Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 1, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE HERALD Tuesday, May 1, 1973 Consideration of provinces, good move By Western, Herald Oltawa commentator Doubt lingers on That U.S. President Richard Nixon needs the confidence of the American people in order to get on with im- por.ant national and international business is unquestionably true. That he will get it as a result of his broadcast last night is dubious. There was much about the speech that was admirable but in the end it was not quite convincing. It may be granted that Mr. Nixon was occup- ied with more Important things, as he claimed, and neither knew about the plans to bug the Watergate or subsequent attempts to cover-up the involvement of his friends and as- sociates in it. What was not answer-; ed was why no action was taken to deal with the issue openly. Resignations and firings have oc- curred but nobody seems to have been repudiated. Despite Mr. Nixon's assertion that he determined sever- al weeks ago to act decisively in bringing the culprits to task the im- pression remains that he is moving even now with reluctance. If some h''h placed people had not begun to ec'mit publicly their complicity; 1C furpicion had not begun to focus on tre inner circle; if conservatives ss Senator Barry Gokhvater had called for presidential action: if r had not become evident that the of public opinion was ebbing av.-Ev from support of the adminis- tration; it looks disturbingly as though nothing would have happened- Restoration of belief in the demo- cratic system is certainly a laudable objective. That it has triumphed to a degree in this instance is not due to the administration but in spite r? it. The essential ingredient in that triumph was the functioning of a free press which at times during the Nixon years has seemed threatened by restrictions. A word of repentance about the way the U.S. press has been villified would have been in order and it could have helped restore some credibility to the executive arm of the government. Mr. Nixon does not appear to recognize how seriously the credibi- lity of the White House has been damaged by all the recent revelations. People must be wondering how much they were influenced to support the president and his policies in the past by managed news and rigged polls. The way in which Nixon aides financ- ed an elaborate campaign last May to give a distorted view of the pub- lic's support of the mining of Hai- phong Harbor, for insance, has to be deeply disturbing. Instead, of being made confident by Mr. Nixon's remarks last night a lot of people are probably un- easy that something will yet be told in the investigations that will cast doubt on the president's voracity. Tliere could be little joy derived from such a discomfiture of Mr. Nixon. The office of the presidency of the United States is every bit as impor- tant as Mr. Nixon said it is and it needs to be unencumbered from dis- tractions and defilements that would hamper effective dealing with sensi- tive world problems. It is to be hoped that Mr. Nixon can overcome the doubts that re- main and emerge from this situation able to do his job. He won't be able to rely on last night's address to clear the air and restore him in the confidence of the people. we must have slogans... Not knowing the reason for licence plate slogans doesn't make it any easier, but now that Alberta, has de- cided its plates must be inscribed, perhaps a brief comment may be in order. For years and years this province was known as Sunny Alberta, by enough people and in enough places in Canada and elsewhere to almost make it official. Then, a couple of years ago, Manitoba simply pre- empted the term and since then its car licences have borne the slogan "Sunny Manitoba." Tli ere are quite a number of Al- bertans, and others, who feel that notwithstanding Regina's acknow- ledged place in the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the famous Redcoats belong to all the West, not just Saskatchewan. Yet when Saskatchewan decided it should have some sort of message on its licence plates, it chose the proud slo- gan "Home of the RCMP." Nov. everyone knows that wild roses arc quite pretty, and that for two or three months each summer they're all over Alberta. But that's hardly a distinction, when they're all over Saskatchewan too, and parts of Manitoba, B.C., the Yukon, the North- west. Territories, and several of the northern states as well. (It's true that the sun of which Manitoba boasts and the RCMP claimed by Saskat- chewan are hardly exclusive to those provinces but somehow7 comparing either with a pretty wild flower seems to lack a certain something.) Repeating the point that knowing why there should be a slogan might help in dreaming up an appropriate one, would it be presumptive to sug- gest that something like "Where West meets North" has a nice ring to it, and rather aptly characterizes this province of ours? Who is to blame? By Eva Brewster COUTTS Never, to iny knowledge, has there been such an epidemic in Southern Alberta of children playing truant from school, kids running away from home, youngsters on drugs and general de- linquency. Who is to blame for this pathet- ic state of affairs? It is too serious a problem to merely look for a scapegoat to ease our tortured minds. For a long time the fault has been attributed to childrens' home environment and accusations ranged from "not enough love and parental involvement" to "too much concern, too permisive an attitude." Society is gradually moving away from tiiis viewpoint and lately parents are more often objects of sympathy which may well be due to the staggering number of kids from every imaginable background getting into trouble with the law. Since the recent teachers' strike, it is cftE-n said that teachers have to answer for the ever-increasing tendency for young- sters dropping out of school and faking to the road. While I am cc-nvinced that it is no mere coincidence that truancy arid allied problems have vastly increased since that sad affair, I also believe this strike ac- tion was not the cause but merely an ex- cuse for kids to "do their own thing." Where then should we look, net so much to apportion blame, but rather for help to bring back the adult-child relationship of mutual trust and interdependence once teken for granted? I cannot help feeling that the law as it applied to young people requires drastic changes. Decs any adult seriously believe that a 16-year-old boy is mature and responsible for his actions? Yet the lav; grants him manhood at that while, paradoxically, it does not permit; 1. social responsibility until he i.-i 13. cannot insist on a runaway son coming home once ho is over Ifi nor are t" ay informed by the police if that Ixjy a criminal offence. Whether he is ;ht dangerously, drinking un- r -e, or in possession of drugs, par- r..e not aware of troblc unless their c confess their misdemeanors and is se'dom the case. 1 Kr.t. in court recently where endless rubbers of youngsters, most under Hi. were charged with varying offences. The majorily pleaded "Guilty, my Lord" and fines were Iiended out with increasing monotony as laid down for the different charges, ranging from to S150 plus costs. I watched these kids file out after their individual cases were heard, a grin on most of their dumb, immature faces and, if they did not all say so, you could read their thoughts: "Big deal, so we bor- row, beg or steal to pay the fine. Who Well, who cares? Few 16-year-old runaways, if they find a job at all, earn more than their food and rent and, whether they can raise the mon- ey for a fine in some way or go to prison for non-payment, the chances are they are launched on the way to furiher crime to pay -their debts to society. I suggest be- fore a boy under 18 since that is now, unfortuiiOlely, the legal age of majority is brought to court, his parents should be informed to give him a chance to put him bsck on the right paih. He should bs considered a juvenile ar.d, if he has com- mitted an oifence, should be brought with his parents before a family court. There, it would soon become evident whether his home environment was to blame for his actions, and this discovery alone is a step in the right direction in a place where counselling is available for parents and children alike. Most boys are sociable young people and, for better or foi worse, wide open to group influence. I have never had any difficul- ties talking to them. While our discussions did not always help to keep them out of trouble, they certainly proved to me that these kids generally fall under the spell of bad company for lack of parents' legal vight to llicm home and to afford them the type of group therapy with- in t.ho family circle. A boy, more a girl (who, incident- ally, is riot responsible at sge of 16 and therefore doe.s not g2t into trouble so takes a long time to grow up and, while I hero are exceptions to this as to any other rule, there is little paint in the perennial question "who is to blame" for his misdemeanors as long as the law- docs not rocopnize Ihc physiological fnct of hoy.s' .slow procc.ss of development into adulthood and maturity. OTTAWA In contrast to many of its bickering and ill- humored predecessors, the fed- eral-provincial welfare confer- ence was marked by rela- tive harmony and a measure of goodwill altogether appropriate for Easter week. No one doubts that the new spirit owes much to Marc La- londe and his working paper. .This in itself is a remarkable development. Only yesterday eminence grise of an admin- istration regarded as stony- hearted by most provincial min- i s t e r s Mr. Lalonde has emerged as a father figure with helpful views on financial mat- ters and a flair for the felicitous phrase. When things go badly at such conferences and ministers de- part with sulphurous words, there is usually a federal offi- cial available to make the point that strains and tensions are symptoms of health in virile federations. But harmony, being seldom abundant, is even better and has the not inconsiderable merit of lightening the work burden of those who write com- muniques. It has been known for years that there is nothing 1'ke money or its equivalent to soften the hearts of provincial ministers. The problem is to find it. This difficulty is normally grasped more readily by federal repre- sentatives than "by thsir provin- cial counterparts; hence the re- curring, although unpopular, Ot- tawa theme that there are lim- its to what can be extracted from the indivisible taxpayer. In tackling this difficulty, Mr. Lalonde has been remarkably successful. His colleagues in government have besn brought to the realization that what was impossible last year is glo- riously possible only a few months later. Somehow they have been psrsuaded that there is still of what they looked on erroneously as a worked-out creek. Not only has Mr. Lalonde found it; he is ready, as shown by his policy papsr, to spend it. In the eyes of his provincial associates he has acquired the statute and the popularity of the man who broke the bank of Monte Carlo. Some meed of credit may last be due to the general taxpayer; after all he has made it possible although his contribution may be temporarily overlooked in the inter-governmental festivi- ties of Easter week. Mr. Lalonde, as the genial re- distributer of national wealth, is confident that more abundant 'Otis has an energy crisis every time I mention finishing the rumpus room.' Cambodians saving America's face By Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator LONDON w a s always regarded by well-travel- ed Westerners as the loveliest of countries, her people gentle and beautiful, her art remark- able, her countryside untouched by war, that was three years ago. Today Cambodia is a smol- dering wreck of Ihst vision. Am- erican bombs are falling on the country in nearly the volume that once fell on all of Indochina. In desperate efforts to escape the bombs, nearly half of the ponu- lation of seven million have be- come refugees. What was Cambodia's sin? How did she earn this fate? The answer is that she got in the way of a juggernaut, the United States. If Americans make an effort to see wnat happened, we may better understand the difference between the preten- sions of our government's for- eign policy and the less lofty reality. Before 1970, Prince Norodom Sihanouk kept Cambodia afloat among the antagonisms on her borders. He moved toward the West, then away; he tacitly al- lowed the North Vietnamese to use Cambodian territory, then ssid no to them. It was all very unlidy and irritating, but it happened to spare the Cam- bodian people their neighbors' horror. Just what role the United States played in the coup that overthrew Sihanouk is not yet known, but at the least it wel- comed Lon Nol on the anti- Cornmunist team. Soon after- Ward, on April 30, 1970, Presi- dent Nixon announced that he sending American forces into Cambodia to sweep out the Communists, It was a limited and necessary extension of the Vietnam war, he said, adding: 1973 by NEA, I "Guess what the doctor told me today? Right now we are an average Acre 2.3 "I would rather be a one-term president and do what I believe is right than to be a two-term president at the cost of seeing America become a second-rate poiver and to see this nation ac- cept the first defeat in its proud 190-year history." The result of the coup and the invasion was to turn Cam- bodia into a continuing battle- ground. What had been a minor rebellion turned into a full- scale civil war. Since 1970 the Cambodian rebel forces have grown from to between and Kow many North Vietnamese remain is un- certain, but official American sources in Phnom Penh say that there has been no docu- mented evidence of any serv- ing in a combatant role in the last three months. The rebels now control three- quarters of the country. The in- ept and isolated government of Lon Nol is preserved in Phnom Penh entirely by American aid, which is running to nearly million a day and by the bombing, which is described by those on the scene as indiscrim- inate and exceptionally savage even by recent standards. It is all as if we had learned nothing from Vietnam. Once again the United States has committed its power and pres- tige to a country of the most marginal strategic interest to us, and one with a weak and unpop- ular government. Once again an American president is lead- ing his people down that road xvithout deigning to tell them why. Why is it all happening? There are evidently two basic reasons. The first is that Nixon and his advisers are concerned about the impact on Saigon if Cambodia falls entirely to Com- munist or Communist-leaning forces. And so, to save our surrogates in a contest from viiich we supposedly hcvp v.v''- drawn, v.-e must make war in another country. The second reason mny lin more important: The of Richard Nixon. When he invad- ed Camborlia in 1970, he insist- ed that the American involve- ment would be strictly limited. But the highly personalized language he used made clear how much he felt his own rep- utation at stake. How would it look if the Khmcrs Rouges won now? We cannot even say, as (lie American major said of a Viet- namese village in the 1968 Tet offensive, that we are destroy- ing Cambodia in order to save it. Cambodia hardly comes into the reckoning. When was the last time American policy-mak- ers actually thought about what the people of Cambodia might like? The new American foreign policy is often described as rea'- istic. Not dogmatically anti- Communist, restrained in its use of power. Henry A. Kissin- ger is very persuasive when he builds those verbal structures. And there obviously has been a change in this direction in terms of relationships with the great powers, the Soviet Union and China. But these American profes- sions; mean rather less in rela- tion to the not-so-great. If they get in the way they just may find themselves ground up by the most destructive power on earth. It is not the Soviet Union that is savaging Cambodia to- day, or China or North Viet- nam; It is the United States. The peace with honor that Nixon claimed in Indochina promised at least one thing to most Americans: an end to their rlestructive role. It is becoming clearer every day that Nixon and Kissinger had no real in- tention of getting out. They merely intend to enforce the Pax Americana by other means. That is, they hope to arrange it this time so that no Americans are killed, only In- dochinese. The Cambodians are the most poignant example for a reason well expressed by a British cor- respondent, Gavin Young of the Observer. Thev arc, he said, "The least guilty of all parlies in Indochina. They are guilty only of a fatal innocence." handouts will not involve higher tax rates. The validity Of this argument will, of course, be tested by experience. But, if the minister is right, the federal good fortune must owe some- thing to the remarkable tax re- form of Edgar Benson. It is be- coming more and more clear that, in the search for equity, the government was not un- mindful of its own future con- venience and widening role as dispenser of benefits to presuror ably grateful citizens. At this stage it is somewhat awe-inspiring to consider the possibilities of over-taxation which would have existed had Mr. Benson's original revenue calculations not been chal- lenged, especially by the sus- picious tax experts employed by Ontario. In any case Mr. Lalonde has had his hour as the Easter bunny. The working paper, con- sisting as it does of 14 proposi- tions and a glowing com- mentary, is not particularly specific. But it radiates hope of good things to come; an outlook all the more promising since it is the work of a minister who already coaxed his cabinet colleagues into new spending commitments exceeding millions. It has been Mr. Lalonde's good fortune also that proposi- tions, of the sort to be found in the paper, are less divisive than actual plans for splitting the bills. The welfare ministers have only begun their negotia- tions and, in the natural course, a good many months will pass before we come to the time o[ sharp pencils and tempers, cor- rosive adjectives and the healthy tensions of which we are perennially re- minded by thoughtful con- stitutionalists. Money is not everything, even in the relations of eleven gov- ernments. Mr. Lalonde has a keen eye for the felicitous phrase; his vision having been sharpened in pre-political days by observation of the impact on provincial ministers of the other variety. Much of what has been said, although of virtuous in- tent, has grated on provincial administrators since they have read into it the unwelcome im- plication that it is Ottawa's role to determine priorities even in provincial fields. M r. Lalonde has now emerged as the advocate of a new flexibility, already illus- trated in practice by the federal government's remarkable shift on family allowance policy. The same spirit animates the "guid- ing principles" which he has submitted to his provincial col- leagues. Two are particularly noteworthy: "It must be recognized that provinces may wish to have the structures of social security vary in accordance with the so- cial needs, incomes standards and the cost of living in differ- ent communities.' (Even the baby incentives may vary, which shows how flexible Ottawa can become, as hops springs anew in a season of political diversity.) "Finally, it must ba accepted that the reconsideration of Can- ada's social security system must be conducted jointly by the federal government and the provinces. A better social se- curity system can only be real- ized if a reasonable consensus can be reached. A number of provincial gov- ernments have been insisting on this for a long time. In fact, there is much to be said for it, as Mr. Lalonde recognizes. While it is not invariably the Case that provincial govern- ments, being closer to the people, are wiser than Ottawa, proximity does have one advan- tage. Messages from the grass- roots tend to come through more quickly and in less gar- bled forms. It would be difficult to find a better example than the case of the Ontario energy tax which fluttered only briefly before being struck down in the very week of this federal-pro- vincial get-together. The new willingness of the federal government to seek a consensus ensuring wider lati- tude to provinces faced with dif- fering situations is presumably good politics. It is also good sense. In this respect Mr. La- londe's paper is persuasive. For while the ability of Ottawa to spend on the grand scale is not in question, the competence of the central government (o de- termine provincial priorities is another matter and much in doubt. Lethbridge Her 5W 7th St. S., Lclhbrlugc, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALJ> CO. LTD., Proprietors and Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No. 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaotr Publishers' Association and tM Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEO W MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor .Associate Editor ROY F. MILES DOUGLAS K. WALKEft Advertising Manager Editorial Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"