Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 27, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 - THE IETHBRIDGE HERAID - Tuesday, February 17, 1973 MUCH OBUGEP/ Europe's nuclear shield Observers of the European scene will have noted that during the current dollar crisis - still far from final settlement, by the way - the nations of Europe showed unwonted understanding for U.S. financial problems. There has been a surprising lack of the anti-American ranting that so often greets American economic initiatives. This is not the result of sentimentality on the part of the hard eyed men who shift billions of dollars around and through the world's money markets. Rather, it reflects a European consensus that political stability is of paramount importance right now. Europeans know that a massive U.S. trading deficit is a major element in the situation, and that this points to reductions in U.S. spending abroad. Withdrawing U-S. troops from Europe, besides finding considerable political support at home, would save millions in foreign spending. Europeans have noticed, too, that whenever Washington is contemplating a major economic move that will affect Europe, speculation about how long U.S. troops should stay in Europe seems to surface in various European capitals. Perhaps this is coincidence; perhaps not. If the cost of maintaining U.S. troops in Europe was the only problem, it could be handled quite readily; Europe grows stronger financially every year, and could finance its own defence with little help from outside. But it isn't the troops that matter. The problem is that if American military forces pull out, they take Europe's nuclear shield with them. Current military doctrine says that if one side has nuclear weapons, the other side canrnot survive without them. It follows that as long as the Warsaw Pact countries have Soviet nuclear weapons, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, on which European defence rests, must have them too. At present, England and France are the only European NATO countries who are members of the nuclear club. It is hard to visualize modem Europe agreeing that either England or France alone should hold Europe's nuclear umbrella; considerations of military and political sovereignty pretty well rule that out. It is as hard to imagine an Anglo-French accord for Paris and London to make joint nuclear decisions, even if the rest of Europe would agree. And without abandoning the hard-won interna-' tional agreement forbidding the proliferation of nuclear arms, there can be no pooling of nuclear weapons or information. Sooner or later, one would expect, Europe will have to face this dilemma, unless U.S. troops and nuclear weapons are to be permanently deployed in Europe. When it does, there is bound to be political upheaval, and quite possibly a new alignment of political interests, hard to foresee at the moment. Accordingly, whatever views Europeans may hold on the present American military presence, their leaders see it as the best arrangement that can be made under the circumstance and are prepared to make whatever accommodations are needed to maintain it. Licences for gunners The Alberta Fish and Game Association is undoubtedly correct in assuming that tougher gun legislation is in the offing. Canadians have not suffered from gun slaughter as the Americans have but there have been some disturbing signs that the incidence of fatalities from shootings is apt to increase. Pressure to have stricter controls is being applied. In anticipation of new gun legislation, the Alberta Fish and Game Association members will press the na-' tional organization, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, to make representations to the federal government to make it mandatory that users have permits. This is a sensible proposal which the government would likely welcome, especially when it has the backing of sportsmen. Requiring people to qualify, for handling firearms is such a reasonable proposal that it is surprising it has been so long coming. Training in the safe use of weapons would be of benefit to the user as well as to those around him. Some of the accidental deaths attributable to improper handling of guns could be eliminated at least. There still seems to be a case for the registering of firearms in addition to the licensing of shooters, however. Qualifying to handle a gun ought to be a major condition in being able to buy and keep one. By requiring permits both to own and operate guns the policing job becomes more meaningful. Guns would probably still get into the hands of some who ought not have them. Those who do not qualify might steal them from those who do. Yet this possibility could be a goad to owners to be truly responsible by taking extra care in locking utj their property and in reporting it when it goes missing. Nothing comparable to the acrimonious debate tha goes on endlessly and fruitlessly in the United States on the issue of gun control is apt to occur in Canada. The mood in Canada seems to be that new legislation is needed and should be as wise and workable as possible. By suggesting licences for gunners the fish and game people have made a useful and welcome contribution. The casserole Without predicting or advocating a change in the status of the federal government - not at present, anyway - It is still interesting to speculate about what might happen to the rhetoric of certain opposition members if the present administration decided to hand over power without a new election. What, for instance, would take the place of talk about a "shot-gun wedding with the NDP," the shame of being "in bed with the socialists," pandering to Quebec separatists, and so forth? when "teachers' representatives failed to accept the trustees' offer" or something bo that effect. One account would be as factual as the other, and quite probably just as sincerely presented. There is a difference, however; a simple but quite significant difference. It's called bias. Monetary crises come and go. One suspects they will continue to do so as long as they lead to massive profits for those who create them. As an indication of how lucrative they can be, a report from Bonn, Germany, says dollar-mark transactions via the Central Bank at Frankfurt, amounting to about six billion U.S. dollars, netted speculators 387 millions of dollars in profits. That figure is for Germany alone; it is not know what profits the speculators reaped in London, Zurich, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Brussels. . . . A federal study group has carefully, examined the lot of certain military pensioners, and has recommended that the pensions of totally disabled married veterans be raised from $3900 to $4500 per year. Before these instances of government generosity become law, however, they must be very carefully studied by $26,000 a year members of Parliament. Whenever there's talk of raising wages, someone promptly brings up the matter of productivity. The two seem inextricably linked in the minds of businessmen, who appear to believe that if wages are to go up, there must be a corresponding increase in productivity. Sounds z-easonable, doesn't it? Too bad the notion couldn't extend to prices, as well. When the price of bread rises, there doesn't seem to be any increase in the Quantity of nutrients contained in a loaf. When gasoline prices go up cars don't seem to go any more miles on a gallon. Increases in the price of electricity don't seem to make the bulbs burn any brighter, or the stove any hotter. Does that mean productivity - or getting your money's worth - is only really important when it's wages that are going up? According to an A.T.A spokesman, reporting on a recent negotiating session between rural teachers and their trustees, the latest contract talks were broken off when "trustees failed to present an acceptable offer" to the teachers. I� this report had been made by a spokesman for the trustees, no doubt it would have said that the talks were broken off To help finance the Olympic extravaganza scheduled for Montreal in 3576, it is proposed that there be a series of nationally conducted lotteries. An interesting notion, but it may not appeal to all, especially to those w:ho recall that when national lotteries have been proposed in the past, as a means of financing such social causes as special hospitals and medical research, they have bean peremptorily shot dow'n. Have lotteries suddenly changed? Or are the Olympics considered a more worthy humanitarian cause than medical research? Or is it just that, in promoting as in sports, the professionals are usually better than the amateurs? On the Hill By Joe Clark, MP for Rocky Monntaln Everybody happy, say aye By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA - The Conservatives appear to be reacting like myopic, nervous Nellies to a Budget largely compounded of their own ideas. Beyond doubt, the present situation in Parliament is novel and, perhaps for that reason, unsettling. Conversions occur in politics but seldom with such disconcerting speed. It is altogether likely that a number of stirring Opposition speeches perished undelivered when a Liberal Finance Minister clutched to his bosom the general financial doctrine of the Stanfield Conservative party. Even so, a credible response was open to the Opposition. The Conservatives might, quite reasonably, have claimed the Budget as their own offspring. They might, indeed, have gone farther, arguing that the party, having achieved so much in Op. position, could do even better in government. Such a reaction would be politically unorthodox. But clearly it had some attraction as Robert Stanfield indicated on Budget night by politely acknowledging the cries of "au-thor" from admiring followers. The Conservative amendment in Marcel Lamberts name speaks for itself. It begins: "While acknowledging certain beneficial provisions in the Budget proposals"; and only then does it go on to deplore. But deplore it does. Evidently conservative doctrine, once adopted by a Liberal Minister, becomes suspect and inadequate in Conservative eyes. It may be beneficial but it is imperative to raise the ante. We now have it on Mr. Lambert's authority that "a Conservative Minister of Finance would have introduced a really expansionary Budget and, if you want figures, it could be $2% billion or $3 billion to really do the job." (Last summer, even by John Turner's apprehensive reckoning, it wras only $1.5 billion.) By the time Mr. Lambert had 'Crazy Capers' Well, talk of tie devil! finished the "beneficial" deficit had, indeed, almost disappeared. The Government was manufacturing illusions, pretending to show a great increase by ignoring $1,800 millions in supplementaries for 1972-73 which the House has now passed. Quite true-the Government plays this little game every year. But there will also be supplementaries for 1973-74 and, with the Government owing its life to the NDP, it is safe to say that they will again be large. Mr. Lambert also mentioned the bookeeping entry, the $390 million advance to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. But if the Budget fails to cut substantially into high unemployment-as the Conservatives insist will be the case-a huge government contribution will recur. Even the very modest remedial measures proposed by Mr. Andras are currently blocked by the NDP. Thus in all likelihood we are headed for a mammoth deficit, beneficial or otherwise. The Conservatives are obviously not very happy with this light skirmishing; they would prefer a good, solid attack. And why not The Budget is vulnerable. Their amendment deplores the lack of measures "ef. feetively to curtail the spiralling cost of living." What do they propose? They would not be afraid, says Mr. Lambert, "to impose a total price freeze and then phased price controls." In that case, why do they not flatly advocate this course in the fashion of Paul Hellyer? Why is there no mention of controls in the Conservative amendment? In his pre-Budget advice to the Minister, Mr. Stanfield urged the Government to cut the fat from its spending in order to show that it is serious in opposing inflation. This was sound counsel. Who will believe that there is no fat to be cut from the estimates when the Government has been spending in a fashion to chill the blood of any drunken seaman in the ports? But the Conservative critic must have forgotten about this in the House, on the evidence of his speech and amendment. Perhaps it would be somewhat tricky to couple in a single speech the theme of economy and an exhortation to higher spending in the interests of an even larger and more beneficial deficit. Apparently more in despair than conviction, Mr. Lambert and Mr. Hellyer have turned their critical fire on the tariff cuts. There is the ancient argument that our fragile manufacturers will be hurt. It is possible; now and again some unfortunate person does die of mosquito bites. And it may be that the Conservative critics have been alerted by a few preliminary yelps from the electronics industry. For no industry, however, does yelping come easier; our bold, electronic entrepreneurs are experts in crying havoc and shivering to keep warm. There is indeed a dread prospect that some foreign refrigerators may enter the country. But it happens to be fact that in Ottawa, and doubtless in other centres, customers last year were kept waiting for months for ranges and refrigerators because our tariff-kept manufacturers were unable to supply the retail outlets. Even if a course of risk had been recommended to the Minister of Finance by our super-cautious mandarins, Mr. Turner has made clear that the Government wants legislative authority to abrogate any of these cuts if peril materializes. There is a slightly (but only slightly) more sophisticated argument that unilateral tariff reductions will impair our bargaining power in coming multilateral talks. Why? Anything we concede voluntarily is not a bound item under GATT. We can treat it as non-existent for purposes of negotiation. Indeed, a concession permitting a foreign manufacturer to obtain a toe-hold in our market migfct be of positive help. For if the source country then refuses corresponding concessions, its businessmen stand to lose not a mere hope or dream but something tangib'e, which they have enjoyed and of which they will not wish to be deprived.. The tariff argument, then, is bogus; merely evidence that the Conservatives as yet have been unable to make up their minds about a Turner-Stanfield-Lewis Budget. It is possible that they are now suffering from a surplus of financial critics, each with his own ideas of the proper political course. If so, they should sort themselves out as a matter of urgency for the Budget is certainly deserving of serious analysis and it does not appear from the opening salvoes that it is likely to get it. So They Say There are probably more wild turkeys in the United States now than at the time of the landing of the Pilgrims. -Duncan MacDonald, wildlife management specialist in the Department of the Interior. If you look upon the House of Commons as a source of entertainment - and certainly some people do - the time to come to watch is during question period. In many ways, that is also the most significant period of any parliamentary day. Most of the time, the government calls the shots; in question period, the government is called upon to answer. When you remember that Parliament was established, in early Britain, to give "the people" some control over their governors, the symoblic importance of the question period becomes clear. As usual, there are some major hitches. The traditional one - which Is as old as Parliament - is that the government, while it is obliged to listen, is not obliged to answer questions. The government retains the right to decide when it will announce its policy, or display its dirty linen, or .jelease any other information. So the dramatic contest in question period is not simply to get or withhold inform atioh - it is to influence public opinion. The press recognizes that fact, and question period is the only part of the parliamentary day when every seat in the press gallery is taken. It would be wrong to suggest that the only purpose of question period is to influence public opinion. Many of the great issues of Parliament - and the country - were inspired simply because an MP asked the right question, or a minister gave an answer he didn't intend to give. Another hitch in the operation of question period is the fact that there is often not enough time to pursue the important questions MPs want to raise. The time squeeze has been a particular problem in this Parliament. Question period is traditionally dominated by Opposition MPs, on the theory that government MPs can ask their questions in caucus. Among the rule changes Mr. Trudeau brought in when he had a majority was a change to reduce the length of question period from one hour to 40 minutes every day. That worked reasonably well when most MPs were on the government - or quiet side of the House. In this Parliament, that balance is reversed. There are more MPs on the asking side - and the time limitation is a serious problem. It is compli- cated by the increasing practice of the present government of taking question period time to have Liberal backbenchers ask questions whose answers are already known, simply to get those answers on the public record. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that, for the Opposition parties, question period has two fundamental purposes. The first is to allow individual private members to raise questions of special concern to their constituencies. For exmaple, I have already raised questions about parks policy and coal problems. The second purpose is to mount a sustained drive for information on a particular issue of national importance. A re-, cent example, in which I was involved, was a series of questions about the James Bay development inspired by a "leaked" document which showed that Ottawa has virtually abandoned the James Bay Indians to defend themselves against a multi-million dollar, government - sponsored corporation. The sustained drives often involve several MPs and several questions - sometimes one drive can take half the question period. In many ways they are the most important use of question period, because hold the promise of revealing significant information, or causing the government major embarrassment. This Parliament has seen a further compbeation to the time problem. Many government backbenchers - understandably worried that they'll be beaten next election - are trying to win public reputations by asking questions during question period. So, not only are there more Opposition MPs asking questions, there are also more government MPs asking questions - all in 40 minutes. The man in the middle is the Speaker, who decides which MPs to recognize and, sometimes, decides to let question period last a little longer than it should. He, and representatives of all four parties, are meeting informally now to discuss ways in which the question period may be changed, to allow more MPs more time without reducing the Opposition's capacity to mount a.sustained drive for information on major government policy. Whatever they recommend, question period will still remain one of the most lively and interesting parts of the parliamentary day. Letters Relocate sportsplex If, as suggested In a frontpage story in The Herald of February 20, there is even a possibility that Lethbridge is going to have to finance the Sportsplex for the 1975 Winter Games more or less alone (with help to the tune of $800,-000 from the federal and pro. vincial governments), then the question of just where the arena is to be located becomes paramount. Simple arithmetic indicates that approximately $2 million will be required from local taxpayers, and it strikes me that for this kind of money there must be a more geographically centred location available than the extreme southern edge of the city. To date, citizens (and taxpayers) have had precious little chance to express opinions on where and how their tax dollars should be spent in this endeavor, and I find it hard to undersatnd why the city administration appears wedded to a south-side location. What is wrong with a location in or near the exhibition grounds, or, for that matter, a site on the northern side of town? After all, a location half way to Hardieville would be just as close and accessible for many residents as would one on the far southern perimeter. The Herald story speaks of "an appropriate sequence of priorities loading up to construction of the Canada Games sportsplex," but one Important and "appropriate" priority that seems to have been overlooked is provision of an opportunity for those of us who are going to have to foot most of the bill to express our views on the critical matter of location. What will we be getting for our money, will the arena best serve the needs, of a majority of the people in the presently proposed location, and why has the city administration all but eliminated, at least in public declarations, any other possible site? CHESTER B. BEATY Lethbridge Misunderstood As one writes in the hope of shedding a little light on matters of importance, it is necessary to point out that Art Mat-son's letter (Feb. 20) shows extreme confusion about what my article (Feb. 8) said. Perhaps others misread it as well, so I urge that it be read again. My central point is that 'evolutionism' not the motion of evolution, is harmful. And I made no reference to faith versus evolution, saying, on the contrary that "many evolutionists do not see that physical evolution is compatible with theism." . . . PETER HUNT Lethbridge. I don't think pornography is very harmful, but it is terribly, terribly baring. Sir Noel Coward. The lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD ^O. LTD., Proprietors and Publisher! Published 1905 - 1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No. 0011 number o* The Cena-tlan Press and the Canadian Dally Newspanef Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulation! CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROY F MILES DOUGLA& K. WALKER Advertising Manager Editorial Page Editor THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"