Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 20, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
T.I - TH! 1ETHBRID0E HER AID - Wednesday, January 80, 1971 - Bennett blames Quebec turmoil on Trudeau policies Wrong priorities set the stage By DAVE iSTOCKAND VICTORIA (CP) - Wrong priorities set the stage for turmoil in Quebec, says Premier W. A. C. Bennett of British Columbia. He blames the policies of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau-giving priority to constitutional change and language over economic development-for creating an atmosphere where "these people in Quebec felt they had grievances against the English-speaking people in Canada." But white accusing Mr. Trudeau of laying the foundations for the "difficulties of separatism," he also puts blame on Quebec's own doorstep: . "The province of Quebec has got as great if not greater resources than any place in Canada. The fact is that the development of their resources is the responsibility of the province and that Quebec hasn't done it." These observations were made in an interview with The Canadian Press by the Social Credit premier and finance minister-he holds both portfolios-as he sat at amiable ease behind his office desk at the legislative building. IN OFFICE SINCE 1952 Mr. Bennett's 19 successive years in power began with a minority government formed in 1952 when only one other member of his party had had any previous experience in the legislature. He had entered the house as a Conservative in 1941 and served his party through the. wartime and early post-war years in a coalition government of Liberals and his own party. In 1951, he crossed the floor, fed up with the old-line parties in power, sitting first as an independent before becoming the rallying-point, and then leader, of the emerging Social Credit government in B.C. At a too-healthy-for-words age 70, after a convincing reassertion of his mandate in a provincial election held Aug. 27, 1969, he is in no mood for swan songs. "I've enjoyed these years and I enjoy every day," he says. The young Bennett moved west from his native New Brunswick in gradual ste. that included a 10-year stop at points in Alberta where he began building up a business career, on a 16-hour day, that would give him the financial independence to go into politics full-time. PRIORITIES WRONG Following is a condensed version of the interview: Q.: Starting with Quebec and the FLQ crisis, described by Prime Minister Trudeau as a nightmare that has pass into history, do you believe in hindsight, with the facts we have now, that Quebec and Ottawa over-reacted to the FLQ kidnappings? A.: Well, I wouldn't want to judge that. But I do say this: That they under-reacted before-that the difficulty in the province of Quebec is that they have allowed a situation to build up without any action and then it came to a head and then they were just forced to act. Whether they over-reacted, only time will tell. Q.j I should like to quote a statement attributed to you and perhaps get amplification. It is that Pierre Trudeau was mainly responsible for "setting the fire in Quebec." A.: Well, he was responsible for setting the fire for the reason that it was the matter of priorities that he gave for what was needed. He gave the priorities t o constitutional changes and to language when the real problem in Quebec is economic. The standard of living i hasn't advanced and it has been held back by the very programs that the prime minister of Canada Irs given high priority-language, etc. RESOURCES AVAILABLE And there is the feeling apparently of French-speaking people in Quebec against the English language. In North America it really isn't the English language, it's the North American language. It is the language of North America, and if you are going to advance on an economic basis and expand the standard of living for the people in Quebec, or B.C., or any part of Canada, you necessarily have to talk the language of North America. The province of Quebec has got as great if not greater resources than any place in Canada. The fact is that the development of their resources is the responsibility of the province and that Quebec hasn't done it. That is not the fault of Ontario or B.C. or New Brunswick or Alberta-it is the fault of Quebec itself, and Mr. Trudeau has made politics, the political situation, the main thing in Quebec instead of the economic situation. Therefore, he created the atmosphere where these people in Quebec felt that they had grievances against the English-speaking p e o p 1 e in Canada-and they have no such grievance-and therefore he laid the foundation for the difficulties of separatism. RATES EXCESSIVE Q.: In the wake of the FLQ crisis then, what must Canada's priorities be now? A.: The priority is to correct the damage that has been done by unsound federal policies. And what are they? The policies of encouraging tight money, high interest rates. Now, the federal government has eased a little so far as tight money is concerned, but we still have for the chartered banks, the very high rates of interest that they are charging the business community, which is hurting employment, and there has been no real reduction in mortgage rates. If these interest rates and mortgage rates were reduced, then people with more-modest incomes would be able to build homes and by building homes they could start then this great'building expansion we need first, to solve the social ills of the day which are caused by poor housing; second, to create jobs. This would start a progression of jobs that would have great effect, and in this i spect the federal government has failed miserably. LONG-TERM ASSET Q.: Looking at Quebec and . B.C., certainly one thing these two provinces have in common is their high level of unemployment. A.: For opposite reasons. Unemployment is high in Quebec because they have no economic advancement and B.C.'s unemployment caused because it has economic advancement, and people from all the provinces are flocking to B.C. for jobs. So while B.C. has high un employment at the present time, over the last five years we have created more jobs in B.C. on a percentage basis than any other region of Canada. This influx of workers from other provinces hurts us temporarily but, in the end, will be of great advantage to the province of B.C. Q.: Can B.C. look forward to an exciting Centennial Year in 1971? Have you any surprises in store? A.: We are going to have an exciting Centennial Year and it's going to start another pe- Drug counsellors9 course near end TORONTO (CP) - Fifteen students will receive their diplomas next spring from George Brown College at what is for them the end of a two-year experiment. They will be full-fledged ad-diction counsellors-the end product of a course designed by the college and the Addiction Research Foundation "to meet the need for trained counsellors in the treatment and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse." The course has attracted students ranging in age from 22 to 54 and from different backgrounds. Jacob DeBoer sold his big house and quit his job on the managerial level with Iberia Airlines of Spain, S'ydney Lang-fcrd only manages to see his family an hour a day because of work and school, while Rev. Thomas Comerford was a Roman Catholic missionary in the West Indies. For the last two years they have been completing a course which took in both counselling, group therapy and work at various clinics and institutes. The designers of the course feel that the training is already one step ahead of the interim report of the LeOain drug inquiry which says "there will have to be some degree of specialization if drug education is to command the respect young people." But there is a reservation and it's expressed by one of the lecturers, Dr. A. I. Malcolm, psychiatrist with the foundation, who is concerned about the acceptance of the graduates' qualifications. "I know they would greatly strengthen the staffs of a variety of institutions but it's a new diploma," he said. riod of great development and prosperity in our province. The difficult year was 1970, when we had to face problems in all our main industries with labor agreements coming up for renegotiation, under both federal and provincial jurisdiction. EXPORTS HARD HIT This was the time that tight money was in effect in Canada and all around the world. It hurt our main industry-lumbering-in a terrible way, an then also the federal government took this period to free the Canadian dollar which hurt t.C. exports very badly. So the tough 1970 is over, and in the Centennial Year of 1971 we are going to have another great period of development and progress. Q.: Ray Haynes, secretary-treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labor, said there are going to be many more long, hot summers ahead for B.C. as long as compulsory arbitration is on B.C. statute books. A.: Let me say that if it wasn't for arbitration on the statute books, some of our disputes wouldn't be settled yet. Q.: In Manitoba, after the election of Ed Schreyer's New Democratic Party, opinions have been expressed editorially and by some politicians that the private enterprise parties should effect a coalition to bring down that government. Have you any views on coalition as such? FORM UNITED PARTY? A.: I don't like coalitions. Now in Manitoba-I shouldn't give advice to another province-but here, whether it is Social Credit or whatever it is, I believe some new setup might be possible. I'm not saying they should do Tt, but I think they should consider a provincial party-a united party, where their people would not participate in federal politics; they'd vote for whatever federal party they wanted to. Q.: In reference to Premier John Roberts' announcement that he is stepping down in Ontario, I believe he has said that six years are long enough for anybody to hold the responsibility of the job. You obviously don't agree with that. But are there ever days when you wish you were just W. A. C. Bennett, private citizen? A.: No. I planned my life this way. I think of all the great sciences in the world there is only one science, the . science of politics, because everything else' depends on government and how good a government is. I've enjoyed these years and I enjoy every day. THE MODERN LOOK-These modern seagoing vehicles really do sail over the bounding waves. The hovercraft, of French origin, were displayed recently near Marseilles for French and Spanish merchant navy officials and crews. Newspaper advertising comes out the best ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) - A test of department store advertising through newspapers, radio and television shows that newspaper advertising came out ahead, but the results were inconclusive, a spokesman for Rich's said here. The test of sale items was conducted for three days last September, but the spokesman for the major department store newspapers apparently fared better because the advertising was carried in the big Sunday newspapers here. Radio and television advertising did not start until noon Sunday, the spokesman said. The tests were conducted jointly by Rich's, Atlanta Newspapers Inc., and Cox Broadcasting Co., which owns radio station WSB. 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