Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 1, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, June 1, 1974 Stanfield shows qualities of a leader Meeting in order City Council must now make the decision on whether to sell the city- owned power plant and buy all its power from Calgary Power, or build and rebuild its own generating facility. The recommendation of the city manager and council's own special committee is for the former, and there seems to be plenty of evidence to support that course. Council would be justified in adopting the recommendation. Nevertheless there is a distinct body of opinion in Lethbridge against that course. To some extent the opposition is doctrinaire: public ownership by definition is always better than private ownership, and it is inherently evil to 'deal with capitalists. However the opponents of the recommendation are using technical and financial arguments. They say the proposal to sell is based on faulty arithmetic and faulty technology. It is important not only that city council do the right thing but that it carry public opinion with it. The request for a further public meeting would therefore seem in order. The format would be important. The investigation and report by the city officials have been stated in detail and they have been challenged. Those who object should have the floor first, and should state their challenges, precisely, technically and objectively. The city's experts should then answer these objections, pi ecisely, technically and objectively, if they can, and the issues in contention thus disposed of finally and completely. If the report is found to be faulty it should be reconsidered. If it withstands the assault upon it, then city council should go ahead with its decision in the knowledge that it had done everything reasonable to keep the public in the picture. The recommendation to sell the plant and buy all the power seems amply justified for these reasons: The city cannot afford to build a new plant. Under current provincial government policy, power plants should burn coal, not gas, and the city is not able to buy a coal field and put a plant on it. There is adequate price protection for the city, in the regulatory authorities set up by the government. Calgary Power can generate power and sell it to the city cheaper than the city could generate it. The city makes its profit out of distributing the power, not generating it, and this would continue. And the city manager makes an interesting additional point. He forecasts that eventually both Calgary Power and any city-owned generating plant will be taken over by the provincial government anyway. If this happens it would follow that power generation for the whole province would be thoroughly integrated. A coal-fired plant in Lethbridge would not fit into that picture. But one more public meeting is required with the onus on those who are asking for it. Wise rejection Alberta Health Minister Neil Crawford is quite right in rejecting the proposal of MLA Art Dixon that some abortions performed in this province be excluded from coverage under Alberta Health Care Insurance. His reasoning is simple and sound if a medical procedure is legal, it should be covered by the health care plan. Abortions now being performed in Alberta are done so in accordance with federal law, as it is interpreted by members of the medical profession. If the law is wrong or is being circumvented, it is the responsibility of the country's elected representatives to change it or for the nation's law enforcement officers to investigate charge of wrong-doing. It is certainly not the function of the personnel administering the Alberta Health Care Insurance plan to try to make it an WEEKEND MEDITATION instrument for effecting the moral judgments of a segment of the community by imposing deterrence fees. Chaos could reign if that precedent were to be set. Why not have deterrence fees in other areas of medical practice where offence is caused? There are people who have scruples about the use of beverage alcohol who could ask that those being treated for alchohol induced ailments be required to pay the costs. There are also those who might contend that the diseases caused by the flouting of wise nutritional eating habits should not be covered by health insurance. Mr. Crawford knows better than to get involved in the kind of administrative nightmare that trying to police even one kind of medical procedure could lead to. His legislative associates, even if on the other side of the House, should know better too. Have faith in God Through a piece of great music runs a steady, haunting refrain, and the life of Jesus was like that. It had one dominant motif, "Have faith in God." Where faith was present he could accomplish miracles. Where it was lacking he could do nothing. His power seemed atrophied. "How is it that you have no he asked the disciples marvelling. He said of the Roman centurion, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." He urged the disciples not to be anxious about tomorrow. He maintained that if men had faith they could move mountains. What a difference it would make to the life of everyone if they had faith and were free from worry! Lord Dawson used to say to his children. "The most successful and serene people I have known and those who kept youngest the longest, are the ones who have learned to stop driving the car." But most people want to control and direct their own lives. They are forever driving the car. They have not found the key to peace in permitting God to drive the car. Guidance can be had, but it must be carefully cultivated. One has to become sensitive to the voice of God. "Have faith in God." said Jesus, and this is the key to peace and joy. Because faith in God means so much to us it requires much of us. It is all important or unimportant. Because the cost is great, very few ever get it. Thousands say they believe in God who only have a superficial, forma! creed. Their faith is good for nothing. A little rain and it runs and crumbles; a touch of strain and it snaps. Faith in God is the total response of man to God and can never be partial. It means giving oneself up to the will of God completely, mind, heart, and will. So faith can be measured by faithfulness. It is an act of supreme moral daring. Alas, how few of us achieve a real faith! Our lives would be utterly different if we did. And what a change would come about in society! As Jesus said, mountains would be moved. What mountains of evil, of crime, of ignorance, and of cruelty would be moved if men bad faith. Rubinstein visiting a friend in New York was invited to church by his host. He agreed to go if he could hear a minister who would tempt him to the impossible? Few are the ministers indeed who do that. Their faith is too timid to try to move mountains. Faith has a hard time of it. It is difficult to gain or retain once gained. Faith has to fight many a hard battle. Yon meet people or read books scoffing at faith. Then there is the appeal of the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, all the carnal and material things which destroy faith and drag you downward. Faith gets smothered. Little by little worldly preoccupations prove too much for it. If you read the lives of the saints you find they had hard battles to keep their faith. Like John Wesley, they had to pass through the Valley of Humiliation, driven from his church, chased by mobs, dragged through the streets. Faith must also survive suffering. Every saint passed through incredible suffering. "The north wind made the Vikings." it is said. Just as truly suffering made the saints. Or should one say it was an essential ingredient in making them? Another challenge to faith is bereavement. When you are trying with all your heart to do the will of God and your dearest love is taken from you, faith comes hard. Sometimes estrangement from loved ones tests faith. "A man's foes shall be of his.own said Jesus. Kagawa. the Japanese saint, was driven from his home penniless. So was the Indian saint. Saddhu Sundar Singh. Both achieved heroic dimensions in their effect on the world and in their own characters through faith that-was tested most cruelly by the brutality of their relatives. Faith is tested also by failure. Kipling writes, "If you can make a heap of all your winnings and risk it at a turn of pitch and toss and lose, and start again at your beginnings." How terribly hard that is! "If you can see the things you've toiled for broken, and stop and build them op with worn-out Only those who have failed so tragically can know the anguish of such a task. The final test of faith is death. Every man fears death. Death is the only enemy really. When the invasion of Europe approached, the army in Britain knew it could not be long and their nerves were taut. A concert was held for some of them and the master of ceremonies asked them if they had any requests. From the back came a voice, "Will someone tell us how to One of the singers came to the platform, singing the glorious song, "0 rest in the Lord." That is the way to die. It is also the only way to live. PRAYER: O God, my faitli is poor, fetat thing, and Urn winds of the world threaten to smrff it out. How can it last UK night except YM keep it alight? F.S.M. By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA By his repudia- tion of Mayor Jones of Moncton and the simultaneous crackdown on certain Quebec separatists seeking Conservative nominations, Robert Stanfield has gone as far as a party leader could go to ensure that the election is fought by the major parties on issues which do not threaten national unity. At the same time the Opposition leader has revealed a quality of character which has been largely hidden from Canadians generally, although perhaps net froiu his fellow Nova Scotians. The curious fact is that Mr. Stanfield himself is largely responsible for some of the erroneous notions which have un- doubtedly existed until now and have probably harmed him in the country. In 1968 the Conservative party, having passed through its own civil war, was a prey to continuing dissensions too obvious to be denied. Mr. Stanfield set out to mend them. It was not a task that could be accomplished quickly. In the face of continuing frustrations, the new leader stubbornly in- sisted that he was a "patient man." He was also by nature toler- ant of diverse opinions. In addition, as Opposition leader, he had the advantage in the Trudeau years of time. By avoiding the confrontations which had wrecked the party in the 1960s, he might hope gradually to achieve the necessary reconciliations. But the party, unlike its leader, was not particularly rarely the disadvantage of this approach to continuing in- ternal controversies was that it could and did create an impression that there was no steel in Stanfield; that he was a leader who would not lead. But this week the country saw a very different Robert Stanfield. When the patient man was pushed too far, the steel showed. The Moncton convention was warned in advance that Mayor Jones was unacceptable; when nominated, he was not accepted; if elected, as Mr. Stanfield has stated bluntly, he will not be admitted to caucus. According to political mathematicians, who are not necessarily right, a safe seat has been sacrificed for problematical gains and this in a general election which promises to be a very close fight. In a characteristically decent gesture, John Turner has promptly and publicly applauded Mr. Stanfield for an act of courage. Some critics suggest, how- ever, that this is too little too late. Why did Mr. Stanfield not act earlier against those who opposed the language resolution of 1973? Jack Homer, as usual, is the favorite exhibit. Few, as usual, have bothered to check on what the formidable Alber- tan said and did on that occa- sion.. The record shows quite "Otis always sits at a parking space until his dime runs out it's his way of fighting City Hall." Irish Protestant support miscalculated By David Macdonald, Herald London commentator BELFAST Among the factors that led to the collapse of the Northern Ireland power-sharing executive was a massive miscalculation by the British government of the popular support in the Protestant community for the loyalist strike. In the discussions now being undertaken with all shades of Ulster opinion by Merlyn Rees, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, it would not help for the government to refuse to recognize this now as a fact. It is true that there was in- timidation, that there were Protestant extremists who be- haved like thugs, and that fear of being out of step with their own community kept many Protestants at home when they would have preferred to go to work. But it is also true that the shadowy group that ran this strike were articulating the fears of many Protestants that they were being forced down a road that is anathema to with the Republic of Ireland. What began as a challenge to Westminster's authority by a fairly small, well-organized mm WORLD group of grass-roots Protestants ended as a major act of civil disobedience by the majority of the Protestant majority in Ulster. The elected representatives who quickly moved in to take political Pais- ley, Harry West and William themselves caught off balance at the beginning and did not realize that the strike had a chance of succeeding. But once they had scented blood they had ammunition to use. They were able to point out that when Brian Faulkner con- tested the elections for the Northern Ireland assembly last year his position on sharing power with Catholics and to the proposed Council of Ireland were vague enough to keep his traditional support. They also played up the ex- clusion of the loyalists from the Sunningdale conference later in the year and the most damaging aspect of that in Protestant eyes, the information that later leaked, was that this was at the express insistence of Ian Cosgrave. prime minister of the Republic of Ireland. liked it better back in the days when all you had ;o fear was fear This struck a response in the Protestant community, which feels it has not had the chance to exercise its democratic right to indicate in an election what it thinks of the Sunningdale agreement to share power with the Catholic minority and share some executive functions with representatives of the republic in a council of Ireland. In Dublin there is great bit- terness among the members of the Dail, the Irish Parliament, against Harold Wilson for failing to use the British army to break the strike and detain its leaders in the crucial first few days. He is privately held responsible for the fall oi the power- sharing executive, a view that is shared by Catholic mem- bers of the Northern Ireland executive and the moderates of the small Alliance party. Certainly the Ulster Workers Council fed on its own continued success, daily issuing new peremptory close- down orders that increased its prestige and support in the Protestant community. On May 22 Brian Faulkner announced that his executive stood by Sunningdale, recalled that the 1973 Constitution Act allowed for another assembly election in 1977-78, and said that the Council of Ireland would be implemented only at the level of consultation between ministers and that it would proceed no further than that until alter the 1977-78 elections. This political compromise strengthened, rather than weakened, the resolve of the strike leaders to keep going. Harold Wilson completed personal public relations fiasco in Ireland by alienating the Protestant community with his May 25 speech in v.'hicfi he talked of them "sponging on Westminster and British democracy." The mosi interesting development since the strike ended and Westminster imposed de facto direct rule, has been the similarity between the statements coming from the loyalist lead- ers and Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA provisionals. Several loyalists have said the time may be ripe for talks between Ulster Catholics and Protestants to work out a future without the participation of London or Dublin. Rory O'Brady of Sinn Fein said in Dublin that the British army should give a timetable for a pull-out spread over several years and talks should be held by the two com- munities in Northern Ireland. His statement that an immediate army pullout would be as unwise as the abrupt departure from the Congo is a change of position for the IRA. It might have been helped along by the knowledge that there are more than 100.000 guns legally held in Ulster, mostly by Protestants, and by the demonstration of power by the loyalists that had many people voicing the opinion in Belfast this week that the gov- ernment lay not in Stormont Castle but at 9, Hawthomden Road, the headquarters of the Ulster Workers Council. This similarity of positions may be a temporary straw in the wind but at this moment it is worth as much a chance of success as Merlyn Rees" efforts to set up a new power- sharing executive in the next four months. clearly that Mr. Stanfield did not encounter in Mr. Homer the problem that challenged him in the shape of Mayor Jones. Like some other Conservatives, the member for Crowfoot had criticized the original language Bill on the ground that it did not contain the guarantees earlier promised. When the Prime Minister proposed the guidelines to be incorporated in the 1973 resolutions, Mr. Horner subjected him to an interrogation which may be found in Hansard for May 7. The essential queston was: Would the guidelines be made part of the Act so that they would be binding, not only on the existing, but on any future Treasury Board? Mr. Stanfield agreed that this should be done and, indeed, the Conservatives moved an amendment to that effect. But this was resisted by the government. When it was defeated the great majority of the Con- servatives voted for the original resolution. Mr. Horner and a few others took the view that, in these circumstances, Parliament was being asked to perform an essentially meaningless exercise. In other words the outspoken Albertan, maverick as he may be, accepted the principle of the Act and proposed to strengthen it in a manner which Mr. Stanfield approved. The Mayor of Moncton, in stark contrast, became a celebrity through his efforts to destroy the Act. This is not to suggest that all is harmony in the Conservative party (or in any of the Mr. Stanfield is having obvious difficulty at the moment in holding various candidates to his own line on inflation. But the important point is that on an issue which could threaten national unity the Conservative leader has asserted his will in unmistakeable fashion. It is not without significance that some of those most critical of existing language policies have been quick to assert that they do not challenge his authority. It is the more likely, there- fore, that Stanfield in power will be a different person than the Stanfield that some observers imagined they had understood and duly categorized. But there is some irony in these developments for, quite certainly, the Conservative leader did not welcome events which might (one can never be sure of these things) cause a good many voters to look more favorably on him. Ever since 1968 critics have been lamenting the Stanfield image. New Trudeaus we have had with some frequency. A new Stanfield, to the dismay of some Conservative managers, we have never seen. The obstacle is Robert Stanfield himself who seems perversely (or laudably) determined that the country shall accept or reject him. image and all. In politics, however, nothing is predictable. Events in New Brunswick, which Conserva- tive loyalists such as Tom Bell sought desperately to prevent, have projected a Stanfield image which is quite new. It is not that the Nova Scotian has altered his convictions in any respect; certainly not that he has altered his manner of speech or platform delivery. It is merely that there is new authority to old words because a pair of decisive acts in unhappy political circum- stances have revealed the qualities of toughness that people expect in a Prime Minister, What will come of it is matter for speculation. Perhaps Mr. Stanfield has lost Moncton. he will make gains elsewhere. But it will not do now for opponents to say that he cannot control his party. He can when he judges that the chips are down. Some reassessments are in order; the old ones being out of date. The Lethbridge Herald SM 7Th SI S Lelhbriflge. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Propridors and Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 ClEO MOWERS. and Publisher DON H P1U.WS Managing DONALD R 00RAM General Manager ROY f MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M fENTON Circulation Manager KEWWETH E 8ASNETT Susmess Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"