Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 3, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
John Mika Making the law accessible to everyone mm iQTTAWA - The federal gov-ernment is finally doing something about the fact that the law you read in a statute book may not be the law that's actually in force. There are about 350 federal statutes - growing at the net rate of two or three a year-end, most of them affect the lives, of all Canadians in fundamental ways. That seems like a manageable number to keep track of but the trouble is that Parlia-ment continuously changes those laws, in major or minor ways, faster than they can be physically reprinted and bound into comprehensive volumes. So the amending legislation is printed separately, in effect as footnotes. 'Gradually, the sheer bulk of Letter to the editor footnotes far exceeds the text. For instance, the coming tax reform legislation involves more than 300 pages of such 'footnotes' amending the present tax law. The six volumes of the 1952 revision, including separate supplement and index volumes, runs to 6,690 pages. Since then 10,507 pages have been added in 19 successive supplementary volumes covering the changes made by the sessions up until last fall. Bound volumes are issued months after every session recording the changes it made but this means that, between a statute's inception and the present moment, many books have to be checked and mentally collated to find out what the law says currently. And, of course, the fates always conspire to ensure that if you've missed checking just one of those annual supplementary volumes, by accident or recklessness, it will be precisely the one that totally revised or even cancelled what you think the law still is. That's one of the reasons why lawyers go gray, parliamentary debates go astray, and the ordinary citizen turns away in horror from the law as a tangled jungle where he's sure to be ambushed if he dare venture in alone. Bureaucrats, and anyone with the time, stamina and original set of statutes, keep track of the changes fairly quickly by using scissors and paste pots but that's not practical for the public generally. The system of pyramiding annual supplements staggers along for years, helped by crutches such as the periodic reprinting of updated versions of individual laws, until it threatens to collapse under the weight. Then the whole pile of law books is rewritten and reduced to a manageable three or four volumes in a consolidation that sets out the last word of law up to a certain date and a new pile of annual supplements is begun - usually well before the consolidation is completed. It's such a tedious process, taking years and extra staff, that it's only been resorted to three times before in this century. The fourth consolidation now is underway by a justice de- Editorial on CIC inaccurate in several ways While I appreciate the coverage The Herald has given the recently formed Lethbridge Committee for an Independent Canada, I feel the February 26 editorial on the committee was inaccurate in several ways. First, the editorial stated that the gathering of signatures for the petition we intend to deliver to the Prime Minister is a useless task. The editorial goes on to say that pressuring politicians is easy but that it is immensely more difficult to find solutions. But the past has demonstrated time and again that social changes do not take place until there is a consensus that they should take place. Even before the First World War a few scientists were proposing to governments solutions to the pollution of the Great Lakes, It was not until concern became widespread, however, that governments began to take pollution problems seriously. The editorial was also inaccurate in saying that the CIC proposes "little more than a cheer for a sentiment." CIC re- search teams have indicated particular areas of our national life which we no longer control and have attempted to demonstrate to Canadians the magnitude of the problem facing us. One result of 6uch research is that high school and university students are now examining critically the long-range implications of our diminishing sovereignty. On the other hand, the CIC has deliberately refrained from doing what the Herald editorial advocates: proposing specific solutions. This is a job for the political parties. And among us there are many working energetically within political parties to insure that political solutions are forthcoming. But for these individuals to press for specific legislation within the framework of CIC would destroy or organization's national character: within our ranks there are members from many political persuasions - Libera], Conservative, Social Credit, NDP - who have come together because of their unifying concern for the survival of the Canadian fact. It is also by design rather than chance that the CIC has not sought pledges of intent to invest in the Canadian Development Corporation, as The Herald again advises. At ,this time, at least, we are bent on involving all Canadians in our movement, not just those with money. Nevertheless, despite the fact that we have stressed the financial constributions are voluntary and that individuals may contribute in other ways, I have been surprised by the willingness of people to put their money where their hearts are. Having thus criticized the viewpoint taken by The Herald, I must confess that the editorial was accurate in one projection. The editorial prophesied that "without a demon- Learn to spell There is only one thing I want to say about your editorial on "Reggio Callabria." I wish you would learn how to spell CALABRIA! SILVIO A. MANTELLO. Lethbridge. stration of commitment the efforts of the CIC are apt to be without consequences." The manner in which this commitment is transmitted into action should, we feel, be left to the political parties to debate. But we intend to do everything within our power to persuade Canadians that the commitment is worth making, that in fact they must make it if they wish to continue thinking of themselves as Canadians. ROBERT D. TARLECK, LETHBRIDGE COMMITTEE FOR AN INDEPENDENT CANADA. editor's Note: Mr. Tarleck seems to have missed the point of the editorial. Surely all Canadians are concerned at the extent of foreign ownership of the Canadian economy. But what are the alternatives, and are Canadians prepared to pay the price? By evading these questions the position taken by the Committee for an Independent Canada is of no more value than a national petition against disease, or against poverty. Who would disagree, and therefore what is the point? New LYS0L Liquid TOILET BOWL CLEANER aims up...cleans everywhere... even the problem area under the rim. LYSOL* Toilet Bow! Cleaner keeps the whole bowl clean, safe, odour-free-above and below the water line. Convenient spout sends full strength, undiluted cleaning power against the sides of the bowl and under the rim. Kills germs that cause odours. Now at your favourite store. Phosphate Free! Trade Mark R.B. Smells nice and fresh; Keeps the busiest bathrooms nicer to be in. partment task force under James Ryan is doing much more than just repackage some 8,000 pages of law into a smaller and neater bundle this time. They're putting everything on magnetic tape for the first time so that computer printouts in finished page format can be published rapidly by the offset printing process - eliminating the acres of lead-type compositors' forms and long printing delays of the traditional methods. Essentially, it means that printing can keep up with politicking at last. The entire statutory law, brought up to date with a session's amendments, additions and deletions, could be reprinted as a comprehensive set of volumes within about nine months, the time it takes the old system just to produce the one volumes of changes. In effect, the computers would churn out an annual consolidation instead of waiting for a couple of decades. And if the cabinet decides to switch to a loose-leaf format instead of bound volumes- another innovation creeping into other jurisdictions - a single set of federal statute books could be kept on the shelf with current changes slipped into it as they are made. That alone would release an army of scissors-and-paste-pot helpers. But further advantages accrue from the computerized system. In redrafting the laws to conform with the replacement of a fisheries minister by an environment minister, there may be hundreds of places in which "minister of fisheries" or "fisheries act" or whatever are spread through the volumes. Some will need changing, others for historical reasons might not. ? ? * At present it takes a lot of time and high-priced help just to extract manually all these references before the decisions can be made. The computer can do it in seconds, and underline the ones that need redrafting. The computer can also print a massive number of extracts on microfilm so that the re-searcher isn't overwhelmed with hundreds or thousands of sheets of paper. While this fast retrieval of arcane information may be a marvellous boon for the legal drafters, who have trained everyone to wait for them, it'll be a godsend for the researchers, politicians and lawyers who study, make and argue the laws and their relationships. Even if a citizen never personally has to refer to a Canadian law himself - although there are many who do at one time or other - this speed-up should improve the conditions under which his laws are made and, therefore, improve his condition too. Another visible benefit of the computer will be production of the first set of bilingual statutes - the English and French versions side-by-side on each page - to replace the present awkward system of printing separate sets of books. To achieve the change-over in consolidation methods, the departmental taskforce had to spend months of preparation in consultation with computer experts to create a special machine language of 40 million characters b e f o r e it even began the process of revising statutes. When will the result be complete? Justice Minister John Turner recently told a committee of MPs that two things he's determined to do before this term ends is table in the Commons a microfilmed set of the consolidated laws followed by a consolidation of all the regulations attached to them by subsequent executive order. That means both sets of up-to-date documents should be in circulation next year. It'll be a major step forward in Turner's plan towards an "open" system of government which includes the current hill to create a Statutory Instruments Act now going through Parliament. Under the bill's provisions, the entire multitude of executive and departmental regulations attached to statutes- which in turn vastly outnumber the laws passed by parliamentarians - will be scrutinized for the first time by a parliamentary committee. Except for a narrow group involving security and intergovernmental matters, they will be made accessible to every citizen as a matter of right, also for the first time. The day will come when a citizen will be able to walk into an office in any of the larger cities and look up any statute and all its accompanying regulations - and know without checking by a lawyer, that what he reads is the law, the whole law and nothing but the law. (Herald Ottawa Bureau) West to be Quebec of '70s? From a speech by I. H. Asper to the Canadian Club in Toronto. Mr. Asper is leader of the Manitoba Liberal party and an expert on taxation. "ILfY concern is that the rest of Canada is not fully aware of the dimensions of the Western Fact and is liable to be unprepared in the 1970s for the pressing of the case for Western Canada, as it was shocked and unprepared for the French Fact during the Sixties. Nobody should have been surprised when, a few weeks ago, the Western Canadian party was formed to field candidates in the next federal election. I am not suggesting that this is yet to be taken as a major political force, but it was only a few years ago that a similar development occurred in Quebec and the political, social, economic waves have sot yet subsided. In many senses, current Western discontent begins in fear: fear that our people will somehow be at a disadvantage in a bilingual Canada; fear that our own multicultural society will be submerged by strident Eastern biculturalism; fear that Prairie industry and towns will be forced to undergo severe change to meet new economic conditions, while less efficient industry will remain protected behind a tariff wall; fear that federal policy, and changes in the constitution, will ultimately serve to harm us, given the supreme power of Canada's central provinces. The fact is that the economic and political power of Canada - and thus the power to develop national policies - remains concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. Nineteen out of 20 of Canada's largest corporations have their head offices in these central provinces, drawing earnings from across the country to be spent within the golden triangle. Real legislative power - in terms of both provincial political power and political representation in Ottawa - lies in Ontario and Quebec. These two eastern regions, huddled around' our capital of Ottawa, together elect 61 per cent of Canada's members of Parliament. Some 76 per cent of Canada's senators come from Eastern Canada, including the Maritimes. Western Canada was not part of the negotiations leading to Confederation. The net result is that Canada's distinctive Western half has been forced to live within a political structure which was never designed to provide effective regional security or power for underpopulated regions. We in Manitoba, in the Prairies, in the West, are the strongest federalists possible. But we must have redress. We must have the attention and assistance of other Canadians if our people are to meet and overcome the challenges of the Seventies. We must have new freight rate structures which will slow the West to develop its industrial potential, we must have new international free trade zones so that the West can compete in international markets. We must have more meaningful and selective federal regional development incentives. We must have tax reform of a far more imaginative kind than has yet been offered or is contemplated in the federal white paper. We must have new immigration policies which will deflect population to our underdeveloped areas. We must establish a new banking structure for Canada which will guarantee availability of capital not only in Eastern Canada but uniformly across the nation. We must have .constitutional change which will guarantee a true federalism in Canada - a partnership of 10 equal provinces rather than the current structure which guarantees that the West in general, and the Prairies in particular, will have little or no political effect in the decisionmaking process of Canada. These are not new requests. What is new, however, is that there is a new breed of man in Western Canada - a man who has grown impatient, a new society which will no longer tolerate regional economic disparity in a federal country. Can it work? Bongard Leslie Investment Letter "AMIDST the welter of indecision surrounding affairs in Ottawa, there seems to be only one unqualified conviction of Government - that we need a 'Canada Development Corporation'. CDC is re-appearing as a major tenet of government policy." The foregoing comment, as well as the heading for this editorial, may well have been written today, but in fact they weren't. They keynoted our Investment Letter editorial in September 1967. During the intervening period, this conglomerate brain child of a former Minister of Finance, the Hon. Walter Gordon retreated into the shadows, and it was quietly hoped by many that it would not experience a re-emergence into the sunlight. However, under the aegis of the Hon. Edgar Benson, proposals for incorporation of the CDC have now been unveiled. There are few details as yet to suggest what corporate configuration the CDC will assume. The probability is strong that such Crown Corporations as Polymer and Northern Transportation will in fact be denationalized and thrown into the pot to lend body to the stew. Other glamour areas of government "enterprise" that are candidates for inclusion in the CDC are Air Canada and 45 per cent equity participation held in Panarctic Oils. What we do not know is, whether the CDC will pay taxes; or whether it will become a receptacle for ventures of political caprice; or even more significantly, who will mastermind it. The business acumen and experience of most politicians would qualify few of them for the demanding task. Successful business men or skilled entrepreneurs are unlikely to be attracted to a position of responsibility that could be fraught with government intervention. Mr. Benson is a most unlikely candidate for the post, since he surely has all that he can handle with the White Paper and other demands of a finance department that is facing a sizeable deficit Realistic examination of its stated objective provides some hint as to the workability of CDC. There is only one important question that we, not the politicians, must answer. Is it possible to create a vehicle under implied, if not actual, government sponsorship that has worthwhile investment potential? While we maintain an open mind on this matter, we do not subscribe to the belief that "big government'' is preferable to "big business". Initially, parliament (i.e., all Canadian taxpayers) will be asked to supply the financing. Common (voting) and preferred (voting or non-voting) shares will be received for this assistance. Further shares will undoubtedly be exchanged for interests in the Crown Corporations that will form a nucleus for the CDC. Approximately two years hence, shares will be offered to the general public. Limits will be placed upon the size of any individual holding and foreign investors will not be allowed to purchase voting stock. Since the CDC will have government backing, there can be little doubt that neophyte investors will assume that shares in this venture will will have to be made very clear that no be as secure as Canada Savings Bonds. It single investment can by definition be involved in risk ventures and at the same time provide "safety" and "income". The Canada Development Corporation deserves the attention and understanding of all Canadians. We must listen carefully as it is described to us in the weeks and months ahead. Like so much of Mr. Benson's White Paper, it undoubtedly will have a certain academic and altruistic ring of truth about it. But, those of us living in the real world must satisfy ourselves on only one question - can it work? Snowmobile menace The New York Times TUST as the conclusion dawns on man �* that the automobile is not an unmixed blessing, along comes the snowmobile to spread its worst features to the most remote countryside. It is no longer necessary to keep to the nation's roads in order to be assailed by gasoline fumes, threatened by speed maniacs and unnerved by the din of engines pushed to the point of agony. Now it can all be had in the wilderness. Intrinsically as innocent as the now it traverses, the motor-driven sled is useful in rescue operations and explorations, a boon alike to the native hunter in Alaska and the country doctor in Maine. The trouble, as always, is that man seems incapable of confining his inventions to sane uses and simple pleasures, but must convert them at once into instruments of destructive power and a blight on his most fragile surroundings. Last winter alone, according to an illuminating report just issued by the Conservation Foundation, the snowmobile, which may be driven by an eight-year-old as long as be can see where he is going, claimed 82 lives and injured many times that number. This is not surprising since the vehicle, conceived to travel at an average speed of 30 miles an hour, skims over flat country at 50 or 60. Sports fanatics and mental eight-year-olds have pushed the record up to 114.5. Other "sportsmen" have used the snowmobile to chase coyotes, deer and moose until they drop, and often die, of exhaustion. Thoughtless drivers have wiped out whole plantings of snow-covered seedlings in forest areas, ruined ski trails, scattered wildlife and made existence unbearable for hikers and campers to whom the wilderness once provided a haven of tranquility. Plainly it is not possible to outlaw the snowmobile, but it is desperately important to limit its use and to control its drivers. Laws to this end are generally vague and unenforced. What is needed is strict registration and licensing, a severe limit to the sound level and rigid confinement of snowmobiles to designated areas at designated times under specified weather and trail conditions.