Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 5, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD Solurday, May 5, 1973 Export controls would improve supply By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator Deceptive security The recent warning Issued by the Bank of Canada that maybe, just maybe, Canadians should slow down their free-wheeling spending and bor- rowing habits should be heeded. In an effort to stem the splurge in con- sumer borrowing the bank has in- creased its lending rate by one half of one per cent. This make money a little harder to get in a country more than billion in out- standing credit is on the books, ac- cording to Bank of Canada figures. The days of cash and carry, pay as you go are far behind. Television, newspapers and billboards exhort peo- ple to borrow, buy on credit and generally satisfy their wildest mater- ial fantasies. Getting cash fast is as much a habit these days as is charg- ing such items as Easter eggs even if it means 18 per cent in- terest. People who can't afford to shop at the Salvation Army thrift shops or rummage sales are patronizing de- partment stores where the latest fash- ions are available without cash. Most of these stores charge 1.5 per cent per month interest on overdue ac- counts and since interest is paid on the outstanding principal, customers can end up paying interest on in- terest. Their strangling monthly pay- ments leave them nothing with which to pay the milkman or buy new shoes so of course there's no alterna- tive but to use their convenient credit card again. One questions who is the actual culprit the salesman, the money- lender willing to make the purchase possible (at a fee of course) or the customer entering into an agreement capable of strangling him financially. Nobody seems to know. But it's a fact people are living on borrowed money, and maybe, just maybe, bor- row ed tune Keeping things sweet Registering a sour note in an other- wise sweet area is exactly what has happened in Falher (in the Peace River area) where farmers are try- ing to slap a levy on beekeepers. The apiarists of the area pay prop- erty taxes (the same as everyone else) but some farmers have organ- ized an Equitable Taxation Committee and are circulating a petition aimed at forcing the government to slap a S5-a-hive levy on the area's 42 bee- keepers whose incomes have been rising as the demand for honev in- creases. The Smoky River local of the National Farmer's Union has prompt- ly disassociated itself from the move- ment. The complaint seems to be that the beekeepers aren't paying their fair share of road maintenance. Andre Albmati, secretary of the ETC has found 21 petitioners to agree with him (out of 22 The 42 bee- keepers in question, have some hues, which at the 85 tax levy sug- gested by the petitioners would re- sult in an additional annual- ly for municipal coffers- But if it is permissible to tax a bee- hive what about a barn, a shed or a root-house each of which could house produce to be sold at a profit? Jf the apiarist, paying an equitable land tax is to be taxed on hives, shouldn't the farmer be taxed for silos and granaries? Could the move have been instigated, as some have suggested, by a few disgruntled in- dividuals jealous of the increased in- come the beekeepers have realized in recent years? Petition-signing against neighbors Is a dubious practice. They result in strained relationships and schisms which are hard to heal. Falling behind Quebec A recent bulletin from Statistics Canada provides data on the extent of study of the mmonty language in Canada. It shows there is an un- equal concern about bilinguahsm as between Quebec and the rest of Can- ada. In Quebec in 1971-72 the study of English as a second language was pursued by about 68 per cent of ele- mentary and secondary school pupils. At the same time throughout the rest of the counliy the study of French as a second language was engaged in by only approximately 40 per cent of elementary and secondary stu- dents. The seriousness with which biling- ualisrn is treated in Quebec may be gauged by the fact that very close to 100 per cent of the secondary school Weekend Meditation pupils study English as a second lan- guage or study in English. By com- parison in the rest of Canada the concern about bilmgualism isn't very great since only 55 per cent of second- ary school pupils study French as a second language or study in French. It seems to be realized in Quebec, as it is not in the rest of the country, that when young people launch out in the world they need both lan- guages. Even though the same situation of need does not exist in most parts of Canada as in Quebec it would en- hance young people as Canadians and in their travels to be bilingual. The teaching of French should be pushed more vigorously in English speak- ing Canada so that the people there do not fall too far behind the resi- dents of Quebec. Virtue is passionate In the fifth chapter of the Book of the Acts of ths Apos-'es it is recorded during the persecution of the Christians, that a learned member o[ the Sanhcdrin by the name of Gamaliel spoke a v.ord of caution. ''Keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to over- throw them. You might even be found op- posing Now Gamaliel was a man to be listened to. He was famous for his learn- ing throughout the civilized world. He had been given the rare title of "Rabban." His death was considered a tragedy to the in- tellectual world. Consequently after his warning, the Apostles were merely beaten and given a severe warning. The general opinion of commentators is Mat Gamaliel spoke wisely and tolerantly. Certainly it took courage to speak out as he did and ho achieved a certain percent- age of justice. One could not say th.it (ho beating was just. Either the culpnU de- served the full penalty of the lav; or, if they were innorcnt, complete acquittal. There was no trial or conviction and jus- tire was not dono. I; is the attitude of Gamaliel, however, ich is most interesting. It is the typical a.titude of the professor in an ivory tower. Don't get involved is the motto It rs this detachment which contributed so much to the rise of Hitler, it is this dc'achment which lets nnny a good cau.sc go to defeat Neutrality is lately a virtue. If tha cause is good, it should be supported; if it is bad, it should be opposed. Not getting in- volved has become a national disease. It has become harder and harder to get work- ers and leaders for youth groups or social welfare organizations. In the church the age group of 25-40 are not replacing the older workers in the church. Sometimes the cause is sheer laziness, sometimes it is sheer cowardice. Many business firms do not permit their employees to take part in politics lest it damage business. The harm done to the democratic process is incalculable. Politics, some say, is a dirty business and should be left to men who do not object to getting muddied. This is un- fair, since many good men are in politics. It is also most cruel to the country since, if good men do not participate in politics, the corruption of Watergate and other un- savory evils must be expected. Stevenson said that if your morals make jou dreary they are wrong. The only true is paosiorate virtue, hating the evil rnd loving the good. The church at Lao- chcca ua-> condemned because it was neith- er hot nor cold, but lukewarm. The only to live a true life is to decide what is right and then, regardless of personal safe- ty and advantage, put your whole heart into it. Prayer: 0 God, give me wisdom to know the right, courage to follow the light and strength to achieve the ngnt F. S. M. OTTAWA The country is Indebted to Ron Basford, Minis- ter of Urban Affairs, for a long- awaited elucidation of the the- ory of the 11 per cent tax on building materials. As will be evident from Mr. Basford's comments, in a letter addressed to Donald MacDo- nald, president of the Canadian Labor Congress, this particular legacy from Walter Gordon has been the subject of much mis- understanding. The main de- fence of the tax en.ered by Mr. Gordon was that the Govern- ment of 1963 needed new tax sources in order to terminate the long era of deficits. In his canvass of the possibilities the Minister had come to the view that the levy on building mate- rials was the least huriful of the various alternatives. It is fascinating, at this date, to consider the example Mr. Gordon gave. By his calculation a house would increase by only in price, with the down payment dropping by owing to ofoer changes. The monthly payment facing a home owner would go up a mere How tinws have changed! Despite the changes many people (perhaps including cer- tain of Mr. Basford's col- leagues) have continued to think in tire old terms. But the supposed need for revenue has no place in the tax theory of the Minister of Urban Affairs. Af- fluence has apparently replaced want in government as Marc Lalonde only recently demon- strated when he extracted a commitment from cabinet of an additional millions for the baby-building program. As Mr. Basford notes, com- plex issues require full ex- "J thought he was going a bit deep for planting tulip bulbs." Need men of honor in public life By Jim Fishbourae, Herald staff writer Canadians are sensitive about foreigners taking too pointed an interest in the political scan- dals that occur, now and then, even in a quiet place like Can- ada. It could be argued, then, that Canadians should be slow to comment on ugly events like the Watergate affair that oc- cur south of the border. But there is a difi'erence. The indiscretions of Canadian politicians may interest or titil- late non-Canadians for a while, but they will never rock the world, or shake its confidence in the democratic process or anything else. But when men wield the kind of power that resides in the White House, the U.S. Congress, or the Pentagon power to decide who is fed and who goes hungry in much of the world, or where the B- 52s will drop their bombs, or if there is to be peace or war then it matters a great deal to everyone in Canada as else- where, whether these men can be trusted. As spinoff from the Water- gate investigation, some re- markable revelations have been made concerning the activities of a group called the Commit- tee for the Re-election of the President, which ooerated as its name implies in the campaign leading to the 3972 U S. presiden- tial election. These activities in- clude apart from the burg- lary and electronic eavesdrop- ping that are the essential sub- stance of the Watergate charg- es false advertising, hiring spies to infiltrate oppos- ing campaigns, distorting the results of opinion polls, direct- ing and financing smear cam- paigns, publishing faked 'opposi- tion' literature, giving false in- formation to voters, impersona- ting opposing candidates, and various other deceitful, mali- cious and plain illegal acts that come under the general heading of "dirty politics." All of these activities were charged against the committee, and all were flatly denied, often on oath. When incontrovertible evidence made further denials impossible, the story changed to "we didn't know." Now that story has crumbled into noth- ingness, and the public is left with no alternative to the sorry conclusion that some of its most highly placed and trusted lead- ers have lied, and lied, and lied again. Perhaps the most revealing comment to appear m the world's press concerning all this comes from The York- shire Post a paper that is staunchly conservative and pro- Nixon, by the way and reads "It is difficult, on this side of the Atlanic, to take the Wat- ergate affair all that seriously. Is that not how American poli- tics have always been conduct- There was a time perhaps too long ago for some readers to remember when it was not only serious, it was of over- riding importance, that the men who ran the world's affairs should ba inflexibly honest in all things affecting their public responsibilities. Some indulgen- ces could be countenanced as to private affairs, but never in public presentations. When a prominent political figure made a public statement which he claimed was the truth, then it had to be the unvarnished truth and nothing else. Anything less, or more, was courting pol- itical oblivion. That seems to be no longer the case, even though it is prob- ably of greater importance now than ever before. Today, any one of a score of world figures has it in his power to trigger events of unimaginable conse- quence, mot excluding total nuc- lear destruction, a power that vastly exceeds anything known to even the greatest in past generations. And yet today there seems to be less concern about honor and probity in public figures than at any time in history, and even that scant concern ap- pears to be fast diminishing. Instead of insisting on truth as the ultimate criterion on which to judge a public man's ac- tions, the public now seems re- signed to accepting the politi- cians' test of simple expedien- cy This has not come about be- cause the public really is less concerned, or because the cur- rents breed of politician is less honest; it is because of a new perspective as to how affairs affecting the public can be con- ducted, a view based on the assumption that describing, ex- plaining and interpreting an event are more significant, even more real, than the event itself. This philosophy, of which the high priests are the public re- lations men, allows the official to claim credit for all benevo- lent or highly regarded actions by the institution of which he is head, while denying all respon- sibility for any improper or unpopular events. It is a system that works somewhat like a polaroid lens, that screens out certain light rays. If any action is hailed as good, responsibility for it promptly and easily passes through various administrative layers to the top; but when re- action is unfavorable, the lay- ers become completely imper- meable and the top man not only can daim he is not responsible, he can say he does not even know of the event. There is an odd kind of moral- ity here, on the part of both the official who wants the truth to be filtered and the hireling who filters it for him. The official can be taxed with Letters to the editor Thanks plucky hikers I would like to thank all the people who sponsored me in the Hike for Tikes, just completed, which could possibly be the last long walk for me (although I hope I can assure my sponsors that I felt fine, apart from my leg muscles, when I got up next morning. I wish to praise the young people who participated in the walk, especially those who went all the way. They walked through snow, rain and a mighty cold, strong wind all day. You have got to have lots of guts to do that. I would like to again correct a misstatement the same one I corrected a year ago that I did not participate in the hike because of the weather. This is absolutely untrue. What really happened was that T was told the night before to be down at the Civic Centre at a.m., which I was, only to find that most of the walkers had gone on. Consequently I had no com- munication with my walking partner. JOHN BARCLAY, No. 1 Fire Hall Lethbridge Wondering Having just digested a Girl Guide cookie, a thought lingers in the recess of my mind: why don't Girl Guides bake their own cookies at the local level and then market them for funds? Isn't the whole object of Guiding to develop leader- ship, initiative, imagination and self-confidence in Canada's women of tomorrow? I. M. COOKIE Lethbridge using the resources with which he is entrusted to arrange a diminished responsibility for himself, at the same time a shield against criticism and a mechanism for personal ag- grandizement. He must also acknowledge that his ethical po- sition is somewhat compromis- ed, when he says in so many words "don't tell the truth, to me or anyone else, if it will damage my position, my aspir- ations or my self-esteem." The person who executes such an order must examine his moral posibon, too. By accept- ing his superiors' stance, he is saying, in effect, "I don't care a scrap about the truth or false- hood of what I say or write, whether it informs or deceives. I tell the truth or a lie, which- ever I am paid to tell." It is here, somewhere, that the public interest is lost. The official disclaims responsibility on the grounds that he is not informed; the public relations man he hires can also deny any liability, because he was just doing his job. Does that mean that no one is responsible? Hardly. The law, in this country and in all others that have law, says without equivocation that he who hires someone to commit a crime is as guilty as he who commits it. And "I was just doing what I was hired to do" has never been accepted as a defence in a criminal court. Can it be that lying on the part of public officials is no longer regarded as an offence? If it has come to that, then it is time to stop babbling about morality altogether. Surely that isn't so. Josiah Gilbert Holland, an Am- erican journalist and sometime poet, lived nearly a century ago, but something he said in a poem entitled The Day's De- mand seems intensely apt to- day. The peom, which begins with the plea "God give us describes the sort of men he thought his day de- manded, as "Men who have honor; men who will not lie." Such men have never been more needed. planations. His remarks on subject should therefore be quoted in their entirety. They are as follows: "It is the view of the Govern- ment that this would not be the best time to introduce a general stimulus to the construction in- dustry and its suppliers by re- ducing or eliminating the build' ing materials sates tax. "The construction industry is presently operating at a high level of output, particularly in housing. The reduction or elimi- nation of the federal sales tax on building materials at this time would lead to cost push types of inflationary adjust- ment. This would result because there are low levels of unem- ployment in the skilled trades, and because there is an under supply of essential building ma- terials. "The Minister of Finance did Indicate in his Budget state meat that the whole subject of federal sales taxes is to be re- viewed and reported on before the end of 1974. The place of the building materials tax in the whote context of federal Gov- ernment sales taxes will form part of this review." This is most revealing. Mr. Basford, being closer to housing than any of his colleagues, is the first Minister to recognize publicly that we are suffering from a scarcity in essential building ma'crials. Further, despite talk of housing as a social right, the situation is crit- ical as shown by the fact Chat the Government is con- centrating heavily on subsidized programs and by the additional reality that great numbers of the unsubsidized, who would normally aspire to home own- eiship, are now shut out of the market. Building materials are being taxed heavily because they are scarce. This may seem strange, no one, for example, has sug- gested a tax on beef which has iisen sharply in price as de- mand has outpaced supply. It is apparent from Mr. Basford's argument, however, that the ceses are not analogous. We are being advised, in ef- fect, that the Government is us- ing the tax to regulate the con- struction industry. How it has been determined that 11 per cent is exactly the amount re- quired to produce the desired output, we are not told. In the Ministerial view, however, re- duction of the tax or its re- moval would stimulate the in- dustry, causing the skilled trades to demand higher wages, thus forcing prices even higher. It may seem rather surpris- ing that Mr. Basford regards cost-push inflate as a prospec- tive threat; other scholars maintain that we have been liv- ing with it for some time. But in any case, enough has been revealed of government think- ing to prompt other questions; the answers to which surely ought not to be delayed for an- other two years. The use of taxes to choke off demand may be justified in some circumstances but it will obviously not help to place people in homes. Why does the Government not concentrate on supply policies, given the ad- mitted shortages of materials and of skilled labor? On the side of materials, tha Government could certainly im- prove home supply tf some at least by the use of export con- trols. It has done this on occa- sion in the case of copper which is subject to wide fluctuations on the world market. But, ac- cording to Mr. Basford, this would not be a good solution be- cause higher demand, resulting from lower materials prices, would merdy enable the skilled trades to demand and extract higher wages, thus adding to in- flation. In normal circumstances Mr. Turner's promise of a com- prehensive two year study of federal sales taxes would be the approach. But the situ- ation exposed by Mr. Basford is a manifest absurdity; the diffi- culties and frustrations are here and now. No two year study was required for the imposition of the tax by Walter Gordon when circumstances were such tliat its impact was less severe. Nothing in Mr. Basford's latter suggest a case for shelving supply policies for two years when there is already a housing crisis. The LctKbridge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethoriuge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALI> LTD., Proprietors and Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Claw Man Registration no. 0012 of The Canadian press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulation! CLEO W MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAW HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROY F. MILES DOUGLAS, K. WALKER Advertising Manager Bdltonal Pagt Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"