Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 24, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, February 24, 1975 IJUTOIllVLS Bilingualism blamed Bilingualism has been blamed for many things and has precipitated many arguments, but none is more specious than the attempt of automobile manufac- turers to blame the price differential between Canadian made and American made cars, in part at least, on this aspect of Canadian life. The United Automobile Workers union, which is attempting to persuade In- dustry, Trade and Commerce Minister Alastair Gillespie to force manufac- turers to lower their prices in Canada, calls this reasoning ridiculous and applies the same adjective to another argument, that weather is also a major factor in the price differential. The third reason sometimes cited as a reason for the price difference, the 12 per cent federal sales tax, may not seem. as ridiculous, but the fact is that a differential averaging 6.5 to seven per cent exists at the factory door before the tax is applied. In theory, the validity of the manufac- turers' arguments in defence of higher prices in Canada could easily be tested. Less than a quarter of the cars made in Canada are sold here; the rest are marketed in the U.S. Are they sold at American or Canadian prices? Finding the answer to this question may be dif- ficult. The Financial Post quotes a senior of- ficial of Gillespie's department as saying, "The auto companies are the most skilled people in the world in dis- guising figures in their balance sheets." However, the answer is not hard to assume. To be competitive in the American market the cars must be sold at American prices, which leads to the unpleasant conclusion that the Canadian buyer is subsidizing the American buyer in paying higher prices here. The UAW, which is interested in bolstering the Canadian auto industry to protect jobs, recommends tax cuts, reduction of interest rates, and renewed efforts to raise more investment in the Canadian industry. The Post gives them small chance of succeeding, and predicts Canadians will continue to pay a premium for their cars. And the real reason, in the words of an official of ITC, where candor seems to abound, is that the companies want to make more money and they can do this by charging more for their cars in Canada, where the market will bear it. A union official puts it less elegantly. The real reason, he says, is greed. "The com- panies figure they can get away with a higher price in Canada because they feel Canadians are first class suckers." An historic compromise An unusual political alliance is shaping up in Italy which could have two noteworthy consequences. In the first place, it could provide Italy with a government' that works and, in the se- cond -place, it could demonstrate something about national Communist parties in the so called non Communist world. The "historic as it is called, was proposed by Enrico Berlinguer, secretary of the Italian Com- munist party, the largest and most ac- tive such party in the West, and Italy's second largest political party. With a quarter of the national vote behind him, Berlinguer has proposed an alliance with the Christian Democrats, Italy's leading party, which rules at present, if rule is the right word and it is not. The Communists and the Christian Democrats, predominantly Catholic, have been historical enemies. They have two things in common, however, a desire :to give Italy a working government and a fear of a right wing coup. In fact, Berlinguer is presumed to have been moved to make his proposal for a coali- tion by the right wing coup in Chile. The Communist leader faces two ob- stacles. He must convince his own party and he must convince the Christian Democrats. The first indication of success, or lack of it, will come in mid March when the Communists hold their national congress. It is by no means cer- tain that the party is unanimous in its willingness to accept coalition with the Christian Democrats in order to prevent anarchy and it remains to be seen whether party workers who have been trained to look on their proposed allies as capitalist devils can overcome such convictions. Berlinguer may have more trouble with his own party in this respect than with the Christian Democrats. He has been very accommodating in his proposal, pledging no further nationalizations. He has said, in essence, that Italy can remain in NATO and the Americans can keep their bases in Italy. He has said that his party is in favor of fundamental freedoms of speech, press and assembly. He has said, and this is the most important point as far as the outside world is concerned, that the Communists consider parliament an es- sential institution of Italian political life and would leave government if the alliance broke up and their mandate ran out, thus respecting democratic processes. It should be noted that these assurances apply only to the proposed coalition government and if it became a stepping stone to a majority Communist government they might turn out to be rhetorical or semantic nonsense. It would be surprising if a Communist government in Italy continued membership in NATO and the Common Market, it would be unusual if it per- mitted an opposition press, and it would be an historic novelty if it allowed itself, at some future date, to be voted out of of- fice. From a strictly objective standpoint, Berlinguer's "historic compromise" would be an interesting development just to see how the Communists behave. But it could also be a dangerous one. Acts of faith By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator The alliance that wasn't By C. L. Sulzberger, New York Times commentator ERIC NICOL Back to the simple joys All yery well, to snigger and wink at the Trudeau government's program for conser- vation of energy. That the government will try to cut paper consumption means more than that things are going to be a bit bleak in the House of Commons men's room. Similarly the fact that the feds will stop buying gas guzzlers and will switch to compact cars limited to 55 mph has implications beyond the change to a political climate that no longer favors Reverand Flying Phil Gaglardi, the faster pastor. Ottawa has put its official stamp to the handwriting that is on the wall to save stationery. It has ushered Canadians into a new era of conservation of energy. This is not just a sometime thing. It will not go away if we increase our intake of ascorbic! acid. It is here for at least W years, or till the boffins perfect solar energy and cars that run on bathwater. The ramifications of The Sparse Age have yet to sink in. For example, a Paris couturier has shown fashions that feature skimpy dresses with a plunging neckline. With the thermostat set at 68 degrees F. and God knows what Celsius, clothes like these invite not only glances but virus pneumonia. President Ford has told Americans what to do about conserving fuel in their homes: put on a sweater. But how many of us have faced up to a future when the lady of fashion will dress less like Cher than like a Newfie lobster fisherman? Our government has also posted the death notice of the limousine, the muscle car, the drag and like crimes against humanity. How will films and television cope when deprived of the high-speed chase? Watching couple of cars amble along at 55 mph is not going to take the chill off our bloodstream Nude scenes? Unbelievable. Stand for full frontal woollies. Sexual realism north of 30 becomes largely lost under blankets, unless the accommodation includes a fireplace. Sex kittens must find their mittens. That a good many of us will have to be dragged into The Sparse Age, kicking and screaming, is indicated by the fact that sales of Cadillacs and Rolls Royces are booming. Old Status symbols die hard. The aging gink who all his life has had his heart set on own- ing a Landau Gran Turismo Buckbelcher is going to buy one even if he has to pedal it home from the dealer. This reluctance is reflected in the ten- tativeness of the conservation measures an- nounced by Energy Minister Macdonald. By directing the initial strictures to government vehicles and offices, he seems to be saying to us: "Henceforth the nation's business will be conducted in thermal underwear. Let Ottawa be a model of husbanding energy, and think twice before you buy those bikini briefs." We can expect further stringencies, affecting us all, once the government has put its own House in order, and we become ac- customed to seeing TV interviews with MPs tinted a blue that is not the fault of our color set. Mr. Macdonald calls the new public at- titude "the conserver ethic." What this means is that if the snow on the roof of your house disappears before that of your neighbors, you stand exposed to God and man as a menace to the' fuel needs of future generations. You can expect to find a black cross painted on your front door. Thus are we thrust back to the basics: food, shelter. Possibly a renaissance of the simple joy of splitting kindling without hitting a knot. Tomorrow, say hello to yesterday. KHARTOUM Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the first council meeting of SEATO, the alliance that never was. The pet itself was signed in Manila some five months earlier but the council of foreign ministers and all the apparatus set up as a poor man's image of NATO first foregathered in Bangkok Feb. 23, 1955. SEATO's real purpose, as admitted by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, was to establish a legal device per- mitting the United States-to intervene in Indochina, then in the process of being abandon- ed by the French who had been trounced at Dienbienphu the previous year. Indeed, Dulles said in Bangkok: "The U.S. president didn't have the necessary authority from Congress to intervene then (1954) and there was no assurance that we would have had any allies if we had acted. This area is demonstrably im- portant to the United States and the treaty assures our interest in it and assures that we have allies here." Dulles had long toyed with the idea of a far eastern alliance. His initial idea was to link the U.S. with indepen- dent Asiati lands, excluding Britain and France as colonial powers. But the rush of events after Dienbienphu changed his mind so he linked the United States and its Asian friends to Britain and France although it had already been demonstrated they were militarily vulnerable. Eisenhower's secretary of state was confident that the mere threat of American ac- tion would deter further war in Indochina. He acknowledg- ed that "The United States can't increase the number of its military advisers" there because of the Geneva agree- ment partitioning Vietnam. Anyway, he added, such ground intervention "would be an extravagant use of our power'.' which must depend essentially on naval and air forces. The Indochinese states were never members of SEATO although its purpose was to prevent them from having Communist governments. After the Bangkok meeting Dulles in fact boasted that he personally, had insisted on mentioning "international communism" in that first communique. The original pact members were the Britain, Australia, Philippines, France, New Zealand and Pakistan. Indochina was, however, covered by special codicils attached to the Manila treaty. France ceased military par- ticipation in SEATO in 1967 and ended financial contributions to its military budget in 1973. In 1974 it ceas- ed participation in its economic and social programs. It does, however, still at- tend council meetings, the next of which is scheduled this autumn in New York. Yet as long ago as December, 1972, French President Pompidou remarked to me: "De facto SEATO is virtually dead. It is not necessary to bury it." Pakistan wholly withdrew from the pact on Nov. Australia is by now virtually out, seeking a left-tending non-aligned policy. Both Australian and New Zealand contingents were withdrawn from South Vietnam long ago. And although SEATO still calls Bangkok headquarters and has a Thai secretary- general, Thailand also is look- ing around for a less exposed diplomatic posture. SEATO's basic aim was to round out Dulles's purpose of outflanking what he saw as a Sino-Soviet bloc seeking to ex- pand outward. The secretary wanted to develop military "fingers" in Southeast Asia based on a "Palm" in the United States. He reckoned the mere men- tion of U.S. power was enough to reverse the logic of events in Indochina. He spoke (just after that Bangkok council) of the need to remember "that we are operating on a basis where more and more we treat atomic weapons as conventional it doesn't make sense to use one hundred shots or bombs to do exactly the Same job as one atomic weapon." All this makes strange reading today. SEATO was never an alliance but a political device to secure congressional backing for U.S. presidential intervention in Indochina (the treaty pass- ed the Senate 86 to 1) and an international bluff based on our strategic nuclear strength. The first part of the formula worked as successive presidents upped the human ante steadily; but the second part failed. Neither Hanoi, Moscow nor Peking showed any respect for the theory that U.S. nuclear retaliation was a real factor. Meanwhile the French and British wearily went about the inescapable job of dismantl- ing remnants of their em- pires. And the United States, after launching a triumph in Pactomania, was left, mired in its own disillusion, bran- dishing a document that turn- ed out to hold little inter- national meaning. Sic transit SEATO. OTTAWA Acts of faith are more appropriate to the affairs of the church than to those of the state but the new president of Treasury Board, Jean Chretien, is not above demanding them from the public. Provided one can make the act of faith Chretien requires from the citizenry, it is then the case that the federal government's spending seemingly will only rise by 15 per cent this year. There are, however, those of us who are beset by doubt and lack of faith all of our lives, scarcely knowing which set of myths demands the greatest skepticism, those of folk legend or those of politics. For us, it seems best to gaze at Jean Chretien with raised eyebrows. That is, in- any case, the wisest way to regard any man with power. The government's proposals for spending are set forth in large part at about this time of year through the thick blue book of main estimates. They are fortified, so to speak, at intervals during the year as the government produces various sets of supplementary estimates, each pushing the year's total upwards. The complete splurge is charted through the "final supplemen- tary Last year's supplemen- taries were particularly high because the funds used to sub- sidize oil over a billion not included in the main es- timates but came along later. This subsidy is in the main set of spending figures this time. The main estimates provide for spending in the new fiscal year of billion and the government promises that in- creases through supplement- aries will be smaller than in the last years. The main es- timates for the current fiscal year proposed spending of only billion but supplemen- taries have brought the total to well over J25 billion and it is not yet complete. Chretien's hope that the rise in spending can be kept to 15 per cent is based on com- parisons between this figure and the new main estimates plus the promise that the latter figure will be boosted less than usual as the year goes by. To which the citizen can really only comment, "We shall see." The government, of course, is trying very hard to create the impression that it is setting a good example to others. Unfortunately, the attempt to raise parliamen- tary salaries by 50 per cent a couple of months ago, in which the government played a leading although not an ex- clusive role, did little to help the good example crusade along. But Chretien is the ad- ministration's, formal "em- ployer" who must negotiate with troublesome employees, some of whom want the government to take as open- handed an approach to salaries as it does to many other fields of spending. If that sort of approach is to be stopped in its tracks, or more modestly, even slowed down a little, the government clearly must temporarily set some sort of example. Chretien's objective was helped along by the pre-pay- ment of some moneys that go from the federal government to the provinces, getting these sums into this fiscal year rather than the next. That helps set up the comparison of only modest spending increases. The government in- sists that this was not done to fudge the records but just because the provinces wanted the money as soon as possible. Finance ministers have been known before now to buy themselves some good will by speeding up impending payments to help out a hard- pressed provincial treasurer. John' Turner and Quebec's Raymond Garneau know something about this sort of good fellowship. If the prac- tice is to become general, however, we may be on the threshhold of a new federal- provincial relationship in which all' will be sweetness and light. Does that really seem probable in Canada? Perhaps one had better not carry acts of faith too far. Some other comparisons are possible and interesting. At the end of the pre-Trudeau period, on Feb. 12, es- timates for the new fiscal year were tabled. They totall- ed billion and the government promised to keep spending for the approaching fiscal year under billion. This came after a period of "Paring" during' which im- portant "savings" had been claimed ie. spending increases which might otherwise have taken place had been cut back. That is such an intangible form of saving that the level of skepticism towards govern- ment spending that winter was high. The promise to keep the total below billion was greeted with guffaws in some rude quarters. (Actual spending turned out to be billion which is pretty close to promise-keeping in the world of government, only million off-target.) Gross National Products that year was million. Since then, federal spending has 'risen until it is almost three times as great as it was in 1969. It is a reasonable guess that by the time all the additional bits and pieces are' in, we will find late in the next fiscal year that it actually has been three times that earlier figure. The last figure on GNP shows that at the end of 1974 it was running at the rate of billion annually. Even if we assume a four per cent growth rate, which now seems' op- timistic for 1975, by the end of the approaching fiscal year GNP will not have doubled since that earlier period. No one should be shocked too quickly by these figures. During this period the spread of Medicare to a nation-wide basis has transferred most medical spending from the private to the public sector. Many transfer payments have gone way up: Family al- lowances are a good example. The bill for them is high but it is money that is quickly re- spent and hence increases economic activity. Efforts to stimulate the lagging economies of some of the slow-growth Canadian regions through heavy government spending have developed dur- ing this same period. Pensions have been greatly improved. Arid so it goes. It is never easy to go through the estimates and major items that could be trimmed without a great public uproar. There is, however, a valid question to be asked: Should the country embark on any massive new expenditures un- til the economy has settled down and we can be a bit more certain of the future? LETTER Human resource development I was pleased and encourag- ed to note that the manager of the Winter Games, Mr. Keith Lees, considers that the ma- jor accomplishment -and legacy of the Games is the "development of human resources." (The Herald, Feb.) By the development of human resources Mr. Lees is referring to the acquisition of new skills and the in- volvement, and subsequent learning experiences, of the many volunteers of the Games. Usually the term, human resource development, when discussed by helping professionals is discounted by those who insist that we talk about what we are doing in "jargon-free" terms. The Centre for Personal and Community Development is committed to the develop- ment of human resources. We see this "human resource development" in essentially the same terms as Mr. Keitt Lees, that is, to increase people's skills. However, the kinds of skills that we focus on are the skills we all need.to have to live effectively and to help others live effectively. No mystery here! If we can put our expertise and energies to work to organize such colossal events as the Winter Games, if we can put our technologies to work to develop and enhance plant and animal life, why not develop technologies that enhance human life? The development of a human technology has three phases: (1) determining the kinds of skills that people need to live effectively. (2) developing step-by-step (systematic) programs to produce those skills. (3) developing ways to effectively teach these skills to the people who need them. The legacy of such hitman resource development will be people who lead decent, direc- tionful and fulfilling lives. Decent, in the sense that they have the skills to effectively respond to those around them. Directionful, in the sense that they have the skills to effec- tively plan for their own per- sonal growth physically, emotionally and intellec- tually. Fulfilling, in the sense, that these living, learning, working and parenting skills can be passed on to their children: This is certainly a goal worth working for.- The price to be paid is hard work. It was hard work that assured the success of the Winter Games. Congratulations to all concerned! Let us now work just as hard in developing the human resources within our city and within our families. W "Do you know what I miss, Charlie? I miss the good old days of wasteful 504 7lh SI. S. Lelhbridge. Alborta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON. H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager Lethbridge. TONY TOBIN ROY f. 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