The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 25, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THl tlTHiWDOI Encourage halfway house A glaring deficiency in the social ser- vices in Lethbridge appears to be on the verge of being rectified. Soon a halfway house for alcoholics could be in operation providing a supportive environment for men on recovery program. Irrational fears, feeding on un- familiarity with halfway houses, sometimes results in nearby residents objecting to proposed properties being used for this purpose. Two common mis- conceptions are that the residents might be rowdy and that the premises could soon acquire a rundown appearance. Both could adversely affect property values. The truth is quite otherwise. Those who are selected for living in a halfway house are good prospects for making a recovery from their disability. They have too much at stake to get involved in any rowdiness. Behavior on the part of the residents can therefore reasonably be expected to be decorous. Then there is the matter of the upkeep of the property. Part of the therapy for recovering alcoholics consists in physical activity. It is possible that the house and yard could be maintained better than any in the neighborhood. Help might even be forthcoming for others nearby not able or inclined to care for their premises. If anything, then, the presence of a halfway house enhances a neighborhood. It certainly improves the image of a community by demonstrating that it cares enough about people with problems to support the kind of services that give hope'and encouragement. Hopefully, then, no objections will be forthcoming to the proposed location of Lethbridge's first and belated halfway house. A speedy consumation of the planning is to be desired. Letters Vague criticisms made A despicable act I believe it all depends on whether Alberta and Saskatchewan regard Canada as friendly, neutral or hostile." Energy bargain has defect By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator A dog was poisoned during the past weekend in the vicinity of 19th avenue and 19th street, south, while, according to his owner, he was in his own back yard. This follows closely upon two other poisonings of family pets, both dogs, within a radius of a single block. Moreover, this area has had a sad history of dogs killed by poisoning. It is apparent that someone in the neighborhood does not like dogs and resents their presence enough to take drastic action. The frustrations of non pet owners are not hard to understand. People without pets do not want dogs littering up their yards or digging in their flower beds. Even people with pets who are kept under strict control, feel some of the same frustrations at the activities of dogs allowed to run loose. It is discouragingly obvious that many dog owners feel that the law does not apply to them and, particularly if their dogs are small house pets, that the equally small violation of letting them run loose only to use the neighborhood as a latrine is of small consequence. In spite of frustrations, in spite of the fact that the law is held in some dis- regard, there are no extenuating circum- stances for poisoning a neighbor's dog. The dog is simply the innocent victim. It is an act to be despised, and a cowardly one, in view of the avenues of complaint and civilized action that do exist for those who are distressed by their neighbors' pets. This has not been an effective deterrent and now dog owners who con- trol their pets in strict adherence to the city bylaws cannot be assured that their pets are safe in their own back yards. The police are investigating the poisonings but, like arson, such actions are very hard to track down. Since a rash of dog poisonings a decade ago the Lethbridge and District Kennel Club and other interested organizations have had a standing reward of several hundred dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of dog poisoners. This may seem to be a limited neighborhood, but it is really a matter of taking the law into one's own hands and this has far wider implications. Vietnam again While the rest of the world is preoc- cupied with the Middle East and the energy crisis the South Vietnamese are anxiously debating whether the Com- munists will launch a major offensive before the end of the dry season in late spring. If a full-scale war breaks out again there will be some surprise but not too much. It has been apparent all along that the Communists intend to complete the task they set out to achieve years ago of un- iting the country on their terms. The signing of the Paris agreement was merely a way of getting the Americans out of the picture. There may have been some basis for hoping that the South Vietnamese had been given the means and the time to strengthen themselves against being overrun but the possibility that the American intervention was in vain has never been absent. There would be some surprise in the event of a Communist offensive so soon. Most people now assume that China and Russia are not interested in fueling a renewed war in Vietnam. It is hard to believe that North Vietnam can have recovered sufficiently from the debilitating effects of its protracted war to be able to make an all-out assault on the South alone. Although U.S. Defence Secretary James R. Schlesinger has recently in- dicated that his country might send bombers again if an all-out Communist offensive was launched, that likelihood does not seem great. President Nixon cannot afford to antagonize Congress by reopening that wound. Former Defence Secretary Melvin Laird doubtless reflects the mood of Americans today when he says that they settled for the Vietnamization program, by which the South Vietnamese were given the capability to protect themselves, and have to hope it works. His realism is reflected in the comment that he doesn't believe the United States can ever insure that there will be no more fighting in that area. The relative certainty of the Americans remaining disengaged tends to offset the uncertainty of support from old allies and thus leaves the North Viet- namese to decide if their strength is greater than that of the South. The chances of another major eruption of war are probably great. OTTAWA The cease-fire arranged by the Prime Minister on Wednesday after- noon has some merits. It has at least separated the hostiles, who have gone home. Agreement for the short term has been made possible by postponement of the major issues. Although federal Ministers are disposed as usual to discern light on the horizon, there is no serious suggestion that Donald Mac- donald has achieved his grand design. Mr. Trudeau was careful to emphasize at his press conference that the 60 day arrangements do not pre- judge the nature of a long term settlement. From the standpoint of the western producing provinces, the bargain proposed by the Federal Government on Tues- day suffered from a rather serious defect. It was all quo and no quid. The contribution expected from Alberta and Saskatchewan was starkly clear. The benefits they were to derive were remarkably hazy and seemed to consist of good intentions. With the passage of the years, federal intentions (although dusted off and placed on display at regular intervals) have become somewhat suspect in western Canada. Messrs. Blakeney and Lougheed were obviously in after 60 days may still be in of something more tangible to present to their voters. The eastern provinces will obviously gain substantial benefits from the two-month extension of the freeze. They have won the cushion they sought. Februry 1 will bring no widening of the existing east-west differential and, after the standstill period, the country will move to price parity below the level of the world market. As originally planned, the cushion was to be provided in effect by the producing prov- inces since it was to be fi- nanced entirely from the pro- ceeds of the export tax. Ot- tawa has made a marginal concession Of the million subsidy involved, (50 million will now come from the federal Treasury. The problems which have been postponed are the major ones and will necessarily have to be tackled in the time af- forded by the cease-fire. In no way do the agreements meet the valid objection of the western provinces that they are being denied the long awaited opportunity to secure the best price for a depleting resource. Nor has the conference made any serious contribution to the now more difficult problem of mobiliz- ing the capital required for early development of the Athabasca oil sands. Included in Mr. Trudeau's consensus notes was a rather vague sentence expressing the desire of Alberta to work in cooperation with other provinces with a view to applying the principle of pari- ty to other commodities. The Prime Minister dealt fleetingly with this at his press conference. It was a matter, he explained, of demonstrating to Albertans that parity is not simply a one- way street. He interpreted this to mean that there should be an effort to reduce tran- sportation costs as much as possible. While the West certainly de- sires a better deal in freight rates, the question of parity would also appear to involve considerations not touched upon by Mr. Trudeau. It is not at all clear that the Prime Minister and Mr. Lougheed are as yet on the same wave lengtn. In the case of oil, parity will allow for price differences due to varying transportation costs. It will be supported at less than world prices by proceeds of the ex- port tax, to which the produc- ing provinces take exception. The justification is that Ot- tawa is merely diverting a windfall benefit in order to assist individual and in- dustrial consumers. Federal Ministers, however, have shown a notable disinclination to define windfalls. They can, of course, be readily identified when Arabs are involved. This seems to be the basis of Ot- tawa's latest economic ax- iom: No Arab, no windfall Letters Some people (notably Mr. Lougheed) have difficulty in grasping this simple point, probablybecause world prices of many commodities, for all sorts of combinations of rea- sons, may advance rapidly in the absence of corresponding increases in domestic costs. On the evidence of his speech on Tuesday, the Alberta Premier has in mind such items as lumber and electricity, both of which we sell abroad without benefit of an export tax. But there is nothing at all in Mr. Trudeau's comments about transporta- tion costs to suggest that the federal Government has in mind a virtuous and com- prehensive attack on windfall gains. It has apparently concentrated all its virtue and energy on a single windfall arising from the sale of a single depleting resource which became Alberta's patrimony when the province belatedly achieved first class confederal citizenship in 1930 after a quarter of a century of struggle. Although the conference fell short of agreement on a long term petroleum policy, there was a generally harmonious discussion of other energy problems and projects. One of the better ways of encourag- ing goodwill at such a meeting is to keep a dozen balls spinn- ing in the air at the same time. This protects the par- ticipants against any serious discussion of priorities. By ig- noring priorities, many hard words are avoided. Such a procedure is, regrettably, open to one serious objection. It provides no answer to the crucial problem; how, without imposing impossible strains on the dollar, can we possibly handle all the energy projects now being promoted by our industrious 11 govern- ments? Evidently, we will meet these difficulties when they arise; that is to say, when it is too late. Peter Hunt recently ad- vocated "holding the fort tor a literacy which is rich, precise, and discriminating" in language which was boringly hyperbolic, (we value func- tional literacy, but do we worship it? We feel sorry for the illiterate, but dp we despise suspiciously vague (what after all is real and true and dis- criminating in the pejorative sense of the word, since his arguments for his theses are prejudicial. He says many seek the sen- sational and cannot be bothered to follow good arguments, but this is not enough to establish that this is typical of modern society, though it probably is, and Mr. Hunt's essay is a minor piece of evidence for the allegation. However, he is not merely concerned to argue that today's vulgar, to use a com- mon 18th and 19th century ex- pression, are vulgar, but rather that they are more vulgar than their ancestors. On this score he appeals to poets who made art out of the pastoral peasantry, but ig- nores writers who have made poetry out of industrial workers. But so what? We can make poetry out of anything if we try hard enough. He states flatly that univer- sities have lowered standards, that there is good reason to believe that a sixth grade education SO years ago left students more literate than today's high school graduate; but gives no reason. He suggests that educators com- placently deny that we should try to make students more literate than we do now; but gives no reason. Finally one's natural dis- position to forgive and forget is upset by the following. By and large and with due excep- tions, he says, educators "are not a very bright If we read this expression with emphasis on we might ask what's wrong with educators not being near geniuses? All that's required is that they be adequately bright; even average intelligence might suffice if it were accompanied by diligence, enthusiasm, affec- tion, common sense and humility. But of course nor- mally "not very bright" is used to mean "downright stupid." And we must either take this to be Hunt's meaning or charge him with ignorance of the ordinary idiom. Even he would prefer the former. His reasons for this strong allega- tion are these: the worst educators are capable of reading little more than pop- ularized sociological theory, he observes; and as a group they score lower than other professions on some standard text (he doesn't say what the test tests nor if it tests for it very well, nor how well the other professions This is supposed to show that educators by and large are morons. I'm afraid the best reason Mr. Hunt has given to support his indictment of educators and the need for renewed concern for literacy was given in spite of himself. MICHAEL KUBARA Lethbridge Free enterprise myth There may be quite a dis- tance between the British coal production dispute and the proposed sale of the Lethbridge power plant, but there is some connection. These separate incidents point out the shallow lip> service that is really paid to the theory of competition, freedom of choice and the rest of the free enterprise myth. Briefly, the competition theory rests on the fact that anything that is profitable will attract capital and hence increase competition and thus reduce profits. Likewise, more people will be attracted will tend to keep wages down. Conversely, unpleasant work, such as coal mining, must pay a premium to attract workers. The British miners are ex- pected to work for lower than average wages and make up the difference by working overtime. So much for freedom of choice and the effectiveness of competition in Britain. Here in Lethbridge we have an opportunity to keep our own power plant and maintain a semblance of bargaining power in future power rate negotiations. In other words the forces of competition could be, used to help keep power rates down. Where do our free enterprise and believers in competition type political parties stand on this issue. They haven't made a public stand yet, and if they refuse to they will be ad- mitting that the principles they claim to stand for come election time are merely rhetoric. I challenge them to come out and tell the public where they stand vital issue. HAL HOFFMAN Lethbridge Comments displeasing Teachers respond We are writing this letter in responsiveness to that article (Jan. 17) by Peter Hunt. We just don't think that he knows about what he's talking when he says us teachers are "not a very bright He carried on in such a way that you'd think we don't read nothing at all. Well let us make a few things pretty clear right now. We've all been faithful readers of The Herald and the Reader's Digest for years and let us tell you we've had our minds opened to a thing or two, thank you very much, es- pecially in the Reader's Digest which has lot's of self- improvement help too. We've been increasing our word power at phantasmagorical rates every month since we've begun to buy it. It also helps us to spell proper like The Herald's Jim Grunt does Those little quizzes The Herald has on important things in the news sure keeps us on our toes too, and the Beheve-it-or-Not section is real interesting and so is the Fun with numbers but it's pretty hard sometimes And just what does Peter Hunt know about TV? If he'd spend his summer holidays watching those afternoon shows like Edge of Night and Peyton Place he'd see just how valuable TV can really be if you're willing to spend the time Some of our most inlighting looks into People and what makes them tick have come from those two really terrific shows. Mr. Hunt also talks about "holding the fort for a literacy which is rich, precise and dis- criminating." Well that may be what he wants but we don't care how much money is in- volved, there is nothing sacred in being rich, we always say And that part about discrimination. This country was built on equality and fairness to all, except maybe a few of them minority groups, and as fir as we're concerned there'll be none of it in any fort we're holding We could of written a longer letter but Hollywood Squares is coming on in a few minutes. There's lot's of really interesting things on it and it's fun too Maybe Peter Hunt should watch it some time. And another thing, where we do agree with Mr. Hunt is that people are unable to write decently But we'd go one step farther than even Mr. Hunt People should write and read decently Decent folks shouldn't be exposed to all that indecent writing you find around these days. In the movies too. Ever since they let Clark Gable say "damn" in Gone With the Wind decency ha blown clear away T. MORSE G. HAILS B. COCK L. LOOSE V BOIL Lethbridfe I was not amused by the comments of Mr. Nick Taylor as reported in The Herald, Jan. 18. My first objection is to Mr. Taylor's stated motiva- tion for wanting to become the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party. Mr. Taylor said "he intended to have some fun as leader." I have no objection to fun but I do object to any politician playing around with my welfare and that of my fellow Albertans for the sake of fun. Leadership must be primarily motivated from a sense of public service not from the desire of a wealthy Calgary oil executive to dab- ble in politics in the style of aristrocrats of old. I was not amused by Mr. Taylor's comments on oil policy either. He has opted for confrontation tactics. Mr. Taylor is reported to have said, "I would turn down the tap, and force the feds to either nationalize (the oil in- move in the troops or take off the tax." This is a fine barroom speech which would bring a twinkle to many an eye if it came from an or- dinary citizen but Mr. Taylor aspires to be the leader of the Liberals, and perhaps premier of the province. It is an irresponsible comment. Turn- ing off the tap or even turning it down would cause grave economic and social conse- quences in Eastern Canada. Albertans happen to have many relatives there as well as the fact that they regard Easterners as Canadian fami- ly members in the wider sense. No responsible Albertan wants to inflict suf- fering on them. No responsi- ble Albertan would want to provoke the federal govern- ment to nationalize the oil in- dustry. Let Albertans make that decision themselves. No responsible Albertan wants to see federal troops deployed in Alberta. Accidental bloodshed could result. Albertans may not agree with Premier Lougheed on everything but they do agree that negotiation and litigation rather than confrontation is the way for thinking men to solve problems. I may be too harsh on Mr. Taylor but he aspires to the highest office in this province. If he wants my vote, he had better develop some maturity in outlook as his flippant remarks have consequences dangerous to the welfare of this province Politics can be fun but it is mainly a very serious business. ROGER R. RICKWOOD Lethbridge 504 7th St S Lethbndge.AWerta LETHBRIDQE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietor! and Publltftert Second data Mall Registration No 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON M PILLING DONALD R DC-RAM Managing Editor Manager ROY F MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Editor ROBERT M FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"