that bus drivers and passengers must be made to wear them, too. (This might prove a bit expensive; unless the driver is to vacate his seat after every stop to check each passenger's belt, there will have to be an extra worker hired for every bus.) And if buses are added to cars, as vehicles requiring seatbelts, what about snowmobiles? Trains? Motorcycles? Ten-speed bicycles? Five-, three-, one-speed bikes? Gets pretty silly, doesn't it? Case closed The case of the Queen visiting Fort' Macleod this summer should be considered closed. It would have been "nice" to have had her. Certainly Fort Macleod stands paramount in any matter relating to the centennial of the North West Mounted Police. Many people expressed themselves vigorously on the desirability of rearranging her plans. However, for plausible reasons it could not conveniently be done in the time available. The correspondence between Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Lougheed makes that clear. There might have been more nagging, but surely Canada should not nag the Royal Household. Some not-so-random thoughts By Ed Ryan I, for one, fail to see all the "great" advantages of the divided school year in Lethbridge. Sure, it makes for a nice break at Christmas time. But to do this, students and teachers have to put in long hours and longer days during August, September, October, November and December. And to what avail, really? Do teachers teach any better, or do students learn any better because of it? I hardly think so. In all frankness, the only great advantage I can see is that it gives teachers and students a longer holiday break at Christmas and during the summer months. In which case, the benefits of the divided school year are more recreational than educational. Our educational system is designed and geared for the so-called "good" academic students. They're the kids who come to school, if not exactly eager to learn, certainly prepared to do what is expected of them, and able to do it reasonably well. But for those youngsters who are academically weak or who have reading and learning difficulties, the schools do very little or next to nothing. These kids just stumble along as best they can until they become completely frustrated and drop out of school. It's been that way for a long time and will continue so until the parents of- these kids begin to clamor for the kinds of resources and personnel that can be of real help to them. * * � Instead of downgrading efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching, teachers should be encouraging it. As professionals, teachers must assume greater responsibility for improving the quality of instruction. Because, unless it can be shown that a teacher's efforts can produce results significantly superior to those of any layman, the teacher cannot claim "professional" status. * *  The main reason that youngsters continue to remain and persevere in school is the belief that it will enhance their employment prospects. I think that they've always felt that way. It's specious thinking to believe that they "thirst for knowledge," or want to "broaden their horizons," o r "sharpen their mental perceptions." * * * There are still some schools which continue to administer piddling thirty minute "IQ" tests. What I'd like to know is - why? �  � A number of schools have tried to get parents interested and involved in framing their philosophy, objectives, goals and priorities. And most of these schools have failed to enlist any degree of interest or involvement. The reason, I suspect, is that parents couldn't care less about such esoteric educational finery as the school's philosophy, goals, objectives, etc. What they're really interested in is -"How is my child doing in school?" * *  Great changes have occurred in virtually every area of society, but teaching remains essentially unchanged. Teachers, by and large, teach much the same as they always have. If teaching is to improve, teachers must start receiving more information about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of their efforts and methods. By isolating themselves in their classrooms teachers are depriving themselves of valuable feedback - information and' advice that could make their efforts more rewarding both for themselves and their students. N�WS /TEM: Letlt>ri(/te wins l?7S W,,ter G3ne* 'Yes, but Andy ... do you think we'll learn by 1975?' Whither the U of L (4) Jeanne Beaty The problems of being new In a world - wide context, do new universities have distinct problems? It would appear that they do. Murray Ross, president of York University which was established in Toronto in the decade of the 60's, has edited a book, New Universities in the Modern World, which provides a mirror in which the University of Lethbridge is frequently reflected. "If we were to start again," Ross writes, "I think most of us at York would ask for more time, more staff, more money." More time was needed, he said, to reflect on the innumerable decisions to be made, more staff because the demands on the administration are very heavy in the early years, and more money "because the costs in a new university, particularly of administration, are out of all proportion to those in an established university. Per-student costs are meaningless hi a new university." Commenting further on finances, Ross said that only time and adequate resources would resolve the need for the library and research facilities necessary for a good university, sufficient faculty with academic status to assure quality of teaching and research, and adequate funds for operating costs. "It should be noted," he wrote, "that apparently few governments have taken cognizance of the fact that the requirements for operating grants in the future will exceed those now being provided for capital grants. New universities do not simply require large grants for a few years to purchase land and erect braidings; as capital equipment expands, they require funds to operate this equipment and to support the faculty and students who use it. Annual grants, comparable to the amounts now provided for land and building costs, will be necessary. "The ability and willingness of governments to continue large grants to the new univer-sities will certainly be a critical factor in their future development." Ross' book contains self-analyses from new universities throughout the Commonwealth countries and the United States. In his concluding chapter, he pointed out a problem that was common to this class of 1960-70. "Most of the universities begun in the last decade, either because of the deep felt need they seemed to meet or because of the benefits they ap- peared to promise," he said, "have stirred a wide interest and a sense of proprietorship in ' the communities in which they were established. "The result," he says, "is that these universities are in the public domain, not simply as public institutions, but as community projects about which public discussion of all aspects of the development seems appropriate." He lists purposes of education, admission requirements, academic standards and location as matters that have come up for public discussion. J. A. Corry, formerly principal of Queen's University, put it more bluntly when he wrote, in a UBC Report entitled, "Canadian Universities - from Private Domain to Public Utility." "The universities have become a public utility of a most important kind. Sooner or later, all industries so identified so far have become subject to governmental regulation." This threat to university autonomy has caused concern among the entire university community, but perhaps more so in the new institutions which are still trying to establish an identity in the goldfish bowl of public and governmental awareness. The need for autonomy was spelled out by Sir John S. Fulton, vice - chancellor of the University of Sussex, one of the eight universities established in Britain in the decade of the 60s. "Academic autonomy is to be justified, not as a means of preserving privilege or denying accountability, but because the welfare and the progress in freedom of society as a whole depends on the unfettered quest for truth within its universities." However, he had a warning note. "In an age when universities represent a vital interest for their communities, and when thsir cost has vastly increased, societies must undergo changes. But the substance of their autonomy will remain so long as initiative in academic affairs, above all in research and determining what is taught, remains with academics. "If they are, to ensure this, they must see to1 it that what they collectively offer, whatever the diversity of pattern between them, is relevant to society's needs in the present and will remain so in the future. In the upshot, the judgment as to whether this is so will rest not with them but with the society outside their walls. If that verdict is to be c 1973 ir NEA, Inc. "QJU Crime is up in the suburbs. So what