Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 25, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tutiday, July 35, 1972 THE LETHMIDGE HERALD 3 George Rndwanski Odds against separation of Quebec George Radwanskl Is asso- ciate editor of The Montreal Gazette. In this article he answers two columns by Richard J. Ncrdham of The Turonto Globe and Mall. TyjONTREAL If there h anything more wearying than a Toronto columnist who just can't understand Quebec, it must be a Toronto columnist who thinks he does understand Quebec. It is into this latter category, sad to Buy, that Richard J. Needham, The Globe and Mail's usually delightful iconoclast philosopher, has plopped himself with two re- cent columns. Straying from his customary domain of aphorisms, parables and minor epiphanies, Mr. Needham has decided to tell his readers about The Quebec Problem as he sees it which happens to be from a vantage point unobscured by any knowl- edge of the true facts. His articles are deeply troub- ling, because they reflect an attitude which appears to be gaining currency among Cana- dians west of Quebec, and it is an attitude which could destroy Confederation much more easi- ly than anything Rene Leves- que says or does. They merit comment for that reason alone, even more be- cause they are designed not only to convey that attitude but to propagate it, con- verts with distortions disguised as homespun good sense. Mi'. Needham's thesis can be summarized thus: Quebec will separate from Canada no mat- ter what anyone does. And that being the case, it's high time the federal government stopped trying to bribe Quebec with money "stolen" from the richer provinces, notably Ontario. He's dead wrong on both counts. Neither Mr. Needham nor any- one else can say with certainty at this point that Quebec will eventually secede. Nor, for that matter, can anyone say with certainty that Quebec will not secede. There have been periodic surges of fervor in French Canada for two centur- ies, and sporadic bursts of strong separatist sentiment ever since Confederation. The present one is, admitted- ly, much more broadly-based than any of its predecessors, and it has won over Quebecois youth to an extent which can- not be overlooked. With the existence of a serious political party dedicated to secession, moreover, the dismantling of Confederation has for the first tune become a real possibility. But possibility Is not certainty, and the debate is far from over. It is false to suggest that there is "no strong or honest counterforcc" to balance Que- bec separatism. One can argue that the Parti Quebecois is the most dyna- mic and clearly-defined force in Quebec politics at the provin- cial level, but to rest the argu- ment there is to overlook the role of the federal govern- ment. The Trudeau government can be accused of any number of things, but one of them cer- tainly is not failure to provide a strong counterforce to separ- atism in Quebec. Mr. Needham seems to flunk that all Mr. Trudeau and the other Quebeckers in his cabinet do is pour "bribes" into this province, but the fact is that (hey have also offered leader- ship and arguments at least as persuasive as those of Mr. Levesque. In the 1970 provincial elec- tion, the Parti Quebecois won 23 per cent of the popular vote. An opinion poll which accur- ately forecast that 23 per cent vole also showed that only 50 per cent of PQ supporters favored Quebec's economic and political separation from Can- ada, and only 76 per cent fav- ored even political separation while retaining economic union. That means that, in 1570, at the very most ID per cent of Quebec's electorate favored separation in any form. That proportion had remained con- stant since 1063, and there is no evidence that it has increased significantly since the 1970 elec- tion, either. Support for the Parti Que- becois? Thai's n different mat- ter entirely. It's entirely possible that the PQ will come to power even- tually, because no other party offers n serious nltcrnnllvc to the provinclnl Liberals who like any other government nve bound to fall from favor sooner or later. But n Parti Quebecois vic- tory in that context would not necessarily be n separatist vic- tory. It's entirely conceivabli in fact, likely that the party's base would then include so many non-separatists that secession would be no closer than It is today. My personal belief, from a vantage point much closer than Mr. Needham's, is that Quebec will not leave Confederation, al- though the constitutional make- up of the nation may be alter- ed considerably. I'd say the odds are at least 60 to 40 against separation. If I were an Ontarian who believed that separation is in- evitable, I'd worry about a lot more than the present "brib- Mr. Needham is lament- ing, because I don't think the rest of Canada would be worth a damn without Quebec. Having said all that, it's only fair to add that Mr. Needham's musings about the inevitability of separation in his first article are innocent enough. One guess is as good as another, after all, although having some basis in reality does help The argument in his second article is a different matter, however, because the distortion is not only dangerous but also seems compounded with a faint streak of venom. If "there's still a dislike of Quebec among Ontario people" I question whether it's as widespread as Mr. Needham suggests he certainly isn't helping the situation any by suggesting a list of justifica- tions for bigotry to any inno- cent Octarian who might have missed hopping aboard the bandwagon. But that's really beside the point, the point being that when he argues that the federal gov- ernment is "stealing" from On- tario to "bribe" Quebec, there is hardly a sentence of the analysis that deserves to pass unchallenged. In the first place, redlstrl- uution of wealth is not synony- mous with theft. If there is any principal raison d'etre for Confederation, it must be to provide a decent standard of living for Canadians from coast to coast. We are, after all, a nation not just a convenient arrange- ment for transportation, de- fence and so forth among sep- arate states. Accept the view that people in some provinces should live in affluence while others suffer along in squalor, and we might just as well scrap the whole thing. There is fundamental ignor- ance, at best, in the question "does Quebec need to be help- coupled with the remark that "if the people of Quebec aren't as well-off as those of Ontario, it's because the people of Quebec haven't used their resources as effectively." The social and political his- tory of Quebec has been rather different from that of Ontario. It is only in the decade since 1960, indeed, that Quebec has come fully into the 20th cen- tury. Argue as one may about the causes of that lag, it's no an- swer at all to say that Quebec has the resources. Quebec has more natural resources than Ontario, true enough, but It has always lacked the homegrown capital to develop them. Now the province is caught In a vicious cycle of unemploy- ment and poverty which causes social unrest which in turn re- tards economic development. Federal payments to govern- ment and industry help Que- bec both to cope with the social demands created by poverty and unemployment, and to speed the economic growth of the province. It's fair to question whether that money is being used as efficiently as it could be in Que- bec, but not whether the prov- ince is entitled to aid. Those payments are neither charity nor bribery, simply the assis- tance which the underdevel- oped parts of a generally afflu- ent nation have every right to claim. "Who's the passenger in Australians resent French tests CYDNEY The French nu- clear tests in the Pacific have created an unprecedented state of tension between France and Australia. The protest movement against the tests includes al- most every segment of Austral- ian society, rich and poor, Left and Right, professional and working class, conformist and non-conformist, Catholic and Protestant. The governor of South Aus- tralia, Sir Mark Oliphant, a famous nuclear scientist, de- scribed France as "a bandit with a sawn-off shotgun, hold- ing the rest of the world to ransom." Businesses are joining in the boycott against French goods. Dockers have placed a ban not only on French sliips but on all French goods carried by any ship. Book Review By William Harconrt In the French Pacific terri- tory of New Caledonia shipown- ers have sacked 150 seamen thrown out of work by the Aus- tralian ban. The shipowners are going to complain to the French government. Australian government scien- tists employed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Re- search have condemned the tests. Even disc jockeys on commercial radio stations have banned French songs or make unpleasant comments every time they play a French tune. The prime minister Mr. Wil- liam McMahon, repeats vainly that his government has done all it can. "Not says the Labor leader of the opposition, Mr. Gough Whitlam, smelling vic- tory in an election year. "Call the Pacific nations' ambassa- Sketch of a village "In the Village" liy An- thony Bailey (Knopf, SG.95, 226 pages, distributed hy Random House of Canada AN enjoyable book, which can be put down and re- turned to as the reader's mood dictates; and yet this book shows very clearly the essen- tial characteristic of a village. "Contact is what the village is all about; we can't avoid peo- ple. We have neither the hap- hazard confrontation nor the anonymity of the large town or city. It behooves us to know people." The author Is writing about Ihe village he lives in, (Stoning- ton, Connecticut, pop. and he lias put his talents as a staff writer for The New York- er to good use in drawing a thumbnail sketch of his village. He presents it to the reader as a pleasant mixture of past his- tory and present goings-on: his neighbors, the architecture, the bombardment by a British fleet during the War of 1812, the annual Invasion by the summer people from the city. The village's past is part of its present, and the author has shown his skill In the liveliness and vigor with which ho cap- tures nnd retains the reader's interest. CHARLES B. CORBET (asst. Librarian, CD A Research Station) dors in Canberra together and suggest all Pacific nations sev- er diplomatic relations with France." Why should the French be al- lowed to set the bomb off in "our" ocean? It was not allow- ed in the Sahara. Why should it be allowed here? Australians to a man are in- censed with the French gov- ernment's "calculated one disc jockey said. Meanwhile, Australian gov- ernment scientists have started to take test samples of food and milk for any increase in radioactive' content. In the returned servicemen's pubs, amid the jangle of one- armed bandits and shouts for more beer, the old "diggers" are recalling long-forgotten re- sentments. "In the 1914-18 war the French even made us pay rent for the trenches we fought in." French diplomats are re- ceiving telephone death threats to themselves and their fami- lies. Dr. Jim Cairns, the Labor shadow minister for trade and industry, a lough uncomprom- ising ex-policeman, has gone to Paris to seek an audience with President Pompidou. A parachute instructor, Gor- don Mutch, and two compan- ions are in Fiji and planning to hire an amphibious plane and parachute into the bomb zone. Before he left Sydney airport, Mr. Mutch and his two com- panions, dressed in parachut- ists' uniforms, harangued their hippy supporters. "We've got to get there In shouted Mr. Mutch. "Peace nnd down with the French." Most Australians agree. (Written for The Herald nnd The Observer, London) It may be worth pointing out here, incidentally, that Mr. Needham hasn't even got the basic facts straight on the sub- ject of federal spending in Que- bec. "Some is used to let Montreal lake on big, costly projects like the 1976 Olympics" he writes, when in fact the federal government has repeatedly in- sisted that Montreal will not get any special funds for the project. As for the spending to build "an immense new airport in the Montreal Mr. Need- ham might do well to look in- stead at federal spending for the seemingly even less neces- sary new Toronto airport at Pickering. Apart from all this, there is yet another consideration which may perhaps be the most im- portant of all: it is far from certain that the situation is, as Mr. Needham describes it, one of Ottawa "pumping money out of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia then pumping it into Quebec." It's true that Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia receive no- federal equalization grants, while Quebec receives more than any other province. But it is also true that just under one-quarter of all the regular revenues raised by the federal government across Canada are raised in Quebec. If Quebec did secede from Canada and received no more federal grants and, of course, supplied no more fed- eral tax revenues would it cost the remaining nine prov- inces more or less to maul- tain a central government? If Mr. Needham knows the answer, he would do well to share the figures with the rest of us, because that debate has been raging unresolved be- tween Quebec and Ottawa poli- ticians for years. When, just before the 1970 Quebec election, the federal Liberals circulated figures pur- porting to show that Quebec gained from Con- federation in 1968-69, then- Premier Jean-Jacques Ber- trand promptly fired back with his own statistics to claim that Quebec in that year actually gave to the federal govern- ment more than it got back. But if Mr. Needham Is con- vinced that Ottawa is pumping money out of Ontario into Que- bec, then presumably he is ar- guing that it is Ontario not Quebec which Is putting more into Confederation than it's getting back. If that's his contention, shouldn't he be arguing for On- tario's secession, rather than for giving Quebec a final nudge out of Confederation? As for me, I'm not shedding any tears over Ontario "being forced to share its wealth with because I believe a lot of that wealth comes from Que- bec in the first place. Quebec, with its population of six million nearly one-third of the total population of Can- ada provides a huge share of the consumer market on which Ontario is getting rich. Factories, banks, stores, all with head offices In Toronto, serve the population of Que- bec, and siphon out the dollars which make Ontario so fat and prosperous. And when some of that wealth is channelled back to Quebec to give this province a fighting chance to develop its own economy, people like Mr. Needham yelp about "black- mail" and "stealing." If enough people took up that smugly vici- ous tune, Mr. Needham's pre- diction about Quebec's seces- sion would turn into a self-ful- filling prophecy. No, giving Quebec federal as- sistance won't ensure that this province remains within Con- federation. But cutting Quebec off from that assistance, which it has every right to claim, would most certainly guarantee it would not remain. Oh, yes one more thing. Mixed in with all that bad analysis, there's one piece of plain, old-fashioned punditry: "I believe Quebec will cast a massive vote against the Tru- deau regime in Uie forthcoming federal election." That gives both Mr. Needham and myself a chance to put our money or, more appropriate- ly, a little of our dignity where our pens arc. I believe the Trudeau gov- ernment will lose a few Quebec scats in the next federal elec- tion, but I'm convinced thcra will be nothing approaclu'ng the massive repudiation Mr. Need- ham has foretold. I propose a bet. It might seem strange for columnists (o gamble on their predictions, but it's a far more harmless pastime than serving up misinformed idcns which, if Ihcy were adopted, could dis- mantle the nation. by John Crosby, ta the Loorioa Observer Telling it like it isn't HPHE TV camera in fact, every kind of camera has been getting a very bad Press lately. la a long piece In The Times, Malcolm Muggeridge wailed that the TV camera is just lies, lies, all lies, creating myths like David Frost. (David Frost is not a myth, Malcolm. Cut him, he bleeds, just like Shylock. Only richer.) Maundering on about his two decades in front of the TV cameras, Muggeridge says the camera makes truth fantasy, quotes Blake, complains that even that celebrated shot of Hitler dancing a jig before the Arc de Triomphe during the late unpleasant- ness was faked and concludes by asking: Is government possible with such a ma- chine about, and answers himself with a ringing No. Well now. Well now. Everyone calm down. I seem to have heard this argument before. In fact, Daguerre had barely in- vented his magic box when someone cried, lies, all lies, and started quoting Blake at him. It was ever thus with inventors. The pen- cil, as is well known (or perhaps was invented by Imhotep IV in the year 5893 BC in the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. A long time ago. 'What Hath God exclaimed Imhotep IV in capital letters and, what's more, in Egyptian. (Be- lieve me, it's not easy.) We know that's what he exclaimed because he wrote it down the first thing that was ever writ- ten down. History began, and hasn't stopped to this very day. Lies, all lies. Some 14 or perhaps 42 centuries after Imhotep IV invented the pencil an- other forgotten genius, Isis IV, came along, and invented the eraser, the most calami- tous invention to befuddle the mind of man since the pencil. Now, what Isis IV did was to erase all the history all these other scribes had writ- ten and substitute his own fiction for theirs. Pity, because there was some aw- fully good stuff in there. Well, time passed, the Nile rose and fell, dynasties rose and fell, and the celebrated scribe Scrabble XIV wrote for all to see: 'Is government possible with all this erasure going onT No.' He'd barely got the words down on papy- rus when someone erased them. Now I suppose you all want to know where I got the story from. Well, I got ths whole sorry tale from a wandering Pharisee whose family has passed it down by word of mouth for 700 generations. That's the only reliable instrument, Muggeridge, the mouth. Seven millennia passed In the twinkling of an eye and we find ourselves some of us anyway in the twentieth century.' As if the pencil and the eraser weren't affliction enough, some bastard has gone and invented the tape-recorder. As Blake said (or would have said if he'd been around at the 'What hath God wrought this time, for God's History is bunk, said Henry Ford, if you can believe the historians, and the trouble is you can't. No matter whether they use a camera, a pencil, a tape-recorder or smoke signals, it conies to the same thing, ma- larkey. The only people who don't go along with the Fordian theory are the historians themselves who, after all, have a vested interest in the history lark. It is now known by means of the eykaj- rotic macrophate method (you drill a hole in the seabed to get a slice of geologic time and smell it, mat's how) that the six- teenth century never existed. The whole bit, the Renaissance, the lot, were the fig- ments of some historian's imagination, a publisher's swindle to sell books. There are grounds for suspicion that the third cen- tury BC is just a tissue of lies. That brings us, with a hound, to the In- vention of the teletype by a man named Shrdlu, which spread the lies farther and faster than anything since Gutenberg put down the Bible (also a pack of lies) in movable type. To say nothing of the tele- phone, which Is just one wrong number after another. Is civilization possible un- der these circumstances? A thousand times no. Maybe even two thousand times. On the use of words Theodore Bernsleln Oh. Is there a rule, asks Dr. Morgan Ackley Johnson of Abse- con, N.J., about the sequence of ie or ei in the spelling of words? Obviously he was absent from school the day Miss Thistle- bottom taught the rule, and a surprising number of other people have forgotten the rule either in -whole or in part. So, let's refresh our memories: "I before e except after c or when sounded like a as in neighbor and weigh." The rule unfortunate- ly is not airtight; there are some excep- tions. A few that ne to mind are min. neither, height, weird, and feisty. But for siege and receive and beige and many other words the rule does not yield. Distance loans eiichantment. An ad for air conditioners carries the line, "If we can't fix your new air conditioner on the spot, we'll loan you one." In Britain that use of loan would be disapproved, and in the United States, although it is quite common, it is not acceptable to careful writers and speakers. In careful usage the verb is lend, while loan, if it is used as a verb at all, is restricted to business deal- ings: "The bank loaned him Even there, of course, lent not only is acceptable but Is preferred by educated people. As for non-business uses, how would you like, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, loan me your or the words that top this item? Word oddities. As is obvious from just looking at them, the words farther and further are related but are not identical twins. They even have different Middle English parents. Further is much more widely used than farther, partly because the contexts in which it is appropriate art much more common. The difference in meaning between the too words Is summed up succinctly by Eric Partridge In Usage xnd Abusage as follows: "A rough distinc- tion is this: farther, farthest, are applied to distance and nothing else; further, furthest, either to distance or to addition ('a further As the 'present writer remarked elsewhere, fifty years hence writers probably will not have to worry about that distinction, because it looks as if farther is going to be mowed down by the scythe of Old Further Time. Word oddities. Believe It or not, there ii at least there was a word Jeet. It's an obsolete variant of jet. It was in use centuries before the advent of what is now known as a jet. Maybe when a 727 becomes obsolete we should call it a jttl. Mafia in Toronto? ACCORDING to an official spokesman, police have "long known of the exist- ence in Toronto of a Mafia cell." More- over, he assures us, "both the police and the government" are keeping a close eye on it, and will continue to do so. A bit coy as to detail, he did say that "as far as we know" the Mafiosa have not yet attained "monopolistic control over all syndicated crime in the province." Well that's nice; it would hardly do even in Toronto to have all that or- ganized crime about and the police not know who's responsible for it. Really in- efficient. What's more, monopolies are il- legal, aren't they? Having missed seeing The Godfather, I'm not an expert on these matters, but I understand "Mafia" Is journalistic short- hand for a loose sort of federation of crim- inal gangs, each known even more loose- ly as a "family." These "families" urn organized on a para-mllltary model, with a supremo commander, powerful lioulen- lints in charge of divisions, and troops ol "soldiers" who carry out the dally routine of the criminal activity to which their pur- ticular group is assigned. This might bo gambling, extortion, prostitution or somo other form of vice, and nowadays It is more and more likely to be Illicit traffic ID drugs. In Mafia operations, I gather, violence is a byproduct, rather than a main fea- ture, as violence per se makes no money, and money is the object. However, having its own philosophy of crime and punish- ment, in which physical abuse (beating and murder) substitute for legal sanctions (fines or imprisonment) intense violence is commonplace. Moreover, personal or juris- dictional conflicts, disputes over territory, access to power, etc., can and frequently are resolved by violence. Surely this is the sort of Import Cana- dians must not tolerate. And it is a matter for all Canadians, because if this cancer can establish itself in one Canadian city, only time will be needed for it to spread to others. So a watching brief even by "both (sic) the police and the government" isn't good enough. If we can exclude or deport so many who may wish to bo loyal and law abiding Cana- dians on trivial technicalities, ns wo have- done so often in the past, surely it should not bo beyond our will or wit to rid our- selves of known, vicloui criminals.