Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 20, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Mondiy, January 20, 1975 Til I! IAI Interpreting the law Justice Minister Otto Lang may not be wholly right in dismissing his "bias" as being of no significance in ,the current abortion controversy. The fact that he is a Roman Catholic and the father of seven children really would be of no conse- quence if it were correct, as he contends, that the issue is merely one of adhering to the law. The issue, in fact, is the interpretation of the law and in this area the justice minister's bias seems to be operative. It may be the reason why he fails to recognize the vagueness of the law. The law permits abortion where the health of the mother requires it. Mr. Lang doesn't appear to allow for any interpretation of "health" except the physical one. This was obvious when he was interviewed recently on CTV's Canada AM program and wouldn't or couldn't? come to grips with a question about the UN health agency's much broader definition of health. It must be bias that blinds Mr. Lang to the possibility of interpreting the law in any way but the narrow one he under- stands. For him to insist that his interpretation is the one the legislators intended may also betray his bias. W. A. Wilson, a seasoned observer of the parliamentary scene, in his column of Jan. 16 said, "As a matter of historical fact, the justice minister is not correct in his usual explanations of Parliament's intent when it passed the Criminal Code amendments in 1969. The intent presumably varied with individual parliamentarians but the law had an ele- ment of vagueness which its sponsors ad- mitted at the time was deliberate." There is no justification for the justice minister complaining that the law is not being obeyed when parliamentarians ducked the responsibility of defining "health" and left it to the hospitals' medical committees. If Mr. Lang wants the country to be governed by a law on abortion that fits his view of what is right he should introduce an amendment leaving no doubt as to its intent and see how much support there is for it. The garbage industry With their usual efficiency, the Japanese are attacking the problem of urban refuse disposal by investigating how to turn such waste into resources. Since 1973, the Japanese Agency of In- dustrial Science and Technology has narrowed its search to four methods. The first, considered the most feasible for processing waste, can sort urban refuse into three groups, garbage and dirt, paper, and metals and plastics, without prior treatment. The major characteristic of this method is that it recovers waste paper in a highly usable state and is pollution-free. The second technique uses liquid nitrogen and shreds bulky wastes like washing machines and tires into useful component materials. The third sorts nonferrous metals like aluminum, copper and zinc from non-magnetic mix- tures of inorganic wastes and the fourth divides organic and inorganic wastes a basic process for turning combustibles into gas and liquid fuel. The Japanese expect to complete technological research by early in 1976 and then to shift their efforts to building demonstration plants, following which they intend to call upon local governments to adopt these methods. This report of the work of the AIST brings two predictions to mind. Economically oriented environmen- talists (or environmentally oriented economists) have for some time envisag- ed the emergence of a whole new in- dustry whose purpose would be to develop the technology and to market the machines and other equipment needed to clean up the environment and to conserve resources. With their deter- mined approach, the Japanese may well have a head start in developing such an industry. The second prediction sees the in- dustrial base of the world shifting to the Pacific in the next century with Japan at its core. This is based in part on what is sometimes thought of, loosely, as a miracle the growth of the Japanese economy following the Second World War. The efficiency with which the Japanese seem to attack their economic problems, their perception of industrial challenges and opportunities, and the unique contributions of Japanese culture and society to an industrial economy may well make it come true. Long before that time, however, Japanese machinery for processing and re-using the world's garbage can be ex- pected on the market. The need for such equipment is rapidly becoming apparent. THE CASSEROLE It has been observed, by some experts, that there's just as much authority in the home as ever there was. Nowadays, though, it's probably the children who exercise it. The cost of the 1976 Olympic games, originally announced at million, is now estimated at 5653 million, double the figure put forward by enthusiasts who successfully sought the games for Montreal. It is interesting to note that recently a TV repairman was jailed for falsely advertising that his was the only firm that could repair a certain brand of set without exorbitant costs and delays. If a couple of political donations by the Seamen's International Union are so all-fired important that a Royal Commission is warranted, one can't help wondering what should be done about the hundreds of thousands of dollars the oil industry pours into political campaigning. "Montreal university students lacking basic English grammar" reads a western newspaper headline. In Montreal, a possible excuse would be having French as the mother tongue. Wonder what excuse Alberta students use? ART BUCHWALD Vietnam nostalgia WASHINGTON Henry Simpkin, who has a business called Nostalgia, Inc., called the other day and said, "We're bringing back the Vietnamese war." "So I said. "It's the right he assured me. "Peo- ple long for the good old days when we were fighting the Communist peril in the rice pad- dies of Asia. We need something to take our minds off inflation and recession. What better diversion than getting involved in In- dochina "I don't know, Simpkin. Are you sure the American people want to be reminded of Vietnam so soon after we got "Listen, the president isn't asking for our boys to go back in again. All he wants is for Congress to allot hundreds of millions of dollars to help prevent the Viet Cong from taking over the freedom-loving government of President Thieu." "Do my ears deceive I said. "I think President Ford is playing our song. It seems like only yesterday we were dancing to the same tune at President- Johnson's Inaugural Ball." "Of course, we'll have to send in advisers to help the South Vietnamese. But don't worry, the president has no intention of com- mitting any American boys to fight a war 000 miles away from home." I said, "I think you've got a hit. It's almost like being there again." "Remember when we anchored the fleet off the Gulf of Tonkin and the North Viet- namese shot a torpedo at one of our "How could I forget "Well, guess where I'm goinp to put the fleet "Off the coast of "You better believe it. When you're going in for nostalgia, you have to be authentic or people won't buy the period." "You've re-created the whole thing down to the naval task I told my friend in amazement. "And I've got the Pentagon and White1 House lying again, just like the old days. They said we weren't flying any missions over Vietnam or Cambodia." "It reminds me of the early I said. "Guess what I'm also bringing Simpkin said. "Bob "Better than Bob Hope. I'm bringing back dominoes." "I almost forgot about I said excitedly. "It was the most popular game during the Vietnamese war. YOU lined them up and if one went down, the next one fell and so on and so forth until they all "The old domino I chuckled. "I have a box of them in the attic which I saved with my light at the end of the tunnel." "This could be the biggest nostalgia kick the country has ever gone Simpkin told me. "We also hope to bring back the Ho Chi Minh Trail." "The Ho Chi Minh I said, picking up my guitar and strumming the first few bars. "And incursions and peace with honor and all the great phrases that people used to love from the period. The president might even ask for a new draft and then we'll organize demonstrations on the campuses. You can't have a nostalgic feeling about the war in In- dochina without campus demonstrations." "Simpkin, you've thought of everything." "Do you know if we don't fight 'em in Viet- nam, we'll be fighting them on the beaches of "I think I said. "Could you hum the first line and I'll pick it up on the chorus." "No thanks just looking" Madness in great ones By Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator BOSTON There has hard- ly been a time when problems so numerous and so profound confronted us at once. The American economy is in deep trouble. The price of oil is shaking the international financial structure. Future world supplies of energy and food are in doubt. War threatens the Middle East. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union are deteriorating. In the midst of all this, the leaders of the American government are thinking about.. Vietnam. Vietnam? Vietnam. Our obsession with a country so remote from American interests has been a puzzle for years. That it should go on now, as half-a- dozen real problems strain our resources of leadership and character, shows how mad an obsession it is. Indeed, many Americans will find it hard to believe that their leaders are once again trying to deepen their country's involvement in Viet- nam, so irrational is the idea. But that is what is happening. The State Department issues a grave warning against truce violations by the Communist side. Hanoi says that American recon- naissance flights have resum- ed in violation of the peace agreement and of later ex- plicit undertakings; U.S. of- ficials deny it, then admit it, saying that breaches by the other side allow us to ignore the 'agreements. The secretary of defence warns that American opinion reacts "in anger to outright aggression." The immediate purpose of all the orchestration is plain enough. The administration is going to ask Congress for a massive emergency increase in military aid to Vietnam. It knows that it faces great resistance, based on logic and experience, so it raises the cries of alarm to a new pitch of shrillness. If we do not act in 1975 to save South Vietnam, they say, doom will arrive. But the argument remains as faulty as in 1955 or 1965, and the result of accepting it can only be more tragedy. The justification for inten- sified American intervention is that the Communists have upset the peace agreement made two years ago. But the evidence is rather the other way on initial responsibility for the breakdown of the truce.'In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, hardly a radical journal, Maynard Parker writes: "Almost from the moment the agreement was signed, President Thieu took to the offensive in an attempt to eradicate the Communist ink spots the second phase, which began on Jan. 4, 1974 with a speech by Thieu order- ing the army 'to hit them in their base areas' and ended in May, 1974, resulted in a mark- ed increase in large-scale offensive operations. Thieu also blocked im- plementation of the agreement's political provisions, including creation of a new national council and assurance of free movement between zones in South Viet- nam. In fact he prohibited any public mention of the agreement's terms. Parker says the other side "evidently did think there would be at least a period of peace and were unprepared for and staggered by the aggressiveness of Thieu's military operations. But however the agreement has been violated, the fun- damental fallacy is the notion that more American interven- tion can bring peace. We tried that. If the blood we spilled had any meaning, it must have been to teach us that our involvement in Vietnam only escalated the level of fighting and prolonged it. To escalate the American role now is to chase the old delusion that we can impose our settlement on the Viet- namese. If we start down that road again, no one should ex- pect it to stop at arms aid. Secretary of Defence Schlesinger, in his remarks about "aggression" rousing America to anger, signalled the possibility of U.S. forces going back into combat. Why are we hearing again the disastrous phrases of a decade ago? The most impor- tant source of the official obsession is well known. Henry Kissinger spent four years fighting that war, and enlarging it into Cambodia, arid he does not want to "lose." He wants to keep Thieu in Saigon as long as he is in Washington. Henry Kissinger complains about Congress restricting his flexibility. The reason it has done so is evident from the Vietnam example. More than any past secretary of state, he has maneouvred and tricked and distorted the law to get around what he knew was the will of Congress and the nation. He sent most of our food aid to Saigon; he juggled funds; he even asked his lawyers to see whether the war powers act, restricting presidential war-making, might allow him to bomb Viet- nam despite a flat legislative ban on bombing. No one should un- derestimate Kissinger's salesmanship now. He can still cry havoc better than anyone. But at least he does have to ask this time ask Congress. Is there really a new spirit of independence in Congress? We shall know better when we see whether it has the courage to end the grotesque obsession with Viet- Kremlin upheaval suggested By Lajos Lederer, London Observer commenlator The postponement of Mr. Leonid Brezhnev's visit to the Middle East because of "illness" has caused great anxiety and nervousness in the East European capitals, especially in Belgrade, where an impending shake-up in the Kremlin is not ruled out. Yugoslav sources close to President Tito discount reports that the Soviet party leader is ill. His decision to stay at home, the Ypgoslavs suggest, is more likely to have been due to an upheaval in the Soviet leadership. What has happened in Moscow in the past few weeks is not quite clear, but the Yugoslavs apparently have evidence that a major shift in the power structure of the Soviet leadership took place immediately after Brezhnev's return from his meeting with President Ford in Vladivostok two months ago. This American Soviet sum- mit was a complete failure, say the Russians, because of the unexpectedly tough American conditions for. political and economic co- operation a failure which opened the way for the op- ponents of detente with the West to undermine Brezhnev's position. This militant group in the Soviet Praesidium is led by Marshal Andrei Grechko, the minister of defence, and Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB. They have now according to the Yugoslavs succeeded In putting a brake on Brezhnev's policy of detente. The repercussions of this development could have far- reaching effects on East-West relations, particularly with the Americans. Signs that the militants are getting the up- per hand in Moscow are seen in the latest Communist offen- sive In South Vietnam. For the East European Communist leaders and peo- ple the prospect of Brezhnev's removal and a return to the hard line is terrifying, es- pecially to President. Tito. It was Brezhnev who re- established friendly relations with Yugoslavia and gave the East European Communist countries a chance for a better way of life. There appears to be no crown prince in Moscow, but some East European leaders have recently been impressed by what appears to be the growing influence of Yuri Andropov. Andropov is the first head of the secret police since Beria to be a full member of the Communist Party Praesi- dium. He has an un- happy significance among East Europeans for the key role he played in the suppres- sion of the Hungarian revolt in 1956. ON THE HILL Ity Senator h. A. dlburta Everybody wants to bring government closer to where the people are. At every level, there is a push to have federal, provincial, and even municipal governments get out of their capital cities and city halls and to work more closely with Canadians in their own localities. That is easier said than done. It is not easy to move, the bureaucracy of any level of government out from its central place to the cities and towns o[ the country. There are very real practical problems, problems of ef- ficiency and decision-making, in splitting authority between the centre and the people in the field. The federal government, however, believes there must be more authority in the field. Not just more numbers, but more senior people who must live in the actual areas that their decisions are affecting. This objective goes by the fancy word "decen- tralization." And decen- tralization, for the federal government, means a policy of dispersing new economic and industrial activity more generally across the country, in tune with local needs rather than central master plans. The goal is to decentralize the economy more than it is, so as to make more diver- sified and more rewarding job opportunities available to .Canadians in all parts of Canada. We seek a better balance between the regions in the growth of our economy. The federal government and Prime Minister Trudeau have enacted many industrial, agricultural and other policies designed to improve the economic balance in Canada not least through the department of regional economic expansion. There are four different areas in which the Trudeau government is working to decentralize. One is govern- ment purchasing. We are try- ing to ensure that the very large orders placed by the department of supply and ser- vices about billion a year are not concentrated in a few areas but help to stimulate business activity, and jobs, in all parts of the country. A second category of decentralization relates to the the extent to which national projects of all kinds can create nation-wide economic benefits. We are not talking here about the construction of post offices or other public buildings, but of the federal involvement in the major areas of an industrial society such as aerospace, nuclear energy development, com- puter technology, electronics, communications, and the vital growing area of industrial and scientific research. We are working to ensure that such federal involvement is used to stimulate economic development all over the country. For instance, the federal government is setting up research institutions with all the western provincial governments. The third area of de- centralization relates to the actual distribution of federal civil servants across the country. The federal public service is already, in fact, more decentralized than most people realize since some 75 per cent of its members are located in the country outside of the national capital region. Nevertheless, there are still groups of public servants in Ottawa who could do theii jobs just as effectively, ii some cases more effectively, if they were located elsewhere. The government is working at identifying such groups and moving them into the field. One good example is the decentralization of DREE, the very department most concerned with developing Canada's regions. The number of DREE employees out in the field has tripled in recent months from about 200 to more than 600, with a proportionate decrease in the Ottawa staff. This is a very significant shift in relation to the total size of the department, which only has a staff of about not counting the employees of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Ad- ministration who are located in Western Canada. The new field employees of DREE will be receiving an annual payroll of close to 56 million, enough to make a significant economic impact on the regions concerned. The fourth aspect of decentralization is perhaps the most important. It con- cerns not the numbers, but the responsibilities, of public ser- vants located in a region. Too often in the past, government has not been as responsive as it might have been because federal employees on the scene could not make the necessary decisions. They had to defer to their more remote superiors in Ottawa. We feel that it is very important that public servants with the necessary local knowledge be given the authority to make key decisions affecting local people. The federal government has acted in this regard by ex- tending major decision- making powers to local and regional officers of the Central Mortgage and Hous- ing has a spending budget of more than billion a year spread across the country. Housing schemes and policies that fit the needs of a particular province or region are being fashioned there, rather than made in Ot- tawa. Another example is DREE, again. DREE's regional and provincial offices now are staffed by senior public ser- vants, up to assistant deputy ministers, who have very con- siderable authority to act on the basis of their personal knowledge of local conditions. Last year, 70 per cent of DREE's executives were in Ottawa. Now, 70 per cent of them are in field offices. Many other departments such as industry, trade and commerce, manpower and immigration, environment, consumer and corporate af- fairs are strengthening and expanding the responsibilities of their regional offices. These federal civil servants are much more readily available to local people, they know local conditions, and they are more able to co- operate effectively with their counterparts in the provincial governments. 1974 By NEA. ln "I'm glad you like it this is my first The Uthbridge Herald 504 7lh SI. S Lslnbrldge. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CD. LTD. Proprietors and Publisher! Second Class Mall Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON. H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager HOY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"