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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 13, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta 10 THE tETHBRIDGE HERALD Wednesday, May 13, 1970 HON. JEAN MARCHAND Play It Cool Continue Study For Prairie Union Too often, discussion of poll tical union becomes overly concerned with the facts ani figures today and the history of yesterday, Maritime Union Study executive director Free Drummie told One Prairie Pro- vince Enquiry delegates Tues day. "Discussion of union in this case, of Prairie be considered in the light o the facts and figures as thej are likely to be in the he said. He called for continued study of Prairie province amalgama- tion after the OnePPE is fin- ished "such as the Canada Wesi Council suggested Richardson. by James "1 am not advocating Prairie isn't enough infor- mation for anyone to advocate or reject the idea. "I am suggesting an exami- nation of the proposal to ensure that the very structures of gov- ernment don't become an un- necessary impediment to future growth and development and the provision of public serv- ices." Serious discussion of union must consider every aspect of public affairs and should be un- dertaken before it becomes ne- cessary as an emergency re- quirement for survival, he said. "Provincial governments have been reasonably quick to re- spond to the pressures upon governments. In the interest of more even tax loads, greater ef- ficiency, environmental plan- ning, economic development... we have seen the creation of metro governments, regional governments, rationalized school systems, equalized taxation and hundreds of grants schemes. "While the provincial govern- ments have been restruc- turing the grass roots and the town meeting, they have also been turning to the national scene and calling for a revision of the federal authority." He criticized the recent fed- eral-provincial constitutional re- view meetings, however, for their "unquestioned assumption that the current 10 provinces are adequate and proper in all respects. "What will happen wtien the traditional communication sys- tems upon which governments function become he asked. "Is a federal constitution ap- propriate to Ontario equally ap- propriate to Prince Edward Is- land, or Manitoba, or Saskatche- wan, or He said two.threats to the con- tinued and unrevised system of government and federal-provin- cial relationships over the next decade will be the size and na- ture of provincial governments, and file implementation of new communications technology in- cluding wider use of comput- ers for storage and manipula- tion of information. He said the Economic Council of Canada has reported that 'overnments. at all levels will ifcely be using up about 37 per cent of Canada's wealth by i975, compared to only 33 per cent in 1967. New administrative areas are King developed by provincial [overaments with increasing speed, including medicare and similar innovations, he said, and "if provincial governments are to continue to play a cent- ral role, I think it is quite rea- sonable to examine their size in relation to the services they pro- vide." Forming One Prairie Province Not Answer Claims LaPierre By JIM WILSON Herald Staff Writer Formation of One Prairie Province is not the answer to the problems of Western Can- ad i, Laurier LaPierre told delegates to the One Prairie Province Enquiry Tuesday. "Such a scheme of political and constitutional development would accentuate the alienation processes of western communi- ties, concentrate power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many, maintain the old politics of advantage, competi- tion, big business, administra- tive efficiency and functional- ism and the hell with the rest of he said. Too much of the problem stems from politics and politi- cal parties, he said, and the Ca- nadian political parties are no! about to change their attitudes or seek a real balance within their structures. "After all, the game of poli- tics today is determined by numbers, and there is no indica- tion that your population will increase so rapidly as to drasti- cally change UK numbers of your he said. "If they judge you as margi- Merger Unnecessary Says Calgary Mayor Mayor Bod Sykes of Calgary, describing himself as strictly a practical man, Tuesday brand- ed the concept of a prairie mer- ger as unnecessary and un- workable. For 'a start, he told the One Prairie Province Conferenee, there's no such thing as a prai- rie region; there are three dis- tinct provinces with different people and different ideas. "Philosophically, economically and practically I think the idea of a Canada West (one of the suggested names for a single wairie province) is a misbegot- :en he said. Even if union of Alberta, Sas- ;atchewan and Manitoba were possible, said Mayor Sykes, it would produce just a big, re- mote government. 'In Vancouver, you know, hey say that Vancouver is miles from Ottawa but Ottawa is miles from Vancou- "If Ottawa is miles rom Vancouver a new united jrairie provincial capital locat- -d in, say, R e g i n a perhaps be miles from Cil- iary." He called for decentralization Df government, adding: 'Branch offices controlled from a central area don't mean de- lentalization." If people are going to talk ibout prairie union why not go til the way? "You might as well add ev- rything together then we -ould have conferences entitled 'one Canada" and perhaps pnie to the astounding conclu- sion that it should be divided into 10 units based on the ob- vious divergencies. 0 MUCH HOGWASH "What I am saying is that most constitutional discussions the Quebec kind it is econo- mic separatism, the prairie kind espoused apparently by various fringe groups, crackpot groups, who say 'if we can save a buck let's break up the country.' He objected to any calls for a "special status" for the West: "In my view this is probably the most destructive position that could possibly be and the most selfish and irre: sponsible next to economic sep- aration." Communications would not be improved in any way'by union, and the increased distances be- tween provincial and civic gov- ernments would make discus- sion much more difficult. er the difference if I had to fly to, say, Winnipeg." He took exception to fellow speaker Laurier LaPierre "and all of the other Quebec separa- tists who tried to use a form of political blackmail on the rest of Canada.. "I was pleased to see the fail- ure of their efforts, "Mayor Sykes said, "a'nd their gyrations of rationalization when they lost their fight." He said he was willing to pay for Canadian unity and for a workable political system, "whatever the price. "I am for one Canada and for three Prairie provinces. Our present sytem is workable, and "As mayor of Calgary I can i is indeed stronger than if it were step on a jet and be in our pro- vincial capital to see the Pre- mier within 30 minutes: consid- otherwise structured. "I suggest we stop talking and start making it work." are academic and so much Alberta, is an appropriate ize of population for effective jrovincial administration, then rerhaps Ontario should be div- ded into sections of equivalent ensity. But if Ontario is the most-ef- ective size, then perhaps the hree Prairie provinces should unite. ogwash. "What's wrong isn't the sys- em. It's the people, the politi- ciBns who tinker rath the sys- era, who would rather talk us claptrap to explain away leir failure to meet their re- sponsibilities." The mayor opposed sugges- ons for formation of "city .ates" or introduction of na- onal party politics at the level municipal elections. Cities are the creatures of the rovinces, he said. Mayors and rentiers should get together in- stead of running "yapping to Ottawa for constitutional changes." "What this country needs Is government which is closer to the people and their problems than ever before. This is why the old politicians are being thrown out they can't or won't to the needs of today's people." A major problem should be overcome if urban areas were given more balanced represen- tation in provincial legislatures, he said. "Action along these lines ra- ther than philosophical discus- sion of western Canadian unity would seem more fruitful in solving the problems besetting our country." TRUE ENEMY Mayor Sykes added: "The true enemy of Canadian CALGARY'S MAYOR SYKES People Live In Citiei Severe Conflicts Would Be Few HERAID PUBLISHER CLEO MOWERS AND ALVIN HAMILTON Old Friends Find Time For Chit Chat -Photos by Bryan Wilson There is the possibility of po. itive economic gains both re gionally and nationally throug a merger of the three Prairi provinces, T. K. Shoyama of 0 tawa said Tuesday. Mr. Shoyama, assistant dep uty federal minister of finance said such a merger would no involve "major incornpatibilitie or severe conflicts that woul be disruptive and negative in the longer run." He said the systems of public finance in Alberta, Saskatche wan and Manitoba are closely parallel and while some adjust ments may be necessary, they could be brought together into an effective unit. "Once consolidated, the over all provincial finance system would be of major proportions by Cana d i a n standards, ant provide a basis for stimulus to economic advance." Mr. Shoyama was speaking to delegates at the One Prairie Province conference, sponsored by the University of Lcth- bridge and The Lethbridgc Her- ald, which is examining the prospects of a Prairie merger. He said it must be acknowl- edged that the actual record of economic development in the Prairie region "clearly reveals" ;hat nature and technology have wen (he really decisive forces than political effort, am- bition or regulation. However, he said several ma- jor adjustments will be required for any union in present tax structures. "Perhaps the most significant arises from the present lack of a general retail sales tax in AI berta." Mr. Shoyama said if the five- per-cent rate, now applied in Manitoba and Saskatchewan were applied to the larger, uni- fied area, the increase in reve- nue could be as much as million. "A contrary decision to abol- ish the tax would cost about million, a major loss of rev- enue." A more significant loss, Mr. Shoyama said, would result from the elimination of federal equalization payments tor which both Manitoba and Saskatche- wan now qualify. Both these provinces have per capita tax and revenue bases slightly below the' national aver- age while Alberta enjoys a reve- me capacity "much higher than the national, average." "The combined effect of con- solidating the three provinces into one is to produce an entity vhere revenue capacity would >e sifrnificaitly above the na- ional average." nal and insignificant in your numbers I have no doubt that they there is no reason to believe that one province instead of three will force them to take you more seriously." Further: If the population of One Prairie Provinces could not change the values of federal political parties through voting pressures, then one provincial government as opposed to three couldn't have any significantly increased power over Ottawa either. And further: "Policies are de- termined primarily by politics and political advantage. This suggests a power structure based on the primacy of the stronger. "The West is not the strong- er, and will not be for quite a foreseeable future. Consequently, as long as poli- ties remain what they are, and as long as the power structure works against you, you will have to be satisfied with a poli- tical system that may allow you the dubious benefit of only de- laying the inevitable day when the eastern majority will surely have its way." Mr. LaPierre said that the day of the big bureaucratic gov- ernment should "Standardization, uniformity that's where we're heading with big central governments, rat that's the way it must be if they are to succeed." he said. "And if anyone should delude themselves into thinking that advanced technology permits better communications, even in the larger units, belter look around him, "Canada is said to have one of the most advanced com- munications systems in the- yet the alienation in parts of our country comes from a lack of communication. "The people of Canada know very little about each other from region to Mr. La- Pierre said. There are more attractive solutions than Prairie union' to the problems of alienation of "the little guy" by the "explpi- tive, uncreative, frequently ir- relevant big politics of he said. "It becomes necessary that the central political organs be- gin to decentralize the capac- ity to act, so that those com- munities most in need of help may have an opportunity to de- velop solutions to their own sroblems, solutions they could wtter-understand and use be- cause their own perception con- PAT MAHONEY MP Calgary South ceived the solution. "The service-oriented society grows a little more impatient ;very day with the red-tape nrocess; and it must now begin o be encouraged to serve its own interests, to learn to solve some of its own problems. "Central administration can't reafly cope Mr. LaPi- erre said. "Will it be able to cope any better 10 years hence? "The alternative to alienation s not independence, the alter- native to Western Canada is not his big monster of One Prairie "rovince nor is a Maritime Union a real answer to the ter- rifying plight of the Maritimes. "The real alternative .lies in M redirection of our politics." And that new direction Mr. .aPierre said will include hanging the content of Cana- ian politics so it is more re- gionally based for a more rapid eaction to local needs and roblems; -a more honest ap- iroach at explanation by gov- rnments to their electors; en- of more active articipatjon by individual le at all levels of government; and more local independence of dministrative action. Alberta Would Be The Loser By JOAN BOWMAN Herald Staff Writer Alberta would apparently the loser in the short-run of united Prairie province, b union could give the Prairie r gion a more effective voice national affairs, Dr. :Eric Han son said Tuesday. Dr. Hanson, a University Alberta professor of economic told delegates to the One rie Province .Enquiry th Manitoba and Saskatchewan "would stand to gain conside ably from union. "What would change this pi hire in the long run- would sustained substantial resourc and other economic develo ments in the two eastern Prai rie provinces." Dr. Hanson, who .suggest Alberta would have JiO per ce of the Prairie population b 1981, said Alberta could expe a five per cent sales tax an higher gasoline taxes unde union, in line with those Manitoba and Saskatchewan. "Government expenditure would rise, regardless of union More specialized activitif would be introduced wit larger size." He predicted that a merge would not produce "economic of scale" in the costs of trans portation, health and sanitation social welfare and law enforce ment. There would be "a tendency' 'or education charges and per capita expenditures to rise ti :be level of Alberta's, whic' currently are higher than thos n the other two Prairie prov No Increase Seen Western Goods Not Perfect Laurier LaPierre ccmment- ig on the Canadian conslilu- on: "You do not form con- tituticns in heaven, so they're ot unchangeable. "And there is no reason link ours is perfect after all lose years, because I suspect ohn A. Macdcr.ald (Prime The creation of a single Prai e province mil not increase arkets for western goods, ex ept as a unified Prairie voice night influence the federal gov- nment's trade policies, a Uni rsity of Calgary economist id Tuesday. Dr. Stephen Peitchinis, speak- at the OnePPE in the Ex- ntion Pavilion, said "it is con- ivable that a regional gov- nment will be able to influ- rcc the (federal) policy to a eater degree" than the sepa- rate voices of Alberta, Mani- toba and Saskatchewan. "There is no evidence that the existing geographic and politi cal separation of the region has been a barrier to UK expan- sion" of markets. Dr. Peitchinis suggested a merger of (lie three provinces would take advantage of the "economies of causinB a reduction in government em- ployment. Alberta currently leads the list of government employees in proportion to its population. For linister at the-time of the i every resident of Alberta, there NA Act) was not a Messiah." are 70 civil servants. The fig- ures for Manitoba are and in Saskatchewan, Ontario, with a population o: 7.5 million persoa1; more than twice that of the 'three Prairie provinces manages its civil service with a ratio of The Ontario legislature has 117 members and 23 ministers in the cabinet. The combined Prairie prov i n c e s' have 181 members and 40 cabinet minis- ters. Dr. Peitchinis maintained uni- fication might improve the quality of candidates, and pro- vide the leader of the party in power with belter choices in the formation of his cabinet. He said differences in labor laws, and rules among labor groups, could be regulated in a unified province. This could "contribute immeasur a b 1 y to '.he more effective allocation of r e g i o n1 s manpower re- sources." A merger of the provinces could provide memberships of parties, labor federa- tions, and other associations and societies "with a wider choice in the selection of their eaders." The over-all tax burden would increase- in Alberta, decreasa in Saskatchewan and remain about the same in Manitoba, Dp. Hanson-said. But redistribution of federal government transfer payments would "work in favor of Alber- ta." The per capita debt Is lowest in Alberta, and highest in Sas- katchewan. The effect of union upon Alberta would be "some- what adverse, while the other two provinces would gain." However, a merger, accord- ing to Dr. Hanson, would "pro- vide an opportunity to revamp the whole local government structure" In the Prairies. And union "should simplify negotiations with the federal government, since regional trade-offs would be reduced." OiiePPE Quotes Dr. Mildred Schwartz, a OnePPE speaker, said during a discussion session that it is true westerners have been exploited by eastern business; "But whether they, think that 'they lave suffered from that exploit, ation is quite another matter." Dr. Schwartz again: "I don't know that the suggestion that ie larger your size of govern- ment and its distance from the Jeople, the greater their aliena- on is, is true. How do you hen account for the fact that e o p 1 e are much more will- ig to vote in federal elections >an in provincial or municipal lections where presumably hey are much more closely in- Conference panelists Dr. Alan (I. Thomas reacting to fellow, anelist Dr. B. Y. Card's sug- estion that large regional and n f o r m a 1 councils would be ore effective than Prairie nion: "They wouldn't be a ilutipn, because they're not re- wnsible to anyone, and they'd e extremely difficult to get at. "They're often used when ley do exist as excuses by gov-. mments to do e regional council can ban- e tlicl.' Dr. Thomas again: There are ur levels cf government, rot hree. There is the federal govern- ent, the provincial govern- ents, the city governments nd federal-provincial gov- nnicnt association, "which is 'ficult to touch or understand it's informal, but which MS a let of the work and pel- y formation that runs country." ;