Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 1, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
EDITORIALS Bruce Hutchison A hostel for the homeless A very serious deficiency exists in the services provided in the city of Lethbridge. It is the lack of a hostel for transient men. The need for a modest facility has existed for some time but it has recently grown more acute because of the threatened termination of a boarding house that has been the safety valve until now. No one should entertain the idea that the provision of hostels simply encourages men to take to the road. They were roaming the country long before the Alberta government led the way in providing for their elemental needs. A hostel might mean that a few more men would visit Lethbridge than is now the case but that would only mean that this city would be sharing some of the load with other centres now taking the brunt of the responsibility for their hospitality. The plight of the transient man should evoke sorrow, above all, in the citizens of this land. Studies show that most of them are the casualties of a competitive society. They failed at school, they failed at work, they failed in marriage and in consequence they failed to attain or retain the kind of self - confidence that would enable them to try to re-enter the main stream. Doubtless it would be better to be seeking ways to get these men permanently off the road rather than providing them with temporary shelter. But until such time as the solution for doing this is found and applied, it behooves a humane society to provide at least a modicum of creature comfort to abate their misery. There are hurdles enough in the way of those who are seeking to get hostel facilities in Lethbridge without that of a hostile opposition arising from a lack of comprehension of the nature and magnitude of the problem. Thanks to Meals on Wheels Congratulations and sincere thanks go out to Lethbridge Society for Meals on Wheels which has just celebrated its first anniversary. A year ago, a handful of concerned citizens set up a pilot project to investigate the need for a program which would provide one hot meal a day for elderly, handicapped or sick people who wish to remain in their own homes, but find cooking difficult. The need was established, the society was formally incorporated and support for the cause was invited from the community. Churches, organizations, groups small and large sent in donations to get the Meals on Wheels rolling. Volunteers were recruited to drive the meals around to the clients and couriers volunteered to deliver them, visit a little while with each person and report back on progress of clients on the route. In the fall the first meals were delivered. To date about 20 clients are receiving nutritious noon meals Mon- day through Friday. Each client pays for the service according to his or her ability to do so, but where financial problems exist a subsidy is underwritten by the program. A program of this nature is not easy to organize and carry through. However, the determined core of persons behind it were not about to allow little things like lack of money, procedures, and community reservation dissuade them from setting in motion a most vital service. It took lots of planning, many hours spent in meetings and frugal watching of the dollars, to get under way. Now the first year is behind, and many of the problems of management and procedure have been solved. Most important however, is the fact that 20 people are able to enjoy an independence which they might have had to sacrifice if the Meals on Wheels service was not providing them with a nutritious, satisfying meal in their own homes. Dental care program The government's proposal to set up a national dental program for children is an excellent health - care scheme. According to estimates tabled by the dental profession, only one third of the entire population's dental requirements are being met at present. Obviously a lot of children as well as adults are not seeking adequate dental care. Any type of dental scheme, which would be patterned after the medicare program, would present an immediate drain on the already overworked dental manpower. The government's solution to this problem would be to produce dental "auxiliaries" made up of personnel trained as hygienists, X-ray technicians, and dental assistants. Also on the drawing board would be the provision of services, now mainly given through private practice, for school and hospital dental clinics, mobile clinics and locations where teams of dentists and auxiliaries can give service. The removal of all financial barriers to care for children in both public and private practice spheres of dentistry will be welcomed by parents. Dental caries is the most prevalent of all medical problems, and the bi-annual trip to the dentist is sometimes skipped by families who find the cost of keeping teeth in shape, to be exorbitant. ERIC NICOL GOOD many of today's university graduates are reduced to eating their sheepskin, fastidiously removing the ribbon from their teeth and calling it Mutton a la Fanny Adams. The jobs are not there. Contrary to expectation, there was a limit to the number of lawyers the earth could sustain. The computer failed to compute the quantity of university - trained data experts it could use. B. Aggies wither on the vine. This situation has evoked a re-examination of what a university education is supposed to provide. Is it training in the art of living, or is it a meal - ticket to the better-class restaurant? In recent times young people have gone to university primarily to qualify for a job that enables them to work with their heads instead of their hands. This was a prestige thing, as well as an economic thing. The goal was to have a distinguished assortment of alphabet after your name, to enjoy year-round clean fingernails, and to die in the dignity accorded "the professional man." If your degree was in Theology you had bought a piece of the best of both worlds. Such was not of course the original purpose of the university, as founded by those old medieval monks who just wanted a quiet place to lay their heads after sampling the cellar's latest benison. It seems likely that the university may return, at least in part, to that initial function of study as a retreat from the outside world, rather than as an assault course for subduing it. The university would now appear to have an obligation to inform the freshman, before that gaping worthy blows his own funds and those of the taxpayer, that society has sufficient graduates in political science to service its revolutions well into the 21st century. It has a moral duty to point out to the would - be teacher that there are currently 10 Mr. Chips for every piece of chalk. If a student is dead set on becoming a pharmacist, despite the evidence that B. Pharms are a drug on the market, he may not be refused enrolment, but the enrolment should be set at a quota keyed, not to the capability of the university to accommodate the student, as now, but to the demand for pharmacists in the community. The projection charts will be given a hard work-out, but better the IBM machine should sweat than the university's job-placement officer. There is also no reason, other than the tradition of the occupational pecking order, why a student with his degree in the liberal arts should not go on to post-graduate work as a bricklayer, if bricklaying is where the action is. The plumber who has just applied the blowtorch to his thumb may well benefit from the philosophy major that familiarized him with Berkeley's theory on the existence of matter. As materialism loses its appeal, we may find the labor union of tomorrow asking for its increase in the standard of living in the form of a paid sabbatical, to be spent among the college cloisters, motivated by naught but intellectual curiosity. When the steel worker is paid as handsomely as the obstetrician - as indeed he should be - and the snobbism of university education has shrivelled in the heat of unemployment, perhaps the university will revive, to some extent at least, its primary role: an asylum for the sane. And our singing garbageman will sound that much sweeter for having his B.Mus. (The Province Feature Service) Parliament's quarrels irritate public TTHE Canadian Parliament complains almost every day, that it is losing the attention and respect of the public, that a dictatorial government treats it with polite, or sometimes impolite, contempt. There is a good deal in this complaint. But if Parliament is no longer what it was in simpler times, where does the blame lie? Partly, of course, in the stealthy centralization of power common to all democratic countries, the giantism of a technological, revolutionary and dangerous age when government must make fast decisions on complex issues and cannot wait for the public to understand them. Even within this general trend, however, Parliament could do far better than it Is doing now, and exert far more influence on events, if it had the neces- sary will, brains and information - above all, if it had an opposition with ideas of its own. To take the latest example, Parliament recently debated the problem of unemployment. Any sincere democrat who read a summary of the debate must have been heartsick. For really it was not a debate but a dither. It missed the whole point while trying to estimate how many unemployed angels could dance on a statistical pin head. Strangely enough, in this era of flawless computers, no one knows the number of Canadians out of work; but what does the exact statistic matter to the victim of a na- tional calamity? What does he care if the seasonally-adjusted rate is a fraction of a decimal up or down, or whether, as a result, the government is rising or falling on the public opinion polls? All he knows is that he wants a job and expects the government to find it for him, though he doesn't know how. Parliament doesn't know either, but at least it should know by now that in the weird phenomenon of unemployment combined with inflation it is grappling, or failing to grapple, with an entirely new thing under the sun. If we could get this single fact through our heads we might begin to solve a problem that no economist foresaw even ten years ago, that Parliament has hardly grasped even today. So the House of Commons wrangles about unknown figures and evades the vital facts behind them. As a relief from facts, an easy way out, the Conservatives attack the Liberals for mismanagement, heart lessncss and sadistic delight in the misery of the poor. The Liberals attack the Conservatives for thus doing precisely what they themselves did, with equal unfairness, when they were in opposition. And the NDP jeers at both sides, as if it had any answers. In truth no one . has any certain answers in a free society. The answers are simple enough, to be sure, m another kind of society. Hitler put the unemployed to work, building bis apparatus of war. Mussolini made the trains run on time, carrying their passengers to ruin. The Russians "Remember when we used to worry about how we'd spend our leisure time in the 70s - with shorter working hours, longer holidays, early retirement . . .?" manage everything perfectly with the minor exception of a tolerable human life. It is quite different in a free society where men demand all their old freedoms and, at the same time, the snug security without risk or inconvenience which only a regulated state can provide, and only a totally obedient people can expect Such is the grim paradox and philosophical. antinomy facing every free society in the world; but you wouldn't think so from the so-called debates of our Parliament. You would think that if the government spent more money or less, if it raised taxes or reduced them, if it expanded its welfare services or diminished them, better still if it dropped dead - why, then we could stop worrying and get back to normal when, in fact, there is no norm to get back to. The awful truth which no man cares to admit, which few politicians dare to mention, is that we can't ever go home again and are moving no one knows whitherward. It is too much to ask of Parliament that it should know the unknowable, but it should know that its current wrangle about unemployment figures strikes the public as nothing more than a distraction, a congenial game of politics. Parliament should realize, too, that budget deficits, newly-printed money, rising debt and the whole bag of tricks may revive the economy and reduce unemployment for a time, at the cost of more inflation, but can touch only the outer edge of the real problem. Even if, as seems likely, the state controls wages, if that grand Galbraithian experiment actually works, still the central question will remain unanswered - how to combine security with liberty, the independent citizen with the all-powerful government, the free worker with the vast work that needs doing and is not being done. Without more years of trial, error and much painful experience, no society will answer that question, but surely our Parliament can consider it in a rational fashion, a debate between civilized men. Instead, it prefers to play electoral games with unemployment and wonders why the public is losing confidence not merely in its politician, who can be quickly replaced but with the parliamentary system itself which, for all free human beings, is irreplaceable. (Herald Special Service) 1 Carl Rowan Taxpayers who grumble at least have jobs WASHINGTON - Id the T political battle over welfare reform, look for the conservatives to harangue the so-called "silent majority" as they seek to inspire a new wave of middle-class paranoia. The idea will be to convince working middle Americans that they are the principal victims of America's social and economic morass, and that their salvation is to follow the likes of California Gov. Ronald Rae- Letters To The Editor Try welfare Replying to Mr. Norm Le~ clair (Feb. 22, 1971). The statement that welfare recipients are getting more than Canada Packer's workers is utter nonsense. I would like to see him on welfare. We receive $3.35 a day for food, rent, clothing and all else. I only wish I were able to work. If I were getting $12.00 a day I'd be happy. Htie is the solution. Let the Canada Packer's workers quit and go on welfare. The jobs they leave will soon be filled by willing workers instead of forcing up the cost of living still higher. WELFARE RECIPIENT. Lethbridge. Flatten cans The pollution control group in Calgary lias advised us that housewives have solved one of their garbage problems by cutting both ends off their tin cans and then stepping on them. These cans, along with tin foil and aluminum foil can then be kept in a separate green plastic bag and disposed of when full. You will be pleased with the way it cuts down the volume of garbage you have. It is a special boon to apartment dwellers. A HOUSEHOLDER. Cardston. gan into a "taxpayer rebellion." One of my conservative col-umning colleagues already has started to beat the drums of sympathy for what he calls "those who labor, pay taxes, meet their bills, do without, struggle for the good life." Which is to suggest that taxpayers have every reason to feel superior to, contemptuous of, and cheated by those who are jobless and have no income on which to pay taxes, those who are blind and disabled arid need a helping hand from their fellow man, and those who are too young or too old to make their way independently and require the assistance of a humanitarian society. The conservatives like to use California and Reagan as an example of the outrages perpetrated against the middle class taxpayer because California's budget has jumped from 2.6 billion to $6.7 billion in ten years with much of the increase attributed to big jumps in the cost of education, medical aid for the poor, and public welfare. One is led to believe that a small band of "productive people" must use the same meager bankroll they had ten years ago to pay for whopping 1970 bills run up by the same crowd of chiselers and loafers'. This is far from the truth, and the nation cannot afford to have its middle class fall for any such propaganda. Let's lonk at some of the basic reasons why California's budget has risen more than 150 per cent in the last decade: This fast-growing state has had a population increase of more than 4,235,000 in just a decade. That increase is more than the total populations of Iowa and the Dakotas. It is natural, then, that California's budget would soar, in all categories. The school-age population (five to 17 years) has grown even faster than the general population, jumping from 3,703,- 688 in 1960 to.4,927,000 in 1970. That is almost a 33 per cent increase. Throw in the fact that California has built up one of the best junior college systems in the nation, add 31 per cent inflation since 1960, and you begin to understand the prodigious increase in education outlays. But is this any reason for taxpayers to "revolt" in a fit of hostility toward the poor, or blind people, or indigent children? Not hardly, because the children of middle-class families are benefiting handsomely from those education expenditures. Furthermore, it would be madness for Americans to start looking at education as an area of burden where taxpayers must "hold the line," as Reagan wants to do. Money poured into education, at all levels, constitutes a solid investment in America's prosperity - and serenity. And by no means must we fail to point out that California's 1970 burdens are not being carried by the same band of people with the same tiny wallets who were carrying the 1960 burdens. The total income of the California state government was $3,339,914,000 in 1960; it was up to $10,263,202,000 in 1969. So the relative economic pos- crazy capdfc hire of California has not changed as much as the doom-spreaders would have you believe when they cite only rising costs but do not mention rising revenues. This is not to say that California has not had a very sharp increase in people who need some kind of assistance. A large part of the population increase is of blacks fleeing the discriminations and lack of opportunity of the Deep South. A husbandless woman with two dependent children gets a welfare check of $172 a month in California as against $60 in Mississippi. Is anyone surprised that she follows the Okies and all others in dragging her brood to the land of golden sunshine? This will continue until we get some national welfare standards. The point is that the middle-class American must not be misled into mindless paranoia. The tax bite is painful, and may get worse. But what taxpayer suffers as much as the families of those jobless California engineers who have turned to unemployment compensation and then welfare? Or as much as old people whose pensions have not risen with inflation? Or people who were cheated and brutalized? Surely we don't need anyone telling the lucky, working, reasonably affluent class that is is being abused and put upon. (Field Enterprises, Inc.) Looking backward Through the Herald 1921 - The editor of the Mining Journal, speaking to the Canadian Club in Montreal said that in the west lies the future workshop of Canada and that Canada had 17 per cent of the world's supply and 71 per cent of the empire's supply of coal. 1931 - Fire destroyed a slaughter house at the corner of 12th Ave. and 15th St. S., the property of the manager of the Yale Cafe. It was used as a feeding and slaughter place for hogs and the fire is believed to have started from a stove used to heat the building. 1941 - The German army poured into Bulgaria by transport and plane, occupying the capital en masse almost before tiie ink was dry on the Bulgarian signature to the Ber-bn-Rome-Tokyo alliance. 1951 - March came in as gently as the proverbial lamb here, with weather officials predicting more moderate weather for the next few days. 1901 - The Patrick Masson Education Fund was officially ended with donations totalling $8,344.34. All money collected will be placed in trust for the future education of the 15-year-old who was crippled when a bullet severed his spine Jan.. 8. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publishers Published 1905-1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No. 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS h. ADAMS, General Manager JOE BALLA Managing Editor ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager WILLIAM HAY Associate Editor DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor , "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"