Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 2, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 - THI MTHBRIDGE HERALD - Tuatday, March 2, 1971 EDITORIALS Dave Humphreys Labor and government at odds in Britain Farmers get the message The federal government's agriculture plan announced last week suggested to farmers that it would be wise this year to switch grain and summerfallow acreage into forage production. Under this program farmers will be paid $10 an acre for putting land into forage crops, provided the land was cultivated and not in forage last year. This switch from grain to forage is necessary, Otto Lang, the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board told the House of Commons last week, because more forage is needed to meet the requirements of a growing livestock industry in Canada. It would also have the benefit of reducing grain production at a time when there is a surplus, thus strengthening grain prices. Mr. Lang said the program will last three years or to a total subsidy amount of $40 million whichever limit is reached first. The government wants the prairie farmer to increase forage crop acreage to 16 million from last year's estimated 12 million acres. There is little doubt the switch into greater forage production will take place, but the farmers will very likely find this incentive program merely a stop-gap similar to last year's Lower Inventory For Tomor- row (Lift) program which was intended to reduce wheat acreage. These short-term plans give the farmers a boost for a time, if not always economically at least in morale for they assume that, contrary to their gloomy opinions, Ottawa DOES care. But what the prairie farmers would like to see is a long-range agricultural policy developed by Ottawa in conjunction with provincial governments. An overall program of information, assistance and advice. Until such a policy is worked out farmers will be forced to operate on suggestions from Ottawa which might or might not work out either for the farmers or the country. Even more important is involving the farmers themselves in the discussion leading up to these plans and programs. The Canadian farm community, especially that on the prairies, is loaded with men and women of exceptional knowledge and talent. The farmers are well organized and have a number of highly responsible associations. They should be invited and encouraged to participate openly in the planning, so that the decisions are by the farmers themselves. There is still a vast and unnecessary gulf between the farmers and the government. Spring thaw The long winter of discontent for the people of Berlin may be coming to an end. A thaw in the attitude of the East German regime has apparently begun. Premier Willi Stoph, in a letter to Mayor Klaus Schuetz of West Berlin, has offered concessions toward allowing West Berliners to visit East Berlin. East Germany, said Mr. Stoph, is prepared to "extend the same hospitality to the citizens of West Berlin" as that allowed "other visitors." Diplomats have described the offer as a breakthrough in the perennial East-West impasse over Berlin. What is new in the offer is that no preconditions have been set - as had been the case in previous communications on the subject over the last five years. Another significant concession made is the acknowledgment that Big Four negotiations on the status of the divided city take precedence over talks between the two Germany s. This is really a change from the stubborn insistence on trying to bypass the four-power negotiations. The conciliatory attitude of Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany has undoubtedly had some part to play in bringing about this thaw in East Germany. But the fact that the four-power negotiations have taken a recent turn is perhaps the major factor. The Western allies have offered to state formally that they do not accept West Berlin as a constitutional part of West Germany. This seems to be acceptable to the Russians who may be applying some pressure on the East Germans to see this as a psychological gain, if nothing else. Slight as the concessions are on both sides, there is a real hopefulness emerging as a consequence. The thaw is as welcome as the coming of spring. Hoiv about a housemaid? By Joyce Sasse T/OREA - ''You speak exactly like a Westerner," my colleague chided, "and so does Dr. Breidenstein. Neither of you understand the way Koreans think!" We were discussing a recent article written by a mutual German professor friend in one of Korea's English dailies. I was excited by the point the writer was trying to make. He'd hit the nail right on the head. The subject was housemaids, an integral part of the majority of upper-lower and middle class homes in Korea today. The writer was championing their cause. They are underpaid and overworked: on deck to see that the rice was cooked for breakfast, and there to lull the last ran.i-bunctiously spoiled child to sleep by 11 p.m. They never have a day, or even a half-day, off. They are forced to wear hand-me-downs from the rest of the family, and if they do get a bonus, it is in the form of some clothing, or a towel, or a new pair of rubber shoes that someone else has picked up in the market. "Remember, too", he wrote, "that inflation has devalued our money by 12 per cent this past year. Giving these girls a 10 to 15 per cent increase in their wages isn't giving them an increase at all. It is merely maintaining the bonds of an earlier agreement." Try as I might to argue for social justice and demand the human rights that seemed to be an integral part of the above-mentioned article, Mr. Lee remained firm. "You Westerners live too rigid a life. Everything is done according to a schedule - the time you eat, the time you work, the time you have for recreation. ..." I recalled the nights, while living with a Korean family, I received my supper anywhere between 6:30 and 10 p.m. depending on the activities of the family. "Your maid comes at a certain time each morning, and she goes home at a certain hour each evening. And you pay her for the time she has spent at your house and the services she has rendered." He was right there. "When a housemaid comes to work for us, usually as a young girl, she becomes a part of our family. She lives with us, sleeps in the same room where the family sleep, and eats with us. If some of us decide to go to a movie, and she wants to go too, we make arrangements so she can go." "But," I interrupted, "only after her work is finished!" It was more a question than a statement. "No. We don't talk about 'work being finished' like you do. It's different in our homes." I thought I had cornered him this time for sure. "Still, when company comes, she's the one that has to go off and take care of the children." "Only if the company is not for her. Even my mother or my brother has to leave the room, or myself, for that- matter, it' the company is not for us. . . . Our housemaids choose to be part of our family when they come to work for us. We invite them into our family when we agree to their staying. If they do not like the conditions under which this family live, they are free to leave. Today there are plenty of people who need their services. Besides, her salary, as you would call it, is paid over and above the bed, food, clothing, and pocket money given to every member of the family . . . But I'm afraid you can't understand." He was right, of course. We've been brought up in spacious homes where we learn to value our privacy and personal rights above all else. We've been assured .that the goal of working hard is to make money, have some free time to yourself in which you are free to go where you like, do what you like, and buy what strikes your fancy. . . . Like you, I can't accept the Korean attitude for myself. But, in this brief exchange, my colleague and I have come a slight step closer in appreciating the differences that do separate us. Is not this the meaning of dialogue? The tveaker sex By Doug Walker 'T'HE handle that levers the bathroom win-dow open and shut snapped off in El-speth's hand some time ago. Almost every time I am in the bathroom I gaze on the wreckage with sorrow because as far as I am concerned it can't be fixed. In the course of my many examinations of the broken artifice it lias slowly dawned on me that Elspeth must be a more powerful woman than I had given her credit for being. And it has further come to light that she apparently bequeathed some of her Amazonian tendencies to .Judi. With a little help, I believe, Judi overpowered the college boys' tug-of-war team at the winter carnival. With that kind of power potentially lined up against me I guess I should be grateful that the other daughter has departed the household. TONDON: The five - week-old British postal strike has developed into a showdown between the government and not simply one striking union but the national union movement. Two fundamental policies are at stake, with the Tory government's prestige hanging on them. One Is the industrial - relations legislation now before Parliament. It is the subject of a heavy public relations attack by the Trades Union Congress, the central power of British unionism. The Union of Postal Workers has become the front-line battalion in the orderly, impossible campaign. Banners at postal union rallies say "Kill the Bill" and "Force the Tories Out." Unfortunately the demarcation between legitimate postal workers' grievances; and the broad anti - government campaign is likely to fade farther as the postal union turns to others for loans and donations to feed families. The other fac-tor is the government's non-policy for incomes control. Rather than adopt either voluntary or statutory guidelines as formal policy, the Tories are trying to stem the flood of inflationary wage claims by example in the public and encouragement in the private sector. Already the government has been burned by the one solution which might restore the mail service: appointment on an independent court of inquiry. Last autumn a municipal-workers dispute was resolved by a court through an inflationary 15 per cent award. The postal workers promptly cited 15 per cent as the going rate and claimed as much, although it has been lowered to 13 per cent since the strike began (the post office is offering nine per cent and both sides are hopelessly deadlocked). A second court of inquiry settled a power-workers dispute more to the unions' liking than the government's, also on a formula close to 15 per cent, though the government managed an interpretation of 11 per cent to save face. The post office strike would end tomorrow if the government were willing to travel this route once more, but the post office's nine per cent happens to be the upward limit of its acceptable incomes non-policy. Another 15 per cent verdict would leave this non-policy in ruins. Thus, in a sharp, bitter debate, Labor's spokesman and former employment minister, Mrs. Barbara Castle, made a point when she accused the government of not being neutral. But how could it be? As the architect of a voluntary incomes - policy reduced to shambles by unions two years ago, Mrs. Castle would know that a government cannot be neutral in wage disputes and maintain a credible incomes policy. Even in ordinary times the unions in this country are the natural enemies of the Tory party. They are, in fact, a structural part of the Labor party, essential to its financial support and therefore wielding decisive voting power. But times are not normal. The Trades Union Congress is fighting fiercely against "the bill" which makes contracts legally binding, enforceable at law, requires all unions to register, establishes a system of industrial courts, a code of industrial practices, and statutory cooling-off periods for strikes against the national interest. What is good for the unions commands the attention of the Labor party. Even though Mrs. Castle and her colleagues abandoned reforms similar to those proposed by the Tories, they are now busily fighting the Tory bill into the early hours of the morning. The unprecedented march of 100,000 or more unionists through London was a forceful demonstration of the unions' power to organize one per cent of their membership. Many would be much better off now if they had worked through a decade of healthy industrial relations, instead of the near-anarchy of wildcat strikes, the very sort of illness the Tory bill - and the Labor bill before it - seeks to cure. An illustration came from the head of the Union of Postal Workers, Tom Jackson himself. He signed an agreement with the post office last August but now refuses to follow it. The agreement provides for arbitration if negotiations break down as they have "if either or any of such parties so require." If that meant arbitration, said Mr. Jackson, then he didn't understand the' agreement, pointing to another clause that the two parties would "jointly request" the arbitration tribunal. And he was not now willing to jointly request it. The present dispute would be unusually complex were it limited to the state of the post office. It has been under a caretaker chairman, Bill Ry-land, since the government dismissed Lord Hall after only one year of a five - year ap* pointment simply because it didn't have confidence in him. Mr. Ryland's intransigence likely owes a lot to his short tenure at the helm and the possibility that he will stay there if he proves to the government that he is their man. The unions, in turn, accuse him of being a "yes man" with all the characteristic inflexibility of a chairman still without the feel of the job. Although the post office made a profit in 1969-70 of $87.9 over-all, it lost $38.8 million of its postal service. The profits came from the telephones and telecommunications system. And suspicious unionists are always looking for profitable sections of public industry as targets for a Tory partial denationalization, yet another source of friction. When service returns, Britons will be faced with an immediate rate increase of from about five to seven cents for first class and from about four to she cents for second class letters. This is to pay for the last raise of 12 per cent 14 months ago. Another immediate rate increase would be needed to meet the unions' present claim. Productivity leaves much to be desired. The British still have the luxury of two deliveries a day, three in inner London, six days a week. These will almost certainly be reduced, whatever the settlement. It is beneath the postmen's dignity to deliver "junk mail," all those uraaddressed advertising leaflets and brochures, closing a potential source of revenue. The union also resists management attempts to bring in part - time help for some urban deliveries. All of which may help to explain why Canadians will have to wait another week or two, at least, before mailing a letter to Britain. Paul Bryan, the No. 2 minister for posts and telecommunications, suggested to me that the postmen misjudged public opinion by anticipating an upsurge of demand for settlement within the first few days. Instead, Britain has learned to live for a few weeks without postal service, but not forever. Businesses, particu 1 a r 1 y banks, are now thinking of adopting permanently their alternate, more reliable, systems of delivery - a further potential loss for the post office. But now, millions who form public opinion are just plain fed up. (Herald London Bureau) Paul Whitelaw Bourassa's delicate job regarding constitution Ty/fONTREAL: Premier Rob-ert Bourassa returned home from the recent federal-provincial conference fully aware that presenting proposed constitutional changes to his voters may be as difficult as extracting concessions from Ottawa and the other provincial governments. Ultra - nationalists in Quebec province opposed to the whole idea of Confederation can be expected to carry out a campaign against the proposed amending formula which Mr. Bourassa agreed to study. In addition, the 37-year-old premier is aware that with ten per cent of the work force in his province unemployed and controversial "political" trials going on in Montreal, he must not allow the debate on the British North America Act to help the fortunes of his opposition. With a Liberal government in Ottawa and a Liberal government in Quebec, Mr. Bourassa is fully aware that he must swim ahead of the currents of nationalism if he wishes to see not only a redistribution of constitutional powers, but also make strides in areas of more direct concern. Quebecers have traditionally considered relations with the federal government a form of combat in which the provincial premiers have jousted for debating points to prove they are masters in their own house. To increase employment and investment, two of the promises that helped carry Mr. Bourassa to office in last April's general election, he must placate the type of embarrassing opposition - street demonstrations and riots - that hurt the Union Nationale administration from 1966 to 1970. However, the young economist also promised during the last election that he would lead future Quebec delegations to federal - provincial bargaining sessions without the belligerent theatrics that had become somewhat of a tradition with his predecessors. So when Robert Bourassa emerged from two days of talks at the recent conference in Ottawa, and announced that his government would study the proposed amending formula because it was feasible and valid, he left himself open to bitter assaults. If the Quebec premier sounded cautious, it was because he remembered the plight Liberal premier Jean Lesage found himself in after he agreed to the Fulton - Favreau formula to amend the constitution at a conference in 1965, then reversed his stand in the face of Quebec public opinion. Mr. Les-age's stand on how to change Canada's constitution contributed to some extend to his defeat at the polls by the more nationalistically - inclined Union Nationale in 1966. This is why Mr. Bourassa maintained Quebec's nationalist tone on a number of issues, including language rights. While the premiers of Canada's nine other provinces agreed that under a new constitution the individual would have the right to choose English or French as his main language of instruction in publ ideally - supported schools where there are enough students to make this workable. Queb e o lodged a general reservation about the issue. A bill passed by the previous Quebec government in 1969 allows parents to choose either English or French schools for their youngsters. Mr. Bourassa told reporters in Ottawa that he is worried that entrenchment of this right in the con- stitution might make it difficult to dissuade French parents from deciding eventually to educate their children in English. With an obvious eye on the headlines back home, he told the reporters - mainly from Quebec - that the language clause provided "no guarantee" for his province's cultural future. Already the criticism has started. The Union Nationale, which forms the official opposition in the national assembly, said agreement should have been reached on division of powers before agreeing to study a formula for amending the constitution. Former Premier Jean - Jacques Bertrand, who leads the UN, described the discussions among Prime Minister Trudeau and the premiers as a "deblocage for the western provinces because they don't seek the new powers Quebec does." The separatist Parti Quebe-cois, which has emerged as the most vocal opposition in the national assembly although it has only seven of the 108 seats, said that what is important is that Quebec get all the powers it needs, not safeguards for existing powers. The provincial Creditistes, with 13 national assembly members, resigned itself to criticizing the government for discussing political theory while the country is plagued by serious economic ills. The most vocal opposition to the Quebec government in recent years has not always come from within the assembly, but from teachers, unions and the French - language press. This will undoubtably gain momentum as the deadline for the next constitutional conference in June approaches. Mr. Bourassa would be risking his political career and the future of federalism in Quebec if he says yes to the amending formula that was discussed without first drawing definite and substantial concessions from Ottawa and the other provincial governments in a number of areas, particularly social - welfare spending. Government advisers and some academics here are pointing out that it might be easier to reach a less formal agreement on substantive issues under the current constitution rather than work for changes under a new agreement which Canada's politicians would then be under pressure to follow. Without prior concessions, they ask, how can Mr. Bourassa accept an amending formula which gives a veto power to five provinces, besides Quebec. The Fulton - Favreau formula gave a veto power to seven provinces. They stress that while any agreement, however tentative, is an indication that the rest of Canada acknowl-edge's Quebec's special problems, the success of the June meeting in Victoria will depend on the behind - the - scenes bargaining on substantive issues that will precede the talks. In addition, it depends on Mr. Bourassa's ability as a salesman among his constituents. (Herald Quebec Bureau) Looking backward Through the Herald 1921 - $500,000 was paid into the provincial treasury during 1920 from profits accruing from the sale of liquor. 1931 - Canada had a motor vehicle for every eight people in 1930 as compared with one for every 11 in 1928. 1941 - The health report for 1940 notes the first diphtheria case here in six years. The case was one of a pre-school child, who had not been immunized. 1951 - Eight scholarships of $75 each will be available for students taking agriculture or home economics at schools of agriculture in the province, Agriculture Minister David Ure announced. 1961 - Official sodLturning ceremonies for the Lethbridge and District Exhibition's proposed pavilion will be done by Dr. W. H. Fairfield, March 7 sole surviving member of the orignal signers of the application for charter of the Exhibition association. 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 Daily 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. 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