Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 12, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
John Oberholtzer Sees Little Need There is little need for union or the three Prairie provinces because they co-operate in al- most every essential area now, says John Oberhollzer, director of the Alberta Human Re- sources Development Author- ity. He told delegates to the One Province Enquiry Monday that the three provinces have expe- JOHN OBERHOLTZER Can Worms Says Strayer A Canadian constitutional ex- pert Monday painted the idea of merging the three prairie provinces as a constitutional can of worms. For a start, suggested Barry L. Strayer of Ottawa, the legal power to authorize union of Al- berta, Saskatchewan and Man- itoba probably rests with the United Kingdom Parliament. After that, he said, the fed- eral and prov i n c i a 1 govern- ments at hoir.e would face a string of touchy constitutional and practical problems before union could be brought about. Mr. Strayer, director of the Constitutional Heview Section of the Privy Council office, spoke at the One Prairie Prov- ince Conference which is ex- amining the idea of merger. He raised a string of ques- tions without offering answers aaxi declined to comment "as to the wisdom or practicability of prairie union itself." EXPRESSES DOUBTS He expressed doubt that the powers of a provincial legisla- ture are sufficient to abolish a province and its government and certainly would not cover new representation in the Com- mons and Senate. Ottawa can alter provincial boundaries, with provincial con- sent, but again it is doubtful that Ottawa can abolish the three governments and replace them with a new one, he said. "Thus it might be necessary to turn to the other law-mak- ing body, the United Kingdom Parliament, for some import- ant legal formalities." Canada could ask Westmin- ster to give parliament power to consolidate the three prov- inces. Then Ottawa could set up a single provincial constitu- tion and handle such touchy areas as prairie representation in parliament. The three existing prairie leg- islatures could "facilitate the fusion" of laws and institutions before union. And the new prai- rie government would develop a new prairie constitution. Before Ottawa could act, the three prairie provinces prob- ably would each have to re- quest their own abolition, Mr. Strayer said. "But what about the other provinces in Canada not direct- ly affected? Should they have to consent as well? The conven- tions are "not clear on this point." NO ANSWER He offered no answer to this, nor to one he raised about whether the people of the prai- ries should themselves vote on the idea of union. "Admittedly Canadian history shows few examples of direct popular involvement in consti- tution making on the other hand, our n e w e s t province, Newfoundland, joined confeder- ation in 1949 only after its peo- ple voted approval in a refer- endum." Ottawa and the new prairie government would still face a string of problems: "To avoid chaos at the time of union, there would be no doubt a provision for continu- ing all existing laws until spe- cifically changed. "Eventually the new legisla- ture would, piece by piece, re- place old and different laws with new and uniform provi- sions. But in some respects this might prove impossible. "For example, the existing constitutional guarantees for separate schools have a differ- ent effect in Alberta and Sas- katchewan than in Manitoba." rienced "a good deal" of rapid industrial development d u r ing the past 25 years, with good va- riety and with each province re- ceiving a fair share. "And since the decision over where to locate an industry is made by the management in terms cf what a location has to offer in the way of. natural re- sources, utilities and personnel, the size or form of provincial government will have little ef- fect." He pointed to the example of Lloydminster, which straddles the Alberta Saskatchewan bor- der and has industries with their plant in one province and head office in in the same community. "They seem to get along fine that he said. People, too, tend to be more interested in a locality than a province, Mr. Oberholtzer said. "Pe o p 1 e go where the jobs are, and they prefer to live in, say Calgary or Saskatoon, rath- er than in Alberta or Saskatch- ewan. Making the Frames into one province wouldn't change anything for labor." The .relative wealth in all three prvinces is similar, he said, although oil has put Al- berta "slightly ahead." "But all three provinces offer people with the same back- ground of good training, excel- lent initiative and the ability to adapt quickly to changing cir- cumstances." This adaptability, he said, has lead to a special popularity of western workmen since they "seem to have an ability to get things but it matters not which Prairie province they come from. There are few variations in labor laws, safety regulations, trade certificates or in most day to day provincial regula- tions, Mr. Oberholtzer said, so a form of union has already been effected. "Due to a post-war establish- ment of many regular inter- provincial conferences there is an extensive and almost com- plete co-operation in industrial, educational and labor matters: the p r o v i n c e s haye already hammered out their differ- ences." He said there would be no in- creased benefit for welfare as- sistance to the 30 per cent of the population the Economic Council of Canada says lives below the poverty income level, since funds come from the fed- eral government and all prov- inces have their fair share of cases. Dealings with the native peo- ple in the three Prairie prov- inces has "been poorly handled" to date, but Prairie union wouldn't change them because "any move to improve matters should come from the native people themselves." "The real need isn't for union but for local involvement of the individual person, who takes in- dividual par- ticipation' in government." OnePPE Quotes Dr. E. J. Miles, professor in the Institute of Canadian Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, said the P.E.I, election could also result in an election call in Manitoba. "We should know by the end of the he said. He noted thtt Manitoba's New Democratic Premier Ed Schrey- er, has only a one-seat majority in the legislature (an Independ- ent so is in constant danger of a defection of just one ND'P-MLA forcing a govern- ment defeat. Manitoba Liberal Opposition celled his scheduled visit to this One Prairie Province confer- ence at the last moment, and it could have been because he ex- pects a break at any time." S. H. Wood, vice-president of Calgary Power Corporation, Ltd., says that the Maritime provinces, where he used to live, feel the same way about Ontario as the western prov- inces do: "negatively." You'll also find that a Marl- timer will adjust fairly quickly to living in the West, while an Ontarian doesn't adjust at all sometimes. That's because he thinks he's suffered a fall in status by moving to the West, which is not the feeling the Mar- itimer brings with him." And on Quebec, where he also lived: "Quebec is an entity un- to itself, and there is little real feeling for or against it from either the Maritimes or the West on an economic basis." He said the Quebec French are much more difficult to get ,o know ur to even begin, to un- derstand than the New Bruns- wick per cent of its population. Tuesday, May 12, 1970 THE LETHBRIDGE HERAtO _ Regional Councils Just As Effective Claims Dr. Card by Bryan Wilson OnePPE Dr. S. G. Peitchinis, Professor of University of Calgary, Wiih Lakeview School Students Senator Cameron Gives Support By JIM WILSON Herald Staff Writer 'What's good for Ontario and Quebec is good for all of Can- is the standard attitude of Eastern Canada, and if it doesn't soon stop it could lead to economic independence by the western provinces, accord- ing to Alberta Liberal Senator Donald Cameron. "I think the concept of One Prairie Province is a tremen- dous idea, and one with which the West might be able to avoid economic difficulties. But it's going to take a lot of education and research before it can be- come a the senator said in a Herald interview. Thf. 62-year-old senator is a delegate to the One Prairie Province Enquiry. Co-sponsored by The Lethbridge Herald and the University of Lethbridge. "Western Canadians are dis- satisfied over lost wheat mar- kets, over a prejudicial oil pol- icy, about the overemphasis for- ced upon them concerning the bilingualism and biculturalism that are important in the East but are not facotrs in the West. 'And there are dozens of oth- er problems that the West has due to the eastern attitudes of indifference and self-prefer- er.ee; discriminatory freight rates, discriminatory tariff poli- cies discriminations that af- fect everyone. "If it keeps up the result will be a firm move from the West to go it alone SENATOR CAMERON West unhappy Saskatoon Mayor Favors Union Idea Mayor Sid Buckwold of Sas- katoon said Monday that mu- nicipal government would be better off if the three prairie provinces became cole. At the same time, he pro- posed, .the current "unbeliev- able hodge-podge" of local gov- ernment bodies should be re- placed by large regional units as few as 30 across the prairies. Mr. Buckwold, speaking at the One Prairie Province Con- ference which is discussing the idea of prairie union, said: "With the growing demand for improved services, munici- pal governments and school boards just can not finance on the property tax base, which is their prime source of revenue. "Very greatly increased grants to local authorities must be made available. These will have to come from provincial governments who, in turn, will need improved fiscal arrange- ments with the federal govern- ment. MUCH BENEFIT "Municipal government in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta would benefit signifi- cantly through the bargaining power of one combined prov- ince, in the straggle for a fair distribution of the funds raised by the federal government." Mr. Buckwold said that if union comes about, he would hope that the same kind of "ob- jective thinking" would bring about reform of local govern- ment. "For a population of we now are blessed with an un- believable hodge podge of rural, village, town and city governments having superim- posed on them and using the same property tax base school boards, hospital boards, and a variety of recreational, planning, parks and health authorities. It is an arrangement that is just not in step with mid-20tb century concepts of good ad- ministration I can see no improvement in tin's situation in the immediate future." But prairie union might pro- ride the spark, he said. For a start, there should be larger units of government. ONE UNIT "It is quite feasible for the city of Lethbridge to be com- bined with an area of 100 miles around it, as one unit of local government, which would in- clude rural, village and town representation. "This region would include complete co ordination of all school, hospital, planning, parks and welfare services. It would be based on a solid assessment foundation, in which industrial taxation would be more equit- ably distributed." ADDS TO LIST Mayor Buckwold added trans- portation, housing and environ- mental and pollution control to the list. He conceded the idea might not be feasible in some areas; they should have a metro form of government. Mr. Buckwold listed some dif- ficulties in prairie union, for example overcoming the cur- rent wide disparities between provinces in the way each prov- ince treats its local govern- ments. Grants to local government varied. Powers of local govern- ment were differently defined. Differing approaches also were shown in urban transportation, duties of school boards, finan- cing of education, and other laws and regulations. "'Complications of power and natural gas franchises would also be of concern to municipal government. Each province has its own particular philosophy in this regard. Ho sgid the new capital would have to he in -one of the exist- ing capitals; it would be un- thinkable to duplicate legisla- tive buildings. The other existing capitals would presumably become ad- ministrative centres. not it could quite possibly succeed." The concept of western sep- aratism being boosted by peo- ple such as Calgary lawyer, A. M. "Milt" Harradence is "c o E p 1 e t e ly untenable and doesn't even warrant considera- Senator Cameron said. One move Alberta should make on its own without wait- Ing for Prairie union or any other changes in Confederation, he said, js to change the Alber- ta Treasury Branch system into a Bank of Alberta. "There'd be tremendous econ- omic benefits from establish- ing a provincial he said, and if it were based on the Treasury Branches it wouldn't suffer the instant demise of previous provincial bank pro- posals. It will take at least three to five years to complete an effec- tive study of the pros and cons of Prairie union, Senator Cam- eron said, so the time to start is now. "I'm not sure which way the study would point us, but I know we must make he said. "And even if it shows union to be impractical, the research would be worthwhile. "I'm delighted that the young- er generation in Lethbridge is sufficiently interested in becom- ing involved in major Canadian problems that they could or- ganize a conference as essen- tial as this one." Following the Monday after- noon discussions of tlhe sociologi- cal considerations of One Prai- rie Province, Senator Cameron said he approved of the "practi- cal horse sense" of the Canada West concept. The Canada West Council suggested by federal supply Minister James A. Richardson in his keynote OnePPE address Sunday is "an extremely valu- able thought that should receive immediate he said. The coiincil would research and provide for the continued discussion of Canada West. He asked the panelists why they had not mentioned the un- derlying cause of Western Cana- dian alienation. "There are three historic fac- tors that have msde the Prai- ries unhappy: the drought and depression of 1322, the drought and depression of 1937 and the surplus farm produce and in- ability to sell it of 1969 and 1970. "This situation of economic deprivation is the basis for dis- content today, and it's the same as what hss given rise to the separatist movement in Quebec. We're going to haye to start showing a substantial amount more interest in these western problems in the the senator said. He told fellow-delegates the most significant change he had seen in the West is its current sense of confidence that if the East provide opportunity for economic development, ffie Wesr, could stage an economic revolt and seek its own sources of development funds. "In the past five years a num- ber of new financial and indus- trial institutions have been started in the western prov- and the new self-con- fidence this has generated is "the finest thing that could hap- pen for Canada." He said the eastern provinces were alligned economically with Europe and the United States: while the market potential for the West is the Southeast Asian countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. "Japan has had only a 1.5 per cent inflationary factor annual- ly over the past five Senator Cameron said. "That's a boom economy with tremen- dous buying power, and it will have a significant impact on the western indirect- ly on the whole of Canada." Extensive formation of "re- gional councils" based on both mterprovincial and interna- tional districts would be just as effective as and mere easily or- janized than n single Prairie province, One Prairie Province Enquiry delegates were told Monday. And, said Dr. B. Y. Card, pro- 'essor of educational founda- tions at the University of Alber- ta, these informal councils could include more locally- oriented systems such as "an oval extending from Lethbridge through Calgary to Edmonton, which will likely have a popula- tion density in the future equal to that of Ontario." 'I don't see hew the world is going to let the Prairie prov- ince region stay underpopu- lated and underdeveloped for very, long, regardless of the government that is in power in the provincial form of he said. The Prairie provinces are all similar in most essentials, Dr. Card said. They have similarly- sized cities with similar growth rates; they are similar in terms of most vital statistics; they are similar socially. However, where differences exist, Alberta is on the top end; it has more economic growth, and is the receiving province in terms of migration, with people moving to Alberta from Sas- katchewan and Manitoba. Ethnic minorities exist and receive similar treatment in the three provinces, except for the Manitoba refusal to permit es- tablishment of a separate school system for Roman Cath- olics. In education, Alberta Is far and away the leader, Dr. Card said. "Two-thirds of all educational research d o n e in Canada is done in ono place we've exported our pro- vincial expertise." The West does lag in develop- ment cf various kinds of pow- ers, Dr. Card said. While tho federal government obviously controls military and similar power structures, the east in general also tends to control economic and much political power. Status exists as a power for easterners (in the but westerners have no status. "In expert power the West has made its greatest ad- Dr. Card said, "and our experts in all fields rank with the best in North America. "But we still have room for growth: there is talent here which needs to find an outlet and to be given local, western Canadian use, or we will find ourselves with a social problem and an expertise emmigration problem. Dr. Card said development of regional councils could provide the West with the ability to for- ce changes in its relationship with the provincial govern- ment, without the need to adopt constitutional changes. "There's a moral question, for instance, that could be an- swered then: what right has anyone to keep the West from providing the rest of the world with food when we have a sur- He said the pattern of govern- ment one provincial adminis- tration or not as im- portant as the processes of gov- the provinces deal with their people. Different .administrative ar- rangements would be an easy alternative to One Prairie Prov- ince, since they involve the pro- cesses and not the political es- tablishment, he said. DR. B. Y. CARD Wot The Answer' Says David Elton DAVID K, ELTON While Albertans are not sat- isfied with the predominance of Eastern Canada in economic matters, the majority believe union of the three Prairie prov- inces is not the answer, accord- ing to University of Lethbridge political scientist David K. Elton. Professor Elton told 300 dele- gates to the One Prairie Prov- ince Enquiry Monday that this preference emerged from a sur- vey of about eligible voters in the province during the fall of 1969. He said the survey asked two questions on the concept of Prairie union because the pro- posal had received some public support. To the question, "Are you in favor of One Prairie 23 per cent replied yes whilo 66 per cent said no. Eleven per cent said they did not know. To the que'stion, should the three Prairie provinces join to form one large province, 23 per cent said yes and 77 per cent said no. The survey also showed 95 per cent of those asked said Al- berta would not be better off as a spearate country rather than a province within Confed- eration. "While one person in three, indicated satisfaction with the present constitutional arrange- ment, it would be fallacious to conclude that political unrest does not exist in Alberta, Prof. Elton said. The survey showed 61 per cent of Albertan electors thought the federal goverment was more concerned with East- ern Canadians, and 53.1 per cent said the West is being discriminated against econom- ically by the East. "This alienation d o es not reach the level of contemplat- ing separation among any sig- nificant numbers of the elector- ate, Prof. Elton said, "for only five per cent. feel that Alberta would be bet- ter off if it were a separate country." He the survey showed 88.2 per cent believe a discus- sion of separation by the Al- berta Committee on the Con- stitution would be "futile." 'The reason cited by many was that Canada should remain n single entity and any- thing that might jeopardize tlie maintenance of Canadian unit) should be avoided."