Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHMID06 HERALD Tutid.y, February It, Living with inflation One of the main problems facing the Trudeau government when Parliament reconvenes Feb. 27 apart from the problem of staying in office will be inflation and whether to attempt to control it or to learn to live with it. Already the government seems to have opted to live with inflation rather than control it, on the rationale that since Canada is a trading nation it is subject to world inflationary pressures over which it has no control. The Liberals have taken some action in order to make inflation bearable on some segments of society in indexing of taxes and pension plans, that is, tying them to the cost of living. However, there are a great many more areas which need to be shored up if Canadians are going to have to live with inflation as a fact of life. Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with inflation if everything escalates at the same time and at the same rate. In practice, a great many inequities develop in areas leading to economic and social injustice. Canada Savings Bonds offer a prime example of the havoc inflation can wreak with financial systems. While the government was making a big pitch last year to sell bonds, investors were actually losing money on them. Because the cost of living index increased by 9.1 per cent, capital invested in these bonds decreased by that amount. Yet the bonds returned only about seven per cent interest and the loss was even greater because income taxes were required on the interest. The same depreciation in real value was true of any money invested without any protection against inflation savings, life insurance, many private pension plans anything in which money was the medium of saving. The alternative, and one which is going to have an increasing appeal, is to put one s money into commodities which do have a real value, but this, in turn, only increases an inflationary trend. The throne speech should give some idea of what the government's intentions are Living with inflation boggles the imagination. If, as has been suggested, the government ties Canada Savings Bonds to a cost of living index so that investors are protected from inflationary inroads against their savings, it would be a signal to all financial institutions to follow suit. They, in turn, in order to protect their investors, would be forced to insert review clauses in their mortgages and other loans to collect cost-of-living increases. Eventually financial contracts of all kinds would have built-in cost-of living increases. In short, the complexities of trying to spread the effects of inflation equally across all segments of society look more like economic insanity than economic justice. Or, like trying to fly a row of kites in a chinook. Taking sides Letters Supports music critic Has Canada really taken the side of the freedom fighters in Africa by providing some funds for humanitarian purposes? Only superficially. The support that Canada gives to Portugal through NATO in the military equipment that finds its way into the fight against the rebel forces, as well as the trade it does for the products of the Portuguese colonies, dwarfs the aid being granted to the freedom fighters. If realities are considered more significant than rhetoric, as they usually are, then there can be little doubt on either side where Canada's support goes it goes to the repressive Portuguese regime. Canadians who have uneasy consciences about the part that their government plays in shoring up colonialist Portugal are not going to be placated by the token gesture of providing band-aids to the freedom fighters. They are not going to be intimidated, either, by accusations that the African dissidents are Communists and that blankets might be exchanged for bullets in aid of their cause. All that Canada is doing in giving humanitarian aid is keeping a door open in the eventuality that that the African guerrillas succeed in driving the Portuguese out of Africa. It is not inconceivable that the long drawn-out struggle for the liberation of the Portuguese colonies could be successful; the sympathies of most African nations clearly lie with the guerrillas and could be expressed in overt action one of these days. Canada risks future exclusion from trade relations in Africa by not making some gestures of understanding of the resentment of Portuguese colonialism. No doubt the future role of Canada in African relations has been spelled out to the prime minister in the meetings of heads of state in Commonwealth conferences. As host of the last such meeting it was almost inevitable that some promise of at least a minimal gesture of concern about the African situation should be made by Mr. Trudeau. The recent decision to give humanitarian assistance is that minimal gesture in redemption of the promise. Canada to aid revolutionaries By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator I have grown somewhat weary of the use of the correspondence column by "sore losers" to snipe at your music critic, who has in my opinion been struggling against heavy odds to instill some kind of objectivity in the appraisal of musical performances in this community. I refer in particular to the rebuttal by Mr. Walter Goerzen (Feb. For a start, it is based upon false premises. Mr. Goerzen cites the evidence of the tapes of the performance in support of his argument. However, anybody knows that what the tape recorder hears may differ from what is heard in the 10th row of the auditorium or from the conductor's podium for that matter! Secondly, when Mr. Goerzen asks the critic whether she has tried to keep an amateur group together with anything but a decisive beat, he is surely assuming an attitude of defeatism. The beat was consistently metronomic, and the chorus hugged their scores like security blankets. All this points to insufficient rehearsal. I also realize that this was not a professional performance, but on the other hand we were charged professional prices for the privilege of listening to it. This is not to say that the evening was not enjoyable. The chorus has improved out of all recognition under Mr. Goerzen's direction, but it still has far to go. The orchestra was excellent, though I did note that, while the names of all the chorus were recorded in the program, the instrumentalists remained anonymous, except in Mrs. Pat Orchard's review. On the other hand, the orchestra did "fluff" the fanfare in See the Conquering Hero Come- and, with due respect to Mr. Goerzen, a fanfare can be scored for horns, without necessarily making them sound like trumpets. The weak link lay in the soloists, with the partial exception of Colleen Kaufmann, whom the reviewer accorded considerable praise. Would it perhaps be impertinent to suggest that the Symphony Association either give serious consideration to training a cadre of soloists or, alternatively, to the possibility of importing them for the occasion? In conclusion, I realize that any assessment of a work of art is largely subjective. Mr. Goerzen evidently thinks Handel's Judas Maccabaeus is a masterpiece; Mrs. Orchard does not. It is a matter of taste, and we are free to form our own opinion. Far be it from me to suggest that any local performers are less than perfect; however, I do not think Mrs. Orchard would be doing her job if every review were to be a paean of unstinted praise. It is to be hoped that both Mr. Goerzen and Mrs. Orchard will continue in their respective endeavors, without the necessity of resorting to verbal encounters in the newspaper. Lethbridge CONCERT GOER Today's student The world of education has been shaken by the news that high school students, over the past JO years, have been scoring progressively less well on college entrance examinations. The situation calls for thoughtful analysis, not dangerous overreaction. The decline is presumed to parallel an educational decline in emphasis on analytical skills. But there may be other factors. A long-time observer of the educational scene has made the point that today's students are considerably more aware of the complexities of human relationships, to say nothing of national and international relationships, and with considerably less to guide them in the way of measureable norms of intellectual and social standards, have difficulty in providing the kinds of objective answers such tests demand. This conclusion will delight those who have always felt that passing tests is not the goal of education. However, the same critic has argued that while the greater awareness and possibly greater concern of the present generation is an enormous asset, if their experiences are not paired with necessary analytical skills today's students may turn out to be all heart and little mind. OTTAWA When Parliament reassembles, the government will almost certainly be invited to clarify its international aid policy which appears to be assuming new and unexpected forms. Few members, if any, object in principle to the general policy of assisting under-developed countries or, for that matter, refugees. But the government, through the Canadian International Development Agency, has now made known its intention to make grants through intermediaries to African groups opposing white supremacy regimes. Such aid, for humanitarian purposes, may go to exiles operating from countries such as Zambia or it may go for projects in "liberated" areas. It may be taken for granted that public opinion in Canada condemns colonialism and apartheid. On the other hand, we are heartily in favor of self-determination and human rights. But these sentiments, unlike the policy which emerged recently, are not new. The government, until now, has declined for reasons which presumably appeared strong to lend assistance, even of a non-military nature, to the opponents df governments which we continue (except in the case of Rhodesia) to recognize. What are the stronger reasons which have led Mitchell Sharp to approve the change? Attention has been directed to a Commonwealth conference communique of last August which recognized the legitimacy of the African struggle and the need for humanitarian assistance. That rather ambiguous resolution, however, ignored the practical difficulties of a policy that obviously goes well beyond moral pressure. The Canadian aid program is often criticized as inadequate. It is unlikely, in the nature of things, that there will ever be agreement on how much is enough. But whether it is right or should be increased, there is a good argument that the total available is now spread so thinly over so many countries that aid is nowhere as effective as it ought to be. It is now to spread a bit farther. Admittedly, the initial liberation budget is modest but this is quite normal. It may doubtless be expected to grow at the expense of other programs involving less tricky problems. The number of unassailably respectable regimes in our imperfect world is regrettably small. We will not, presumably, apply a color test. If we are to assist the fighters against tyrannical white power in southern Africa, on what principle will we deny assistance, if needed, to fighters against tyrannical black power; let us say, in Uganda or Grenada? If we are to be guided in these matters by zeal for self- determination, the possibilities are endless. Has thought been given by CIO A to blankets for the Basques who demonstrated their nationalist fervor only recently by blowing up a Spanish premier? If there is a general preference for liberationism of the left, some of the Palestinian guerilla groups could probably use Canadian funds. If a more balanced policy is desired, potential recipients would doubtless include the Croatian Ustachi who appear to favor older fashions such as bombs in theatres. In the Latin lands where national liberation is taken to mean expulsion of the Americans and any regime frailty of associating with them, CIDA should have no difficulty in identifying deserving groups. If there is any problem in this regard, a comprehensive list could readily be obtained from Fidel Castro. In eastern Europe the meaning of national liberation is very plain. We all saw on television the Russian tanks in Prague. The Canadian sit was so locked "Now there's a chap with some 1975 Winter Games that it reduced, for a limited time, its social and caltural contacts with the Soviets. Soch is the Soviet concept of self-determination that there is almost limitless scope for the support of freedom movements. One of the problems with the new aid policy, however, is the unhappy fact that it may, if applied with any consistency, cut us off from most of the world. Even India, which is strong for anti- colonialism and liberation, has been criticized for using force against the Naga tribes. What is the logic of supporting rebels against Portuguese or South African rule while continuing to recognize and do business with the Portuguese and South African governments? It appears to be the view in CIDA that we are not going much beyond moral pressure because the support is to be purely humanitarian. Aid, however, is to be monitored; an admission by obvious implication that blankets can be exchanged for bullets. How is aid to be monitored on liberated territories when the monitors will be in obvious breach of law the moment they enter those territories (unless, of course, the Portuguese authorities will oblige with the issue of To some, it may seem a bit ironic that the new policy came to light at the very time when External Affairs was reproaching unidentified embassies in Ottawa for the rather less startling misdemeanor of ignoring parking tickets. We are a multinational society as shown by sundry facts including the presence of Dr. Haidasz in the government. This may make us somewhat vulnerable ifi CIDA persists with its plan of organizing our own, distinctively Canadian, Comintern. For we have not tolerated foreign interference in our affairs. The Pearson government, with commendable promptness, sent the late Charles de Gaulle packing when he greeted admirers with the cry: Quebec libre! The Trudeau government called out the troops to protect Quebec against FLQ style. Does the new policy mean that we have seen the error of oar fornwr ways? If the native peoples resort to non- legal means to resist Mr. Bourassa. will we welcome intervention by enlightened foreign powers inspired by oar own humanitarian sentiments? The answer, obviously, is NO. In such distressing circumstances, External Affairs could be relied upon to show in its usual felicitous fashion that what's sauce for the goose is arsenic for the gander. It is not quite so certain that the rest of the world could be relied upon to grasp this elementary point. Deserve encouragement I wish to commend Mr. Walter Goerzen for his letter censoring Pat Orchard for her unfair criticism of the Lethbridge Symphony concert. This group of men and women give so unselfishly of their time, energy and talents for no financial reward, but simply to please others and for their own personal satisfaction. We, the people they are striving so hard to please, have been sub- jected to tirade after tirade from Mrs. Orchard as she viciously tore apart everything they ever did. I have found it very difficult to even finish reading some of her criticisms because of the spiteful tone in which they were written. To use a modern expression they turned me off. I am sure the Symphony members would not mind some constructive criticism, but they also deserve some encouragement if they are to have the heart to continue giving us many evenings of delight and joy as so aptly described by Mary Scheibner. Since Mrs. Orchard professes to be such an expert on music, let her try using the soft pedal for a change, and leave us in peace. MUSIC LOVERS Lethbridge The torch bearers We are a retired couple and have lived here for a number of years. The topic we want to talk about is: The Lethbridge Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. We have always been much interested in good music, vocal and instrumental. I myself have directed various choirs for a number of years, also singing at festivals and working with young people- Since we moved here we have followed the good work done by Mr. Lucien Needham and Mr. Walter Goerzen who are doing a tremendous job with a group of professional and non-professional singers and musicians. The response they got at the end of the program on Feb. 4 was just marvelous, with nearly a full house. But what we cannot see is that a lady like Mrs. Pat Orchard has to make up a review, as published Feb. 5 under the heading Chorus competent but inconsistent We believe constructive criticism is good and we need it but that if a person like this, who is not qualified to write a review, is allowed to tear down what the others have worked to build up for years, it is not fair at all. We have been present at most of the programs, and have also read the criticisms. The recent letter, The Conductor responds (Feb. is very good. Is there nobody in Lethbridge or vicinity who is qualified to do a better job of writing a review? Somebody who could help build up a good work instead of grading it down? I know we are speaking for a good number of silent workers who are spending hours and months of time and effort to make these good concerts possible. We should encourage these people to hold up the torches for good music like they had in Bible times and especially those songs that relate the Bible stories. How thankful we are to hear these wonderful perfor- mances rather than the noisy recordings over radio and TV, day and night. Let's keep on holding up the torches with great enthusiasm in a united way, with less harsh criticism. ANONYMOUS Lethbridge Editor's Note: (a) The Herald believes Mrs. Orchard is quite qualified to write music criticisms, (b) It is the function of a music critic to criticize, and that means to say something is Rood when in his or her opinion it is Rood, and to say it is bad when it is bad. We believe Mrs. Orchard does both well, (c) Far too much is beinR made of the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Is there a "constructive" way of saying the cellist came in four bars too late? (d) We believe Lethbridgr music patrons are sufficiently sophisticated that the pleasure they derive from a concert comes from what they hear in the theatre, act what they read later in the paper. S lethbrtoge. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Second Claw MM RsgWtraHon No O01J DONM PILUINO Managing WHtor CtEO MOWERS. and Ptftrtttfwr DONALD R OORAM General Manager ROYF. MILES Manager WALKER Page Editor ROBES? M FENTON Ctrtaflatior. Manager XENWETWf 8ARNETT Business Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"