Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 18, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, January 18, 1375 The high cost of government handouts By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator Judging the system That men and women drift back to a life of crime after release from prison is not the consequence of the parole system, as may seem to be suggested by the remarks attributed to Constable F. McDonald, president of the Calgary Police Association, in a story in a Calgary newspaper. The parole system was instituted to try to change the depressingly high incidence of recidivism among those who have served time in prison. The district representative of the National Parole Service, Mr. Grant P. Spiro, has pointed out that gunman Phillip Laurier Gagnon, killer of a Calgary policeman in a Shootout in December, "was not nor ever has been on parole." He also refutes a statement that on the same day the slain Calgary policeman was being buried a convicted drug user and knife weilder was paroled from Drumheller. "No inmate was released from Drumheller Institution on December 22 or 23 by way of asserts Mr. Spiro. It is unfortunate that the parole ser- vice should have been linked with the sad shooting incident in Calgary. There is already too much misunderstanding of what is being attempted and what has been achieved by the parole service. The elimination of the parole service, suggested in a facetious remark attributed to the Calgary Police Associa- tion president, is not the solution to the problem really troubling policemen. That problem is what to do about persons who do not appear to be fit for release into society at the end of their prison terms. Constable McDonald, according to the news story, thinks some persons shouldn't be allowed back into society. The decision of which persons should be retained beyond the term of their sentences would require the making of assessments similar to those now made by the parole service. They would be decisions fraught with, equal or greater difficulty and as subject to error. Beyond that are the thorny questions of rights and the law. Despite the difficulties involved, this is a matter that deserves serious con- sideration. The co operation of the police, jurists, criminologists and the general public in finding a way to protect society from dangerous elements is highly desirable, and should be forthcoming. OTTAWA In his recent comments on the short- comings of our national economic management, the chairman of the Economic Council noted that regional problems require "more and more public funds just to pre- vent imbalances between "have" and "have-not" areas from increasing." Of the many departments of government which interest themselves in regional dis- parities, one, headed by Donald Jamieson, has par- ticular responsibilities. For 1974-75 Regional Economic Expansion planned to spend something over millions, not counting millions (afterwards enriched) for the Cape Breton Development Corporation. Dr. Raynauld's observation is bound to suggest a serious question to Canadian tax- payers. Are these very large sums being expended in accor- dance with an intelligent and well considered economic policy? For guidance we have fairly regular releases from the department but while these often suggest pattern they tell us very little about purpose, unless Spending for the sake of spending is a desirable activity of government. Thus on January 9, Mr. Jamieson announced grants totalling some to 20 fortunate firms. Of this total about goes to Quebec, to the Atlantic provinces and to the western region. This breakdown is not necessarily significant since it varies from month to month. It is more interesting to ob- serve the pattern which is quite general. The depart- ment as a rule pays 20 to 25 per cent of approved capital costs. It may also pay a percentage, often 15 per cent, of approved wages and salaries. There is normally an estimate of the number of new jobs to be created. Whether this amounts to an undertak- ing we are not told. For how Important oil discovery The report of the discovery of a major oilfield by India is important news. This for a number of reasons. India, with its huge population and relatively meagre resources, has been sliding downward. If the oil find is on the scale reported, better days are ahead for India. The prospect of a more prosperous time for the Indians is something in which all people can rejoice. New discoveries of rich deposits of oil should mean less concentration of wealth in a few countries. This should have the effect of reducing the kind of serious im- balance of the world's monetary supply now being experienced. A strong India would mean a shift in power balancing. The effect of this on the reduction or intensification of ten- sions in the Middle East and elsewhere cannot be accurately predicted but ob- viously will have to be taken into account in future planning. The oil discovery will inject some bad- ly needed optimism into a gloomy world. It will renew the hope that other resources will be found to avert the doomsday of an exhausted planet. Flying the flag "Can't think why the 'ell they want to study how THIS country's being run A country drowning in its state of mind By Shaun Herron, Herald special commentator Britain's continued membership in the European Common Market, to be deter- mined in a referendum later this year, is now under debate. One of the arguments in favor of withdrawal is that stated recently by Mr. Anthony Benn, a minister in the present Labor government, who wrote to his con- stituents that staying in the market would mean the end of a self governing Britain. In reply, Mr. Ray Hattersley, Britain's minister in charge of common market questions, said the country was in far greater danger of having its freedom interfered with by the problems of its own economy than by some alien con- stitution. The pursuit of total independence, he said, could well leave Britain with the right to have the lowest growth rate in western Europe. Pursuing the implications of that prospect of economic weakness, The Economist pointed put that sovereignty is about influence abroad as well as freedom of action at home. A decision to WEEKEND MEDITATION be poor means a decision to be bereft of power even to master the nation's own present, never mind its future. The attempt to cling to sovereignty may have more serious consequences than leaving a nation powerless in today's world. It could result in the pull- ing down of blocs of nations, perhaps even the entire international com- munity. Only by concerted action can solutions be found for the major problems confronting mankind. National sovereignty has become a rallying cry of dubious value. Increasingly, it is taking on the appearance of an albatross hung around the collective neck of humankind. The issue of Britain's membership in the European community is important enough, but the issue of Europe's place in a structured world community is of much greater importance and not much attention is being given to that. While the flags continue to be broken out, the environment (in the largest sense of the word) disintegrates. Are your thoughts killing you? The writer of Proverbs says that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. The Hebrews did not consider thought to be a function of the brain alone. Miguel de Unamuno says that true thinking involves the whole body and soul, the blood, the marrow of the bones, the heart, the belly, the lungs, and all life. Rodin says of his "Thinker" that "he thinks not only with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fists and gripping toes." Jesus had this in mind when he said that out of the heart come the issues of life. Thinking is a very difficult matter today. Society is so busy and life so noisy that the en- vironment conspires against thought. There is little time and inclination for thinking. Ber- nard Shaw remarked that very few people think more than two or three times a year. "I have made an international reputation by thinking once or twice a week." A young girl who made a bit of fame writing a book of her childhood related on television how her mind was filled at school with imaginations of boys who left the room to go to the toilet. All people have a battle with evil thoughts. To get a pure mind is not to empty it, but to fill it with good things. Jesus told that in the parable of the empty house. To clean it up and drive the devils out was not enough. Worse devils would come in. So St. Paul said that the only way to a healthy mind was to think constantly of things that are true, holy, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. An Indian monk was visited by Stanley Jones and the first thing the monk said to him was, "I have not thought of a women in three years." Now obviously he was having a desperate battle with lustful thoughts. The mind, as Paul says, cannot be a vacuum and must be filled with healthy and high thoughts or degrading ones will come in. Montaigne warned against letting your mind become "a merry go round of lustful im- ages." It is essential for a man who wants to amount to anything to guard his mind against the. battering of television, advertisements, pornography, greed, and noise. The future belongs to disciplined minds. If men do not control their own minds, make very sure that the state will do so. Winston Churchill; speak- ing at a university convocation in the U.S., remarked on the fact that "The Dean of the humanities spoke with awe of an approaching scientific ability to control men's, thoughts with and added, "I shall be very content to be dead before that happens." But the undisciplined minds of the mass of people makes them an easy victim to state control, to a Hitler who said, "I think with my blood." Jeremiah warned Israel that God had said, "I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruits of their thoughts." So defilement comes as a consequence of thought. The penalty of a depraved mind is depravity. Thomas a Kempis expressed the process: "First there comes to the mind a bare thought of evil, then a strong imagination thereof, afterward delight and evil emotion, and then consent." So one becomes what he thinks about. A great preacher used to say that a person should keep his mind in such a state that if anyone were to ask at any time, "What are you thinking he would not be ashamed to have his thoughts known. The only way to do this is as St. Paul advised think continuously (as the Greek expresses it, "Keep on about the true, the good, and the beautiful. PRAYER: Grant, 0 God, that I may love You with all my mind. F. S. M. LONDON I've never been persuaded that travel broadens the mind; nowadays it darkens it. Wherever you go there is gloom. Gloom so deep and universal ought to be false; something drummed up by newspaper and radio and television commentators who do not understand what they hear or understand only part of it. But at least in Britain I don't think that is the ground for all the gloom. I'm not an economist so I can't lay down an authoritative line on what is going to happen to the British economy and British curren- cy, but for awhile at the tail- end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I wined and dined with economists, politicians and the common people from Greek scholars to taxi drivers and factory foreman, and I got the same story from them all all that is, except the Greek scholar who said calmly: "If we are facing the end of the world and 300 people survive, it is not the end of the world." Calm objectivity as calmly objective as that is a sort of peryersion. Here is the consensus on Britain's immediate future: By June, the pound will' collapse and the deluge descend on the British. After that, when they hit rock bot- tom, they will come to their senses and go back to work to save themselves. But not till ruin hits them. I have not seen anything as drastic as this coming out of Britain in the reports we receive in Canada. It is maybe important that this gloom is common to right-wing and left-wing politicians and economists. There are promi- nent left-wing politicians who believe it and will say it in private to their' friends but will not say it in public. If they believe it, they have a political duty to say it in public, for the British worker has no intention of believing it until he is right down and the country is right down on its uppers. Take some facts: Last summer I was told by a senior union official and a manage- ment man, neither of whom dared to admit a public iden- tity, that the workers at British Leyland (cars) spent more time playing dominoes than they spent working. This winter Leyland went belly-up to all intents and purposes and it needs million from the government to put it back on its feet. The government agreed to put up the money. At once 250 engine tuners at Leyland went on strike during negotiations an illegal strike to win redassifica- tion of their jobs. They were warned by their union that they were destroying the com- pany. What did they say? That the government was pouring money into the company and they would bloody well get. They threw people out of work. That is why Harold Wilson, the British Labor prime minister, made his speech in which he warned them that there would be no money to save British Leyland unless the workers came to their senses. They went back to work, and hot in a sweet niood; 36 per cent of the cars on the roads in Britain are foreign made. Mr. Wilson said this was the case because the car workers wouldn't stay at their jobs but were out incessantly through un- necessary strikes and the home car market was short of home-made cars. That is not quite true, although it is true. The rest of the reason is that the workmanship on these cars is so bad that when you consult car dealers, friends and experts about buying a car in Britain, they warn you not to buy British. Take another fact: my figures come from the town chamberlain of Arbroath, Scotland; official figures. A council house in Britain is what we call public housing. A council house now costs pounds sterling to build. Make your own conversions at the exchange rate that prevailed when I got these figures; the pound was then worth The average economic rent for a house costing that much to build is nearly 60 pounds sterling a week on a 48-week year. What is the average rent for council houses? Two pounds 83 pence a week. But there is more. What is the final cost of one of these houses in loan charges alone, over period? pounds sterling. But what is a 48-week year? But what is a 48-week year? It is a year in which no rent is paid by the tenant for two weeks at the Christmas and New Year period and two weeks in the summer. Why? I -was told: Because people have extra ex- penses at Christmas and "for the summer holidays." The experts economists, the politicians who presided over Britain's decline in the past 30 years, and sociologists some privately, some publicly, are now drawing conclusions about Britain that only 10 years ago were heresy. They are saying that one of the factors in Britain's decline apart from external factors over which the British have no control is the notion deeply rooted now in the common mind, that anything can be free. "Free" medicine, free social services, free anything and everything. I remember a Labor candidate in the 1945 election, when asked what some of his schemes would cost, saying at a public meeting: "Nothing, the government will pay for them." And now, some of these same men are saying that the first thing that must be changed in Britain is this state of mind and until it is changed (see the Leyland workers in a dying company willing to stay out because "the government is pouring money into there is no hope. The British economy, the word I got from all sources said, is so burdened with internal costs and debts for which there is no internal productive effort sufficient to pay the bills, that bankruptcy is inevitable. The Beveridge Report (the report on which Britain's welfare state was built after the war) I was told, was "a millstone round our necks unless we thought in real costs and real paying for what we got under it and now we are like people earn- ing ten pounds a week and spending 100 pounds a week and making no effort to make the 100 with which to pay the bills; in fact, assuming that we could print money to meet them." Thirty years of adverse trade balances, one economist said, yet we went on pouring out the benefits in election goodies as if money grew on trees, "and here we are, bankrupt by June." The "bankrupt by June" speculation is based on 'the fact that the external deficit for December 1974 was over a billion dollars and reserves amount to just over six billion and the assumption is that trade figures will not improve on present performance and in June the cupboard will be bare and the currency will crash. I don't profess to under- stand these things. What I have been told by those who know, makes sense to me. Even socialist intellectuals like Paul Johnson, former editor of the socialist New Statesman, say June is the month; then the deluge. I sup- pose in all these complex situations, things happen to change the picture and somehow the dreaded disaster does not come. But Mr. Johnson thinks it ought to come so that the British peo- ple can see without a doubt what sort of shape they have brought the country to. Then a new Britain in a new mood, he says, without being too specific about the shape of this new Britain. One night at a dinner party, when we were talking about this and that, I asked the economists: What country in the Commonwealth do you see as following most closely the British pattern of development? We went round the table. All all of them said: Canada. And that was before the Canadian Labor Congress came out with its great "contributory" pension scheme of 75 per cent of wages at 60. We had discussed "contributory" schemes like health schemes and others and they were all very amusing, but frightening, in the way schemes introduced as "contributory" (for "the sake of fiscal respectability" as one of them put it) quietly slip into the general revenue area and become immense burdens on the state. Like the health scheme in Manitoba. They can never again go into debt as health schemes for example they just drive the nation into deeper and deeper debt; or governments must tax us enough to pay for them. Which they can never do without provoking open revolt. The British government now takes 40 per cent of all the earnings of the British people, and still can't afford the schemes with which the nation is saddled. Is that why there have been immense increases in the amounts of money Britons are spending on three escapes: Drink, tobacco and gambling? We no longer know either the cost or the value of anything, one economist said, and all the others said Amen. long the obligation, if any, ex- ists, we are not told. Fewer questions would a'rise if the money was in fact going for the establishment of new plants (assuming, of course, that they are viable) in disadvantaged regions. In 14 of the 20 cases, however, the taxpayer is assisting firms which wish to expand or modernize. In a number of others money is going partly for expansion of facilities already in existence. But a firm, once es- tablished, tends to expand. It seeks, through prudent investment, to enlarge its business. Why should it be subsidized by the taxpayer to do what it would normally be expected to do, in any case, if it is a sound enterprise? On the face of matters, the department seems to be re- markably unselective. If the clothing industry is in good shape (and not in need of fur- ther there may be a good ease for supporting J.R. Confection (to be in- corporated) of Compton coun- ty with for a new facility to create an estimated 57 jobs. But is there a sound economic argument for investing in an ice com- pany for an estimated gain of one job? It is apparent to someone in the department that our na- tional need for ice is at least twice as pressing as our need for sausages. In Winnipeg, are to go for 10 sausage per capita, a bargain for the tax- payer as compared to the ice. One of the better buys is 000 for 20 codfish processors in North Gaspe. On the other hand feed pelleters seem to come high; for four jobs at St. Isidore, Quebec. The public has a right to be suspicious on several counts. It is apparent, in the first place, that very large sums are being dissipated over the year on dribbles of investment which probably contribute lit- tle to the economy. How durable are the jobs created, or at least promised, by all these Lilliputian expansions and modernizations? Secondly, what guarantee can we have that businessmen in qualifying regions are not simply exploiting government handout programs which have become all too well known? A local firm wishes to expand it's premises. How pleasant to be able to sock the general tax- payer with 25 per cent of the cost? Such questions are not new. They are not answered by glowing generalities about sharing and regional equities. It is high time that there was a serious accounting, which we have not had yet. Dr. Raynauld has directed atten- tion to a most important matter. Plainly there is something wrong with regional expansion policy if at this late stage and after the expenditure of so many hundreds of millions, even larger sums must now go to band-aids, merely to prevent matters from getting worse. TER LCC bus Concerning the services of the Lethbridge Transit System to the Lethbridge Community College, there is an appalling lack of organiza- tion in the bus system. The college students have been subjected to this on many occasions. Just to cite some examples: on Dec. 6, 1974, the scheduled p.m. bus did not arrive, and on Jan. 8, the 3 p.m. bus didn't arrive until 4 p.m. To give better service, the transit system should con- sider making the college part of its regular route. With a reliable, more frequent bus service to the college, students would make more use of it. CONCERNED STUDENT Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th SI. S. Lelhbridge. Alberta LETHBRIDOE HERALD CO. L-TD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No, 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Edilor and Publisher DON. H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Edilor ROBERT M. TENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"