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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THl IETHBRIDGC HERALD Snlutitcy, March It, 197S--------------------------------------- Tiruce Hutchison Constitutional report Without the opportunity to study the full report of the parliamentary committee on the constitution it would be foolish lo stake out firm positions on il. The only certainty that seems permissible at this point is that the report deserves lo be taken seriously because the commit- tee members did their work with thoroughness and in earnest. Although the report is not ;ipt to be lightly dismissed it may not be adopted for a long time or in toto. Under the Canadian system the fed- eral government must first come to some kind of agreement about the recommendations. Then there would have to be consultation with the prov- inces. Finally it must come before Parliament. So. despite the commit- tee's strong feeling that changes such as are recommended in the report are urgent, it might look as though considerable time would have to pass before any action can be ex- pected. That expectation may already have been proved false. 'Die recent con- cession to Quebec and by exten- sion, the rest of (lie greater power in social policy ap- pears to be in line with a major recommendation of the report. Tha government may already have been influenced by the report. While two provincial premiers have reacted negatively toward the rec- ommendation that greater control over economic direction he given to the federal government, this seems like an inevitable thing. On the world scene there is a pronounced trend toward centralization of economic control as major trading blocs form. This hardly seems the time for frag- menting control within a nation. In the light of the recommenda- tion for economic control it is not con- ceivable that the committee's refer- ence to the right of self determina- tion means encouragement of seces- sion. What appears to be the over- riding concern of the committee is that it the day should come when Quebec insists on breaking away, re- sistance should be by persuasion, not force. Hie breakup of the country would be tragic but a civil war is unthinkable. If the constitution can provide for the extreme possibility of secession without permitting the interpretation of encouragement of that end, il would be a vise move. Canadians showed a great interest in constitutional reform when thfi parliamentary committee held ils hearings across the country. That in- terest should continue as the report goes through the channels toward the end of. parliamentary approval. Out of sight, in mind Seldom has the old dictum, out of sight, out of mind, been so spec- tacularly disproved as in the case of Howard Hughes, the wealthy American with reclusive tendencies. No matter how determinedly Mr. Hughes tries to sink into obscurity, the public will not forget him. In fact, the longer this man avoids coming into public view the greater is the curiosity about him. There is something irrational about this fascination. Mr. Hughes had a rather interesting earlier ca- reer, to be sure, but there is nothing about him now so far as anyone knows that merits attention. Perhaps in a world where t h e craze for publicity is so pronounced that, many people orchestrate their movements to get maximum expo- sure, it is the sheer novelty of a man avoiding attention that makes news. The unusual is the usual stuff of. frontpage journalism. It is ironic that Howard Hughes should continue to be on people's minds while trying to drop out of sight when some others who have worked hard to gain attention are ignored or soon forgotten. Maybe there is hope the public will tire even of the mysterious Howard Hughes. Pensioners need help Probably those who suffer most from our inflationary economy are the old age pensioners. With a large percentage of them on fixed incomes, making ends meet is for them, a monthly headache. The cost living has risen almost Jive per cent in the past 12 months, with food prices the main factor showing a rise of 7.9 per cent. With a monthly pension of a skimpy ?BO, many of our aged find budgeting even for stamps (risen two cents in the past eight months) is an exercise in higher mathematics. Not long ago the government indi- cated it was considering implement- ing a program similar to Opportuni- ties For Youth so that those on pen- sion who are able and willing could augment their incomes. But nothing so far has come of this plan, nor was anything said at the time whether the government would lift the restric- tions on the amounts pensioners may make as pin money over and above pensions. More thought should again be given to an Opportunities for the Elderly program so that this large segment of our society may share more equally in its benefits. But in the meantime an automatic cost of- living increase in the pensions of be- tween three and four per cent should be high on the government's agenda. Even this modest amount would make life more livable and less worrisome to many thousands of our senior citizens. Weekend Meditation The purpose of Lent CPR1NG training has begun for the baseball players and Lent is Spring training for Christians. Even as you can- not be a good baseball player without spring training neither can yon be a good Christian without Lent. Lent is the door to life. It leads to Good Friday, the resur- rection, and Pentecost. It is not only a time of penitence and self-examination, a period of intensive training in Christian life, but is also "a season of renewal." Lent comes from an old English word "to lengthen" suggesting the time when days are getting longer and Spring is on the way. It consists of the forty days be- fore Easter and refers to the forty days' fasts of Moses, Elijah, and the Lord him- self. When Protestants proclaimed liberty of religion, it meant for most; freedom lo stay away from church and so when the church year was sacrificed it meant that this period of Lenten discipline was espe- cially abolished. During the early cen- turies of the church, however, the obser- vance of the fast was very strict and only one meal a day of the most frugal sort was permitted. Surely there should be a time especially set aside for repentance and self-examina- tion. "The unexamined life is not worth living." In one of his famous sermons St. Leo the Great says that Lent, is nothing less than a preparation of the whole Chris- tian life for salvation. Lent is a concentra- tion of life without which no great work can be done in any field of activity. Plato described man as a charioteer driving two horses, one white and the oth- er Mack, pulling in opposite directions. H. G. Wells rEesiTitic-s one of his charac- ters as cot so much human being a, Politics fades in light of man's future Massachu- setts: Nearly everything said and done in the United States election this year (and in tlie Canadian election, too) is quite irrelevant to the real problems of both nations and the approacliing human crisis everywhere. Anyone who wishes to know what is relevant, and why tho crisis is approaching so rapidly, should come to Cambridge, the seat of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Here, and here only, man at last lias used his scientific tools to measure the final results, thus measured, make most of our current poli- tical, economic and social as- sumptions look idiotic. Also sui- cidal. Warned of these facts by cer- t a in wise and non-political friends in Washington and Ot- tawa, I found myself, not long ago, in Ihe presence of a math- ematical genius who must be among the most important men of our time. The name of Jay W. Forrester is little known to his own people or to foreigners but it soon will be and, with it, his ghastly portrait of man- kind's future. In his modest office at M.I.T Professor Forrester is not out- wardly a dramatic figure, much less a prophet of doom. Tall, lean, lantern-jawed and shy, he might be a typical small-town Yankee merchant, banker or family doctor. On the streets of Cambridge you would not give a second glance. But when he begnis to talk in a flat, chccrfij voice, and draw quick diagrams on his blackboard, you see at once why the world's thinkers are beating a path to his door. For (his improbable personage has constructed a model of the mousetrap in which mankind is caught. To be sure, his discovery, as an obvious sum in arithmetic, fs not new. Before him other men had realized that popula- tion, pollution and depletion would ultimately exhaust our planet if they were not curbed. Professor Forrester's unique achievement was to take all the. chaotic data and put it through computers of his own design. Having read the computers' ver- dict, he wrote a book, "World Dynamics" which I bought in Cambridge and found almost unreadable. No one but a schol- ar of the higher mathematics can understand it in detail. The general conclusion, how- ever, is clear enough and brief- ly summarized in the first pages, And from now on it should have a more profound effect on mankind's affairs than anything now being dis- cussed in world politics. Professor Forrester needed a long book, full of bewildering equations and charts, to explain his conclusions. Other hooks, in simpler language, already are on Ihe presses. They will dis- agree in detail, and even m conclusion but none can deny the central proposition. It is that man cannot continue inde- finitely to exhaust and poison his tiny speck in the universo without condemning his chil- dren, or his grandchildren, to poverty, famine, disease, war and barbarism. This is not to say that Pro- fessor Forrester and his fellow experts in Britain, Europe and elsewhere are exact in their figures, or that computers never lie. Some eminent author- ities in M.I.T. and Harvard question the crude data fed into the computers and hence the refined data coming out of them but that is a dispute of detail only. Not even the most optimistic school of thinkers will question the iact that all human socie- ties, as they are going now, must end in disaster. The only question is when the disaster will occur, under existing melh- civil war. What both of them are trying to say is that, if a man is going to become a great athlete he must deny himself cer- tain things which would be ail right in other circumstances. If anyone aspires to be a great musician he must practice long hours and refuse many things that he would like to do for the sake of his art. So Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself." One of the first lessons of life is this and no-one is mature until he learns it that if you have this, you can't have that. Make up your mind what you want and then know that self-denial is the only way to achieve it. Lent is a time for dedication to God when old prejudices, old sins that have formed ruts in consciousness due to haliit, and Ihe stupid separation from Ihe Cre- ator are thrown off and life becomes new, strong, and given to God in faith and love. thus becomes a great enterprise and not merely ritual exercises, but rather a newness of life which leads at last to a resurrection. It is not merely a matter of outward observance hut of a transforma- tion of heart. St. Paul said, "I die but he made it clear that that death was the way to a resurrected life. The good life is not attained without suffering. Thus it was said of Jesus that "for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross." One does not reach the Holy Grail by sitting in a rocking chair. Prayer: Give us the self-contro! that springs From discipline of outward things, That fasting inward secretly The soul may purely dwell with Thee. (Gregory the Great) F. S. M. ods, and whether, by changing them soon enough, man can avoid it. Here it is impossible to dis- cuss, in more than the roughest generalities, a subject to com- plex and, for laymen, so new and frightening. To over-sim- plify it grossly. Professor For- Tester's book holds that human beings are multiplying too fast and using up the earth's physi- cal resources still faster; that if they don't control their birth- rale they will continue to use up these resources as fast as ever, or faster, by raising their per capita consumption; that they can invent substitutes like syn- thetic foodstuffs and nuclear energy but only at the cost of polluting the atmosphere and poisoning themselves by their increasing technology and therefore that the entire prem- ise of perpetual economte growth, on which all modern societies are built, is demon- strably false. After talking with Professor Forrester and some of his dis- tinguished critics, inside and outside government, I cannot attempt to judge these proposi- tions. They will be debated end- lessly in the years ahead, start- ing with the world conference on environment at Stockholm next summer (in which Cana- dians will play a major Meanwhile, as the critics warn, a different sort of danger has appeared. Again grossly over-simplified, It is that the growing concern with environment and the fear of its niin will drive men to de- spair and make them hopeless of escape, Hearing the cry of wolf too often, they will finally refuse to listen and accept ruin, for their grandchildren, as in- evitable and not worth fighting against. This, of course. Is not a prob- lem of physical science or mathematics to be reckoned ui a computer. It is a problem of psychology, politics and leader- ship. But like the original prob- lem of environment, it has hardly been grasped yet by the politicians and leaders. They are still talking, In an election year, about other prob- 1 e m s relatively unimportant and mistaking the trees for the forest. Their debate and prom- ises, together with the public's impossible expectations, have litUe or no bearing on the true business of mankind. Since the hour is later than we think, and the risk of inac- tion far xvoisc, that business cannot be postponed much long- er. in such a rich country as Canada we must soon recon- sider many of our sacred eco- nomic, political and social ax- ioms because they are becom- ing obsolete, ii they are not so already. Herald Special Service Tim Traynor Plan to clean up Great Lakes hits serious snag WASHINGTON: Evid e n 11 y, one casualty of the trim- ming of the U.S. budget for the coming year was a program to step up the pace of anti-pollu- tion efforts in the Great Lakes. Concerned Congressmen have been airing confidential docu- ments related to this proposal, which was drawn up by the En- vironmental Protection Agency, Officials of the presidential budget office apparently caused the project to be omitted from the budget, which was present- ed to Congress last month, A group of Congressmen and Se- nators are pressing for recon- sideration of the decision, but (hey arc unlikely lo he heeded. The veto comes at a Hmo when Canada and the U.S. arc deeply involved in working out an agreement for a joint drive to clean up the Great Lakes. With a considerable flourish, the two governments last year gave a broad undertaking to reach such an agreement when the details had been worked out. The target date was the end of 1971, but this has been pushed forward. The projected Canadian- American agreement and the program that was vetoed were independent of one another, hut there was an important over- lapping. In argument for the stepped-up program, the EPA repeatedly cited benefits in terms of facilitating the Cana- dian-American agreement. A copy of the listed EPA rec- ommendations states the pro- gram would have helped meet Canadian anxieties