Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 20, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, March 20, 1973 Settle it soon There are many complexities in the financing of education in Alberta, but the general approach is for the provincial government to collect tax- es and other revenues, and then to distribute money to local school boards. The idea is to ensure a mini- mum standard of quality throughout the province, whether local taxpayers have money or not. One consequence of this approach is that most of the money spent local- ly on education must How through Edmonton. During a teachers' strike, that flow is drastically reduced. Without a lot more data than the government will divulge at the mo- ment, it is not possible to calculate precisely the amount of economic damage being caused by the present strike of rural school teachers in Southern Alberta. A pretty fair esti- mate cau be made, however. It is general knowledge that the average salary of the striking teach- ers is about annually. They are paid on a basis of 200 teaching days a year, so the average amount being forfeited is something like per teacher for every day the strike lasts. There are teachers involved, so the total forfeiture is close to per day. There are other dollar factors to be considered, of course. The Alberta Teachers' Association is to distribute strike pay, which will help somewhat to offset the losses of sal- ary. On the other hand, very few school busses are ance and support services are at a minimum, and much physical plant Is on modified standby. There are other considerations, too. But when all the calculating has been done, and all the allowances made, a figure that keeps coming up is a week. That, or something very close to it, is the figure by which educational spending in this locality has been cut by the strike. As long as the strike lasts, then, around a quarter million dollars will be in a sense, by the pro- vincial government. But it is being lost to Southern Alberta. It is a matter of opinion how Impor- tant such an amount is in the general economic picture. It should be noted, however, that this is a designated area under department of regional economic expansion regulations, and that several industries have located here because of incentive grants. The largest such grant, a matter of hun- dreds of thousands of dollars, was awarded a firm tliat expected to em- ploy 130 workers, just 10 per cent of the number of teachers now on strike. If 130 paycheques are important enough economically to justify a large Incentive grant, it seems safe to con- clude ten times that many pay- cheques are economically significant. It is not the intention here to take sides in the current dispute, or to sug- gest that either the teachers or the trustees should meekly capitulate and so settle the dispute. It is nonetheless true that economic damage is being done to this locality, and that this must be stopped before too long. Protecting news sources There is something novel and re- freshing about a legislator champion- ing the news media. This is especially so in a time when it is popular to find fault with the way news is gath- ered and disseminated. Last week, Albert Ludwig, Social Credit MLA for Calgary Mountain View, introduced a private member's bill seeking protection for newsmen from having to disclose the source of their news. Mr. Ludwig sees the lack of such protection to be a threat to a free society. In theory, at least, it is the probing of newsmen which prevents the sub- version of society by public officials serving special interests. Even the statement of the theory lets loose tor- rents of cynicism because that kind of thing does not seem to be hindered much by fear of exposure in the news media. It might bo worse, of course, if journalists could not operate as freely as they do at present. Mr. Ludwig is afraid that the peo- ple's right to know what is going on will be in jeopardy if newsmen are not given the protection of the law against having to reveal the source of their information. People who know what is going on will not talk to newsmen if there is danger of be- ing identified. Although there have been some re- cent cases of reporters being sent to jail in the United States for refusing to disclose the source of their news stories, not much deterioration in. journalism can be attributed to this development. Nevertheless, enough nervousness has been engendered to result in a spate of "shield" bills in that country. Sober second thoughts are beginning to be voiced now about these bills. The major concern seeivis to be that a specific piece of legislation of this sort opens the door to regulation which is a worse threat to freedom than what it sets out to cure. By having to define who qualifies as a journalist to enjoy immunity in the courts, regulation becomes operative. Once it is established that the law decides who may write, a step has been taken toward letting the law decide what they may write. Despite Mr. Ludwig's good inten- tions, then, the wisest course may be to rely on tradition rather than on statutes. There are not too many in- stances when reporters are asked to reveal their sources. When they are asked they may decide to go to jail in witness to their belief in the free- dom of the press. The casserole The elemally-meeting Civil Aeronautics Board has just rejected a proposal by four major European airlines that transatlan- tic fares be reduced drastically; BOAC, Lufiliansa, Alitalia and Olympic wanted a minimum leturn fare between Europe and North America of about Americsn airlines, led by Pan Am and TWA, insist- ed this would be far too low, and the Board finally agreed on a minimum Eare of Is it not strange that whenever there is talk of controlling prices by setting ceil- ings, economic experts rush to issue warn- ings abcut destroying free enterprise, wrecking the financial system, and so on, but seem to have no such fears when floor prices are sel? far BS the rest of the wtt-ld is concerned, but retain a pre-determined relation to each other. A collective currency? Horrors! That's what the Communist na-ions of Europe call their transferable ruble! Back in November, when the government and its loyal opposition were wrangling over whether tenders should be called and from whom when the government wished to insure its fleet of vehicles, this column respectfully suggested a much bet- ter idea would be for the government to act as its own insurer. As it would be bad form to brag about the power of the press, let it be agreed that it is just coincidence that the provincial treasurer has just announced that the gov- ernment will henceforth adopt a policy of self-insurance for vehicles. In a move to combat the money specu- lators who periodically make a shambles of any international monetary agreement (hat happens to be current, the European Economic Community has agreed that iis currencies, all but the lira and the pound, should be allowed to but in uni- son, i.e., move with supply and demand Letter Refusal to face reality "Would you like to shoot the Man's final payment costly By Bruce Hutchison, Herald Among the lessons history teaches is that people of par- ticular periods are often Wind to tfie worst abuses ot their age. wonder how the Romans en- joyed the Colosseum spectacles, find it hard to Imagine how slave owners as recently as last century treated human be- ings as cattle, and can hardly understand how the Nazis herd- ed Jews Into the gas ovens. We wonder why so many did noth- ing to prevent these crimes, and why so many actively par- ticipated in them, apparently accepting them as part ot a normal way of life. Today, abortion of Innocent babies is. accepted by many who actually claim that their support of this monstrous crime is humane. Apart from the two central reasons for this attitude, namely confused thought and selfish expediency, there is a third influence involved. This third factor is well illustrated by Greg Hales' letter of recent date and Mar- ilyn Anderson's, one of several weeks ago. It is a refusal to face the ugly reality of what abortion actually is. Greg Hales' objection to the film shown by the Knights of Columbus and Marilyn Anderson's criticism of the advertisement (the di- ary of an aborted baby) placed by that group are at one in regarding the plain, ugly.facts of baby murder as sensational- ism. Their attitude is like that of some Victorians who shun- ned the mines and factories and slums for fear of seeing the misery they helped to cre- ate. Abortion is bloody murder and it is no more a sound ap- proach to hide the ghastly facts in this case than it would be to withhold the gruesome evi- dence of the Naz.'s' atrocities on the grounds of a detached so called "responsible" ap- proach. After all, abstract argu- ment, no matter how import- ant for establishing principle, Is no substitute for unyarnish- 1 ed fact in cases like this. Any- one who has seen even pic- tures of fetuses in garbage bags or read about the cries emitted by these victims mast pause and question the assump- tion that human life has not been taken in an abortion. Finally, I would say that the revulsion people felt in watch- ing the film was rooted in the knowledge that in this case the surgery was carried out to de- 'stroy rather than to save hu- man life. PETER HUNT Lelhbridge If the present reader under- stands the latest international currency crisis he is much more learned than the writer. Indeed, as this world goes, lie is one man picked out of a mil- lion. And yet none of us, in our tiny personal lives, can escape the momentous decisions being made secretly by perhaps a dozen men at most who control the financial policies of tha great nations. Such is the cur- rent state of participatory de- mocracy, as we call it in Can- ada, with our mild native sense of humor. The truth, of course7, is that the people cannot participate in the day-to-day decisions of de- mocracy since they do not know the facts or even the names of the actual decision makers. To be sure, the names of the statesmen are known. President Nixon is known, or partially known, and so, among Cana- dians anyway, is John Turner. But in technical problems as complex and erratic as cur- rencies the statesman must al- ways depend upon the nameless technicians. Any government is like the passenger in a jet who may be rich and pow- erful on the ground but, once airborne, can only trust the pi- lot. Thus the Canadian parliament solemnly debates some issue of high importance and frames a budget or a law but nearly all its conclusions can be vetoed overnight by the anonymous gnomes of Zurich or the elected Federal Reserve Board in Washington. Those mysterious men of power are themselves often sub- merged by the tides ot imper- sonal, unpredictable, uncon- -trollable events moving darkly through the world. As the per- manent Smithsonian currency agreement, the grand solution of December, 1971, lasted hard- ly a year, so others will be swept away in turn aiid the sovereign democratic vot e r s will not know what hit them until it is too late to matter. This dees not mean that de- mocracy is a failure. No, Churchill was unquestionably right in calling it the worst sys- tem of government ever in- vented, except for all the al- ternatives. our interdepen- dent, brittle, tectir.ological age, however, democracy does not work as it worked in more primitive times because the common man cannot hope to understand the infinitely com- plicated machinery around him, the supersonic vehicle carrying him no one knows exactly where. As Burke said In his often- misquoted address to the elec- tors of Bristol, "the public can elect the best man to govern it." While its judgment of men is usually wise; almost infallible, it can seldom make specific judgments except in simple is- sues like war and peace (and even there the great American democracy has handed that power over to a single If Burke's system was sound in the crude 18th century it is still more valid today when probably not one elector of modern Bristol understands what is happening to the British economy or, for that matter, to the local railway line and gas service. The price of ever-rising af- fluences is intricate technology and the price of technology is eveisshrinking personal f r e e- dom. The machine raises our living standard, so-called, but it reduces our range of choice. This must be obvious to every- one in his personal affairs, and most people are Milling to pay the price; but we should realize by now that the democratic di- lemma is not basically eco- nomic or political. It is philo- sophical, psychological, one might almost say psychic. If only the economic system and the contemporary govern- ments were out of joint, doubt- less we could put them together again by using a little common sense instead of demanding more from the social machine than it can possibly produce. Unfortunately the democratic system itself is out of joint, even in the greatest demo- BERBTS MM An editorial in an eastern newspaper ad- vocates the repeal of the old Ontario law that, just like Alberta's, closes all taverns and bars on electian days. It's not the sort of thing that comes to mind every day, es- pecially when things are pretty quiet on the'election scene (shhhhh but when you come to think of it, it is a bit of an insult to imply that votes can be bought with a couple of drinks, and even a worse one to suggest that, if someone really want- ed to buy a vote that way, he wouldn't have sense enough to stock up the day before. Peter Fast of Niagara-on-the Lake be- lieves he has discovered an underground lake of oil measuring 60 by 25 miles but oil companies have expressed little inter- est because it would mean setting up drill- ing rigs in a populated area. Fast's discovery came when a friend, with a divining rod, set out to discover the best location for his new well. Instead of searching for water, the friend attached a small boltlc of gasoline to his divining rod and walked back and forth over Fast's barren strawberry patch. The stick sud- denly pointed downward indicating toth gas and oil below. At a depth of feet Fast hit a- gusher of gas. Further use of his divining rod has convinced him a 60 mile oil lake lies beneath the peninsula's surface. Vietnamese. How come, peopfe men t talking about spending billionm! dollars to 'tbutlJ OUR cracics, even in Britain, (he seed bed and mother of de- mocracy everywliere. When the British people can be coerced and their lawful business demoralized by a mi- nority, when the entire appa- ratus of civilization is disrupted by illegal strikes, when the Queen's writ no longer runs be- yond the factory gate, then the democratic process, like the economic machine, is breaking down. No less an authority than the Economist of London, perhaps the most influential and cer- tainly the most optimistic publi- cation in Britain, says the na- tion may soon become ungover- nation that taught so many others, including the United States aijd Canada, how to govern, the nation that, above, all others, was supposed to understand the art of govern- ment with freedom. Britain ungovernable? It sounds crazy. What, a Canadian may ask, has happened I n that orderly and neighborly, that green and pleasant land? (Though he had better ask in a quiet voice, since Canada cannot even elect a viable government.) What has happened in the other democracies where the eco- nomic machine still works rea- sonably well but the political machine is under wretching strain? To that question we get an- swers innumerable from revolu- tionary professors ivory towers and connter-revolution- ary bureaucrats in the White House. Yet surely the true an- swer is quite clear in the people, or at least a large segment among them, refuse to accept the unavoidable self-dis- cipline of democracy, a deli- cate, fragile system which does not depend on public laws but on private behavior. Where voluntary self-dis- cipline is not accepted, where personal responsibility Is de- nied, where some minority group convulses the community as a whole, then another sort of discipline appears the dis- cipline of a currency crunch, an inflation, a political crisis or perhaps, later on, a general de- pression. The permissive society breaks down because, in the natural scheme of things, by the cold mandate of the universe itself, there is no permissiveness, only a system of invisible dis- ciplines, from the law of grav- 'ity to the law of supply and de- mand, from the inexplicable phenomenon of birth to the un- deniable fact of (ttalli. In the collective life called society, therefore, we have only two impose dis- cipline, civility, decency and generosity on ourselves or find it imposed on us by someone else. So far, we have not made a definite choice in the area truly open lo our decisions. In- stead, we blame all our (roubles on (he decisions made by gov- ernments, as if they could be hotter than (lie people who choose them. We try to have ev- erything both ways, to eat our cake and keep it, to retain our freedom and squander it, to treat .our neighbor badly and expect good treatment in re- turn, to defy not merely the rules of society but the silent code of nature herself. Alas, we cannot defy nature for long, as our physical envi- ronment is telling us every day. At point, in politics, eco- nomics and individual life, her price must be paid. Our Impos. sible demands are making that price unnecessarily high. So-called board surpluses The Herald recently publish- ed certain figures taken from the annual statements of the school divisions affected by the current teachers' strike. These apparently are taken by the teachers' repre- sentatives as proof that there is lots of money available to meet the higher salaries de- manded. While the figures so published were probably accur- ate, they were r.ot complete and the form in which they were presented was definitely mis- leading. It was reported that, at the end of 1972, .the Pincher Creek School Division had over 000 in term certificates and a surplus of approximately 000. One might conclude from this that the board had 000 available. This is just not so. The term certificates (a short term loan to the banks) represented almost all the cash available to the board to meet liabilities then due, and to pro- vide working funds to start the new year. The surplus is what was left after providing for current liabilities all that. was left. Monthly expenditures for op- eration of the schools in the Pincher Creek division run around The operat- ing funds on hand nt the end of the year were not sufficient to meet one month's require- ments. Surely even the most biased member of the teachers' committee cannot claim this is affluence. I suggest that The Herald ob- tain copies of these financial statements and prepare a re- port on the relationship be- tween the surpluses so-called, and the monthly requirements for operating funds. Such in- formation would be a fair pre- sentation of the financial facts, in sharp contrast to the mis- leading information published so far. ,T. R. JACKSON Pinchor Creek. Mania for pleasure It was Interesting to note the picture of recent pickelers at the Yates Centre. The three la- dies nearest the camera care- fully hid their faces behind their placards. From this I would assume that they were not very proud of what they were, doing. I take that as a good sign, as it indicates that they still have consciences. Had they felt a deep and un- assailable conviction, they would have stood up to be counted rather than hiding in anonymity. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently ruled, that abortion on demand is a private matter be- tween a woman and her doc- tor up until seven months of pregnancy. Many babies born prematurely ot seven months have lived. A seven month baby, therefore, is a live human being; yet, according to the above ruling, a woman and 'Crazy Capers' You'll bave to excuse my husband a wine taster. her doctor may legally kill this new human being, if it inter- feres with the pleasure and freedom of the woman. If it is legal and acceptable to kill an unborn baby at seven months, why not at eight, or why not three months or thres years after birth? I realize that the time limit hi Canada is four months, but the principle remains the same. Euthenasia, suicide and Hit- ler's programs have been deemed u n acceptable because ot the "sanclity of the- human bod y." Should not the samo consideration be given to tha innocent unborn baby? How far do we have to follow the present mania for pleasure without re- sponsibility? With the pill and other effective means, no mod- ern woman needs to become pregnant against her will. Let me also remind readers of another contraceptive. It is called in case the word has been fprgotten. This concept may not be very popu- lar in a society bant on instant pleasure and self gratification with zero responsibility, but it is nevertheless both valid and foolproof. I commend the "ladies in hid- ing." As they apparently do have a conscience, there is still some hope for a return to san- ity and responsibility. NIELS E. KLOPPENBORG Lelhbridge. Editor's nole: The photo- grapher says the pickelers marie no attempt to hide their faces. The published picture v.i-s .chosen on the basis of composition without any thought of Ihe interpretation taken by Mr. Kloppenhorg. TheL. bridge Herald S04 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD TO. LTD., Proprietors and Publisher Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Man Reglslratlon No. cola The Press end the Canadian Dally PublMwn- Anoclallort and the Audit Bureau of Clrculllloru CLEO W. W.OWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. AOAMS, Manager DON PILLING WILUAtf HAY Editor Editor F. MILES DOUGLAS K. WALKER ftlilno AUnigtr editorial Ittiot HERALD THE SOUTH"