Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 6, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, January 6, 1975 Bold leadership needed for inspiration No carefree highways A story from Moscow at year's end has illustrated a sharp contrast between life in the Soviet Union and life in Canada. The minister of internal affairs for the U.S.S.R. has announced that farm workers, who make up about a third of the Soviet work force, will now be entitl- ed to internal passports like other Soviet citizens so that, at last, they can travel about within the country. Heretofore, they had been tied to the farm by lack of such a document. Since the Soviet union has been trying to keep rural workers from migrating to urban areas, the move is interpreted as a way to cut through bureaucratic red tape in shifting farm workers from one area to another and in encouraging young peo- ple to emigrate to Siberia and the arctic regions which the U.S.S.R. is trying to develop. Along with this announcement came word that the new style of passport will no longer designate its bearer by social status as peasant, worker or intellec- tual a practice which was assumed to place a stigma on farm workers. All of this comes under the heading of enlightened policy but it is still a long way from the freedom enjoyed by Canadians, who can travel as freely as their time and finances permit and who need no passport or bureaucratic per- mission to go from Alberta -to Nova Scotia or, for that matter, to Hawaii or Las Vegas. Or, for that matter, from farm worker to premier. The question of personal freedom has been raised by the Economic Council, which has predicted future erosion of in- dividual liberty in favor of comfort and security. Freedom is taken for granted, like the sunrise and the changing seasons, by people who have always possessed it. It pays to remember that it is fragile as well as precious. A carefree highway is more than a song. In analys- ing quality of life factors, personal freedom needs to be considered along with other social components such as health, education and housing. It should not be discounted because it is harder to quantify. It may be the most important factor of all. A Bolshevik mystery To those who are not familiar with Bolshevik strategy or Maoist tactics, the Moscow Peking dispute must appear like one never ending game of chess. Scholars throughout the world are study- ing statements in their major news- papers or the texts of exchanged an- niversary telegrams in the hope of finding new answers to the puzzling mysteries of the East. The negotiations on the Sino-Soviet border problem are deadlocked, as ever, and the supposition by some analysts that the Chinese have engaged in over- tures toward a peace proposal stem from a misreading of a published Moscow report. Peking's recent anniversary greeting contained a restatement of Chinese objectives in order to refute the Russian charge that it is refusing to conclude a non aggression treaty. The deletion of the greeting message from the published report made it appear like a concessionary move, particularly since the full text became available in-Peking only after some delay. The above speculations may have been further confirmed through the Chinese leak that so far three warnings of an im- minent Russian attack have been receiv- ed in Peking. The source of the warnings has not been specified and was only alluded to in recent talks to foreign visitors in Peking that it was of U.S. RUSSELL BAKER The day the shah was shy F'or this I need dim lights and cobwebs. It is the interior of one of those magnificent walnut-paneled clubs, but there is a sense of opulence gone to dust. The rooms are empty, except for an oc- casional spider nestled under the ear of a marble Minerva and, at the great oaken bar, a bartender, old and greenish- gray, who has given up polishing the glasses. It is not the end of the world in here, but the end feels very near. I move through a gloomy mist. The bartender watches my approach without hope, for I am not a member of the club and he knows that no one else can afford a beer, which now costs million a glass. Only'three men in the world can still afford a glass of beer. They are Nelson Rockefeller, King Faisal and the Shah of Iran. They are, in fact, the only men left on earth who can afford anything now that the law of supply and demand has been so long repealed. Under the new law, prices go up as demand goes down, and they have gone so high that only these three con- sumers are left to keep the great engines of business turning. Last year, for ex- ample, General Motors made only one car, but was able to show its usual good profit margin by selling it to King Faisal for billion. I pass the bartender without speaking. The king and the shah are in the library. They are reminiscing about the day last winter when Aristotle Onassis was priced out of the market. Onassis had needed a new pair of pants. His tailor, having sold only two pairs of pants the preceding year, told Onassis he would have to dou- ble the price to stay in business. Onassis, not haying the million which the pants would have cost, dropped out of the pants market, and hasn't been heard of since. The tailor raised the price of pants to billion in response to the fall in demand. "I am glad I don't have to buy King Faisal is saying as I drift up behind him. The shah is worried about Rockefeller. "Rockefeller needs pants in the worst he says to the king. "I murmurs the king, "those bags at the knees are disgraceful." "Not only says the shah, "the pants are also worn out in the seat." It is easy to see why the shah is alarmed. If Rockefeller cannot buy pants, he, the shah, will become the last pants consumer on the planet, and the tailor will have to raise his pants price to billion to maintain his customary profit level. says the king, "I do not believe Rockefeller has enough money left to buy a pair of shoestrings." "That may be why he's been wearing those wooden shower clogs for the past says the shah. I have bad news for them. I give it to them straight. "Rockefeller went to the store for milk this morning, learned that the price had risen to billion and couldn't, pay. Rockefeller has been driven out of the market." They blanch, for now there are only two of them left. The king nudges the shah as one good fellow to another. "Why don't you go buy a quart of milk so they don't have to double the he suggests. The shah smiles at the king. What is he thinking? Could the king, too, be approaching the end of his rope? At this moment, a phone rings dustily. It is the telephone company asking for the king. The king listens. The telephone company wants to improve his service but can- not unless it has additional revenues to offset losses aris- ing from the fact that it has only two subscribers left in the world. The telephone com- pany, has therefore, decided to increase his rate, for his convenience, from billion to billion a year. The king buckles at the knees and belt. "Out of the market, are asks the shah. "Then I am the last con- sumer on earth." Alone, the shah decides to fly home to his beloved peacock throne. Placing a million coin in the pay phone, he calls Pan American. They are delighted to book him, but since they have had no passengers for the past two years they have had to raise the fare to billion. The shah is billion shy. The headlines that evening are grim. "Shah they scream. There is nobody left on earth who can afford to buy anything, which means that all prices will have to double at once. By Anthony Westell, New York Times commentator OTTAWA Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was asked at his recent press conference about criticism he has fajled to give the country leadership and has frittered away his credibility. After engaging in his familiar trick of turning the question back by asking another what did critics mean by leadership? he gathered his thoughts and produced an interesting answer: The tree should be judged by its roots, he said. Instead of worrying about leadership in the abstract, as it were, critics should look at where the country is going and should consider whether, in all the circumstances, it is be- ing reasonably well governed or not. Trudeau went on to review the record of the past year and, not surprisingly, he concluded it was good. Canada was coping with problems of inflation and energy at home with more success than most countries, and abroad it was earning respect at inter- national conferences. He claimed no miracles or magic solutions. Indeed, he said magic wands were not his style and he had no intention of being a leader on a white horse an authoritarian ruler. But he suggested that on the whole the record made his leadership look pretty The proof, he hinted delicately, was that his government had been re elected this year while people in many other countries were expressing dissatisfaction by changing their leaders. He rattled off a long list of countries as if he had memorized them for comfort: The United States, Britain, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Ethiopia, Japan and he didn't, know how many others. origin based on intelligence gathered from satellite surveillance. That the warnings of massive troop concentration on the Sino Soviet border have been considered' to be without significance by the Chinese has been further interpreted by some analysts as a sign of confidence by China that it is already strong enough to deter a Soviet attack on its own without relying on detente with the U.S. Precautionary measures, however, are said to be always taken by the Chinese as a matter of course, "Dig trenches deeper, set up grain stores everywhere" has proved beneficial in the long run in view of the decay and un- rest in the West said to have been caused by excessive opulence and idleness and particularly in view of recent world famine. If a Sino Soviet war, however, were to be against U.S. national interests because of its destabilizing effect and because of its unpredictable conse- quences it would appear a logical step to deprive the Russians of the tactical sur- prise by warning the Chinese of an im- pending attack. On the other hand Peking's warning that the Russian manoeuvres on China's border are a feint in order to disguise Soviet intention in Western Europe should be regarded with more attention than a polite exchange of favors. ATHABASCA Gloomy stories make economy worse By Carl T. Rowan, syndicated commentator WASHINGTON Almost as much as the mushrooming layoffs and the growing number of bankruptcies, I am troubled these days by the torrent of gloomy stories about the economy. I am fearful that faddish LETTER talk about impending disaster will become a self fulfilling prophecy. That is, we could drift into a depression because there is so much talk about a depression that almost everyone comes to ex- pect one. Debate declared ended Recently, supporters of the Lethbridge Birth Control and Information Centre have fill- ed The Herald with letters denying the centre has ever distributed pornographic literature. Now the truth has finally come out in a letter by Jean Staudinger (Dec. Some of the centre's literature has been so bad that Neil Crawford, provincial health and social development minister, forced the centre to withdraw it. I too would like to thank MLA Dick Gruenwald for bringing the situation to Mr. Crawford's attention. At the same time I would like to say how much I deplore the cheap religious slur Dr. Robert Hall, a member of the centre's board of directors, gave Mr. Gruenwald when things got hot (The Herald, Dec. 16, pg I hope the same type of treatment isn't being used on clients. Another topic I would like to comment on is the number of letters The Herald has printed denying that Lethbridge doc- tors view abortion as a form of birth control. Are such denials an indication of more wrongdoing? A feature article by Lynne Van Luven gives us good reason to be concerned. Dr. Larry Kotkas is quoted as say- ing Lethbridge Municipal Hospital therapeutic abortion committee is NOT a rubber stamp." However another doctor, designated by Ms. Van Luven as Dr. A., to protect his identity, is quoted as saying, "The therapeutic abortion committee tends to be a rubber stamp." (The Herald, Dec. 12, pg. Who is lying? Is there a cover up? Perhaps it will take an RCMP investigation to find out. FRED WATSON Bow Island Editor's note: With this letter the two sides oh the issue of the birth control centre have reached parity: six letters each, totalling roughly 53 inches of type. The debate is therefore being declared ended. Berry's World 1974 by NEA. Inc. "Can you tell me, more specifically, what you learned in school beyond 'to do youn own Consider the automobile in- dustry. There is no question that it is an economic disaster area. But where do we get all this scare talk about the auto companies going out of business? Back when Americans were buying only five million cars a year vast numbers of people were getting rich in the auto industry. So it is absurd to suppose that Chrysler or Ford or General Motors will go bankrupt unless people buy 10 million cars a year. The auto companies will simply scale their organizations down to match the sales potential and still make a lot of money. They are scaling down. Rapidly and painfully. But I for one doubt that much of a reduction will be necessary over; the medium haul. Cars are as much a part of the lives of Americans as houses. They are transportation, yes, but more than that: status sym- bols, lovers' escape mechanisms, ego extensions. For as far ahead as I can see, Americans are going to buy a lot of cars. Part of this year's malaise in the industry is a hangover from last winter's energy crisis a crisis I now sadly suspect may have been in part a result of Richard Nixon's- contriving to save his presidency. assuming the whole economy does not collapse, I'm staying bullish on the auto industry. People will buy new cars eventually because repair bills get too high on old .ones. Or simply because most people love new cars. But will the entire economy collapse? After all, if the auto industry scales down to re- main profitable, the rippling effect itself will throw many thousands out of work in the auto and other industries. Could this pull everything down? Not unless the Ford ad- ministration clings to the no- tion that inflation is the main enemy or the president con- tinues to do nothing. No one can deny that infla- tion has reached ridiculous proportions. From 1956 to 1960 I covered the United Nations for the Minneapolis Tribune. Not eager to make out ex- pense accounts, I made a deal with'the editor for a flat day for expenses. I could stay at the Roosevelt Hotel, eat three meals a day, hire taxis and buy other delegates drinks and still sometimes have a buck or two left over. I was in New York recently and paid for a room that was no more than a high falutin broom closet. But my real shock came when I went to dinner in this modest hotel, hungry as a wolf, and ordered a la carte. Appetizer, steak, salad, spinach, Throw in one martini and a glass of wine to mute the shock of a dinner bill that came to before tip! Still, the truth is that my employers and I can pay those ridiculous prices in 1974 just about as easily as the Tribune shelled out that in 1956. Yes, inflation seems to have reached insanity when it costs me a hundred bucks to spend a day in New York doing what I did 15 years ago for But if I've got my job I can tolerate the broom closet and the steak or I can learn to stay in lesser hostelries and eat hamburger. But if recession or depres- sion is the real enemy and I lose my job, I have no hedge against disaster no matter how high or low prices may be. So let us hope that as soon as President Ford gets out of his ski boots he'll exercise a mind refreshed by all that Colorado air and get about arranging an immediate tax cut. Pumping some consumer money into this economy might stop all the doom stories, or at least some of the prophecies of economic dis- aster. When people start to believe again, they will make policy based on expectations of the best again. And we are, as individuals and as a nation, most often just about what we expect to be. It's a fair point, although one might argue that Cana- dian voters were expressing a vote of no confidence in Robert Stanfield's leadership, with his promise of income and price controls, rather than showing great approval of the Liberal government. Trudeau is probably entitled also to argue that on balance, his government has not done badly in dealing with the daily problems of running the country. Compared with other countries, including the United States, we seem to be in better shape and with better prospects for the future. Much of that is the result of good fortune rather than good government. The Trudeau government did not create our oil resources or the postwar baby boom which, coupled with the educational system, is giving us a fast growing and skilled labor force. But as prime ministers often get kicked for troubles which are beyond their control, they can probably take a little credit for things which go right by accident or someone else's design. However, none of this touches on the question Trudeau himself said should be asked by those assessing the quality of leadership: Where is the country going? The weight of criticism of his leadership has not been on the daily management of af- fairs. It has been that he gives the country no sense of direc- tion, no confidence in its long term purpose. That was not the case in 1968 when he won the leadership of the Liberal par- ty and became prime minister. He warned people then not to expect-miracles, but he did express what seem- ed to be a clear and confident vision of Canada's future. He promised a bilingual, bicultural Just Society. Those were not just empty phrases, campaign slogans. They were backed by specific policies: The Official Languages Act, regional development, constitutional reform, revision of the social security system and other measures. But other problems have come to the fore front of attention: Inflation, energy, foreign ownership, un- employment. And the vision has faded. Trudeau fought this year's election on a negative slogan: He was against in- come and price controls. The legislation promised in the Throne Speech is practical enough in the circumstances, but offers no coherent program for the long term. For most of the.time, he seems to be seeking consensus rather than offering leadership. This carne up dur- ing another part of his press conference when he said he was greatly complimented when senior civil servants complained they no longer had the power and prestige they once enjoyed. He had been trying ever since 1968, he explained, to build ,a collegia! system of government in which decisions would be discussed by committees of ministers and officials and finally made collectively by the cabinet. Trudeau may be right in thinking his college produces better decisions in the long run, although there are plenty of people in Ottawa politicians as well as bureaucrats who think it simply slows down the machine and blurs respon- sibility. But committees cer- tainly do not produce bold or inspiring leadership. What the critics including this one want and do not now have is a prime minister capable of defining and dramatizing the key issues before the country, explaining why the government has chosen a certain course, will- ing to fight for his policies in the Commons and in the country. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. LethUrldge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. 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