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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 13, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Preparing for election Premier Ed Schreyer is leading the New Democratic Party in the campaign for the Manitoba genera! election June 28. His minority position during the last two years did not stop the government from launching an ambitious end sometimes controversial legislative program, Ed Schreyer is running out of firsts By STEVE KERSTETTER WINNIPEG (CP) Mani- toba Premier Ed Schreyer is only 37 years old, but he is rapidly runTiing out of "firsts" to add to his list of political accomplishments. When first elected to the legislature at the age of 22, he was thought to be the young- est MLA in Manitoba history. Eleven years and an unbro- ken series of victories later, he became Canada's youngest premier. But perhaps his most no- table achievement was mov- ing the New Democratic Party out of its traditional third-party position in Mani- toba politics and into the mainstream of political life. Now he is leading the NDP in the campaign for the Mani- toba general election June 28. Reporters covering the 1969 election were impressed with the style Mr. Schreyer brought to the provincial po- litical scene, the quiet yet forceful, casual yet in- tellectual manner that re- both his farm back- ground and his later years in teaching and politics. Equally important was the jvjgmatic flavor of "social democracy" he gavei to a party ideology still branded by some as totalitarian social- ism, "The politics of social de- mocracy are the politics of reason and he said in his 1969 nominating speech for party leader. "Businesses have no reason to look ask- ance. Only those with ex- cessive lust and greed have reason to be afraid." WON UPSET VICTORY Mr. Schreyer led his party to an upset victory in the gen- eral election 18 days later and formed a government just one seat short of a majority. The NDP's minority posi- tion during its first two years in office did not stop the gov- ernment from launching an ambitious and someitmes con- troversial legislative pro- gram. In 1970, for example, the government went ahead with plans for compulsory au- tomobile insurance, and it was Mr. Schreyer's personal diplomacy which finally won over a wavering former Lib- eral MLA and ensured his government's survival. Mr. Schreyer was born in the Beasejour area northeast of Winnipeg and quickly de- veloped an interest in both politics and sports, but what- ever prospects he might have had for a baseball career faded with his increasing in- volvement with the CCF. During the 1957 federal election campaign, he man- aged Jake Schulz's successful bid for election to Parliament, Tlie connection with Mr. Schulz, however, proved most important for personal rea- sons. He married Jake's daughter Lilly three years later, and the Schreyers now have three children: Lisa, Karmel and Jason. CHOSEN PARTY LEADER Mr. Schreyer won a seat in the legislature in 1958 and represented Brokenhead con- stituency for seven years be- fore his election to Parlia- ment in 1935. While an MP, he was a party spokesman for broadcasting, transportation and rural development. He also was an observer with the Canadian delegation to the United Nations in 1966 and a member of the Canadian dele- gation to a NATO conference in Brussels the following year. By 1968, Mr. Schreyer's at- tention was drifting back to provincial politics and the mantle soon to be handed down by veteran party leader Russell Paulley. The 1969 leadership race first appeared to be a close contest Between Mr. Schreyer and MLA Green, but Mr. Schreyer won by a mar- gin of nearly three to one. Despite bis prominence in the party and his long ex- perience, the premier has not ruled the NDP with an iron hand. In his four years as head of the party, he threw his full political weight behind only one issue: the volatile one of slate aid to private and parochial schools. THREATENED TO RESIGN Mr. Schreyer embraced state aid as a personal cru- sade in the fall of 1971 and twice threatened to resign over the issue. Although caucus members allowed it to come to the legislature on a "free they ultimately forced the premier to admit that the will of the party, not his own will, came first. "Eight years ago, I said in the legislature that the ex- ercise of power does not ap- peal to he told reporters after one stormy caucus meeting. "My personal feel- ings are one thing, and the way in which we proceed to try to solve problems in the public domain is another." When the vote was taken on a study committee on state aid last July, some of Mr. Schreyer's most trusted col- leagues helped to hand the premier .his most dis- appointing defeat. The LetKbridge Herald FIFTH SECTION Alberta, Wednesday, June 13, 1973 PAGES 4542 Variations in style of life are plentiful Eastern European-a different world By HEDRICK SMITH New York Times Service BREST, U.S.S.R. Here on the Sex let Polish frontier an unusual feat of engineering oc- curs every day: entire trains are lifted off their carriages, car by car, and fitted with new sets of wheels to pass out of the Soviet Union into Europe. They enter Brest on the wide- gauge wheel carriages used in Russia since Czarist times, and an hour and a half later they leave Brest on the narrow car- riages that fit the tracks of the rest of Europe. Because East- ern and Western Europe are on the same track, the trains tra- vel onward not only to Poland and East Germany but through Berlin to West Germany and the low countries and on to the English Channel. Symbolically, this shift marks an "important cultural divide at the Soviet frontier. It sets off Eastern Europe as a world dif- ferent from the Soviet Union itself, a region with deep his- torical links to the West, a cul- tural way station between the west and Moscow, and, often, a conveyor belt to the Sovi et Union for Western culture and technology. This impression is reinforced in countless ways during the trip from Moscow through eastern Europe. A traveler entering the re- gion from the West may note that many basic institutions fol- low the Soviet model Com- munist Party rule, a controlled press, five-year economic plans, police controls and cumbersome bureaucracy. What strikes the traveler from Moscow are the differences from the Sonet system and the variations in life style. He leaves a nation closed and sus- picious, living in continental isolation, and discovers a re- gion of peoples who are on fair- ly broad and open contact with the rest of the world, who prac- tise more flexible forms of Communism, indulge in con- sumer urges beyond the reach of ordinary Russians, who tol- erate artistic and literary forms banned at home by the Kremlin and who allow religion, private agriculture and small private trade a role in Communist so- ciety. Moscow, with its industry and its seven million people, con- veys size and power, but for in- ternational flavor it does not match the smaller capitals of Eastern Europe, with their hot- els and airline offices, thei r more modish shops and fash- ions, their swarms of tourists. Many little differences greet the visitor from Moscow: The surprising number of Bulgari- ans driving Mercedes cars in Sofia; the appearance of Ed- ward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Viriginia on the Rum- anian stage or "The Flint- stones" on Rumanian televi- sion; an East Berlin supermar- ket and department store on the Alexander Platz that could pass easily in Atlanta; a Polish journalist driving around the block in Gdansk moaning, "poor old Poland, no more parking the constant talk of Eastern European youth about travel abroad; Jimi Hen- drix or Mhalia Jackson boom- ing out over a Hungarian radio station; East Germans admit- ting they listen to the American Armed Forces Radio in Berlin for the latest western music; the sniping at censorship, pol- ice informers and Communist- >loc solidarity in Polish and Hungarian political cabarets; groups of Bulgarians and Rum- anians clustered outside the! American embassies in their capitals studying photo exhibits of the Skylap Space Mission, whereas in Moscow ordinary Russians scurry past the en> >assy as if it were a cemetery under military guard. Eastern Europeans are gen- erally more conversant than Russians with a host of topics dealing with the outside world, from Watergate and West Ger- man politics to the latest antics of their favorite western movie tars and athletes. They know much more about Soviet-Ameri- can wheat deals than the Rus- sians themselves. They are less nhibited than most Russians, "he Poles, though they do not have freedom of the press, often j n-actise startling freedom of lonversation though even in Poland people sometimes turn up the radio when kitchen talk urns to intellectual dissent. The pattern varies from coun- ry to country. Hungary and "'oland are much more liberal, pen and experimental than rthodox Bulgaria. East Gcr- manyt Rumania and Czechos- lova'Ja fall between. Restrictions and limitations persist, but by comparison with the Soviet Union the atmosphere is decidedly relaxed. There is a much more palpable drive to copy western life-styles, a far greater knowledge about the world at home and abroad, greater realism and willingness among officials to admit short- comings, less ideological pre- tension and sloganeering. Ordi- nary people seem to be get- ting a better break and public opinion seems to count for something with the political leadership. Moreover, in scores of conversations one encounters surprisingly strong private ex- pressions of anti-Soviet feeling. In fields where Eastern Eur- opeans have no choice for- eign policy, defence and, to a lesser degree, foreign trade, they follow Moscow's lead, though Rumania asserts inde- pendence even in these. Com- munist parties remain in firm control everywhere, but they in- terpret their Marxist writ with considerable variations. In the last three years the Soviet Union has succeeded in wiring western acquiescence to its political hegemony in eastern Europe. It has managed to resolidify Communist rule in East Germany and has even induced Yugoslavia and Rum- ania to patch over the sharp differences that developed with Moscow after the Soviet-led in- vasion of Czechoslovakia in ]968. The continuing presence of Soviet troops remains a vital fact of life, and there is little visible pressure, except from Rumania, for Moscow to re- duce or withdraw its forces. In the current international climate the Kremlin has had to grant Eastern European com- munist leaders more maneuv- ering room in domestic econo- mic and cultural affairs and, recently, in foreign trade, in the interest of holding popular support and modernizing .their economies. Some Eastern Euro- peans and Western diplomats think that an irreversible loos- ening is taking place. But each national leadership is moving carefully, spending the coin of limited flexibility to suit itself the Rumanians in foreign policy, the Hungarians in fashioning a profit-oriented new, economic mechanism, the Poles in their cultural openness and now, joined by the East Germans and the Czechoslo- vaks, in growing consumerism. For all of them the memory of Czechoslovakia and the fate of the defrocked Liberal leader, Alexander Dubcek, remain a primary deterrent against going too far too fast. "Anyone who thinks that because of Detente that there would not be another Czechoslovakia if the Soviets felt sufficiently provoked by one of these countries ought o have his head a high American diplomat in Eastern Europe remarked privately. Knowledgeable Eastern Euro- peans say much the same. The net result is a balancing act that is often personal as well as national. A Polish com- puter specialist or a Hungarian writer will do a stint in Mos- cow to balance off a grant from the United States or West Ger- many. Hungarian, Rumanian and Czechoslovakia theater companies or rock groups match off trips to the West with trips to the Soviet Union to earn the next trip westward. Periodically the governments go through phases of cultural tightening. And everywhere, in Hungary, people are careful to contain or soft- pedal their Liberal urges to avoid provoking Moscow and losing what many have come to feel is as a Budapest described it "A pretty reasonable life." The compersating outlet for some Eastern Europeans is a strong assertion of nationalism as well as broadening cultural ties with the West. In Poland one of the first moves by the party chief, Edward Gierek, to gain popular support after tak- ing over in December, 1970, was to announce that the gov- ernment would rebuild the 16th- century royal castle of Warsaw as a gesture of national unity. In Rumania President Nicolae Ceacescu regularly rallies sup- port with declarations of inde- pendence, which everyone un- derstands to mean independ- ence from the Soviet Union. In Hungary the leaders have point- edly left standing the empty pedeestal for the statue of Stalin pulled down during the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Czecho- slovakia has a reputation for anti Soviet jokes and violent sports rivalry with the Rus- sians. Thoug h, theoretically, the West is the enemy of all, and though many East Europeans voice their gratitude for the Soviet defeat of the Nazis, they make equally plain their feel- ing that the Soviet Union is the power with which they must contend today. Anti Russian sentiments come out in a variety of ways. East Germans complain bitter- ly about continuing economic "reparations." Rumanians say bluntly that they dislike Rus- sians. Polish dock workers in Gdynia engaged last fall in a potato throwing fight with So- viet seamen after the Russians had allegedly dumped into the sea evidently spoiled potatoes loaded by the Poles onto Soviet ships. A Polish editor explained that press censorship was ne- cessary in his country "or we would have another Czechoslo- vakia" because a completely free press would inevitably print articles offensive to Mos- cow. Western culture, like Western technology, enjoys far greater prestige in Eastern Europe than Soviet culture. Intellectuals make no secret not only of their general preference for modern western though Rus- sian classics are admired but also of their feeling that recognition from the wot con- stitutes the real hall mark of success for their writers, direc- tors and pop stars. Western movies are enormously popu- lar, especially with the young, who often make a fetish of keeping up with the latest west- ern music and fashions as well. Unlike Western youth, East- ern European youth seems to have no special voice of its own. Young people are tied much more to their parents, not for money but for housing, because living space is tight, and to the state, for work. The constant preoccupation of many young people is travel to the West, something still hard to arrange, though in Hungary and Poland more and more are finding ways. Bulgaria, which, as a Slavic country with a language and alphabet close to Russian, has an old affinity for Moscow, her liberator in the 19th century from 500 years of Turkish rule as well as her protector today. Elsewhere, openness to West- ern influence has made for a more lively and usually more Liberal, intellectual life as well as a generally higher standard of living than in the Soviet Union. As a result leaders like Janos Kadar, the party chief in Hungary and Gierek in Pol- and enjoy genuine popularity that Eastern Europeans say was impossible a few years ago. 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