Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 24, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, May 24, 1973 It's always the taxpayer Commenting on the possibility that nnrvine medical examination of all who are admitted to police cells might have averted a recent tragic suicide, a local professional man pointed out "It wouldn't cost that much, as most of the cases would be covered by Alberta Health Care or something to that ef- fect. Perhaps the speaker was not quoted quite accurately, or perhaps he was thinking only of the costs that would be charged to the law enforce- ment budget. But however it was meant, such a statement perfectly exemplifies one of the most signifi- cant reasons why health care costs are rising so sharply, the notion that "it wouldn't cost that much" just because no one would have to dig down right then and there to pay the bill. It does cost "that much." every bit as much and a lot more, in these times as it did when the patient handed over hard cash be- fore leaving the doctor's office. Costs don't go away, just because they can be deferred. The cost of arranging medical ex- aminations for all those arrested and brought to police cells in Lethbridge would be substantial. Relatively uncomplicated medical examinations are billed at between and and according to a police spokesman the number eligible could run to a year. That's just for Lethbridge, of course; presumably if this idea be- came accepted policy, it would not be confined to this locality. As to the particular case in point, it is probably true that there would not be a great increase in the local police budget; in most cases the bills could be passed to Alberta Health Care. They would be paid in due course, however, and from funds con- tributed by Alberta taxpayers through their health care insurance prem- iums, or from general taxation. But the actual cost of medical ex- aminations for those arrested is not the immediate point; the real issue is one of attitude, the mistaken idea that "it wouldn't cost that much" be- cause someone else will pay. The "someone in this case, is the taxpayer. As usual. Arms limitation an illusion The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute was established in 1966 to conduct research into ques- tions of peace and war. It is financ- ed by the Swedish Parliament. Its annual reports, called yearbooks, are widely used and quoted in interna- tional forums as authoritative sour- ces of data on the armaments of the world's military powers. This year the institute published its fourth yearbook, with the blunt message "The militarization of the vvorld continues unabated." It dis- closes that for the past three years the world has been spending billion annually for munitions, and comments, "The insanity of these levels of military expenditure is im- pressively indicated by the fact that the sums spent annually on arms are about equal to the total national in- come of the poorer half of mankind." Some facts: Since the first strategic arms lim- itation (SALT) agreement came into force a year ago, the number of nu- clear warheads deployed in the U.S., has increased from 5890 to 7040, those in the U-S.S.R. from 2170 to 2260. Of the 1268 satellites orbitted by the U.S. and the U-S.S.R., 47 per cent have been for the purpose of mili- tary reconnaissance. In 1972, at least 26 underground nu- clear explosions were set off in Rus- sia and the U.S., and five atmos- pheric bursts by China and France. The so-called "third world" coun- tries are establishing arms industries of their own, but their purchases of arms are still increasing at an an- nual rate of 10 per cent, twice as fast as their gross national products. Notwithstanding the nuclear non- proliferation treaty having been in force for three years, more than a dozen countries having what is term- ed "near-nuclear capacity" will not renounce the possibility of their de- veloping nuclear weapons. The casserole In doling out the most recent distribu- tion of grants to artists across the coun- try, the Canada Council reverted to its tried and true formula of one-third to Que- bec, one-third to Ontario, and one-third to the rest of Canada. And while that may not sit very well with more militant west- ern outlanders, it's not too badly out of line with population figures. If anyone has a real complaint over the latest list of awards it would be the Atlan- tic provinces; from the awards that went to "the the Maritimers received only nine while B.C., with about the same population, goi 28. The prairies didn't come off too badly this time: managed 29 of the 66 that didn't go to Ontario and Quebec. One even came to Lethbridge. They say the Lord helps those who help themselves. According to seed producers, manufac- turers of gardening tools, and even offi- cials of departments of agriculture, there hasn't been so much interest in back-yard gardening since the time of those Victory Gardens so many people planted during the Second World War. Somehow, one suspects, this isn't a total solution to the problem of rising food prices. But regardless of the economic im- pact, a bit of gardening never did any- one much harm. An interesting pre-Watergate observa- tion on the workings of newspapers on this continent came from U.S. Congressman Edward Mezvinsky, of Iowa, who said "The history of American journalism sug- gests that any newspaper which is not most of th.2 time being threatened, ha- rassed and at least verbally assaulted by government isn't doing its job." And when you think about it, that's quite an observation on government, too. According to figures collected in a con- tinuing study by the Toronto General Hos- pLal, while the proportion of men who smoke is dscrcasing ever so slightly, the percentage of women who use tobacco is rising, especially in the lower age groups. This may account for the continued rise in the number of cigarettes sold across the country, but it's hard to relate to the in- creasing enthusiasm for women's libera- tion. Surely there can be no rational con- nection between being liberated, as men are supposed to be, while adopting one of man's most absurd enslavements. Notwithstanding a recent government disclaimer that all defeated Liberal candi- dates automatically get government jobs, the unsuccessful candidate in the Rocky Mountain constituency has just been ap- pointed a director of Panarctic Oils Ltd., adding another name to the rather impres- sive list of defeated Liberals on the gov- ernment payroll. But it could be worse. Just suppose Da- vid Lewis' influence on the government be- came so compelling that in addition to Liberals, all defeated NDP candidates had to be found high paying government jobs! When Australia and New Zealand pro- tested France's plan to carry out further atomic tests in the Pacific, to their con- siderable surprise Britain declined to sup- port them. The London newspaper The Daily Ex- press has just revealed that Britain is planning to explode a test nuclear war- head of her own shortly. There may or may not be a connection, but there are a great many people who worry about the proliferation and con- tinued refinement of nuclear weapons, whether French, British or whose. According to Gerald K. Bouey, governor of the Bank of Canada, Canadian banks ara lending too high a proportion of their funds to American customers, who have found that Canadian money can be obtain- ed more cheaply than any available at home. Not on'y is our prime rale a bit lower than that of U.S. lenders, but so far Canadian bankers haven't adopt ed the latest gimmick their American colleagues use to merchandise (sic) their loan funds. This arrangement, with the fine sounding label "compensating requires the customer to leave on deposit some 20 per cent of a loan, so that he pays interest on but only has the use of Let no man say Canada's political ex- peris are frivolous. When they set them- selves to solve a problem, they're as ten- acious as bulldogs until they come1 up with the answer. To wit In a rival newspaper (delicacy forbids that it be named) there appeared a while back a report of an important political com- mittee that had been examining the labor Equation, wi'h a view to seeing if some- thing closer to full employment might be passible. As any good committee would, it began by looking for the causes of unem- ployment. Its findings well, the head- line re-ally tells it all. It read "Lack of work main problem.'1 "Hold if, Herb, don't shoot 'til you see the whites of his Foreign policy affected by Water By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator Watergate has staggered the Nixon administration, so the scandal is bound to have an ef- fect on foreign policy matters. But what effect? Well, on analysis, the impact turns out to be curiously un- even. While difficulties are cre- ated in relations with states that trusted Wasinglon, there is no likely impairment of rela- tions with countries hostile to the United States, notably the Soviet Union. Consider, first, the vital case of relations with Russia. That country is now experiencing serious problems. Moscow's doctrinal primacy in the Com- munist world remains challeng- ed by PekTng. Economic growth has lagged, and while the har- vest shows some signs of im- provement, the Russians will almost surely have to import large amounts of wheat this year as last year. To offset these shortcomings, the Russians have pitched on a policy of cooperation with the United States and Western Eu- ope. Party secretary Leonid Brezhnev, who seems more than ever the strong man in Moscow, has put his own pres- tige behind that policy in strug- gle with other members of the Soviet leadership. Mr. Brezhnev, in other words, is now hooked on the policy of detente That is why he visited Germany, that traditional bogeyman of Soviet foreign pol- icy. That is also why, instead of backing away from Washing- ton because of Watergate, Mr. Brezhnev has moved with ala- crity to visit the United States for summit talks with President Nixon next month. Perhaps the Russians calcu- late that in President Nixon's currently weakened posi t i o n they can now drive a deal very favorable to their interest. But that calculation, which is the ob- verse of the president's theory of negotiating from strength, is surely wrong. Now that he is in trouble at home, Mr. Nixon will be under pressure to get from Mr. Brezhnev results he can sell to the Congress. That means not only another wheat deal on bet- ter terms and maybe a deal on natural gas and further pro- gress on strategic arms limita- tion, it also means the one thing which really counts with the American strategic interest. That is progress on starting Russian troops moving back to- wards home from their bases in central Europe. Moreover, Mr. Brezhnev for once has to be sensitive to Mr. Nixon's domestic pressures. The last thing the top leader in Moscow wants, after all, is for the man he depends on in Washington to founder. So if anything, Watergate tends to improve the prospects for true progress in dealings between the Big Two. Such is not the case for Am- erican relations with Western Europe and Japan. President Nixon and his chief foreign pol- icy adviser, Henry Kissinger, have set out the lines for a big bargain they would like to do with the other advanced coun- tries of the non-Communist world. The basic idea is that in return for continued extention of the American security um- brella the West Europeans and Japanese would help this coun- try right its unfavorable trade and monetary balances. That program just might have succeeded if the president and Dr. Kissinger had been able to crowd sufficient ballyhoo and glamor around their concept of a New Atlantic Charter. But in the post Watergate atmos- phere, leaders in such coun- tries as Japan and France are going to be looking at the fine print of anything the Nixon ad- ministration proposes. Complications may also crop up in the Near East. The Is- raelis have to modify slightly their certainty of American backing against any threat, and some of the Arab countries may be tempted to test the new cli- mate. Still, for the time being, Israel seems able to handle any- thing in sight. In Southeast Asia, the Water- gate impact seems to cut two ways. The chance of diverting North Vietnam to a peaceful path through a reconstruction program has been much dim- inished. On the other hand, with President Nixon's support of President Nguyen Van Thieu apt to flag somewhat, the men in Saigon may finally see the wisdom of a serious effort to cut a deal with the Commun- ists. What emerges from this analysis is a decidedly mixed picture. Watergate is certainly not good for the American role in the world. But neither is it so awful that the Congress and the courts and the press, in def- erence to some vague national security threat, need to cease the labor of forcing out the truth. Standards needed in handling public money By Peter Besbarats, Toronto Star commentator Politicians here who will soon be discussing new conflict-of-in- terest regulations might find it interesting to examine the ac- tivities of a small group of Can- ada's most prominent artists operating under the Canada Council. When it comes to biting the hand that feeds you, the paint- ers make the politicians look like pikers. The artists are among 23 members of an advisory com- mittee set up last year to select Letters to the editor works of art for the Council's New Art Bank Program. So far they have spent more than two-thirds of their first an- nual budget of More than works of art by 194 artists have been purchased, and the spending will continue at the same million-dollars-a- year rate for the next four years. The list of acquisitions so far includes the works of 11 artist- members of the advisory com- mittee. For these artists, the pro- gram represents a blank cheque, drawn on the public treasury, for the purchase of their own work. Anticipating criticism, the Canada Council has attempted to build safeguards into the pro- gram to prevent an individual artist-member of the advisory committee from directly pur- chasing his own work on behalf of the state. But there is noth- ing to prevent him from pur- chasing the work of a colleague on the advisory committee, nor anything to prevent the col- league from returning the fa- vor. What is the critic's role A critic is defined as: A person skilled in judging the merit of literary works; a judge of the merit or ex- cellence in the fine arts; a writer whose chief function is to pass judgment on matters of literature and art; a reviewer; one who judges with sevori.y; one who censures or finds faults. After reading Pat Orchard's "review" of the various per- formances of the Lethbridgo Symphony Orchestra and Chor- us, I can only suppose that the two last definitions are the most applicable. Writing of the last concert, she finds fault successive'y with the editor, the soloists, the chorus, this string orchestra; she damns with faint praise the harpsichordist, she tosses a sweet slur at Mr. Gocrzen's coach, throws a token palm branch at Mrs. Kaufman, and enjoins the conductor to choose something more technically mature. As with previous reviews by this writer, I have the feeling that she attends concerts with music score and blue pencil in hand, pouncing on every error with glee. Then, returning to her desk, she consults the dic- tionary and-or musical thesaur- us to see how many long words and convoluted sentences she can use in the write-up. Even in the write-up of the Vancouver Radio Orchestra, for whom there was nothing but praise (believe it or she could not refrain from such meaningless phrases as "evoked a hauntingly refined sense of inwardness Perhaps it is useless to re- mind Mrs. Orchard that the Lethbridge group is composed of amateurs who hold full- time jobs in other activities and who practise together to bring interesting and entertain- ing music to the community. They cannot be expected to reach ths heights attained by professional players and sing- ers. Nowhere in the review was there any indication that she had enjoyed the performance; well, the rest of us, not so gnat- pickingly critical, did enjoy it, and we appreciate the efforts this hard-working association has made to bring enjoyment to us. In our dealings wilh children, we arc told to praise wherever possible, to encourage further efforts and to look on the posi- tive side of errors. I am not implying that our musicians are children, but I am saying that every person functions better with praise than with continual criticism, which seems to be all that our Lethbridge musicians ever get from Pat Orchard, whosa reviews seem more a display of questionable erudi- tion than a genuine "judgment of the merit or excellence" in musical performances. MRS. N. E. KLOPPENBORG Lethbridge 'Crazy Capers' The obvious conflict-of-inter- est aspects of this arrangement already have created a furore in certain sectors of the art world. Echoes of the dispute have recently started to reach the ears of some politicians. The council itself is showing understandable sensitivity about the subject. Contrary to its usual practice of releasing detailed informa- tion about recipients and amounts of various grants, the council up to now has refused to provide anything but the names of artists whose works have been purchased for the Art Bank. It has refused to provide a list of the works purchased, the amounts paid for them or the total amounts paid to indi- vidual artists. The council's refusal to re- lease more detailed information is puzzling in view of the way in which the Art Bank Is supposed to function. The program is de- signed to create a collection of contemporary Canadian art, warehoused in Ottawa, for rental to government depart- ments and agencies at an an- nual fee of 12 per cent of the cost of the work. Eventually the Art Bank's catalogue, listing the rental fee, will provide the kind of information that the council is now refusing to re- lease. The 28-member advisory com- mittee of the Art Bank, which includes academics and direc- tors of public galleries as well as the artists, forms a pool of expertise which can be drawn on by Luke Rombout, the 39- year-old museum curator and art historian who was hired by the council last year as pro- gram officer for the Art Bank. The actual selections are made by three-member sub-com- mittees composed of Rombout and two members of the advi- sory committee. "We are all aware that the committee system is not per- writes Rombout in the current issue of Art Magazine, "but other alternatives we have discussed are less objective or even logical.' Rombout doesn't list the other alternatives but presumably one of them would be to eliminate people who are receiving money from the Art Bank from the group that awards the money. Presumably it wouldn't be pos- sible for the council to assemble an advisory committee of cura- tors and directors of public gal- leries, academics and other ex- perts. Perhaps it might even be healthy to include non-Canadian experts in the selection process: from time to time. The Art Bank situation is im- portant because of the large amounts of money being admin- istered, and because it illus- trates how easily conflicts of in- terest can occur. The 11 artists undoubtedly are performing a useful public service as mem- bers of the advisory committee, and all of them can find a ready market'for their works through ordinary channels, but these circumstances don't ex- empt them from the standards that govern everyone else ad- ministering money in the public interest. The paint's still too runny, Stan.... The Lethbtidgc Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD 00. LTD., Proprietors and Published 190S -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second CI9M Mall Registration No. 0012 The CanMlan the Canadian Dally Newspaotr Association and the Audit Bureau of CUEO W MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, Gtntral Manager DON PILLIN8 WILLIAM HAY Associate Editor ROY F. MILES OOUGLAi K. WALKER Editorial Page -THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"