Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 7, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
EDITORIALS Maurice Western Liberals in limbo Provincially, the Liberal party is in limbo. It would be a wise tiling for those attending the annual convention this month to admit the low state to which the party's fortunes have fallen and simply bow out of the picture - for a time at least. This view of MP Hu Harries, as expressed in a letter to the president of the Liberal Association of Alberta, makes sense and will very likely find considerable - although sad-agreement among party members. There is simply no reason to think that the Liberal banner could be anything but further sullied by insisting on contesting most ridings in the next election. All that a Liberal candidate could expect in most of the ridings would be to play the spoiler role for somebody in one of the other parties. This is hardly compensation for the investment of time and money that would be required in running. It now appears that the last leader of the provincial Liberals, Jack Low-ery, had come to some such realistic assessment of the situation. What he hoped to accomplish in talks with Premier Harry Strom is not altogether clear but apparently he was seeking some way of assuring that the voice of liberalism would have a place in provincial politics. Perhaps the way for that to happen is for the Liberal party to bow out of the forthcoming election and thus free individual Liberals to throw their weight behind candidates of their choice. Then the party doesn't end - it just goes officially into limbo from which it might some day emerge to seek revitalization. . If the convention seemed a few days ago to have a non-issue in the question of whether to seek a leader, it now has been given a good issue by Mr. Harries. It might even prove to be an interesting convention. Death in the snow Some human beings have a compulsive death wish. The latest category of these peculiar individuals who appear to be bent not only on killing themselves, but endangering the lives of those who prefer to live, are irresponsible snowmobile operators. To date, in most of the country, anyone who can steer a wheel is permitted to drive one of these machines since licensing is not required. The toll of fatal accidents which have happened when children have been operating the machines continues to climb, for young people enjoy the speed and power, and are not responsible enough to be cautious. Adult operators at the wheel of snowmobiles have shown considerable irresponsibility also. They often drive them on the roads which were built for cars and trucks, not for motorized transport on skis, thereby killing themselves in ever increasing numbers. Added to that, some operators stand accused of chasing animals, both wild and domestic, in an uneven game of man against nature. Recently, members of various safety councils have been urging manu- facturers to help cut down the accident incidence by improving their product. They suggest guards over the track at the back so that flying scarves cannot become lethal weapons strangling riders to death; they suggest windshield wipers, more protection around the front of the machine, and better headlights. Doubtless the manufacturers will be glad to comply with any suggestions which will make their product safer to operate. But along with safeguards there needs to be stricter miles on snowmobile use. Chil d r e n should not be allowed use of them unless under supervision. Designated areas should be set aside for their operation and those who ignore these areas in favor of tearing around busy thoroughfares should be heavily penalized. What could be a new and lively winter sport has become a hazard to life and limb, and the only way to reduce the number of deaths and accidents through the snowmobile route is to regulate their use immediately through the co-operation of the manufacturer and law enforcement agencies. Book supplies By Peter Hunt ^T a recent conference In this city, the matter of school book supplies was raised for discussion. The central concern was the monoply of book supplies enjoyed by publishers and endorsed by the department of education. The main point made at this conference as far as books are concerned was the fact that teachers are much too restricted in their choice of class-sets of books, particularly in English. It was argued that teachers who wish to cater to varying needs and levels of understanding, should be able to order whatever books are thought effective from anywhere in the world. Examples were given of cases in which even books recommended in the departmental curriculum guides were not available. The choice of books was thus narrowed. This affected, for instance, choice of Canadian books rather than what were often inferior books from the United States. Moreover, it was also emphasized that some books, such as that dismal and most unenlightened text "Using Better English" by Corbin, Perrin and Buxton, were recommended and in good supply although many teachers leave them to gather dust, justly earned, on shelves of book-rooms. A local departmental administrator, ironically enough, argued that if teachers were free to order books of their choice needless waste would occur, as these books would only be used as long as the teachers ordering them remained with the school system. A strange argument indeed, in view of the waste involved in too rigid a system of book supply! But there are several other aspects of this absurd situation that need attention; and these have implications that go beyond the issue of teacher freedom. The fetish of change and up-to-dateness which is so much a part of anchorless modern thought and research without foundation in sound principles, is, of course, rampant in Albertan thought and policy at the top of the administrative pyramid. Real reform and revolutionary change towards a genuine humanism in schools is naturally ignored or rejected. For everything must be adjusted to the world created for us by the technocracy. So, we It's under ivay By Doug Walker TVTY father had a farm background. He prevented any verbal altercations used to tell a story of how ----- some farm women practised deceit on their men-folks. It seems that sometimes the women would lose track of time and the men would arrive for dinner without there having been any thought given to its preparation. The sounds of the men's arrival in the yard would trigger off a rush to the kitchen to throw on the tablecloth and a few dishes. This always seemed to satisfy the men that the meal was under way and A year of high drama and white papers /yiTAWA - In the politics of v Canada, 1970 was an extraordinary year. It was like a Greek play in which the central character, beset with troubles, is suddenly rescued by the unexpected intervention of a deus ex machina; in this case the challenge presented by a chain of violent events in the province of Quebec. A government at mid-term, especially when mired in difficult economic circumstances, normally experiences an attrition of popularity. By most indicators, including his reception on a summer tour, Pierre Elliott Trudeau appeared to be holding his ground reasonably well. Even so, Robert Stanfield was able by fall to point to some diminution of government strength as detected, reliably or have curricula change as part of the obsession with fashionable innovation, and book selections change. Courses which were valuable are thrown out (e.g. Literature 21) and replaced by 'modern' communications courses. Excellent anthologies such as "Prose and Poetry for Canadians" which, I can say, after many years of experience of school texts from all over the world, is one of the finest I have seen, are replaced by "Safaris", a text, or series of texts, which, while containing many good things, is oriented towards the modern magazine-type reading; easier, more superficial and decidedly relevant according to the very shallow canons of relevance which the powers-that-be deem correct. Whatever the merits of these alternative texts, the main point here is that the department, in slavishly following fashion, and dictating change that teachers themselves have little or no say in developing, is guilty of much more waste in book-supplies than any innovating teacher might be if given some sort of free hand in choosing books. So the argument of saving public money is rubbish. Public money is wasted by the current enslavement to the latest research, which, like much of the past research, is bound to be exploded by later investigation. Witness, for example, the reaction against the over-emphasis on the 'look-and-say' method of teaching reading. Compared with the waste involved in top-heavy administration, the blunders of ill-educated officials and the self-perpetuating research of so many ambitious non-reading thesis-writers, teacher freedom in book choice is a small matter. But worse is yet to come. We are told that publishers now want to decide what books from the lists drawn up by the department, will be provided. And what's the reason? The reason is that publishers don't want to produce books that may not all be required. Thus, book-choices have to suit the profit-policies of entrepreneurs. None of this is to be interpreted as denying that we do have many excellent books available in courses here. But it is to be interpreted as an attack on the tyranny of administrative convenience; a convenience that is too closely associated with the commercial world. otherwise, by the Gallup Poll. By the same measure, however, the prime minister at year-end had achieved a peak of public support unapproached by any leader since Mr. Die-fenbaker passed his zenith. The surge of Liberal strength was in fact freely admitted by politicians of other parties. It resulted directly from the government's decisive and dramatic reaction to FLQ kidnappings and cold-blooded murder in Quebec. No one liked the War Measures Act or its milder successor, the Public Order (Temporary Measures) Act. But people were plainly weary of the long years ef drift, only partly reassured by Robert Bourassa's hard-w o n victory over the separatist Parti Que-becois, shocked by anarchist violence and eager - in both French and English Canada - to support a government prepared to act with resolution against forces working for the destruction of the country. In the economic field the government was engaged in a two-front war - against inflation and unemployment. The price record, as compared to other countries, was good; indeed fall figures from DBS suggested that the surge had been contained. Unfortunately this may be no more than a lull, since prices have yet to reflect the thrust of the high costs built into the system during the year. As brakes on inflation, the government relied on a tight monetary policy, the almost neutral March budget, relative economy, and the voluntary restraint policy presided It struck me recently that men can play this game with their women-folks. Ron Gent, who has been in his house longer than we have been in ours, hasn't got a fence yet. But stuck In the ground he has half a dozen posts that have been there a long time. Doris doesn't seem to be bugging him about the lack of a fence. Maybe if 1 put a post in each corner of our yard 1 could buy myself a few seaons with Elspeth. 'Please Jump-Please!" Letters To The Editor Important matters overlooked The discussion in your newspaper over Canadian and American involvement in universities has omitted some important matters. The universities of a country are undoubtedly related to the educational system of that country. This relationship can take many forms, from benign financial provision by the state to control of course content by church or state. Many people living today have experienced in their lifetimes both extremes of this variety. It behooves us therefore to keep our guard. The true purpose of a university is to foster the pursuit of knowledge that is universal in character. Faculty and students are obliged by this purpose to attempt deliberately to move beyond the limits of their local environment, and thereby to serve it. In so far as universalism is at the very heart of a university, movements deliberately intended to Canadianize it by course content and faculty selection run counter to this ideal. So too does an American content for the mere sake of it. If American professors have no broader horizons than home, they also will endanger it. In Lethbridge there is a substantial argument in favor of increasing the world-wide orientation of faculty and Concern about tax trend This week all property owners within the City of Lethbridge will receive assessment notices but the total amount of our taxes will not be known until the city council strikes the mill rate. In recent years there has been a progressive increase in taxes and I am concerned that this trend will continue, year after year, which works a considerable hardship on home owners on a fixed income. I am not unmindful of the fact that all home owners receive a discount of $50 from the provincial government and, in the case of old-age pensioners who receive the guaranteed income supplement, a discount of $100. However, there is no guarantee that this largess will continue indefinitely with the provincial government now operating on a deficit budget. During the past year the mayor and aldermen have re- ceived an increase in their allowances; the city officials, in charge of our affairs, have also been granted a generous increase in salary and this is quite in order so long as these gentlemen are doing a satisfactory job and the city can afford it and provided, always, that they are sensitive to the needs and wishes of the people who employ them. I submit that the responsibility for easing property taxes and calling a halt to the escalatng costs of civic government rests squarely on the mayor, the city council and city officials, (as well as school s u p e r i n tendents and school boards), by exercising restraint and by using their imagination, initiative, creativty and expertise to reverse the trend of the past several years. The time is ripe to do something NOW when the 1971 budget is under consideration. D. STEVENSON. Lethbridge. Apology for error It has been pointed out to me that my letter of January 4, in w h i c h I discussed the non-Canadian influence in Alberta universities, was in error on one important point. Apparently a number of departmental chairmen I thought were non-Canadian have taken out Canadian citizenslup. I wish to congratulate these men for their gesture and to apologize for any embarrassment my letter might have caused them. But I wish also to point out an error by implication in The Herald editorial of December 28, 1970 which provoked my letter. That editorial left the er- roneous impression that the facts concerning non-Canadian influence in Canadian universities is easily available. That is not the case. Many researchers on the subject have been unable to secure the co-operation of universities despite diligent efforts. In the light of the problem's magnitude, I would suggest a possible solution. Alberta universities might indicate publicly each year the percentage of Canadian faculty and the percentage of administrative positions held by Canadians. ROBERT D. TARLECK. University of Lethbridge. course content, if only to counter a narrow perspective inherent in students from an isolated region. In-breeding of ideas is perhaps as dangerous to human development as is the biological form to man himself. The modern movement towards Canadianizing universities is in one important respect different from the process that has resulted in the alleged American emphasis. The former is a deliberate, almost collective, decision. The latter was unintentional, and is the outcome of a host of socio-cultural and economic differences between the two countries. It is coincidental rather than deliberate. Some Canadian institutions have already taken deliberate acts that imply, if not involve, exclusion and discrimination. Such acts cannot be justified in terms of a universal scholarship. They must always carry the stigma of chauvinism and politics, even if done for very practical reasons. Turning now to the solutions suggested to counter this alleged Americanization, it is sometimes assumed that a satisfactory 'mix' of faculty between Canadians and foreigners, or a 'fair balance' of course content, will produce a sounder university education. This is a very questionable assumption. This type of solution rests on a chemical and mechanical analogy. Human behavior and institutions do not, however, work in quite the same way. There is, therefore, a very good chance that such solutions are inadequate. Figures and percentages of Canadian professors, heads of departments, books and publishers can generate false conclusions. Such statistics have meaning only if one assumes that university teachers and teaching must be patriotic, in-trovertive or morally in tune with the environment in which the university is placed. Dedication to truly universal scholarship removes the need to distinguish color, nationality or creed. Paradoxically, when dedication is the guiding hand of man a variety of experience and knowledge enhances good scholarship. The lasting solution must lie, as it so often does in matters of the mind, in the quality of faculty and student - as measured by scholastic dedication -rather than in a convenient manipulation of numbers, ratios and men. DAVID BETTISON. Lethbridge. over by the Prices and Incomes Commission. With rising concern over unemployment, however, the basic policies were reversed. As for restraint, expressed in the famous six per cent guideline, the program was doomed from the start of a strike-ridden year by the adamant opposition of the unions. In the end it was abandoned although the PIC lingers on rather uncertainly as a research organization. By December, which produced another budget, policy emphasis was clearly on regional development, expansion of purchasing power and spending for jobs. It was one-front war against unemployment, with no guarantee that the inflation front would remain quiet. Should it explode again, the government, having abandoned the old weapons, will have to devise new ones since it has recognized explicitly that inflation unchecked means intensified unemployment. Thus mandatory price and wage controls seem no longer a remote possibility. Despite the imperatives of development, the government (and the opposition as well) spent much of the year in soul-searchings about foreign investment. Within the cabinet it was the subject of study by a committee headed by H e r b Gray. In the country at large it was debated not merely by Wafflers and Liberals in policy convention but also by taxpayers discussing the merits of Mr. Benson's white paper. Uncertainty over tax policy threatened the very development which the government was spending many millions to promote. ? * ? The white paper fared badly at the hands of critics. It was mauled in brutal fashion by House and Senate finance committees. Mr. Benson had also to find an additional $190,000 to pay for the special help required merely to answer letters (most of them ill-natured) from interested citizens. Despite our high-priced dollar - freed unwillingly at the beginning of June - foreign trade held up well. The demand for wheat improved so substantially that the government was able to scrap its unpopular LIFT program. There was much worry, however, about foreign trends, especially in the e x p a n d ing Common Market and in the United States. In particular, the government was concerned about the future of its hitherto well-protected automobile scheme. It had also to deal with domestic industries clamoring for special treatment, such as the shirt tax, to protect them against imports from abroad. Pollution was the main theme of the 28th Parliament. The government, although at odds with the United States over its Arctic sanitary zone, found strong public support for its measures; the importance of which was underlined by east coast oil spills, especially the calamity in Chedabucto Bay. Joe Greene conducted a successful war against phosphate detergents; unfortunately without arousing the Americans to similar action op their side of the lakes. The discharge of mercury was halted, although too late for the stricken inland fishing industry. Talks on constitutional reform were deadlocked, an outcome which most of the country appeared to regard with remarkable equanimity. In foreign affairs, the main achievement was the recognition of Communist China. Apart from this, the government issued six policy papers subject, like the Scriptures, to a variety of interpretations and an- nounced plans for a new external affairs building in Ottawa. Most governments by midterm, having redeemed their principal promises, have begun noticeably to slacken their pace. Mr. Trudeau, who spurned promises, has steadily confronted Parliament with impossible agendas. To ensure perpetual activity, two devices have been developed; the first being more or less professional "input," the second "participatory democracy." Never has Ottawa known such a blizzard of paper. While the ultimate source, presumably, is the mind of government, much of it has come to us from royal commissions, some from outside committees, some from parliamentary committees, some from task forces. Some, directly from ministers, is bound in white papers. Much more is never seen since the government is constantly enlisting the aid of outside consultants whose reports are not for general consumption but for departmental use. B and B buzzed busily Into 1970 scattering further studies, reports on the federal capital and on other ethnic groups. Its earlier reports, as interpreted by the public service commission, have regrettably created some friction since the rules as applied contradict assurances originally given by Mr. Pearson. ? * ? Other commissions have been good for many volumes; on farm machinery; on the status of women; on the nonmedical use of drugs. We have had white papers or policy statements on unmptoyment insurance and on income security; further statements by way of clarification or modification of Mr. Benson's white paper. Senate committees have pronounced on the mass media and on science policy. A task force has examined agriculture; Mr. Basford bankruptcies and suitable toys for children of various ages. The Beaupre committee has dazzled Parliament with its long-awaited report on the salaries and expenses of members. This list is illustrative, not exhaustive. A reception differing markedly in tone was accorded the annual report of the auditor-general. This led to the Drury Bill dealing with the future role of auditors-general; a measure prudently withdrawn when a strongly adverse public reaction was recorded on the government's seismographs. ? ? * Most of this scholarly input will be productive sooner or later of legislative output. Sometimes legislation is unnecessary. Thus the report of the task force on information gave birth this year to an item in the estimates and this to Information Canada, with reading rooms in psychedelic colors scattered across the country. Add to all this the Liberal policy convention with its charter for the 1970s;1 the most ambitious (and in some respects bewildering) exercise in p a r t i c i patory democracy ever seen in Canada. Unless the country runs out of money, which seems not unlikely, It is now impossible for the Trudeau government to run out of steam. The government, having been revamped in 1970, is to be restructured, with the ministers graded according to their responsibilities or lack of them ' and surrounded, much more liberally than in the past, with p a r 1 i a mentary secretaries. These are times of change in almost everything, but one of the constants is Parkinson's Law. (Herald Ottawa Bureau) Looking backward Through the Herald T921 - New York reporters who arrived in Toronto to cover the experiences of the American bailoonists, who came down near Moose Factory, came equipped to withstand 100 below temperatures and were disappointed to find no Indians twirling their tomohawks with murderous intent. 1931-If you have a job for an unemployed man, The Herald will place an advertisement free of charge in the Classified Ad Page. 1941-Amy Johnson Mollison, one of the outstanding women fliers, is feared drowned in the Thames Estuary after bailing out of an airplane she was ferrying for the air transport auxiliary. 1951 - The historic Chester mine, which started to operate in 1925, was closed and all equipment removed when water flooded the working section. The water is still rising and the second section is expected to be flooded shortly. 1961 - Lethbridge fresh air addicts are in their seventh heaven on windy days, but a few city teachers would like to plug the big gap to keep the breezes out. Some maintain the wind makes students edgy. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publishers Published 1905-1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN second Class Matt Registration No. 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of circulation! i CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager JOE BALLA WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROY F. MILES DOUGLAS K. WALKER Advertising Manager Editorial Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"