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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 16, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE UTHDR1DGE HERALD Thursday, March 14, 1975 Maurice Western Whole truth not in best public interest The bubble bursts That inflated issue the one about (lie auditor-general lias gone flat. All the juicy aspects over which the Opposition expected to linger with en- joyment seem to have been illusion. Mr. Henderson let a lot of the air out of Ihe bubble when he clarified his own statement about the unusual number of errors he had detected. They were errors in his printed re- port the kind that are the bane of a journalist's life. No doubt the pub- lic will still be treated to finding of gross cverexpemUlure on the part of the government but they will not be unusual in number. Then it was learned that Mr. Hen- erson was not actually working alone in his office. He has a staff of 265 which has gone up from and lias authority to increase that to 293. Obviously the government hasn't been phasing out the operation. The bubble collapsed completely when the government, through Trea- sury Board President C. Al. Drury, showed ilsclf amenable to granting Mr. Henderson greater independence. Whether Mr. Henderson, can be given enough independence to satisfy his desire for "freedom" becomes the issue. A body that is funded from public monies has to be accountable in some degree. Even the Opposition will agree with the government on thai. Having the auditor-general appear before the Commons public accounts committee was the right procedure to follow. A lot of unnecessary agi- tation has been prevented through- out the country. An unresolved problem The question of amnesty for some 70.000 American draft evaders and deserters now living in Canada is still being debated by the United States government. At the present time an American of military age who escaped serving in Vietnam by evading the selective service laws or by deserting from the armed forces is liable to arrest if he returns to the U.S. and may face a long term of imprisonment. A number of proposals have been placed before Congress by which draft evaders returning home would be given a pardon, either uncondi- tionally or on condition that they per- form some alternative form of ser- vice. But many draft evaders are un- willing to accept a pardon on any terms. They state they were right in re- fusing to take part in the Vietnam war and have no reason to seek am- nesty. They claim that amnesty is essentially an act of forgiveness and as they have done nothing to forgive, the proposal is meaningless. A few have even gone so far as to suggest lhat the government should offer them an apology for creating the war in the first place and putting them in a position where they had to either fight, or leave the country. This raises a deeper problem. It the government owes deserters and draft dodgers an apology, what in the world do they owe the men who died in Vietnam, their families, and for that matter the people of Vietnam? A lesson for nationalists Politicians in Ceylon who caught the nationalist fever for eliminating all vestiges of British colonialism are ruefully admitting they went too far in down grading the English language. Sixteen years after Sin- halese became the official language in place of English there has been a rush to overcome the neglect in training people in the language the former rulers. The dream of nationalists that power would come to the poor through official recognition of the major indigenous language has not been realized. Those who have been educated in Sinhalese have not been able to compete for government posi- tions with those educated in English in spite of the nationalist tide. Even in universities where the indigenous tongue is employed there is frustra- tion because most texts are transla- tions and the readers of English seem to have the jump on others. Development in Ceylon seems to be tied to the English language. Fears that a further decline of Eng- lish will prove detrimental to the achievement of real independence has brought about a reversal of at- titude on the part of the politicians. Help is being sought from UNESCO to carry out a government-launched crash program to train English teac- hers for the rural schools. Admission to universities henceforth will not be possible without a working know- ledge of the language of the depart- ed white rulers. The complexities of the modern world apparently do not make it pos- sible for people to restore old ways. Identity has to be found through some measure of accommodation. The bitter experience of the Ceylo- ese deserves pondering by na- tionalists everywhere. The best available QTTAWA _ If Robert Stan- field ever forms a gov- ernment, the life of ministers is going to lie one long night- mare. Speaking to a Toronto audi- ence recently, he pledged a Conservative government to a number of specific policies, Or, the subject of infonnaliou he said: 'We will tell Canadians the truth the whole and that is a commitment." Assuming that Mr. Stanfield has been correctly quoted, this is a revolutionary proposal which may well have the most dire implications for national security. We have had 20 min- istries since Confederation ami while they have shown pro- gressively lessening interest in economy generally, they have been of one mind in their ded- ication to economy in truth. This is not a reflection on politicians; (lie people we send, to Parliament are for the most part sincere and honorable men. But tbe "whole truth" in- volves many difficulties, not the least of which is the fact By Mel Spackmap TTOPEFULLY, one day in the near fu- lure, either a faculty of education or the Alberta Teachers' Association will ho sending out some letters to candidates for teacher education stating, in effect, that the candidate would be welt-advised to direct his professional training into some other area. The letters mil be kind and helpful, but firm. They will be hased on the best possible evaluations by professional educa- tors oE the candidate's probable success in teaching, evaluations such as personality inventories, interviews, academic achieve- ment, interest inventories, anecdotal, rec- ords, internship, etcetera. And again, hope- fully, this should begin a new era for teach- ers and the teaching profession. With the advent of accountability, both the profession and the educating institu- tions arc looking hard at the selection cri- teria for teachers. Who should leach? Up to now the criteria for entrance have been mainly the ability to produce a matricula- tion standard and pass the required uni- versity courses plus the desire to become a teacher. In some cases not even the de- sire has been present, but only tbe pres- sure to find a profession with at least a minimum of status and a reasonable sal- ary. Why is this allowed to happen? Surprisingly, Alberta teachers have no control over entrance to their own ranks, and cannot even refuse entry to candi- dates who are or appear to be potentially unsuitable as teachers. How ironic! The very people who cry 'incompetence1 and plead with the ATA to remove some teach- ers are the same ones who resist giving teachers the right to select suitable can- didates. And the universities? At present the fa- culties of education generally admit any- one (according to University of Calgary professor R. D. with more than minimum academic qualifications, and it (U of C) accepts indiscriminately both those who are drawn to teaching and those who are simply not drawn to any- thing else." If this is true, then we must conclude that people are willing to let al- most anyone operate on their children's minds but certainly not their bodies, teeth or human rights. Such a ridiculous situa- tion can surely not persist; sufficient pub- lic pressure must be brought to bear to remedy the situation. And what is a good teacher? There is plenty of research about this question, IhB answers spanning a book of adjectives; and while many would disagree with much of that research, few will disagree that some identifiable qualities will render a person unsuitable for teaching. For exam- ple, a candidate who simply doesn't like children would be better off in a position oriented to adult activities. Certain per- sonality defects or neurotic tendencies could also be detrimental. Thus, centra-in- dications of success can be recognized, and the candidates directed into areas belter fitting their capabilities. If such deficiencies do not become ex- posed in the academic period of teacher education there should still be at least a year in which performance can be eval- uated on an internship basis. Obviously, this late evaluation places a burden on a candidate who has spent five years in edu- cation, but far better to counsel and re- direct him then, than have an unhappy teacher and hundreds of potentially un- happy students because' of him. And chances are the candidate will leave teach- ing anyway within a few years. It will not be until teachers gain the powers of selection and entry of candidates that they or their organization can or should he responsive or responsible to the public for ineffective or inefficient leach- ing. Then, ami only then, can the public expect that all tbose who teach their chil- dren are the best available! that it is not a readily iden- tifiable commodity, liven the. philosophers over Ihe last few miltenia have been inconclu- sive in their findings on this subject and they were not, as a rule, required to answer daily questions without notice in the House nf Commons. Politics is an area of value judgments. Ministers necessar- ily rely on economists and 60othsnycrs who are capable of anything except agreement with each other. It would be pleasant if John Turner, con- fronted perhaps with a ques- tion from George Hccs, could rush an executive assistant off to the department of finance with instructions to come back with the truth, the wliole truth and nothing but the truth. But the department, in face of such a demand, would probably con- clude that the minister had gone stark mad and was not to be trusted even with Iho latest release from Statistics Canada. One of the difficulties is the general assumption that it Is a duty of government to inspire confidence in Ilic country. The whole truth about the economy at nny lime might bo enough to cause a stampede of bro- kers rushing to hurl them- selves from tho twelfth storey windows. What a minister tells Ihe board of trade, therefore, is lhat our economic problems are beginning to yield to Hie wise and far-sighted policies of government and that tho fu- ture holds out promise enough to bring out the best in every red-blooded Canadian. The reconciliation of ration- ed truth and the requirements of statesmanship is effected through a time-honored phrase, Ihe public interest. This, of course, is a matter of inter- pretation. There may be the most weight y arguments against divulging the fact that the government intends next week to devalue the currency. But the same phrase is com- monly used in rejecting a mo- tion for the production of pa- pers for example, the re- port of sonic outside consultant a minister may feel that it would be embarrassing or provide an unwelcome prec- edent. Prudence in such matters is by no means a new develop- ment; indeed, lire daily argu- ments in the House of Com- mons often bear a remarkable resemblance to arguments we formerly listened to in the quit hoping for an end to a certain irritat- ing trend which seems to be a part of The Herald's style. In- stead, I have decided to ask if there is a deliberate attempt lo use non English in the head- lines of the local news section. Specifically, I call attention to, "Wanna learn to which appeared in the Friday, March 3 Issue. Surely our slovenly speech habits do not need to become a part of our written language. Is there a reason for the kind of headline to which I refer? Is it a lack of space, a lack of time to write a headline which actu- ally fits the news story or a lack of care? ERNEST D. DAWSON Lethbridge. Raise status It ought to be noted with some joy that Canadians can still take a look at, and laugh at themselves, I am referring lo Hie incident at a recent din- ner, where, in the presence of the prime minister, it was ex- plained that from now on the letters HCMP on any car would Indicate that its owner is a Roman Catholic Member of Parliament. Actually, if Iho truth were known, the change in name, ini- tiated by the police, is simply an attempt to raise its collec- tive status in the eyes of the from .tat. catcher to rodent control officer as it were or is is Ihe other way arouml? For a greater sense of humor in public affairs, B. HELMUT HOFFMAN Lethbridgo these conditions, Sihanouk went to Hanoi in the second week of February. He aired with the North Vietnamese, his complaints about being elliow-