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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 27, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, February 27, 1975 Thatchers thinking needed in Canada The state of secrecy 'Pressures on governments to be more open are increasing as a result of Watergate. Watergate gave secrecy a bad name. Last week a major move toward openness was made in the United States when 17 amendments to the Freedom of' Information Act of 1966 came into force. The act's intention had'largely been frustrated by the executive branch and the bureaucracy using loopholes which the amendments are designed to plug. Almost everyone recognizes the need for keeping some things secret so there had been little dissent to nine specific ex- emptions to the general rule of making documents public. Defence secrets, medical files, trade secrets, internal policy memos and investigatory records were among the agreed upon exemp- tions. The most common way of avoiding making documents public was to classify them in one of the nine exempt categories. A federal judge can now inspect classified documents to deter- mine if they warrant being kept secret. In Ottawa the Senate Commons com- mittee on regulations and statutory instruments is studying the government's policy toward secrecy. Last week a member of the committee suggested something similar to what is now provided in the United States. The suggestion was that an independent tribunal should have authority to study whether government documents should be made public. President of the Privy Council, Mitchell Sharp, gave the suggestion a cool reception. According to a Canadian Press report, he said a member of the judiciary sitting on such a tribunal likely would come tq the decision that the government has the responsibility to decide disclosure of public documents. there is a presumption on the part of most Canadians that the daily question period in the House of Commons is a suf- ficient safeguard against government abuse of secrecy. That assurance was somewhat undermined by the assertions made by Conservative MP Jed Baldwin in a TV program this week. He said sometimes the only way essential infor- mation can be got from the government is to steal it. Allowing something for the fact that Mr. Baldwin sits in the Opposition and also something for the use of hyperbole to gain effect, it could be that there is need for the tribunal that was proposed. The parliamentary committee should pursue the matter further. Troubles in operettaland Anyone looking for straws in the wind in regard to the world petroleum situa- tion will be interested in the latest news from Abu Dhabi. This small Arab shiekdom, which always sounds as {though it belonged in the musical theatre rather than in the Persian Gulf, is in danger of going into debt although it had revenues of more than billion last year. The Bedouin shiek who rules the state has been very generous with needy countries and nationalist movements around the world. According to the Currency Board, the central bank for all the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi's foreign aid expenditure last year com- prised 30 per cent of its total spending. This reinforces the musical comedy allusion. Shades of The Chocolate Soldier! A country that gives 30 per cent of its budget to foreign aid? Unheard of! The small shiekdom has also financed an ambitious domestic development program including office complexes, apartment blocks and luxury hotels. Its efforts domestically illustrate the error of prognosticators who not long ago were predicting that the world money markets would be glutted with petrodollars because the Arab economies could not absorb them. This supercilious attitude failed to take into account the idea that western entrepreneurs of all sorts would flock to the Middle East to earn money by show- ing the Arabs how to spend it. Economists have now had to revise their projections about how much Arab money would be floating around looking for a port. Abu Dhabi's present deficit troubles are due to a glut of oil on the market and the resultant cut in production. Money is being spent, at least in this small state, almost faster than it is coming in. Because of its low sulphur content, Abu Dhabi's oil is the highest priced on the Gulf and its cutback in production has been greater the oil ministry says 50 per cent than that of other countries. Iranian production, according to the Arab Press Service, is down 11 per cent, Kuwait is down 10 per cent, Iraq down 14 per cent, Libya down 20 per cent and Algeria down about 17 per cent. This cut in production is in line with accurate predictions made by the Economist which, even at a time of sup- posedly critical oil shortages, pointed' out that any move toward conservation would soon glut the market with oil. At any rate, Abu Dhabi has decided, the UPI says, to lower the price of its oil by 10 to 30 cents a barrel. This may be the first step toward eventual, more realistic pricing of oil. However, much also depends on the outcome of the Arab- Israeli conflict, because oil is a political rather than an economic commodity. RUSSELL BAKER A night to remember We are gathered at home to watch the end of the world on television. It is a special. We are watching it on our old black-and-white set. A touch of sentimentali- ty here. A neighbor with color invited us over, but we felt the tug of loyalty. "At the we. said, "we'd rather be with our faithful old black-and-white set that brought the family all the great assassinations." Nobody can believe the world is really ending. "What will the newspapers have to write about after it's all asks grand- father. It is 1 o'clock in the morning. For months the networks have tried to persuade the world to end in prime time. "In prime time." They said, "it could top the ratings of the Super Bowl." No dice. The end of the world is not like a Republican national convention. It is the las't thing left that can say no to television. President Ford will address the nation in a few minutes. According to NBC, which broke the release date on his speech, he will say that the end of the world is a historic event for all Americans. The children are restless. They would rather watch Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein on Channel 8. Foolish, foolish childhood. Someday, everybody will remember exactly what he was doing the night the world ended. How sad the children would be if they had to say, "I was watching Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein." Someday, they will thank us for this deprivation. John Chancellor is showing film clips of the events leading to this night's event. Pictures of the last oil well going dry. Of the earth's vitally essential ozone layer breaking down under aerosol can gases. Of well-dressed men carrying briefcases paying five ad- missions to pornographic movies. Of the rapidly mounting birthrate. "I always told you that credit cards and automobiles would be the end of you" says grandfather. Mother wants to switch to CBS. She feels that so long as Walter Cronkite is handling the end of the world everything will turn out ill right. Marvin Kalb is entering an airplane with Henry Kissinger. Kissinger says the end of the world may make the Arabs and Israelis more receptive to peace negotiations. There is an Exxon commercial. Exxon is working to build a better life for everyone after the end of the world. The1 cats, are bored. We see film of San Clemente. Richard Nixon is watching the end of (he world in seculsion with a few old friends. An interruption for a live shot from Zurich. We see the dollar collapse. Grandmother says the end of the world is very dull. She has expected a big bang. "This is not a rocket launching from Cape I tell her. "It is the end of the world." The children are fractious. If there is nothing more to the end of the world than collapsing dollars, mounting birth rates, dry oil wells and well dressed men carrying briefcases going to dirty movies, they would prefer to watch Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. I want to tell them to shut up. The end of the world is important, but I cannot because I am a niceguy. You get to be a niceguy by growing up in a world you know can never come to an end. My entire life has been spent mastering niceguyism. "Is this the way the world asks mother. "Not with a bang, but a says Cronkite showing film of the last car in the world running out of gas. "Just think" says mother "when we all get up tomorrow morning the world will have ended." "Just like yesterday says grand- mother. The cats are asleep. We turn off the TV. It is so quiet I can hear the police steaming open my mail at the post office to make sure I still believe in the future of America. Fragments of the last of the vitally essen- tial ozone layer fall on the roof with the sound of small icicles breaking. The children plead to see the end of Abbott and Costello. Why not? They ought to have some way to remember the night the world ended, or else how will they ever believe it? By Bruce Hutchison, Herald special commentator In all the deluge of hard news, speculation and gossip ''surrounding her, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the im- probable Conservative party leader, seems to be regarded among Canadians as only a British phenomenon. But she is more than that, even more than the latest symbol of a wildly romantic national dis- position always lurking behind the stolid image, the John Bull caricature. If the lady on the ideological right wing represents anything of importance to the contemporary world she represents a new test of an old philosophy long diluted, often forgotten, by its fair-weather friends in Britain and Canada alike. This is a very com- plicated and sensitive subject nowadays, for so-called prac- tical politicians almost taboo. Anyone who mentions Conser- vatism without apologizing for it, and explaining that he is a good liberal at heart, will be suspect as the champion of the rich, the enemy of the poor, an obstacle to progress, as if progress were confined to one party. Sir William Gilbert the Brit- ish librettist of comic opera, was quite wrong when he de- clared, in a famous song, that every boy and every girl born alive was either a little liberal or a little conservative. In all human beings, and in their governments, too, liberalism, conservatism, socialism and many additional notions are at ceaseless war. The Liberal government of Canada, for instance, contains some authentic, true-blue con- servatives .in transparent dis- guise. The official opposition, deeply penetrated by liberals, is weak, confused and desperate mainly because its leaders cannot agree on their basic conservative faith and are afraid to defend it. Within this age-old and now more than usually blurred argument Mrs. Thatcher is an interesting exhibit. She may succeed at the ballot boxes or fail, as the Labor party gleefully predicts. She may be a brief candle in the wind of social revolution blowing everywhere, a comely fig- ment of Britain's imagination. But she alone among the Com- monwealth's party leaders has dared to lay conser- vatism, as a philosophy, not an apology, on the line. Here, for lack of space, a single quote must serve to ex- press her thinking. She calls herself the spokeswoman of the middle class which "has HOTHEU5 TIP: CITY PAKKINfl The leadership factor is still missing By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator OTTAWA Back in the days when Pierre Trudeau was young on the country's political scene much of his appeal'lay in the fact that he seemed so much the contem- porary man. In the later 1960s, when he emerged as a political figure, people had grown extremely conscious of the rapidity with which society and its values had been changing for more than a decade, since about the middle fifties. Inevitably, the future seemed uncertain be- cause, with old values losing their force, it was impossible to foretell what would replace them, i Trudeau, as an emerging political phenomenon, seemed to be the sort of person who, even if he did not know the necessary answers, would at least understand which questions it was appropriate and necessary to ask. That, I think, was the quality which made him a politically ex- citing figure during the first year of his prominence. Now we are living in a different period, so filled with uncertainties and anxieties that it cloaks the troubled latter half of the Sixties in an illusion of security and com- fort which was actually lack- ing at the time. Those qualities already had gone by then. Viewing him now in his political middle age most LETTER people, I suppose, would ex- pect much less of Pierre Trudeau and attribute different qualities to him. They would probably think him more remote, certainly less full of promise but also much more tempered by events. They would, perhaps, still find him a bit of an enigma. After his political setback in 1972, he almost gave up talk- ing philosophically in public because advisers insisted that this harmed him in practical ways. With the recovery of a majority, much of his political style now is far closer to that of the first powerful days than to the minority period. He still, however, tends to avoid public philosophising. This makes it especially interesting to examine with care, parts of a speech he delivered in his constituency last week. The prime minister was ad- dressing students when he cautioned an audience that governments do not deter- mine the direction taken by societies, that although they may influence it marginally it is "the citizens themselves, the values in which they believe, the future which they want to realize, which really determines the direction of society." He went on to concede that with values changing rapidly governments must keep pace with changing expectations if they do not wish to be swept aside. "There is no set answer by any government to the prob- lems of society, no set answer which is good for all time or were among the worst laggards. One of the penalties of this political delay was the way in which the vacuum of leadership opened the way to excesses. For a time, legitimate and necessary even good for a longish period concern for environmental of he told the young factors brought in its train people. Then Sanding causes problems I think the road conditions in the city of Lethbridge could be improved greatly in both' winter and summer, though it may seem as if it isn't right to compare the two, they are both linked. For instance, in the last snowstorm, instead of using the ploughing machinery to clear the roads, they were just spread deeply in sand to cause friction. But what are the results of these layer upon layer of sand? Problems. Once these layers build up, stopping, with or without snow, can be hazardous plus cause the catapulting of pebbles everywhere. In the summer, kids and adults alike, love to go bicycle riding but these pebbles are a menace. The corner of 10th Avenue and 12th Street North is especially d. ngerous because of the pile of rocks that accumulate there during the winter months. Since this is the route off Stafford Drive (where bikes aren't it, and others like it, should be improved. I strongly suggest the city, instead of finding another way of getting rid of the left over, buy some more machinery, which we don't now have from the looks of it, to plough roads and remove the gravel from roadsides in early spring. LQRI WEIGHILL Lethbridge the prime minister cited examples, all involving sharp changes in the pressures bearing upon governments airport construction, Indian affairs, language rights, energy. These are subjects, he holds, where the values rather than the underlying facts have changed. "No matter how well governments try to look ahead and plan for the future, those plans can be set aside quite easily by a set of changing values." There is certainly a great deal of basic truth in this proposition. To take one of the most thought-provoking of all the possible examples, the way in which concern for en- vironmental factors developed in our day should cause the most uneasiness to all of those who operate within the political process. They should be uneasy because this major area of contemporary values developed entirely outside the political process. If one takes the late Rachel Carson's work as an effective point of departure, it took the world's political processes an inordinately long time to awaken to the fact that an im- portant new value was emerg- ing. This particular value had become fully developed through books, speeches, magazines, radio and television, newspapers and or- dinary conversation before those in politics accepted its reality. The reasons for this political tardiness are perplexing. It is not nearly enough to blame it all on vested commercial or in- dustrial interests fearful of new costs and restrictions. That, no doubt, was a factor but those on the political left, supposed not to be greatly concerned about vested com- mercial interests, were as slow to react as those in the centre and on the political right Indeed, the socialist countries of East Europe fads and negative knee-jerk reactions that were only harmful because they tended to obscure true problems. The Trudeau governments have had a penchant for the sweeping, stem-to-gudgson study: Foreign policy, regional expansion, transport, social policy. It has been as if the prime minister and his cabinet members did not real1 ly trust any predecessor to have invented the wheel or, if they actually seemed to have done so, to have built a reliable one. This is a strange counterpart to his recognition of the marginal effect of governments on social change. For all the studying, and the scale on which it is done, the Trudeau governments have not seemed to have much foresight. To use one of the prime minister's own ex- amples, the question of petroleum exports. It is, as he says, not long since he and his government were part of the pressure to export as much as possible. Granted that in those quite recent days no one knew the future price of crude oil, a great deal was known about this country's reserve supplies. There were reasons even then to be reserved towards the idea of exhausting them as rapidly as possible. In all of this, it seems to me, the prime minister has begged the question of leadership. The equation with which he is dealing is incomplete until that factor is put in place. never been simply a matter of income but of a whole attitude to life, a will to take respon- sibility for oneself the middle-class morality that (Bernard) Shaw despised so much. We need those who are going to save money, who are going to do things for themselves." Most members of the Cana- dian Parliament it is safe to say, would agree with that statement, in private anyhow. Mr. Trudeau, a middle class product, would doubtless ap- prove it, though he was once a socialist and has become a more realistic social reformer, a pragmatist choos- ing the lesser of the evils confronting all prime ministers. Even in the three socialist governments of Canada middle class morality may be denigrated publicly but thrives privately (with the high ministerial wages of capitalist The skilled craftsmen of the labor unions have all joined that class, whether they know it or not, and dominate the modern economy. Yet in Canada, Britain and elsewhere it is the middle class, neither very rich nor very poor, neither especially moral nor immoral, neither consciously liberal, conser- vative nor socialist, that the modern economy seems determined to destroy, without realizing what it is do- ing and, among middle-class politicians, always pretending to do the precise opposite. What Mrs. Thatcher is say- ing, as a remote Canadian un- derstands it, is that the destruction of the middle class, its savings, its morality, its self-dependence and its faults, would be ex- ceedingly dangerous for a free society. All history demonstrates that danger. No society has ever been free for long if. it lacked a balance wheel, a flexible mechanism of corn- promise, at the centre. Even the unfree society of Russia, having extinguished an old middle-class, has invented a new one and called it something else. With his af- fluent lifestyle, his fleet of au- tomobiles, his country estate and jolly, homespun manners Mr. Brezhnev looks as un- mistakably bourgeois as President Ford. Surely, however, the basic question in Britain today is not the war of parties, labels and doctrines. It is whether the nation, under any government, can recover the vitality which made it great and slough off the apathy which, according to Denis Healey, a socialist chancellor unsuspected of middle-class contagion, is leading it to- ward "bankruptcy." Thus both the Labor govern- ment and the Conservative op- position are really trying, by different methods, to do the same thing. They are trying to revive the British spirit. Win- ston Churchill (who was a partisan Liberal and Conser- vative by turns) achieved that feat of genius, far above par- tisanship. No successor has yet repeated it when the need is again urgent. In Canada, the world's most fortunate nation, we general- ly view Britain's misfortunes with sympathy but imagine that they can never touch us. After all, we are rich in natural resources, Britain poor. Unpleasant choices face others, not Canadians. This illusion will not last much longer as things are go- ing now. The state oi our economy, our public finance and divided mind should tell us that our dangers and our choices are closer ahead than the politicians dare to admit. Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Hea- ley may both be wrong, when no one is likely to be right, but at least they tell the truth as they see it from opposite poles of philosophy. So far, we have found no Canadian politi- cian willing to speak out so candidly but in due course the facts, though they have no tongue, will speak for themselves with most miraculous organ. The lethbridge Herald 504 7lh SI. S. Lethbridge. Alberla LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO, LTD. Proprietors ana Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON. H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH" ;