Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 15, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, February 15, 1975 Government watchdogs appear asleep By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator. Early election This provincial election is really not necessary, but it is the prerogative of the premier to call it when he wishes. Seldom do the voters object to being ask- ed to pass judgment on a government. Alberta has a long tradition of four years between elections. The timing would have been normal this fall. While there has been a serious con- stitutional and political confrontation between Ottawa and Edmonton and the ramifications of the energy crisis are still not all worked out by any means, it would be a serious mistake to let that issue dominate the campaign. People vote as they do for a hundred different reasons the style of the leaders, the literacy of the candidates, the voting pattern of their grandparents, the size of the latest pension cheque, the state of the district roads, the price of li- quor, the rate of taxation, and on and on. In the voting booth the citizen has only one choice beside whose name to put his mark. How he sorts out the hundred different influences is nobody else's business. In short, the re-election of the Lougheed government has been fore-or- dained, and would happen regardless of the energy issue and how the govern- ment handled or mishandled it. It follows that the government is stretching the truth a bit if it interprets its inevitable victory as a "mandate" to pursue any particular course in its future dealings with Ottawa. Regardless of how they will vote, the people expect the Lougheed government to deal firmly but not arrogantly or intractably with Ottawa, remembering that the people here are Canadians first and Albertans second. Cynics will see another reason for the early calling of the election the Conservative national leadership convention expected late this fall. It is widely conceded that Mr. Lougheed can have the position if he wants it, provided Mr. Robarts does not make himself available. To have had a resounding re- election victory well behind him would certainly enhance Mr. Lougheed's can- didature. As for the objections to a winter cam- paign, they no longer hold water. Most Albertans are as mobile in winter as in summer, and most have more time for a campaign in winter than in summer. So there can be no valid criticism of the premier on that score. OTTAWA The prime minister has been telling us that the level of suspicion in our society is extremely high, so much so that even in Canada after the Watergate trauma below the border "nobody trusts anybody any more in government. "The civil climate in our society is beginning to he insists. At the risk of appearing to see silver linings rather than dark and ominous clouds I am not convinced that things are quite as bad as Prime Minister Trudeau thinks they are. It may even be that we are too lax in this country, dis- playing too little skepticism, taking too much on faith. It seems to me that lew things could be so totally un- suitable to contemporary Can- ada than to have the prime minister undertaking construction of a swimming pool at his official residence and getting it paid for by private donors. It provides grounds for suspicion, the gross preten- tiousness of it is in appalling taste and it is an affront to the national dignity. The trouble, though, is that the national dignity does not seem to be affronted. There has been remarkably little outcry against the osten- tatious nature of a pool in a day when will certainly build one preten- tious enough to satisfy most egos. No one seems par- ticularly suspicious, as far as I can ascertain, over the anonymity of the donors. The opposition in the House of Commons was scarcely vigorous in the matter. A few thorny commentators have been querulous about it and that, unhappily, seems to be the end of a singularly grubby and shoddy little incident in our national life. During the latter half of last year Air Canada's manage- ment was engaged in something close to a trial of strength with parts of the federal government over its capital budget. The govern- ment's financial experts, dubious about the scale of air- craft purchases included in the budget, demanded but were unable to obtain from the company, additional sup- porting data. In the end, the airline withdrew certain air-, planes from its proposed purchases, some of them in the jumbo category. Members of the board of directors make if clear now that authorization to purchase these airplanes will not be sought this year. There is a presumption, in all of this, that the government's financial authorities were right in the difficulties they raised last year. While the dispute was going on, however, the airline sought permission from the Canadian Transport Commis- sion to issue unlimited annual passes to the wives of all cabinet ministers. This application kicked around the CTC for a couple of months with, it is understood, the knowledge of the transport department. When the row over members lose of Parliament's salaries blew up it was abruptly killed off by the CTC's air transport com- mittee. Had those passes been issued as the corporation wished, a considerable finan- cial benefit would have been bestowed upon the wives of all cabinet ministers at a time when the corporation involved was involved in a dispute of considerable importance with the government. (The fact Prisoners are people Solicitor-General Warren Allmand's request of the National Parole Board to review all cases involving persons jailed on cannabis convictions will probably evoke more criticism along the line that criminals are being coddled and society is being endangered in consequence. Fair play requires just such action as Mr. Allmand has requested of the parole board when the less stringent cannabis bill, now before the Senate, becomes law. Keeping individuals in jail longer than would be required under the new legislation would be unjust and the possi- ble effect on them could be undesirable for society. Resentment and anger added to the normal frustration caused by in- carceration do not create the prospect of a successful reintegration into society. Not enough consideration is given by critics of recent trends in custodial care to the value they have for society. The idea that criminals are being coddled is exaggerated. Prisoners are people and many changes made in recent times merely accord them status as human beings. An interview of retiring Com- missioner of Penitentiaries Paul Faguy by a rehabilitated prisoner makes this clear. Instead of prisoners having to visit their families in cages, with guards in attendance, they can now be together in lounges; noise has been reduced so study and sleep are possible; hair doesn't have to be cropped off; and everything possi- ble is done to prepare inmates for life outside when discharged. Society is not being protected when in- dividuals come out of prisons at the end of their sentences more disposed to anti social behavior than when they went in. There is reason to believe, despite the publicity given to the failures, that progress is being made. The solicitor 7 general knows this and so can proceed relatively undisturbed by criticism that is not based on the facts. Partition pardonable The partition of Cyprus, as announced by Turkey, will surely provoke new hostilities in that troubled island. Parti- tion is never an ideal solution. Surely people of different races and religions ought to be able to live together. But people don't often do what they ought to do. Cyprus was thought to have a good measure of tranquility under President Makarios, with the Turks only a small part of the total population. But WEEKEND MEDITATION hotheads, obviously with the support of most of the Greeks, overthrew Makarios, nearly killed him, and then started on the Turks, many hundreds of whom were slaughtered. The Turkish minority was not safe in the hands of the Greek majority, and has no desire to return to their custody. Thus the creation of a separate Turkish state, with some kind of federation with a similar Greek state, can hardly be criticized. Legalized piracy on the air waves By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator The joy of Lent "Lent" comes from the Anglo Saxon Lencten, or spring, as the days are growing longer, as lencten originally meant lengthening. It is considered as the prepara- tion for redemption. Thus Lenten discipline is the way to life. Jesus insisted that the doorway to life was narrow and the wide path led to destruction. Only a few, said Jesus, would find the door and follow the path. To those who would follow him he said, "Take up your qross. Deny yourself." Self denial, however, is the way to freedom. Thus an athlete denies himself physical indulgence that he may win a race (Paul uses this very The Christian tradition of Lent has its roots back in the Old Testament. Moses is called up into the mountain by God "and Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and went up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount 40 days and 40 nights." Then there is the story of Elijah who is pursued by Jezebel's men. "And the angel of the Lord came again the se- cond time, and touched him and said, arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose and did eat and drink and went in the strength of the food 40 days and 40 nights unto Horeb the mount of God." Then came the still, small voice and Elijah is sent to his prophetic mission. Every great mission of life requires dis- cipline, whether it is to be a musician, a statesman, or a saint. Jesus himself found it necessary to undergo much hardship and trial. "Son though he was he learned obedience through the things that he suffered." "He straightened himself." He "increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." He rebukes our easy going, per- missive lives by his dedication. If you would truly know Jesus, you must know the cross. As Paul said, "That I may know him and the fellowship of his sufferings." Paul knew only too well the warfare between the flesh and the spirit so he says, "I keep my body under." Without Lent there could have been no mar- tyrs and there could have been no Christian victory over the Roman Empire. The people who make pleasure a profession lose the key to true pleasure and enter a life 'that is dissipating and degrading. The train- ing schools of friendship, family, and the good society require the most intense par- ticipation of life, so that struggle and suffer- ing are inevitable, yet in the struggle life is stirred to its depths and our souls are filled with ecstacy and peace. Here is the true joy, as that strange person Bernard Shaw said, the joy of being used for some great purpose in life which will outlast life. Lent is a time of redemption in itself which finds its consummation in the cross. Man looks into his own heart and sees in horror its inertia, its cowardice, its selfishness, and its lusts, sees himself half man and half brute, sees the source of social rot, the cause of human pain and hunger. Crying "God be mer- ciful to me, a man seeks the redeeming, transforming, reconciling action of God in Jesus Christ. The heart of the Chris- tian faith is the good news that God has over- come death and the sin that ensalves man to death. In Lent man's destiny becomes clear. This is what life means, that man should rise from the beast to be like Jesus. To quote Paul 'I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. The life I am now living in the body I am living by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." PRAYER: O God, God of cleinnen and goodieu, God of the wind aid the fire and the ocean ttfci, by the Cross of Christ, make me jnre and bciatlhl within. F. S. M. OTTAWA There can be little doubt now that Ivan Head was misquoted in reports which credited him some time ago with the obser- vation that our foreign policy would become more moral in future. Mr. Head knows, better than most, that the depart- ment of external affairs has no monopoly on the conduct of our foreign relations. One must reckon also with other agencies of government including, especially at this time, the Canadian Radio Television Commission. Piracy, legalized and made respectable by the CRTC-fortified by a decision of the Federal well excite the imaginations of young, red-blooded Canadians. It may be the greatest spur to enterprise since American prohibition. Even with rapidly changing values, however, it will be dif- ficult for many persons, un- conditioned by the Ottawa en-" vironment, to grasp it as an expression, of improved morality. What it may suggest to some is a reversal of one of the better known Mosaic laws. Cable companies, in southern Ontario and elsewhere, have long im- ported programs from U.S. border stations. For the stations, this has been good business. Programs are paid for by advertising, including a good deal of advertising attracted from Canada. If this is subversive of Cana- dian nationalism, the CRTC, with its plenitude of powers, could forbid the cable com- panies to import the U.S. pro- grams. It appears to.be the flow of money rather than the culture which is impairing our identity since we are per- mitted to see a good many of the programs in any case, at other times and on Canadian channels. Such a prohibition- could perhaps be construed as moral, even though customer self-denial would result from coercion rather than a true and obviously preferable volunteer spirit. But the CRTC, aflame with its own peculiar ethics, has chosen a different course. It is encouraging the cable com- panies to import the programs while deleting the commer- cials. This is nothing else but sheer piracy, government approved. The Buffalo stations, whose programs are being purloined, are not sur- prisingly protesting and con- sidering counter -.measures Whether one agrees or dis- agrees with Pierre Juneau, it must be conceded that he is breaking new ground. The at- titude of Canadian governments to piracy has in the past been negative (probably even more negative than in the case of rum run- In the West, of course, it has not been a major concern. While a northern Alberta farmer, who mis- appropriated a row boat, was once accused of piracy, a court decided that the con- stable involved had incorrect- ly identified the offence. But the constable, although somewhat confused on details, had at least grasped the important point that piracy, as and when it oc- curred on the plains, was an activity forbidden by law and frowned upon by authority. Mr. Juneau may have been inspired to adventure by his meditations on things past. Speaking recently of govern- ment intervention, he said: "In fact, most of the known works of art, painting, architecture, music, ballet, opera, theatre and cinema are the result either of a direct ac- tion by the state or the church." On a second or third in- spection, 'this is certainly a more guarded observation than appears at first sight. In- direct state benefits were rather varied; some very notable works having been written in jail. It may be true also that playwrights such as Shakespeare sought private patrons partly for protection since the state tended even then to be somewhat fickle, impiring artists with rewards one day and the lockup the next. With his mind on such lofty themes, Mr. Juneau has ob- viously sensed and reacted against the limitations of the present. The great age of the patrons was also the age in which the state encouraged and sponsored piracy, main- taining a certain appearance of respectability by issuing letters of marque. Nowadays, there are licences and regulations which serve the same purpose and may be helpful at the same time in maintaining pirate morale. Once we have fully adjusted to CRTC ethics, the possibilities are considerable. Despite the magnitude and variety of subsidies, regional expansion programs have had a somewhat disappointing im- pact. But the Government, which subsidizes most other types of shipping, has yet te experiment with subsidies to privateers. It has doubtless occurred to the Juneau school of thinkers in Ottawa that we are ignoring large, freebooting oppor- tunities. A great deal of ship- ping moves today under flags of convenience. Even with the armed forces in their present state, we are doubtless safe against reprisals by Liberians and Panamanians. Indeed, such an extension of policy might in one sense be con- sidered rather anti climatic since Mr. Juneau has inaugurated the new era by victimizing the Americans who, if they take umbrage, do not lack the means to repay us in kind. Affected citizens in Buffalo have already taken umbrage, of which Congressmen, presumably, will take note. It" is to be hoped that they stop with notes but this implies a measure of understanding that we cannot count upon with any certainty in the somewhat flagrant cir- cumstances. panded, does a stimulating challenge to Canadian initative. Quite apart from the economic promise, if any, it ought to have an enlivening effect on the department of external af- fairs. Some people feel that contemporary policy is dull; witness the alacrity with which our professors switched at New Year from foreign relations to Mr. King's relations with the spirit world. What they probably need in the Palace of the Third Option is relief from boredom and this they can presumably count upon as we move logically forward from Mr. Juneau's pioneering adventures in piracy on the air waves to even more ex- hilarating exploits on the high seas. LETTER that cabinet wives can get in- dividual trip passes from Air Canada does .not really alter. unrestricted annual pass is a much more valuable If an ordinary corporation attempted to improve its relations with cabinet in this fashion there would, hopefully, be an explosion of indignation when they got caught out. When a crown cor- poration attempts to use the public funds in the same way, however, the parliamentary opposition takes the whole af- fair in its stride. Even granting the fact that this is an opposition of such abnor- mal weakness that one must go back to 'the 1950s for com- parisons, that is ah eye-brow- raising state of affairs. An at- tempt to bestow financial benefits on all cabinet wives during a crown corporation's tug of war with the govern- ment and no questions deem- ed worth asking? This particular incident may justify the prime, minister's insistence that "there is a vacuum in the op- position." Few would dis- agree with him. But it falls short of supporting his gloomy view that "nobody trusts anybody any more in gov- ernment." It seems rather that trust is unlimited and has smothered the healthy skep- ticism with which'a sound community always views those in power. The Financial Administra- tion Act is the fundamental control statute under which federal governments operate. The Trudeau government is clearly in breach of its intent, if arguably not of its precise wording, over this same Air Canada incident. The act stipulates that the capital budgets of crown corporations must be presented to Parlia- ment annually. Although the act is silent on the year in which a given budget must be presented commonsense clarifies the intent. The men who framed the act obviously meant that this should be done during the current year while the capital budget would have some meaning for the Parlia- ment to which it was being "presented. The Air Canada capital budget was not, of course, presented to Parliament last year because of the squabble that went on over it. While the budget was being chewed over the company went on making capital expenditures including taking at least some airplanes off option and making down payments on them, an action board members defend as justified because financial savings were made through the element of timing. This breach of the Financial Administration Act obviously is looked on by opposition members as merely technical, since they have dis- played no concern over it. Yet everyone in government whom I have questioned about that act agrees that it is of great fundamental impor- tance, always to be taken very seriously. It can be argued that the basic control statute should not be breached even technically. If that is going too far, it certainly can be main- tained that a parliamentary opposition' should ask questions when it happens. Far from the level of suspi- cion being high, it is so low in the Commons that no one bothers asking those questions. Major learning centre Three cheers to the board and staff of the new public library. Their imagination and skill have created a major new learning centre for Southern Alberta. The ex- hibitions, concerts, lunch time and evening talks, story hours for children, films and the provision of meeting rooms downtown, boost the already vital work of many associations and individuals engaged in adult education. The day is done when a library is simply a repository for books. The printed word is everywhere supplemented by a host of additional sources of information. Bryan Huston, Ken Roberts and Duncan Rand and others on the library team deserve the thanks of the entire community for their outstanding work. GORDON CAMPBELL Lethbridge 504 7th St. S.Lethbrlage, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLtn MOWERS, Editor and Publisher Overlooking such details, the Juneau policy, suitably ex- DON. H. PJLUNO Managing Editor ROY f. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"