Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 15, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, June 15, 1974 Japanese elections The .Japanese are also having a national parliamentary election in July. on the Sunday before Canadians go to the polls. The surprising lactor in their election campaign is that Prime Minister Tanaka's Liberal Democrats seem certain to win, when c. few months ago they were in real trouble. In a March opinion poll they achieved only a 15 per cent popularity rating, a depth to which even President Nixon has not sunk. The fault lay not so much with the Liberal Democrats as with forces beyond their control, an argument which will seem familiar to Canadians. It is true that there was a division within the party over economic policy, even before the oil embargo. Mr. Tanaka's party opponents held the conservative economic view- that the growth rate was getting out of hand. A death in the cabinet led the prime minister to name his principal party opponent, a man of conservative viewpoint, to the post of finance minister. This was probably one of his most significant moves, politically and economically. Although "it is one of the world's leading industrial nations. Japan is unique in that it has few resources of its own and must depend on raw material irom other countries. It is almost entirely dependent "n foreign oil. It was assumed that its economy would be stunned by the oil price increase, if not by the embargo, and a common prediction was that after years of boom that country was in for a bust. It was also assumed that this would depose the Liberal Democrats. What happens in the Japanese economy is of considerable importance to Canadians since the two countries are each other's second most important trading partners. (In each case, the U.S. rynks first.) Surprisingly, Mr. Tanaka's combination of bureaucrats, businessmen, and party officials, who customarily form a more cohesive power bloc than Is usual in this country, have managed to keep the lid on the economy and hold off any further inflation during the spring months, while allowing salaries to increase 32 oer cent. They seem to be on top of the economic situation. Whether their control is real or illusory can be questioned. The Economist thinks that Japan is "merely pushing large problems ahead of it, not really solving them." Evidence that this may be true comes from a recent visitor to that country who reported that a 56 per cent increase in power charges had been allowed by the government to take into account the increased price of oil. The effect of this is not apt to spread through the economy in time to make any difference in the election, although it may be a talking point. Another factor favoring a victory for the party in power has been the inability ot the opposing parties, given Japan's election system, to join forces except in some specific constituencies. Like France. Japan seems polarized into right and left but while the Liberal Democrats will get all the votes on the right, unlike France, the Socialists and the Communists have not been able to join forces on the left. Rose (FUDPHrDUDDLlS) Shrinhing Violet BOftl) Daisy (CORPORATUS WFOFF1S) DDK BEST IN SANDY SOIL WHERE LATE BLOOMER (Wiwar Her 1U AFTER CAN BE FOUND IN BED OF ROSES... AH NEW BIUN6UAL STRAIN ALTERHSTEL7 WfTH PWSY HAS RISULTED IN P1HK HOPES TO BLOOM IN GRITTY SOIL.., INSCRIBED 'I WILL SUPPORT THE YARIETyMTHRlVES ON COMPOST DULL DDK BEST IN 60WIEHT' ANp'I KSfiHT OF ourjusr SPEECHES. WESTERN LOCALES. THE GOVERNMENT An analysis of the Canadian voter Heart disease decline By Peter Regenstreif, public opinion expert Open season for speculation on the cause of decline in deaths by heart disease in the United States during the past two decades has been declared. A study by the National Centre for Health Statistics, based on an analysis of every one of the 33.637.548 death certificates recorded during a 20 year period, has yielded this surprise as well as some others. A 15 per cent drop in the heart disease death rate begs for an explanation. Whatever important changes occurred in national life style, behavior or environment to account for the drop ought to be identified so that they can be exploited for the benefit of people everywhere. The possibility that changes in medical practice in the last few decades accounts for the trend has been declared unlikely bv those who have already considered the matter. That seems to scuttle the explanation coming readily to the minds of most laymen. But until it is convincingly demonstrated otherwise, the credit will nonetheless be given the medical profession. Enthusiasts for exercise and diet would doubtless like to be able to point to these things as the explanation for the decline in deaths by heart disease. However, these trends in life style have occurred too recently to affect the basic disease process responsible for most heart disease deaths. Since heart disease seems to develop slowly, the death trends of the 1950s end 1960s would have to have their roots in factors that began to work earlier. One possible explanation for the finding of a drop in death by heart disease might be a more precise .accounting on death certificates as a result of greater use of autopsies. That, of course, would be hard to prove and is only proposed because it is open season for speculation. THE CASSEROLE Young offenders working in a California prison print shop seemed to be taking an unaccustomed interest in their work recently. Prison authorities finally discovered why. when the products of their industry began to up around the institution. They'd been printing counterfeit S10 bills. According to Alberta's director of industrv promotion. Western industrialists are too busy producing things to have any time to think of new design techniques. That may- sound like an observation, but it should be taken as a serious warning. In the changing world we live in. industries that keep on producing the same old thing usually wind up producing nothing but deficits. WEEKEND MEDITATION Are you on the right road? When Napoleon read Wellington's despatches, he commented that Wellington used the word "duty" frequently, but the word "glory" never. Napoleon's favorite word was glory, since he believed vanity madf the French Revolution and all else was pretext. Wellington retorted that if his aim was glory, duty was the only way to it. So Tennyson wrote the "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington. "Not once or twice in our rough island-story The path of duty was the way to plory Slost people in life want goals, but refuse to take the paths that lead to them. Edwin Muir said of the refugees whom he saw on the German roads after the war. "They seemed to he on a pilgrimage from nowhere to nowhere That is the way with the vast majority of human beings Nearly everyone would like to achieve something great and good in life, but as the Old Greek Hesiod said. In front of virtue the gods immortal have placed sweat This is true of all things. In an ild school reader was a poem. "Is learning vour ambition? There is no royal road. Alike the peer and peasant must rhmb to his abode Who feels the thirst for knowledge in helicon may slake it If he has hut the Roman will To find a way or make it Down in central Canada there is much concern with the crime wave in the U S which threatens to swamp over into Canada. Already there are gnm signs of lawlessness in Montreal and Toronto Now the only way to good citizenship and a law-abiding community is not. as some maintain, through foice and punishment, but through character and the way to character is faith Cromwell's soldiers were an astonishment to their times no rape no plundering, no riots Whatever one thinks of Cromwell, the discipline ol his army was admirable. Where did it come from'' The Puntan faith of those soldiers. They were God-fearing. Bible-reading, men of prayer and character. Someone has said. "You can't get golden conduct out of leaden instincts." No. you must have the inspiration of a great faith. All these superficial smart-alecks who cast religion aside as irrelevant should ponder the evidence if one could only get them to think for a minute. As the Book of Hebrews says 'chapter 111. faith is the only utterly necessary thing. All else is consequence. You want a good home? a good society? a good business? a good country? a good character? Faith is the only way. Sir George White became famous for his defence of Ladysmith in the South African War. What was the secret of his courage and unshakeable confidence and good cheer? He replied. "Well, if you must know, every morning I stood at attention before God." Such a man can always be trusted. His life is integrated. He has reported for duly. He has a faith. Not Uiat having a religious faith is any- good without great effort. But you don't get great effort without great faith. The two go together. The motto of the Ramsay family of Scotland is "Ora et a motto which in one form or another appears in many orders of monks and nuns, and means, "Pray and Work At the entrance of a famous cathedral m Istanbul are the words which mean. "God helps those who help themselves." It sounds very irreverent, but it was meant to convey the truth that "Without God, man cannot: without man, God will not Man and God were meant for partnership Prayers: Grant. O God, that every morning and all through the day, I may bear You say, "This is the way; walk yon hi it." F.S.M Susan Bailey. 24. lives on Arbutus Avenue in Toronto's federal constituency of Eglinton. She intends to vote Liberal July 8, just as she did October 30. 1972. Ask her why and she replies: "Other than I've done it for a long time, I don't know." "Is it because of your she is asked. She answers: "I think in a way it is. It's the only party I've been in contact with. You know the conversation around the table." Her 21-year-old brother, a marine biology student at the University of Guelph. cuts in: "The way Dad flies off the handle at election time." Susan continues: We discuss it a bit around election time too." Susan, a traffic controller for an industrial metal company, is among the seven out of 10 Canadian voters who. according to surveys, vote for the same party from one election to another. And she is one of the 54 per cent who have the same party preference as their father. Surveys also reveal that 40 per cent of the electorate support the same party throughout their lives. She is also among the approximately 35 per cent who identify themselves as Liberal, thereby giving the Liberals an automatic edge over their opposition at the start of a federal election. Only betwen 25 and 28 per cent see themselves as Conservative, another 10 to 11 per cent as New Democrats and four per cent as Social Credit. About 15 per cent reject any identification with a party. The support given the parties varies among the social groups making up the country's population. Over the past 15 years, the Liberals have been especially strong in the larger cities and among young people, the university- educated. French Canadians and Roman Catholics. The Conservatives have done especially well among Protestants. English Canadians and farmers. The NDP is supported most heavily by labor unionists and people who sec themselves as "working class" while the Creditisles have been strongest in the small towns and rual areas of Quebec. But. despite their importance, people like Susan BaiJey are 1he constants in the electoral equation. It's the "switchers." the people who shift their allegiances among the parlies, who make or break governments. They are more attentive to politics than the constants and they are influenced most significantly by factors of leadership and issues. After party and traditional affiliation, the next most important clement in voters" decisions is their feelings toward the national leaders of the parties Canadians realize that the act of voting involves more than simply casting a ballot to send one of the candidates put forward by the political parties to represent their constituency only one of 264 in the House of Commons. They know that when they vote they are participating in choosing a government too. And they have strong feelings about who should be the head of that government. In the elections of 1968 and 1972. how people felt about Pierre Trudeau and Robert Stanfield were crucial ingredients in their ultimate decision. The "switchers" especially were motivated by leadership in 1968. Captivated by Trudeau's personality and style, they helped bring the Liberals their first and only- parliamentary majority since 1953. A preference for Trudeau over Stanfield was just about the only thing keeping the Liberals" in office in the 1972 election. John Diefenbaker's personal popularity was the barrier to the Liberals obtaining a majority in 1963 and 1965 when Lester Pearson was their leader. In contrast to people who support the Liberals and the Conservatives. NDP voters are less motivated by- leadership than by issue considerations. Even in elections when the parties have new leaders, people who eventually vote NDP tend to say they are doing so because of unemployment, inflation, housing or some other issue, usually an economic one. NDP voters in federal elections still seem to feel that their party will not have enough members to form a government so leadership is down-played. While issues mean something to everyone, they are only of importance if voters can percieve that one party or leader rather than any others can more effectively deal with them. Otherwise, they are in the "motherhood" category. For example, surveys can show that 59 per cent of the public say that inflation is the most important problem they want the federal government to do something about. But if they feel that no party can handle the problem better than any others, inflation, while significant by itself, has no meaning as an election issue because it is not helping or hurting any party. Constant voters or people who identify strongly with a party are less susceptible than switchers to influence by- issues because they tend to interpret all political events m terms of their party's response In other words, their pohtical affiliations color their perceptions rather than the reverse. In 1972. concern about such economic and social issues as unemployment, abuse of unemployment insurance and welfare, high taxes and inflation helped the Conservatives because they focused on these problems while the Liberals seemed to be uninterested in them. By the end of the campaign, voters were coming to feel that the Conservatives under Stanfield were more interested in their problems than the Liberals all the while preferring Trudeau to Stanfield as prime minister, party considerations aside So tar. the local candidate has been ignored. This is the last of the major components of electoral choice. The candidate counts for a bit more in rural or small town than in big-city constituencies but only in the absence of preferences concerning party, leadership and issues or. on occasion, when preferences about these are in such conflict that the candidate is the only factor a voter can latch onto to help in deciding who to vote for. After this catalogue of motivating factors, it is clear why major changes in the electoral landscape come mainly when new leaders have been installed by the political parties or when new issues have been injected into the life of the nation. It also suggests that, as of today, this campaign does not appear to fall into the category of elections in which great changes will take place. All the parties are facing the voters with the same leaders they had 18 months ago. And both Stanfield and Trudeau were around in 1968. Moreover, the issues are not very different today from what they were in 1972. Unless one of the parties offers a whole new program to voters or some cataclysmic event occurs, this campaign could very well come down to differences among local candidates and such forces external to the voters as the organizational efficiency of the campaigns conducted by the parties Organization always plays a role in elections because people are not naturally very deeply interested in politics So the parties have to take pains to have their message carried to people in their homes, where they work and while they are moving about. U.S. health plan proposed By Paul Whitelaw, Herald Washington commentator WASHINGTON For the last several weeks. Congress has been holding hearings on a series of proposed national health insurance bills, with the likelihood that one of three major plans being considered or some compromise proposal will become law. The major stumbling block is no longer the American Medical Association, which has in the past lobbied fiercely against any form oi "socialized" medicine, but Watergate. Both the Senate and House of Representatives are so preoccupied with the impeachment question that it is uncertain whether legisla- tors will find time to deal with the health-care issue. Even so. approval of a national health insurance plan is readily foreseeable this year or by the next Congress. Of the three major bills bcine given serious consideration on Capitol Hill. two would limit annual family medical expenses to SI.000 and SI.500 respectively, while one protect Americans from the crippling cost of "catastrophic illness. One of the bills is sponsored by Jhc Nixon administration. It would provide unlimited coverage lor hospital and doctors" bills as well as prescription drugs, to be underwritten by private insurance companies under federal Guidelines Karh family member up to a maximum of three would have 1o pay the first m medical expenses, a similar 1o the provisions of a number of private insurance plans There would also be deductible lor medicines Alter that, a family would pay 25 por rent of i1s medical bills unlil "he total payments by a Jamily in one year reached Tnrier th" Nixon bill. employers would pay 75 per rent of 1he premiums -only 65 per rent during the firsl three of the employers the balance- The administration maintains that the average wage earner would pay about a year in premiums. Participation in the administration plan is voluntary, at the discretion of the employee, while under a separate scheme the states would contract with private insurance companies to provide coverage to the unem- ployed, low-income families and high-risk individuals. The other proposal for broad medical insurance coverage is the Mills-Kennedy bill, named after its chief sponsors. Senator Edward Kennedy and Wilbur Mills, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee While almost identical to the administration bill in the scope of its benefits, under the Mills-Kennedy proposal the annual deductible would apply to only two. rather than three, family members. In addition, no family would pay more than SI.000 out of pocket. Pai ticipation in the plan would he compulsory, unlike the administration proposal, and would provide medical care for everybody. The scheme would be fi- nanred by increasing Social Security taxes for employers and employees, with the average wage earner paying a premium ol about SJ90. The Mills-Kennedy proposal would also reduce the role of private insurance companies As as the case under medicare, the medical-care program for the aged in the U.S.. private insurance companies would collect and dispense the funds. But they would not sell the policies as they would under the Nixon plan. A third bill, sponsored by- Senators Russell Long of Louisiana and Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, is far less comprehensive than either of the other two. It would provide protection only against "catastrophic" family medical expenditures exceeding S2.000 a year. After that, a patient would pay 20 per cent of doctors" bills and a day for hospitalization up to SI .000. whereupon the program would meet all future costs The Long-Ribicoff bill has a number of Congressional sup- porters, but it appears that ei- ther the administration or Mills-Kennedy more likely some compromise of the two will become law. Organized labor would prefer that the government maintain control over fees that can be charged by doctws as is the case in Canada where the medical profession negotiates its fees wjih the government. In addition, with the deductible provisions and other costs, the national heailh insurance schemes would leave many workers no belter off than they are with medical fnnge The lethbridge Herald S Lfthbndgp Aibetia IETMBP.IDGE HERALD CO LID Preprints gnfl Class Mail No DD12 CLEO MOWERS d DON H PILLING Managing Eri'tc" POY f MILES Advertising Manage' DOUGLAS X WALKER Ed'tonal Page EsMr" DONALD R DORAM Gsnciai Manager M FEMTON f 'eolation Manage" KENNETH E BAPNETT "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"