Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 31, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
W�dn��|qyf March 31, 1971 - THE IETHBRIDCE HERAID - 5 Anthony Westell A Canadian riches to rags story (YTTAWA - The 40 sealed " cardboard boxes to be auctioned the next day in Scottsdale, Arizona, caught the curious eye of a holiday visitor, George Kupfer, who teaches sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The boxes were of the type used by movers to pack books and china and household items, and they were being sold, contents unseen, to cover unpaid storage charges. What might they contain? Professor Kupfer, who enjoys prowling sales rooms as a hobby, managed to lift the lid of one box, and what he saw tuned his curiosity to full pitch. Here in this little city deep in the American southwest, near Phoenix and not far from the Mexican border, he had a quick glimpse of a portrait of the Queen, a folded British flag, a black cloth hat,. and a mass of papers. ? ? ? Kupfer and his wife went to the auction next day and began to bid on the mystery boxes. They got a few for $5 each, but when others at the sale observed their interest, the bidding increased and the prices rose. Kupfer stopped buying when he had 15 boxes, the price had gone as high as $50 a box, and he really had no idea what he was getting for his money. But that night, the Kupfers stayed up until 4 a.m. exploring the contents of the boxes with mounting interest and excitement. They are Americans, but they had lived long enough in Canada to realize that what . they had bought were the very private papers of an intriguing and tragic figure in recent Canadian political history-Louis Bene Beaudoin. Beaudoin was Speaker of the House of Commons and a central figure in the sensational pipeline debate in 1956 which began the downfall of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and -his Liberal government and the rise to power of John Diefenbaker. and the C o n-servatives. His private papers throw new light on that historic debate and suggest that the country may have been misled about events leading to the climactic day - the so-called Black Friday, June 1. ? ? ? The Beaudoin papers also provide intensely human insights into the following years in which he left Canada to obtain a Reno divorce and marry a prominent young Ottawa beauty, and fell from political eminence to serving behind the bar in a roadside tavern in Arizona. Beaudoin eventually returned to Canada, made an unsuccessful attempt to resume his political career, and died of a heart attack in a taxi in Montreal in February last year, age 57, with $3 in his pocket. Kupfer knew only a little of the Beaudoin story that day he discovered the papers in Scottsdale. But recognizing that he was on the trail of something of vital interest and perhaps historic importance, he set out to trace the boxes he had been unable to buy. About a dozen had been unsold and promptly burnt. Kupfer found the buyers of another 11 boxes in various parts of Arizona. Some were disappointed that they had bought nothing except dusty papers and readily handed them over. A few had found personal trinkets such as cufflinks among the records. Some demanded a $100 or more to sell back their boxes. Kupfer collected 26 of the boxes and eventually took them back to Edmonton to sort the papers, find out more about Beaudoin, and find a buyer to provide a permanent home for the records of historic value. The Public Archives sent an expert to examine the papers b u t found them of limited value. Negotiations have drifted desultorily with as yet no agreement on price. ? ? * Meanwhile, Kupfer is out of Canada, spending a sabbatical year in New Guinea, and the papers are controlled by Mel Hurtig, prominent Canadian nationalist and Liberal Party activist. The 26 boxes are stacked in the basement of Hurtig's home in Edmonton, where I sampled them. Beaudoin seems to have been a man who saved every piece of paper that ever came his way. Inside the boxes are file folders crammed with thousands of papers - everything from pre-war hotel bills to his private thoughts on the pipeline debate, intensely personal correspondence with his young second wife, dunning letters from creditors begging the Speaker of the Commons to pay something on account, and legal documents from his days as a lawyer in Montreal. A series of heavy leather scrapbooks' records the highlights of his political career, beginning in 1933 as a young Liberal in Quebec, and tracing bis climb to prominence. Son of a machinist in Montreal who died while he was a child, Beaudoin put himself through school and the University of Montreal law course by working as a waiter, laborer and night lecturer. Preparing for a career in politics, he taught himself to be a fluent orator in English as well as French. Elected to the Commons in 1945, he soon set off on a national speaking tour to promote, as he said, national unity - but also, as it turned out, to catch the attention of Prime Miniser W. L. Mackenzie King. A few months later, on Aug. 16, 1947, the Prime Minister remembered his disciple and sent a telegram to Beaudoin at his home in Hudson, Que. appointing him a Canadian delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The next big step in the Horatio Alger story of Rene Beaudoin was his appointment as Deputy Speaker in 1952 - recognition of the fact that he had been a diligent student of the rules of Parliamentary procedure. ? ? * When he was promoted to Speaker in 1953, his nomination by Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was seconded, for the first time in Canadian history, by the Leader of the Opposition, George Drew, and warmly supported by the leaders of the other opposition parties, CCF and Socreds. He was, it is clear, a well liked and respected member of the House and there were already suggestions that he was to become the first permanent Speaker. Beaudoin was also a highly social figure, and his scrap-books and files of letters detail the great success he had with his first wife in giving swinging parties for members of Parliament. They were great days for Beaudoin. He was becoming the most honored and popular Speaker the Canadian Parliament had ever seen, and he was working hard to research the origin of the rules of procedure and to write a new commentary upon them. By May of 1956, there was speculation in the papers that Beaudoin was going to be taken into the Cabinet. But it was in this month of May also that the gathering pipeline storm finally broke over Parliament and, in an uproarious month in the Commons, drowned Beaudoin's hopes and reputation. * * ? For two years, Trade Minister C. D. Howe, the dynamic engineer-politician who had organized Canada's post-war economy, had been negotiating to climax his career by helping to put in place a billion-dollar pipeline to carry Alberta's natural gas to Toronto and Montreal, instead of selling it into the United States. He was working with a U.S.-Canadian company, Trans-Canada Pipelines Ltd., and he was determined at almost any cost to get the line started in 1956. The tortuous negotiations between the government and the company came to a head finally in May, when Howe persuaded the cabinet to approve a short-term loan of up to $80-million to Trans-Canada to start construction in the west. The bill authorizing the loan had to be through Parliament by June 7. The Conservative and CCF opposition parties denounced the proposed deal as a disgraceful sell-out to American interests and vowed to fight the bill every inch of its way into law. The Cabinet responded with the extraordinary and fateful decision to use the device of closure to limit the debate and force the bill through - closure not as a last resort after days of debate, but right from the beginning. The House and the country exploded in outrage and alarm at the abuse of Parliament. William Kilbourn, in his book "Pipeline", published last year, says: "The public life of Canada has never seen anything quite like it. The House of Commons was in a continual uproar. For a whole month the days lasted three and four hours into the following morning and MPs straggled home by the first crack of light in the northeastern sky ... In the corridors the division bells rang like fire alarms in the night, or distress signals on a ship sinking at sea." The man in the hot seat was Speaker Beaudoin, striving to keep the tumultuous House in some sort of order and forced to hand down controversial ruling after controversial ruling as the Opposition exploited every clause in the rules of procedure to win time. Remorselessly, the government enforced its closure mo- He still stands tall By Don Oakley, NEA Service CINCE this is an age de-� voted to telling it "like" it is, and was, it comes as no surprise to see George Washington cut down to size. A book published last year called "George Washington's Expense Account," written by Gen. George Washington in collaboration with one Marvin Kitman, Pfc. (Ret.), suggests that the Father of His Country was not above fudging or padding a little when it came to listing the personal expenses hp incurred during the Revolution. According to one reviewer, the cherry tree legend has had its revenge in this "little hatchet job." Washington kept a careful and meticulous expense account, which after the war he duly presented to the Continental Congress, which duly reimbursed bins for every penny. As Kitman points out, many of the entries are deliberately vague. Others indicate that Washington did not exactly suffer in austerity as ho led the army, as for instance, a payment of $1,130.30 to one "Wllm. Vans, acc." for tea. tablespoons, Maderia, bottles and corks. All in all, says Kitman, the expense account leaves the im-pression that Washington's quality of mind "compares favorably to the average big city banker of today." Contrast this with a passage from an early biography, Washington Irving's "Life of Washington": "The character of Washington .. . possessed ... a rarer union of virtues than perhaps ever fell to the lot of one man. Prudence, firmness, sagacity, moderation, an overruling judgment, an immovable justice, courage that never faltered, patience that never wearied, truth that disdained all artifice, magnanimity without alloy. It seems as if Providence had en- do w e d him in a preeminent degree with the qualities requisite to fit him for the high destiny he was called upon to fulfill . . ." The truth, of course, lies somewhere between these extremes, somewhere between the clever put-Jown and the unreserved adoration-and probably nearer the second than the first. Washington was an aristocrat, a gentleman farmer, a businessman, who exercised as much exactitude in collecting the obligations due him as he did in discharging his own obligations, whether in private life or in public service. He was to the manor born and no doubt saw no reason for a war to change his style of living, which included vintage Maderia for the commander in chief's mess. (Kitman reveals that Washington gained 26 pounds during the war, despite Valley Forge and all that.) Yet Washington risked a little something for the American cause. He knew as well as did those other rebels who signed the Declaration of Independence that defeat by the British might well cost him his life. If we really want to know what kind of man Washington was, we need only consider the esteem in which he was held by his contemporaries, both the ordinary "Pfc.s" who followed him in the field a:id the backbiting politicians in the Congress. They would have made him a king if he had let them. And as for "George Washington's Expense Account," one is reminded of Abraham Lincoln's reply when he was told that Ulysses S. Grant, his fight-ingest general, was a tippler. "Find out what he likes to drink," said Lincoln, "and send him a case. tions to bring in the bill and drive it through second reading. Next was the committee stage in which the bill was to be examined clause by clause, and on May 31, a Thursday, the government pressed yet another closure motion proposing to cut off debate, not on one clause at a time, but on all the clauses. This procedure rested on what was called the Bennett precedent, a device used by Prime Minister R. B. Bennett in 1932. The opposition parties bitterly opposed this procedure and renewed their fight to delay proceedings by other means. They thought they had won when, on the night of May 31, Beaudoin appeared to accept for debate a question of privilege raised by CCF member Colin Cameron. ? ? ? Tory leader George Drew leapt to open debate on the Cameron motion and the House adjourned that night with the pipeline bill apparently shelved. The plan was for Drew to speak all through the next day, on the question of privileges, and Tories and CCFers worked through the night to provide him with material. But when the House met at 11 a.m. on Friday - the day that became known as Black Friday - Beaudoin simply ruled that he made a mistake the previous day and insisted that the House return to the pipeline debate. What had happened? It was known that government House lead.er Walter Harris had visited the Speaker in his chambers on Thursday night, and that another government strategist, Immigration Minister Jack Pickersgill, had called upon him at his home on Friday morning. The presumption was that they had prevailed upon him to change his mind and his ruling to serve the interest of the government at the expense of his duty to the Commons. The House again exploded into chaos, with the opposition throwing bitter insults at the white-faced Beaudoin sitting unmoving in the Speaker's chair. ? . ? ? There was little room in those over-heated days for reasoned argument. It was Black Friday, the Commons had been degraded, Beaudoin disgraced and called a "rapist of Parliament." Diefenbaker, the new Tory leader the following year, v1957, skilfully exploited the issue to convict the Liberals of perverting the procedures of Parliament and it was an important element in his election victory. But was that the whole truth? What really did happen? Harris and Pickersgill long ago, denied having any influence on Beaudoin's decision on the Thursday night, or even knowledge that he had changed his mind. Beaudoin himself never told his story. While he was Speak* er, he could not do so and although he was re-elected in 1957, and. became an Opposition member, he never made a speech defending his actions on Black Friday, although he often said that he intended to do so. But he did, it seems, draft his explanation in great detail, and it is now to be found among his papers - an unsigned, undated document, but a first-person account of the Speaker's actions which can have been written only by Beaudoin, and is surely an important footnote to political and Parliamentary history. The document is in the main a lengthy and scholarly discussion of the rules of the Commons in the style to be expected from a former Speaker and acknowledged expert on procedure, all directed to show that Beaudoin .was justified in his actions on Black Friday. But he puts the whole question in a perspective quite different from the conventional version, and what emerges is the picture of a Speaker who was the victim both of government bungling and of an unscruplous Opposition. Beaudoin makes no mention of the ministers who called upon him, presumably because by his account they had no bearing on his decision. He does disclose that on Tuesday, May 29, he invited Stanley Knowles, the CCF rules expert and chief opposition tactician during the fight against the pipeline bill, to a private dinner in his rooms behind the chamber of the Commons. "We exchanged privately frank opinions of the strategy and attitudes of the various parties in the House," he says. They talked also of what would happen if, as was rumored, the Government tried to use the Bennett formula for closure to ram through all the clauses of the bill Beaudoin then makes the startling statement that he was convinced the government would be out of order in trying to use the Bennett precedent, and he says he told Knowles that if he had the opportunity, he would not hesitate to rule against it. ? * ? Such a ruling would have killed the pipeline contract. The difficulty was that under the rules of the Commons in 1956 (they are different now) the government closure motion would be put and ruled upon while the chairman of committees, and not the Speaker, would be presiding in the Commons. The trick would be to try to put the Speaker in a position to overrule the chairman of committees to disallow the closure motion. And Beaudoin says that Knowles told him that Gordon Churchill, the Tory strategist, was working on a way to do that. So came Thursday May 31. The government put its closure motion, the chairman of committees accepted it, and Knowles challenged the ruling. Speaker Beaudoin was then called to the chair to submit the chairman's ruling and Knowles' objection to a vote of the House. But when Churchill intervened with a point of order - says Beaudoin - he made the mistake of listening to it, because he had been forewarned by Knowles that it would be an attempt to put him in a position to rule against the closure motion. ? ? ? Even to listen to Churchill at that stage, says Beaudoin, was "in flagrant violation of the rules." But given an inch, the Opposition parties took miles, and the Speaker was unable that night to recover control of the situation. Colin Cameron's motion of privilege just complicated the procedure further, says Beaudoin, and the government fumbled by allowing the debate on it to start right away, instead of assigning it some later date. Overnight, he continues, he reconsidered his position and on Friday he consulted the law clerk of the Commons, Dr Maurice Olivier and decided there was no breach of privilege involved. Going into the House that Friday morning - June 1, Black Friday - Beaudoin first ruled out Cameron's motion, killing the time-wasting debate which had been underway the night before, and then declared he had been wrong even to listen to Gordon Churchill the previous evening. In effect, he turned the clock of the Commons back to Thursday, wiping out hours of debate. The House then upheld the government closure motion, and the pipeline bill was forced into law by the deadline, June 7. ? ? ? Is Beaudoin's justification of his actions merely an excuse, a rationalization thought up long after the events? No, because his files at the time are full of letters he wrote in which he stands firmly by his decisions and insists that he acted in the best interest of Parliament and correct procedures. Beaudoin's brilliant career was over. From now on, it was downhill His creditors were becoming pressing, it seems, and he was preparing to divorce his first wife in Reno. In June 1958 in Phoenix, Arizona, at age 46, he married a 22 year old Ottawa girl, socially prominent and a striking blonde. The couple apparently planned to practice law in New York but that failed, and Beaudoin took several jobs as an insurance adjuster in Arizona. ? ? * He was back in Canada by 1968, talking about taking up a teaching career, and he tried and failed to win the nomination for his old seat in Parliament He left behind in Arizona, it seems, the boxes of private papers and books he swept out of the Speaker's chambers when he left that office. Included in the files is a stack of photographs showing him in his robes of office, travelling a b r o a ff, greeting visiting dignitaries, at the liigh points of his career. Stuffed into the back of the picture file is a snapshot of a barroom, near Scottsdale. There are two men standing drinking beer, and the man behind the bar, in shirtsleeves is Rene Beaudoin. t (Toronto Star Syndicate) Warning sign, to technology The International Herald Tribnne IN the tangle of motives that inspired a majority of the Senate to join the House in cutting off money for the supersonic transport plane, economics, and priorities in allotting government funds, were apparently decisive. The effect, however, was a warning sign for technology, an indication that its advances will henceforth be under close scrutiny. And its values will be debated. As such, it is a negative manifestation of the temper of the times, confined to a particular aspect of a particular industry. And, whatever the merits of this decision, it will cause enough damage to the aerospace complex, and those employed in it, to justify serious consideration of some positive directives for technology. The United States, at this stage of its industrial development, cannot afford to take the attitude of the Common Market toward its small farmers: merely accentuating conditions that drive them off their land without taking positive measures to insure their future elsewhere. The movement toward a technological slowdown, at least in the quantity of its advances, is necessary if man is to come to terms with his environment. But this cannot be a purely negative approach, without grave danger to human survival. For example, the American industrial plant is geared to a certain accelerating consumption of energy. Thus far, efforts to conserve resources have been directed toward controlling the energy - since power plants of all kinds are obvious intrusions on the environment. Control of demand, or clear understanding of just what kinds of energy do most harm to humans and the land they live in, the air they breathe, have become secondary considerations. Thus there are movements against strip-mining, against the development of some kinds of oil resources in certain places (offshore, or in Alaska, for' example); against atomic energy, dams and coal-burning power plants. And, by the same token, there are present or prospective shortages of power and strained relations with tht present suppliers of petroleum products. Similarly, there is agitation against the noise and atmospheric pollution of planes and automobiles, against super-highways and new airports. But alternative methods of transportation, ships and trains, are short of economically viable passenger services, and little is done to assist them in the public interest. The SST is apparently doomed, for the present, and in itself will be no great loss. But the positive programs for sane energy use and transportation, for the most efficient (in human and environmental terms) employment of technology - where are they? It stands to reason that when the exploitation of the earth's resources begins' to bump against its permissible ceilings, hard choices must be made. But this does not mean simply substituting a facile "no" for the easy "yes" that has marked man's trail to this impasse. A population policy The Wall Street Journal '"FHE issues raised by an expanding American population are being examined by a special commission headed by John D. Rockefeller III, and its study is obviously serious, sensitive and badly needed. Yet any such study is bound to have disturbing overtones, dealing as it does witH the most private aspects of individual life. The commission's objectives will be better served, we think, if these overtones are faced squarely rather than obliquely. Mr. Rockefeller's group, the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, released an interim report to the President and Congress recently. While the United States has just reached a population of 200 million, it said, the present age distribution suggests that a population of 300 million is for all practical purposes inevitable. And the aggregate of child-bearing decisions over the next decade or two will determine whether that figure will eventually grow to 400 million. If American families average two children, a population of 300 million will be reached in the year 2021. If the families average three children, the population will by then already exceed 400 million. This dramatic difference would mean corresponding increases in the demand on public services, the drain on resources, the difficulties with pollution and, very likely, aggravated social problems. The American economy can no doubt feed and clothe 400 million persons, but the commission wonders, and we think quite pertinently, what effect this would have on the quality of American life. The commission sees the need for a "population policy," perhaps expressed in such terms as a desirable level of growth, or a given number of births, or population stabilization over a given time. We would agree that far more' thought needs to be given to the questions involved, and that some such goal is desirable in principle. But the really difficult question is what measures might be used to achieve the goal once it is set. There are of course some simple things that can be done. We would not underesti- mate the effect of publicizing the information the commission is reporting. Further technical advances in birth control will help. One study found that 19 per cent of all births are not planned or wanted by the parents, and that a birth-rate reduction of this size would ultimately lead to a near-zero population growth. Thus the commission can talk of rather ambitious goals attained merely "by enabling individuals to achieve their own preferences." Lurking in the background of all this, however, is the specter of coercion. Birth rates have changed rather sharply of their own accord over time, after all, and no one can guarantee that measures that prove adequate today will prove adequate in the future. Increasingly we have it drummed into us - often, though thankfully not by Mr. Rockefeller's commission, in apocalyptic language - that controlling population is absolutely essential. If it cannot be done by education or marginal inducements, what next? A commission member reports that it has not even considered' any coercive measures, which strikes us as precisely the problem. We are going to talk about how the quality of life is affected by population growth. We ought also to talk about how the quality of life might be affected by, to take the extreme example, having a computer or bureaucrat decide who is and who is not allowed to have a child. Or even of, say, a tax on births designed to prove prohibitive to some. For-while there are scary implications in population growth, there are also scary implications in government efforts to control it. It seems clear to us that some measures to limit population will be needed, but it is extremely important to understand that the measures must not themselves undermine society as we know it. So we think one of the most constructive things Mr. Rockefeller's commission can do is to spotlight not only the dangers of excessive growth, but also the dangers of combating it with an unthinking zeal. Little Canadianism The Winnipeg Free Press VT/HATEVER action the Canadian gov-eminent may be contemplating with regard to the Canadian book-publishing industry, it will be much less than the publishers desire, if Ottawa follows the advice of the Economic Council of Canada. In a report released recently the council, far from supporting the publishers in their demands for government assistance, suggested that they make their own efforts toward a solution to their problems. Specifically, the report.recommends that publishers trim their costs and develop a distribution network to offset the threat of the photocopier, which the publishers claim is one of the banes of their existence. Additionally, it questions the practice which results in foreign books costing as much as 30 per cent more through a Canadian distributor than through direct order. The report takes issue with the publishers' contention that there ought to be more protection for Canadian books. Creative works, it says, ought to be good first, Canadian second. It adopts the same attitude toward textbooks: "Any decision-maker re- sponsible for foisting upon Canadian students a third-rate textbook simply because it is written and produced in Canada should consider himself overdue for an interview with his conscience and a careful contemplation of the long forward shadow cast by the quality of education. "Low-grade cultural parochialism does no service to the cause of a durable and creative Canadian nationalism - quite the contrary." The council's report is like a breath of fresh air in a swamp. Since the sale of the Gage textbook division and of Ryerson Press to American interests, and especially since Jack McClelland's announcement that he would like to get out of publishing, much nonsense has been written about the plight of the publishing industry in Canada. The council's report verifies the opinion that most of the troubles of Candian publishers are of their own making and that their appeal to a false Canadian nationalism - a sort of "little Canadianism" - has as little merit as the other arguments they have put forward. You can't win By Doug Walker A FELLOW can't win, I have concluded. I recently had a dose of the flu - thanks to Herb Johnson, apparently. It was the first incapacitation I have suffered in a couple of years and I hardly knew how to act. My wife indulges in a grand generalization to the effect that ALL men are babies when they are afflicted with illness of any kind. Not wishing to provide confirmation for such nonsense I struggled down to the office every day through my ordeal. And then the other woman in my life - the one I work with - said disgustedly to me, "I wish you'd stay home. I can't stand martyrs!"