Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD March 21, 1974 Halfway house The troubles encountered in the attempts to establish a Halfway House in Lethbridge prove, if nothing else, -the absolute necessity for such a place. They are a graphic illustration of the animosities faced by those persons who are attempting to re-enter society and who may well not make it, in the face of such a solid wall of misunderstanding, without the kind of encouragement offered by such a home. Lethbridge takes satisfaction in its attractiveness as a community, in its cleanliness, its parks and playgrounds, its civic institutions, its library, its schools and churches. But whenever attempts are made to establish permanent places to help people who really need help, and other examples come readily to mind, it almost looks as though the city were over-churched and under-souled. It is not difficult in this city (and this must be a source of civic pride) to round up support for sports complexes, art galleries and similar endeavors designed to provide for physical well-being and cultural uplift. But when it comes to extending a hand to lift up a human being in need of real help, that pride looks more like vanity and Lethbridge is exposed as harboring a caste system. To most neighborhoods a Halfway House probably looks like a risk. What neighborhood is free from human risks? There is a neighborhood in this town in which, according to all evidence, a dog poisoner has lived for several years as a respected citizen. Possibly some of the residents of that area would gladly trade that person for a Halfway House if they could discover who it is. The fact that an effort to establish the house is continuing indicates that some Lethbridge people recognize the need and that compassion and understanding are not actually non-existent in this city. Their efforts will surely be rewarded. It is to be hoped that they will not have to go to the extreme of setting up the house in a pasture on the edge of town a mile from any other habitation. Attitudes need changing The trouble with the job of being a housewife is not so much with the job itself as with society's view of it. And this criticism encompasses the housewife's view of it as well. If the attitudes and assumptions of society can be put aside, the job of running a household and looking after the needs of a family, no matter how large or small, is one of the most flexible jobs in the world. The opportunities for creativity, for satisfaction, for developing talents are greater than in almost any other available job. A housewife and mother is an executive secretary, a guidance counselor, nurse, family chef, interior decorator, painter, carpenter, buyer, researcher, librarian, file clerk, travel agent, chauffeur, clothes designer, landscape gardener, telephone answering service, mistress, family correspondent the list is endless. In fact, the scope of the job is so broad that no person can handle it all and, under these circumstances, it becomes whatever the holder wants it to be. What other job in the world offers such latitude? The job is never a static one. It changes in nature with the passing years, the development of the family, and the changing interests of the person who holds it. There is nothing about it which is incompatible with intellectual pursuits: indeed, the job, if done well, demands them. It has been said that a housewife is a drudge. But only if she likes drudgery. With today's shattering of traditions and willingness to accept reality, the only necessarily immaculate floors are those to be shown in television commercials. Today's housewife is free to make the assumption that family pets are more important than immaculate surroudings. She is apt to be too busy baking bread, reading, or helping to establish an art gallery in her community to worry about floors. If there is routine in the job, it is no more than is found in most jobs. It has also been said that the role fragments women. But unless one accepts the stereotyped version of the helpless female needing protection, security and roots, this can be an opportunity and not a drawback. Every executive knows what it is like to be fragmented and the knowledgeable ones handle it skillfully. And every gardener knows plants that root easily. It has been said that a housewife is just a servant. But isn't.everyone? All jobs are the result of a need or supposed need of society. Whether a person who answers a need considers himself a servant is an attitude of mind. As for liberation there is no one freer in society than the housewife who understands the nature of her job and the value of her contribution. This, of course, is the main problem. There is a total lack of recognition of the role of a housewife in society and it is very difficult to maintain one's self- respect within this role. Thinking of it as a job helps, but it has none of the usual appurtenances of a job. It is difficult to describe in a classified ad. It produces no saleable commodity. It has no paycheck, that universal badge of a respectable job. It is short on legal safeguards, as recent news has pointed out. It's easy to ridicule the suggestion of salaries for housewives or the accumulation of points under the Canada Pension Plan but these are honest attempts to give job the dignity and the recognition it deserves. The solution is not so much to change the job itself or to alter the role of the housewife as to change attitudes toward that role, that job. A great deal of the quality of life, which rests in the hands of housewives to a far greater extent than is generally conceded, will depend on the outcome. Spring flnunui ffl IK OW- ?4f AFTER l WITK Letters Competent opposition By Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star commentator For a year and a half the Progressive Conservatives have been a party-in-waiting, increasingly frustrated that they should have come so close to power and yet remain as far away as ever. From their three-day convention, the Conservatives emerged as a government in waiting. They have become, that is, an opposition which quite plainly has the competence and calibre to form a government. Conservative unity was to be expected: Stanfield did well in the last election. The lack of conflict over policy issues also was predictable: While Conservatives have weakness for shedding as much of their own blood as that of their opponents, the imminence of an election imposed a discipline though at the price of dampening most of the fire from the debates. The new balance showed in other areas. Although the party remains weak in Quebec, Stanfield has extended the Conservatives' traditional rural basis, into the cities, and among young people. And the party already has a fat, front bench with the difference made up by post- Diefenbaker MPs such as Jim Gillies, Sinclair Stevens and Ron Atkey of Toronto, Flora MacDonald of Kingston, Jim Balfour of Regina and John Fraser of Vancouver. Divisions remain between the progressive and the con- servative halves of the party's title. A policy proposal to re- quire at least 50 per cent Canadian ownership of all resource companies by 1990 drew a succession of Alberta delegates to the microphone to protest, as one put it, "the way the oil companies have become everyone's favorite target." The division one of attitude, between what many delegates wanted to hear and what the formal policy papers actually said for them. "I have always believed that the government that governs least, governs said a pharmacist from Vancouver, to loud applause. The policy papers, of which there were 34 encompassing an incredible words, likewise promised to "curb the tremendous growth in government spending" and then contradicted that pledge by proposing four new government departments, from fisheries to spdrts and recreation and a tangle of new agencies, from a national industrial productivity council to a social council to a joint Canada-U.S. economic" commission. Stanfield had to bridge the gap, as he has since becoming leader. Two examples show his technique. To a delegate who called for tax deductions on mortgage payments to lower housing costs, Stanfield answered, "Yes, but only if the same provision can be made for tenants paying rents." When another delegate de- clared that "our problem is unemployment insurance, not Stanfield re- peated his demand for an in- quiry into the act, but added: "We must not over-simplify. There are pockets of real unemployment. There are disparities between the skills that people are trained for and the jobs that are available." What Stanfield was doing was to tug his party away from the right towards the centre. That tactic has two effects. The first is that some of the sharp distinctions between Liberals and Conservatives are softened, although important differences remain such as those on wage and price controls, and the emphasis on good relations with the provinces. The second point is that all successful Canadian govern- ments have always occupied the centre of the political spectrum. That same-position, as Stanfield clearly is aware, is the best possible slot for a government-in-waiting. StanfielcPs policies dropped By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator OTTAWA During his period as leader of the Conservative party, Robert Stanfield has conspicuously identified himself with two particular policy ideas, the guaranteed income concept of 1968-69 and the proposals for action to control prices and wages which he has pressed for the last year. Neither of these ideas has caught fire with the public. In the end, Mr. Stanfield has run into difficulty with his own fol- lowers on each of them. Yet Mr. Stanfield's position in the party does not seem to- have suffered through either of these experiences. Like Mr. Trudeau and David Lewis before him at their party meetings last year, Mr. Stanfield has faced up to the question of a leadership re- view. The mechanics were en- tirely different, since the Con- servative party constitution does not call for one and the other two do. But Mr. Stanfield introduced the question himself through a proposed constitutional amendment. The results, however, were close to those produced by the Liberal and New Democratic con- ventions: the great bulk of delegates were opposed to a review of the party leadership. It seems to me there is some obvious significance in the fact that a major party is not much troubled by backing off from a leader's ideas and has been able to do this with no special damage to his position as leader. It suggests that the party's real concern is not with specific policies but with power and the general way in which this would be exercised. The common complaint about the Liberals and Conservatives is that they are too similar, that there is Itttle to differentiate their policies. There is truth in this in terms of actual of the policy papers for the Conservative meeting could just as easily have been turned out for a Liberal one and some would have passed muster at a session of New Democrats. But the Liberals and Conservatives are really very different parties, however much alike many of their individual policies may seem. It is in their broad thrust that they differ. The best thing to be said about the this is intended warmly, as that they are untidy. In part, this is a function of a half-century of opposition. They can afford untidiness where the Liberals, the party of power, cannot. But the Conservatives are temperamentally untidy. At its worst, this gives their spe- cial interest groups far too much leverage. This was one of the things that marred the Niagara Falls convention five years ago. It did a great deal to mar the Conservative position last autumn and during the first part of the winter when the oil problem was unfolding. These are valid criticisms and they would be worse cnes if the party were in power. It is nonetheless true. I think, that the thrust the Conservatives would like to give the exercise of polit- ical power would be hi the di- rection of letting the country breathe. A man might get trampled by the Tory special interest groups but it's not likely that we would be stifled and die of suffocation. It is partly because of this that the Tories have lately been able to drop a leader's policies without destroying him in the process. There is a nice art involved in such a thing. Mr. Slanfidd's espousal of the concept of a guaranteed income did not go over largely because his timing was off. The country had just emerged from the period of Mr Pearson's active government. Thai culminated in, among other-things, the bitter row that went on for more than a year over Medicare and the nation's ability or inability to pay for it. The country was in a conservative mood, anxious for a rest from new ex- penditures, and it was at that moment that Mr. Stanfield produced what seemed to be an extremely expensive idea. The reaction on that point overshadowed what has proven to be one of his most valuable, continuing concerns: the desire to see people decently treated without creating disincentives that hold them in welfare traps. Given the enormous surge in government spending which has developed during the Trudeau regime, there is irony in the fact that, half a dozen years ago, the country thought Mr. Stanfield's ideas too costly. Timing is also one part of the problem with his espousal of a wage and price freeze, followed by some structure of controls. The proposal for a freeze does not stand up well under a year's anyone interested in that approach wants to know what would follow. Probably the last time that the push for a price freeze had real appeal was late last summer when food prices jumped so sharply. In addition to this, the international elements of this inflation have been driven home to everyone by a series of events of which the oil crisis has been the most dramatic. But soaring coffee and sugar prices also help set the mood against Mr Stanfield's approach. Yet, in his basic social ap- proach. Mr. Stanfield was quite right There is a great need to avoid trapping those at the bottom of the economic ladder. He is right again in his basic approach to inflation, that at the present ra'e it is an extremely gerous social and economic development. The Tory understanding that his area of concerns is sound may be part of the reason why the party is able to back off from specific proposals without doing him modi harm leader Waste and corruption The letters by L. K. Walker of Milk River resound with truth. The taxpayers of this country, many destitute themselves, are being bled to subsidize those who are far more wealthy in many cases The Alberta government cried poverty when asked to fund education prior to this year. Now it has millions to throw into a glorified babysitting service typical of Red China or Sweden. It would be good if the taxpayers of Canada could elect government to protect themselves from the waste of governments. Things like the millions (of dollars) poured into the fine arts in Montreal and Toronto are prime examples of the waste and corruption that is going on. The filthy and ever-grasping tentacles of this evil monster government are closing tighter and tighter, helping the rich and destroying the poor wage earner. There is no relief or alternative. Raymond. SICK OF IT ALL Beef industry subsidy So now we have a beef subsidy. A few years back the dairy commission used quotas arid subsidies to control the dairy industry. They phased out the small producers, and made it next to impossible for new producers to" get into the industry. Now the government is trying to get new producers in the industry. We had too much wheat. The government brought in LIFT. This gave the big farmers a gift of from the taxpayers. The small farmer had no way to get a good chunk of this. Now instead of protecting the beef market they are prepared to subsidize it to the tune of over million a week. The little man with 50 head of beef to sell can get The bigger producer with 500 head can rake in of the taxpayers' money. Is this supposed to help the small family farm? We know who pays the taxes in this country and it is not the rich citizens. G. L. SMITH Cardston. Impressed with centre Our club invited Judy Burgess to a meeting to discuss the information available at the Birth Control and Information Centre and we were very impressed with the way she presented her talk and then answered our questions. We stand behind her efforts and urge more people to go and find out for themselves what is being done at the centre. MRS. D. G. WILSON Lethbridge. ERIC NICOL Mischievous demons It's hard, these days, to find a priest who makes house calls. Ordained ministers are rushed off their feet, exorcising demons from homes, and many of them expect you to go to their office, with your evil spirits, or sit around in church regardless of whether it knocks a hole in your Sunday. The demons that inhabit the Nicol household were fully operational long before the book and the film The Exorcist appeared, to put the satanic wind straight up a lot of people. Our demons have been with us so long they are almost like members of the family. That doesn't make them any less of a nuisance. They are not into the kind of obscene possession which, I gather, is drawing the long line-ups for the movie. Our demons get up to kinky mischief like making smoke go down the chimney instead of up. No, the wind doesn't need to be blowing. We get smoke down our chimney, filling the house with what smells like incinerated sinner, on dead still days with no fire lit in the house. The chimney sweep we called in to exorcise the hues found nothing to explain the strange down-draught, except a swizzle-stick pitchfork bearing the message: IF FOUND PLEASE DROP DOWN ANY MANHOLE. My impression is that the demons assigned to our house are diabolical forces that failed to hack it as real hell- raisers. I think we accommodate an expansion team of trolls, maybe even a farm club, working out of the same pit as the Vancouver Blazers. Why else would their demonic possession take the form of eating pencils? A demon that expresses his fiendish power by eating pencils is, in my opinion, rather petty. Yet there is no other accounting for (he way pencils disappear in our house. As a desperate measure my wife recently put a dozen new, sharpened pencils in a jar beside the phone. In the morning, the pencils were lall gone. Eaten by the demons. Nothing remained in the jar except a broken stub and a couple of erasers that the demons apparently spat out as too rubbery. Our demons also eat ballpoint pens, when they can get them. Pens are something of a delicacy, however. A Bic- nic. The demons' main diet is pencils, washed down with the brandy that is never in the bottle when I go to get a medicinal dram. It is mortifying to be lumbered with a bunch of minor imps when other families are enjoying demonic possession of their daughters and sons, children throwing up all over the place and beds floating about in a sea of excrement. Makes me feel as though our house is a disadvantaged area. "You should have heard the shockingly vile language that poured out of Debbie's mouth." a neighbor lady told me. "I think there must be something in this business of possession by the Prince of Darkness." I hear some pretty fair cussing from my kids, but let's face it we're not getting personal attention from the Prince of Darkness. He must have sized up the situation and decided that there was no point in producing the lava-like flow of filth in a house where Daddy is responsible for the vacuuming. Infernal coals to Newcastle. Hence the low priority given our house by the Jesuits during the extraordinary demand for exorcism, i have appealed to our demons' pride, in an effort to improve their performance. "Shape up or ship 1 shouted up the chimney. They've gone right on eating pencils. Silly devils. The Lethbridge Herald S leWbrtdge, Alberta lETHBfflDGt HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and PirtfltShers Second Class Man Registration No 0012 CL60 MOWERS. Editor and OON M PILLING (Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager BOY F MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Edftor flOBEH? M FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETM E 8ABNETT Btw'ness Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"