Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 20, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Shaun Herron WHERE does one begin to n talk about George Ross? He's dead. That's the first thing. And there are people we expect to die and are not at all surprised when they do. There are other people we know to be ill, know to be in danger, and are unable to believe it when they die. I never thought much of eulogies and in my day in the pulpit always refused to deliver them. I'm not going to start now with eulogy of George Ross. He would think it was funny anyway, and when I had finished, he'd tell me a story that fitted exactly what I had said. Once I had a very close friend, a Welshman by the Letters to the editor Epitaph for an Alberta rancher name of E. V. Thomas, who had a tremendous sense of fun. He used to be bugged incessantly by another Welshman, a Baptist preacher who didn't have my great liking for him. When E. V. died this Baptist preacher, who had the splendid name of John Isaiah Jones, relented of his hostility and came to his funeral. It was a wet day, and we didn't have all that artificial greensward to cover the pile of clay. So we stood on it and it was very slippery. John Isaiah insisted on standing close to the grave and as I finished the committal, he slipped, slid down the bank of clay and fell into the grave on top of E. V.'s coffin. V.'s wife took my E. arm. and I held her hands, thinking she needed support. "0, Lord," she whispered. "I wish I was in heaven this minute. He'll be giving God a running commentary on poor old John Isaiah." If I said anything pious, so would George-on me. In my own mind and heart, I associate George Ross with laughter, and with great kindness. Last summer at Manyberries he insisted on driving my children around in his airconditioned Cadillac and they always got car sick; so they were transferred to my hot dusty old heap and were restored to health. George thought this was because with a father "like you, they have to get used to being poor." Objects to transient youth plan Find enclosed a copy of a recent letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and Deane Gund-lock. I am violently opposed to the expenditure of $50 million to ship a bunch of Hippies and transient youth across Canada this summer. What a waste . .. please justify this if you can. As a young male Canadian, proud and grateful to live and bring up my family in this country, I feel you are kicking the hard-working middle-class guy right in the teeth. Don't let this happen ... for if you do you'll not only have Quebec on your1 conscience but 20 million people in the rest of the country. If you must spend any money ... be it for needless raising of MPs' salaries, or this blooper of a stunt... GIVE MY SHARE to the OLD AGE PENSIONERS, after all, they carved this good country out of wilderness less than 105 years ago and deserve much more than what they are getting now. What have these hippies done to deserve such a GIFT from the government? To Mr. Gundlock ... As our representative in Ottawa you MUST stand against this proposal ... be strong and for once voice my opinion, the opinion of most of my associates, the people who voted you into office. We all say this is WRONG. To Prime Minister Trudeau . . . You as the leader of Canada surely cannot justify this outrageous venture. Put a stop to such useless expenditures of the taxpayers' money. We need more jobs, more hospitals, more housing . . . NOT MORE FREE HANDOUTS to those not deserving. To Both ... If you are proud of being a Canadian, show the people of this country by denouncing the above action. Do what is right in your own mind but don't just sit there, do something. Our National Anthem? ... O Canada . . . God help Canada. MICHAEL BRYAN GOLIA. Lethbridge. P.S. People of Lethbridge, of Alberta, of Ca" 'a ... 8 you agree in whole or part with the above sentiments please sit down and write your letter of opposition to such government proposals. This is your chance to let your representative know how you feel. Don't just sit there and complain about the cost of living, unemployment, lack of housing, outrageous expenditures such as this - let your opinions be known to those in power who might be able to help (M.P.s etc.) ... If they are getting a raise make them earn it. . . . This includes getting out and voting in the next election. Let's have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. M.B.G. Reason for ski stacking This is in answer to a letter which you call "Nuisance at Ski Chalet!" The stacked skis mentioned in the article were skis that skiers of all ages and ability have left at random in front of the lodge, and all around a sign that clearly and politely asks that they use the ski racks provided; the reason for standing the skis up in the racks is not for appearance, it is an important safety feature. As anyone who skis at West Castle knows, our area does not have very much room between the lodge and the hill although normally it is quite adequate. When these skis are not kept out of this area, it is a serious hazard to anyone who may have lost control at the bottom of the slope and anyone falling among these skis at any speed could be badly cut and bruised. Another safety factor is the time which would have to be spent to remove these skis if we were required to assist an injured skier with our snow machines, and at times it would be impossible to get by this barrier of skis without driving over some of them, which I am sure anybody with expensive Dictatorial city council I think it is about time City Council realized that everyone in this "model city" of ours does not hold an executive and professional position, and that the majority of us are average Joes trying to keep our head above water. Every time we pick up the paper we read where the taxpayers are going to be charged $2 extra here and so much extra there. We just got saddled with garbage collection fees, like it or lump it, and now the council starts all over again with sewage. We all have our families to provide for and we only have two small children. I shudder to think how families with seven manage. Maybe they gave up eating as a bad habit! Personally, I think Lethbridge is getting to be an extremely dictatorial city for a supposedly democratic form of civic government. LEONA GRONEMEYER. Lethbridge. equipment would not appreciate. There is also the courteous aspect to fellow skiers. Anyone who wishes to approach the lodge on his skis would find this impossible, also anyone wishing t" use the rocks, as requested, must get off his skis and carry them a considerable distance. I would like to ask the writer of that letter, how long . would your car be left if you were to park it in the middle of a street in any city or town, and would not this practice be a hazard and inconvenience to others? It only stands to reason that if this anonymous person spent so much money on equipment, he would take better care of it. Some day, perhaps because of an extreme emergency, we may have to get our snow machine through and there will rot be time to move these slris. To the owners I will say, "I'm sorry, but ski racks are provided". If the writer of the letter I refer to has some reason for not using the ski racks provided, I would like him to come to .my office and I am sure that we can suggest a place for his equipment to be left where it will not be moved bv my staff. DOUG WHAN, Area Manager, West Castle Ski Resort. So They Say The secret of karate is using your feet to kick somebody. When your feet are in skates, it's not exactly legal. -Chicago Black Hawk de-fenseman Keith Magsason, who studied karate but finds it's of no use in hockey. ALBERT'S MEN'S APPAREL 331 5th St. S. Open Thurs. till 9 p.m. JANUARY CLEARANCE SALE Continues MADE-TO-MEASURE SUITS Extra Panlt . �",y 20% SPORT JACKETS - BLAZERS - CO-ORDINATES Regular To 80.00. Now Clearing Al 32.50-39.95-44.00-48.00-55.00 HURRY - FOR BEST SELECTION When my youngest daughter wanted a few bones to take back to school for Show and Tell, he drove her all over the range in a truck, found almost the complete skeleton of a cow and brought it back with sly smiles, telling me it would be unfair to him and the child if I didn't take it all home with me. Then when we were leaving he watched, full of advice, while I tried to get baggage for four for a month, and this damned skeleton of what must have been the biggest cow in Alberta, into or onto my six cylinder car. ? ? * At home when school started, the child kept her teacher in a state of despair for a month, with a skull one day, the rear cavity the next, on arid on, and every time I pleaded with her to relent she said; "No. Mr. Ross told me . . ." and left it there. When the whole performance was over I said to her, "Just what was it Mr. Ross told you?" He told me, she said "to show them every bloody bone and tell them to eat more beef." Perhaps he forgot he'd put this idea into the child's head. Perhaps every now and again he remembered, and smiled, and said to himself, "That goddam preacher is wrapping up another bone for Show and Tell." But sometimes my child laughs for no apparent reason and when I ask why, she'll say, "... I showed them every bloody bone, one at a time, as Mr. Ross told me .. ." and laughs some more, with great affection for George. It was their joke, and she played it faithfully to its end. Most of you, I suppose, will remember him as a cattleman. I shall remember him sitting late at night, on about our sixth nightcap, talking about ranching and "cows" and the things he would like to have done and was prevented from doing by "cows." I made stacks of notes last summer at Manyberries on the Ross story and the story of ranching in Western Canada. I wrote half - a - dozen articles about it in the Montreal Star because it seemed to me the Quebecois thought they were the only Canadians who'd ever had it rough. My mail increased enormously, from people who had no idea that raising their Sunday dinner could ever have been anything but an idyllic existence of sun, and riding roundups, and cowgirls, and large profits: the kind of life most people think they would live if they didn't already have commitments that tied them down. They were amazed, for instance, that the spring in Alberta, could cost you your herd. Or the winter; a winter like this one in Alberta. People ski in Alberta in the winter, don't they? The Cattlemen's Association will remember him. Would it have existed without him? I should have thought he'd want to call his new breed of beef cattle the Ross Breed. But first he insisted, against the experts who said he already had a new breed, that he had been working on it for only eight years and to be sure it had to prove itself over 25 years; then he said it would be called simply the New Breed. I hope now, that it will be the Ross Breed. The man gave his life to the Canadian cattle business. But do you know what he really would have done, if inheritance, and obligation, and upbringing hadn't bent his life to a pattern not entirely of his choosing? We talked about it for hours, late at night over successive nightcaps: George Ross, if the circumstances of his life had been different and if lasting choice had been one of the options of his youth, would have been a writer. Preferably, he said, as a journalist at first, and then as a foreign correspondent. He wasn't all laughter. He talked about this quite sadly at times and sometimes spoke unkindly about cows. I'd like to have wandered the world, he said, seeing things, new things, and writing about them. A "foreign correspondent" was how he put it; but what he meant, I think, was that he had an insatiable and unsatisfied curiosity about the world he lived in, had had it all his life, and "cows" had made it impossible for him to satisfy it through what John Bunyan called Eye-gate: George wanted to see for himself, and make his own comments on what he saw. He would have been good at it too. His head was full of all sorts of odd information, picked up I have no idea where, and stored away, perhaps for use, perhaps for the mere satisfaction of knowing. I was saddened sometimes to hear him talk about this quiet longing, for it was the only real one I ever had and I'd gone and done it. He wasn't able to do it, for reasons that involved family and obligation. Perhaps this only occurred to him later in life; I don't know. Perhaps he was like his son Graham, when he was young himself, and thought only of cows, and the rodeo, and the pride in physical skills that are as real as the dancers, or the football players or the fighters. It may be for all I know that this thought of what he might have done began to grow when Bruce McDonald persuaded him to begin his column. But it seemed to me deeper than that. I may appear to be foolish in this, for all who knew George know that he didn't appear to have much of the artist in him. But 1 have a notion that somewhere deep in him there was a frustrated artist, who had the gift, who knew he had it and who came to the opportunity to use it too late, when obligation had piled on inheritance, and the time and the chance had passed. ? * ? His column looked like a very simp.le thing. But he gave to it a great deal of cunning thought. It wasn't accident that George Ross was the first thing people turned to: George wanted it that way and contrived to make it happen that way. That is the mark of the artist; he is somebody who knows what he is doing, knows how to do it and knows how to make peo-pler pay attention to what he is doing. He would disappear down into his office, peck at his typewriter, and reappear quite soon, to tell me that it wasn't going right. He wasn't getting the effect he wanted. After awhile he'd go down again and peck again, and if he had what he wanted, the pecking would become pounding and he was off and running. Somebody called him Canada's Will Rogers. But Will Rogers didn't become the Will Rogers we remember by merely opening his mouth and letting fly with the first thing that came across his teeth. Neither did George Boss. That simple looking column wasn't the work of what some call "a natural" - it was worked on, contrived, and made to do what he wanted it to do. It meant a great deal to him. The letters that came in increasing number meant a great deal to him. He would have been wiser to pay less attention to them. Maybe he would have lived longer if he had responded to fewer of the invitations he received, and had travelled less, mostly at expense to himself and certainly at the expense of his health. But he didn't take advice. He kept going. He was the kind of man who wouldn't sit down to wait for it. He went out to meet it, telling stories that made him and us laugh. ? ? ? Down on the Milk River bottom, on a little knuckle of land where George and Eileen lived the first five years of their ranch life, through five bitter winters, there was a grave with around it a little wooden fence. The name of a woman was on a board, and the dates of her life. At some time during the year, somebody came secretly for years to tend this grave. George never knew who he was or where he was or where he came from. Maybe he was the woman's husband. Maybe he was somewhere over the line in Montana. He must have been old. One year he didn't come. The grave is still there. It is still tended. It is a little mystery of Canada's old west. Perhaps at some time a man and a woman trying to make a life of it, lived on that knuckle of land and were happy. Did she die too soon? Did he come faithfully every year; secretly not to disturb his successors, but not to neglect someone he loved? Was there more to it than that? Last summer I thought a lot about writing a novel about that man and woman - inventing a life, a love and perhaps a tragedy for them. But the grave is tended. George and Eileen saw to that themselves. They talked with perception about the mystery of it and the sadness, maybe the joy of it. It came back to my mind when Bruce called me to tell me he'd just had a call from Eileen, that George was dead. I told my children. They said nothing for a while, then Our Lady of The Bloody Bones said, "No. It isn't true, dad. Mr. Ross couldn't die." One lets go of one's friends with great reluctance. This morning before my children went off to school and I knew I had to write this about George, I asked them: What do you remember about George Ross? He was shy, my little girl said, and sad, and full of laughter. (Free- Press Weekly) Ecological test situation The International Herald Tribune fpHE Interior Department's report on the development of the Alaskan oil fields - recommending a pipeline across the stale - is> certain to accentuate the controversy over that great natural resource. The department admits that the pipeline will harm the environment, not so much through oE spills melting the permafrost but simply because the thrust of a great man-made conduit through the wilderness, and its maintenance, will permanently alter the nature of a vast area. Nevertheless, the department concludes, national security makes the development of the North Slope essential. The Department of the Interior has thus posed a dilemma, which many conservationists have never regarded as more than a simple case of defending a wild region against damaging exploitation for profit. Some will doubless look with skepticism upon those words, "national security," which have been the excuse for many errors, and even crimes. But it is a patent fact that the dependence of the world for petroleum on politically unstable regions such as the Middle East has brought many evils in its train, and could bring more. In the immediate context of global affairs, these evils must be weighed against those that would result from the penetration of Alaska by the pipeline. There are other considerations, of course. Is it desirable, or possible, to check the rapid acceleration of man's consumption of energy by limiting the demands he makes upon power? Has there ever been an overall study of even American energy needs and resources, which would balance the threats to the environment posed by such methods as atomic power, hydroelectric development, coal-mining and burning, petroleum-extraction and consumption, to determine how much of each form can safely be used in the ecology? It has become painfully clear that every aspect of "growth" - that word which once had only beneficial connotations - is now accompanied by complex and difficult problems. Whether it is growth in population, in consumption, in land use or the creation of energy, growth has its own perils, becoming more urgent every day. Yet, the artificial interruption of growth in any single area can be equally perilous. If man's political wisdom and political instruments were adequate to establish a satisfactory relationship between regions rich in natural resources and those which transform these resources into things of use, obviously a far more efficient, far less wasteful and dangerous balance might be attained. If restraints, self-imposed or directed, could be placed by political means on certain typs of growth; if, in sum, there could be a global economy that would adapt the world's resources to its human needs, perhaps the remaining wilderness regions could be preserved, for a time, at least, and the environment secured against sudden shocks, needless exploitation and gross error. This condition however, if possible at all, is necessarily distant in time, hi the meanwhile, Alaskan oil, obtained with the practical minimum of damage and under strict regulation, is too urgently useful to be spared. Maritime merger proposed The Christian Science Monitor 'T'HERE is a lot of logic behind the pro-posal for union of Canada's three Maritime provinces - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The merger proposal, contained in a report drafted after a two-year study by a special commission, will be debated by the three provincial premiers at a meeting in Halifax January 26 . The recent crisis in Quebec Province has prompted many people in the Maritimes to take a closer look at the advantages of union. If Quebec were ever to separate from the Canadian confederation, the Maritimes would be isolated from the rest of Canada. In any case they could operate much more efficiently as a single entity, advocates of fusion say. Moreover, they would be better able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps economically. Economist Dr. John Deutsch, who acted as consultant to the Maritime union study group, is one of the strongest voices in favor of a merger. He says the three provinces must unite in the next 10 years or be prepared to live forever with their poverty, frustrations and near-colonial status. At present their economy depends mainly on fishing, forestry, and agriculture. Unemployment is well above the national level, and thousands of young people have emigrated to other parts of Canaada and to the United States in search of jobs. As it is, the three provinces depend on the federal government in Ottawa for 50 per cent of their public revenue. Inevitably they find themselves competing with each other for much needed investment handouts. For the time being at least, the union would not Include Newfoundland, apparently because that island's territorial dispute with Quebec over Labrador would raise too many problems. At present mineral-rich Labrador is administered as part of Newfoundland. The federal government has yet to make known its views on the merger plan. Presumably it is waiting to see how the talks among the three provincial premiers go. It would be a mistake to expect too much from the Halifax meeting, which will probably be mainly exploratory. Union would not be an overnight panacea for the Maritimes' problems. The risk is that it would lead to a dilution of the provinces' individualism and personality. On the other hand it could well provide mora efficient government and greater opportunities for economic growth. Tonkin Gulf act repealed The Washington Post (~\NE of the last acts of Congress has " gone almost completely unnoticed, and apparently the House, at least, wanted it that way. In approving the conference report on the foreign military sales bill, both houses voted to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. After 6% years Congress thus withdrew the go-ahead signal it had given President Johnson to initiate the war in Vietnam. Sen. Sparkman told his colleagues that the repeal was "perhaps the most significant item agreed to" in the bill. "The repeal of this resolution," he went on to say, "should help to clear away some of debris and controversy over executive-legislative branch powers and responsibilities that arose as a result of the war." Sen. Dole welcomed the repeal because the Tonkin Gulf Resolution "is inappropriate to today's realities in Southeast Asia." On the House side there was even less comment. Rep. Morgan explained the House's belated acceptance of the Senate repealer in a single sentence: "Our feeling was that changes in U.S. policy and provisions of law recently enacted have made this resolution no longer significant." The effect is to put Congress on record as saying that the United States is no longer "prepared," as the President determines, to use armed force in defence of Vietnam. President Nixon has said on various occasions that he is not relying upon the Tonkin Gulf Resolution for any operation in Asia. The current reasoning is that, with the war in the process of liquidation, the commander in chief has ample authority, without specific authorization from Congress, to protect the withdrawing American forces. It does not follow, however, that the repeal was meaningless. At the very least it has wiped out a reckless congressional assumption that the President has inherent power to make war, and in a negative way it puts Congress on record as favoring de-escalation of the war, in contrast to its almost unanimous vote for escalation in 1964. When this action is considered alongside the Cooper-Church provision forbidding the use of American ground troops and advisers in Cambodia, it marks a significant change of mood on Capitol Hill. Apparently a majority in Congress now wants to ' reclaim control over war-making, although there is still much disagreement as to how this should be done. We hope that this diversity of views can be narrowed in the 1971 session. At least the next step seems relatively clear. Last spring Sen. Mathias and majority leader Mansfield sponsored a resolution to repeal all the miscellaneous congressional clearances for the use of armed forces abroad in crises specified by the President. This would include the Formosa, Middle East and Cuba resolutions. The State Department acknowledged last March that it was not relying upon any of these resolutions in its conduct of foreign policy. Yet they remain on the books as a sort of invitation to the President to grab any old excuse for plunging into war on his own discretion if a new emergency should arise. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has urged that any new authorizations for the use of armed forces abroad, short of a declaration of war, should be carefully limited as to time, place and purpose. The relics now on the books are not so limited. The good start made with the Tonkin Gulf repealer should be extended to all the other measures that seem to acquiesce in presidential wars. Collaboration By Doug gTEVE Dubetz mentioned to me after church one Sunday recently that his fence was built by John McColl. He told me, incredible as it seems, that John volunteered to do the job simply because he likes building fences. It may seem strange that John hasn't offered his services to me. Maybe there is Walker some sort of unwritten law against collaboration on the part of people engaged in rival news media. I guess It would be an awful shock to Ed Robinson if has boss were to help a guy from the staff of the hated Herald. But Ed would never know about it since, as everyone in southern Alberta has been made aware, be never reads The Herald.