Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 9, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
i THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, November 9, 1971 Parliament faces difficult decisions liy Bnicc Hutchison, special cnimiR'iiUlor Tor FP Publicaions A sales tax in Alberta? For years no session of Alberta's legislature has pas.-ied without an opposition question as to the govern- ment's intentions with regard to a provincial sales tax. Tins year when the inevitable question was put to Premier Lougheed he replied that the answer would have to await the tabling of the next budget, in Feb- ruaiy. That response scarcely foreshad- ows the institutions of a sales tax in Alberta but it certainly is much different from the regular "No" that for years has kept Alberta the only Canadian province without such a tax. Interest in a sale tax is natural enough. Regardless of the promises they snake modern governments seem incapable of preventing continual rises in spending, so they are always on the lookout for new sources of revenue. Being made up of individuals accountable to the vot- ers, it is natural for them to look closely at any form of taxation that voters elsewhere seem willing to put up with.. If governments must have more money, they have ittle choice about where to get it; they go to the tax- payers. They do have some choice, though, as to the group or groups of taxpayers that will be called upon to contribute. There is no such thing as a com- pletely fair tax. Quite apart from legal and economic anomalies, and the loopholes that zealous searching will inevitably uncover, people are different and have differing life- styles. As long as this is so always, one hopes no lax will af- fect all people in exactly the same way. Nevertheless, it is the duty of any government to be as fair as it can. i A sales tax is clearly not a fair tax, notwithstanding apparent accept- ance elsewhere (which one suspects may be as much resignation as "Unless it applied only to commodities anyone can do with- out, in which case'it is really a lux- ury lax, it will affect the cost of living. Even if minimized by exempt- ing certain necessities, this is bound to hit some people harder than it does others. A dollar means much more to someone living on a small fixed income a pensioner, for in- stance than it does to someone receiving a good salary. And incidentally, sales taxes are expensive to collect. Even though most governments make merchants their primary tax collectors, there is always a significant addition to the bureaucracy. Repeating that no tax can be truly fair to all, it is probable a tax re- laled to income is as fair as any; al least the government must es- tablish the amount of income receiv- ed before it calculates the tax to be levied. So, if a government is in extremis, it should consider adding a point or a fraction of a point to the income tax il already collecls, rather Ihan inslituting a new tax which, besides requiring a new apparatus lo collect, is demonstrahly less fair. Terrorist 'diplomacy' Immediately prior to the Lufthansa hijacking resulting in the release of three Black September terrorists im- plicated in the Olympic massacre, a .peculiar event occurred in Amster- dam's Schiphol airport. The luggage of a young Palestinian transit passenger, Ribbi Khalum, tra- velling on an Algerian diplomatic passport, was checked, because one of his suitcases was unusually heavy. The case contained letter bombs, ex- plosives, ammunition and a variety of other lerrorisl paraphernalia. Kha- lum was taken to the police station; the government was informed. After a short period, he was released, and allowed to continue to his destina- tion somewhere in South America. Authorities produced the statement that they did not detain Khalum be- cause police "were not convinced that he knew what was in the case." There is a strong suspicion that the Dutch government was afraid that if Khalum were placed under ar- rest, there would be a further out- break of terrorist bombings which have plagued Holland during the last few months. So they let a key man go, and in so doing gave the govern- ment an international black eye. The case has aroused the fury of Israel in particular, and the Israelis are already angry with the Dutch be- cause of the suggestion that they might soon release the last three Nazi prisoners now held in Dutch jails. When international black eyes are being handed out, however, double shiners should go to Algeria, a coun- try which not only provides a haven for malcontents and hijackers, but allows those involved in terrorist ac- tivities to use diplomatic immunity for their dirty games. When is the UN going to lake ac- tion against a member nation which so blatantly flouts all the rules of in- ternational fair play? One parent's view By Georgean Harper I am so tired of one or a group of In- dividuals telling me, thai as a parent I should show my interest in my child's education by "showing concern, being ac- tive, and-or presenting briefs or the Inference being, that, the absence of these shows my complete lack of concern. This is just iiot true. I am extremely interested whichever way you may evaluate this in the welfare and out- come of my child in school. However, I feel Uiat most presentations and-or actions are really quite futile. For almost three years I frantically struggled along with a group of about 15 interested and dedicated parents, teachers and resource people over an idea for sex education in the junior high school. Final- ly, a motion was passed at a representa- tive school-parent meeting, that three short films, which were previewed prior to this meeting and agreed upon unanimously as to their quality, would be shown out of school time, optionally, with parental per- mission, to any student wishing lo see them. Alas'. I never (lid timl out if the .10 minutes of films were shown, as by that lime my child had passed into high school. I was most fortunate, as a parent rep- resentative, in spending a whole day at a work conference on curriculum find educa- tional ideas presented hy a senior official in the field. The theory of the "child pro- gressing at his own rale" sounded most interesting. However, after unsuccessfully trying In open question lime, I managed in fcmvale conversation, lo pel an answer lo my question of what would bo Hie slu- dent-toacher ratio in relation to this theory when used in the school. The educationalist felt lhat the student-teacher ratio of 7-1 wns the maximum for optimum child re- sponse and effectiveness. There ore somo .school classes In tathhriclgc conlaininfi up to 111 students each trying to progress at his own ralo in some, if not nil, suhjcct-s. It is obvious where that leaves the teacher, yet these theories continue to be tried under such hopeless, real situations. As a parent, what can I do about it? When my first child entered school I looked fonvard to the home and school meetings as a light to guide me during a time of need. During my first few meet- ings, the main concern was the low mem- bership of the organization, with discussion centering around how to improve this plight. Simply to go lo a meeting lo be counted is not good enough. With a total of 27 cumulative years of having children in school (this year involv- ing 4 different schools) and, hopefully, 21 cumulative years to go, I do not want lo again "tour the facilities." I want to know what my child is doing in school, and how she is doing it. I want lo know what my children are learning and how they compare with the rest of the class. As, contrary to some views, mv child will eventually have to go out into the world of others and be compared! Believe me, I am not trying lo condemn any person or group suggested here. Wo arc all trying sincerely lo find our way. It is the sense of direction in many cases that is wrong. Instead of again putting the onus on the "lethargic may I make this suggcslion to the professionals and laymen who have something to offer education: Please discuss and arrive al some concrete poinls of exactly what can be changed and liow, and then let us, Ihc parents, know nboul it. To merely suggest thai we go the school lo help out and thereby learn what's going on, is no solu- tion, as well as being impractical for some. Whnl's (he point of discussing innovations If they are going to be implemented any- way? Witli proper guidance on issues thai, cnn bo modified, pchaps Ihen, Hie people l.'i- inrnlini; about parents will begin lo we arc nol so disinterested aflcr all. Looking back, if we must, at lire confused spectacle of the recent election, it is ob- vious at least that Canadians no longer have much confidence in any of their political parlies. Looking fonvard, we can see the reason clearly enough the parties do not know how lo go about solving our basic prob- lems. While the same is equally true of parties in all democra- tic states, and of dictatorships in the other kind, Uiis is cold comfort for us who will suffer months of political chaos and paralysis, at the very moment when we desperately need bold action. Still, it will be wise to keep our seals in the Iheslre of the macabre and nol rush, scream- ing, to Ihc nearesl exit because there are really no exits. Be- sides, we have seen no more than the first act in an unfold- ing drama apparently written by a mad playwright. Sanity will return in subsequent acts to be written mainly, I sus- pect, by Robert Stanfield, whose pen moves slowly but surely. If the election decided no specific issue of importance, and merely Ihe membership an unworkable Parliament whose life in Hobbe's memor- able words, will be nasty, brutish and short, Lhe experience of October 30 should have taught us something beyond the poli- tical mathematics. To begin with, il laughl us, I believe, lhat government under any label will increasingly pen- etrate Ihe affairs of the individ- ual citizen. Such a notion may seem strange when a Conser- vative parly was the only real election winner, when a Lili- eral government was repudi- ated outside Quebec, when a socialist party won far less gains than it had reason to ex- pect (and proposes, like Ihe Ihree lailors of Tooley Street, to coerce the others in a bur- lesque of Never- theless, the penetration of gov- ernment, federal, provincial and municipal, continues by the evolving nature of modern so- ciety and by Ihe immediate plans, such as they are, of the two large parties. Already the Trudeau govern- ment has penetraled a long way. Now even that so-called Conservative, Mr. Stanfield, if he gels the chance, will use government to stimulale the economy, to broaden social wel- fare and to benefit the poor by inflationary tax reductions. If necessary, as I am sure it -will be necessary, he is prepared to impose direct controls over the resulting inflation. Call it what you may, denounce it as you please, disguise the bitter cake with any amount of sweet frost- ing, this is the power of gov- NDP will decide next election date By Maurice Western, Ottawa commentator for FP Publications OTTAWA The new House of Commons has been freely compared to those of the 1360s, in which no party possessed a majority. In fact, it bears a much closer resemblance to the House which met in October 1957. Real Caouetle may well have been the first polilician lo sense Ihe difference. In any case, its significance is now becoming generally clear and must greatly affect Ihe behavior ol the various groups in the next few months. What distinguished the Par- liaments returned in 1962, 1963 and 1965 was the dissipation of power. This went so far that even the balance was shared by two.groups or three; the New Democrats, Social Credit and the Ralliement des Creditistes. A quite different situation had existed in 1957, and earlier in 1925, when the life of a minor- ity government depended upon the support of a single, inde- pendent group; in the one case, the CCF, in the other, the Pro- gressives. This characlerislic of Parlia- ments from 1962 to 1968 had two practical consequences. In Letter to the editor Ihe first place, it gave minority governments some freedom of manoeuvre; this is perhaps the reason why they lasted long enough to convince many people that a House of minor- ities need not mean instability of government. Secondly, the minority groups themselves enjoyed a sense of security. Each had opportun- ities to back its principles by voting against the govern- serene confidence -that its rival would find reasons for supporting the ministers; Urns avoiding the nasty business of dissolution and a new election. The situation is now radically different. While Mr. Lewis has fallen far short of Ihe "im- mense" gains he foresaw .at one hopeful momenl of hia campaign, he has achieved a goal that eluded Tommy Douglas. The NDP has seats enough lo hold the balance of power. It requires no help from Social Credit and cannot be frustrated by Social Credit as it votes this way or that way to make or break governments. Mr. Caouette is sidelined by simple arithmetic; his 14 seats are insufficient to give Ihe Lib- erals a majority and they are Favors capital punishment I would like lo commend Weekend Magazine for extend- ing to Canadians the opportun- ity through surveys to become involved in some of the vital is- sues of current interest such as Canada Russia hockey scries and most recently, capital pun- ishment. Are we for or against capital punishment? This question will come up for debate in Ottawa soon. What arc we the people doing il? Will we let Ihe members of Parliament express their personal views or are ivo lo assist them by making known our views on Ibis vital subject? I believe it is our duly [o let our clcclcd members know how wn feel alxml Important issues. We miisl lend our strength, sup- port nnd give guidance (o our Ml' in the mnllcr of capital punishment. The Lord issued this com- mandment (o Israel, "Thou shi.ll not kill" nnd coupled willi thai lie said, "Whoso .shcddoth man's blood, by mim shnll his blood nnd Ibis has never, by divine decree been revoked. It is the duty of the civil courts to see that the death sentence is carried out. Unfortunately, our courts seem lo have lost their punch. Something vary vilal is lacking when we consider the Laporle murder and the treatment ac- corded the men brought lo trial. believe in freedom of speech, but no one should be purmilled to mock OUT system of juslice. In the case of mur- der, Ihc victim's slalion in life should make no difference whc- Iher or nol UK: death penally is applied. In short, when a mur- der is commitlcd, a life is laken and (he person who commitlcd Ihe act must, by divine decree, give up his own life. us gel our Inw en- fnrcemcnt officers; contrfcl our momljcr of Parliament; vole In Weekend's survey; give expres- sion to our views; and ensure Mini Ihc dcalh penally which Is n divinu law, is rc-inslalrd! .1. M. UEGEIUl C'oulU. also insufficient to give the Conservatives a majority. But effective power, in this case, may not be an unmixed blessing. Mr. Lewis has also won Ihe spotlight; the difficulty is lhat there can be no escape from it. For a variety of reasons the Conservalives and New Demo- crats were commonly allies in the last Parliament. Both faced an apparently powerful govern- ment. Both resented Mr. Trudeau's attitude towards Ihe House. Both, in considerable degree, Opposition parlies tend to govern- ment policies, sensing areas of vulnerability and attacking ac- cordingly. The quarrel with tho Trudeau Government over- shadowed everything else and in pressing this they gained tactically by combining their debating skills. There was this differcnce. The NDP had little patience with the measured dissents of Robert Stanfield. They differed with tho governing Liberals more sharply, and often moro bitterly, than did the Con- servatives. David Lewis was particularly harsh in his denun- ciations of Ihc prime minister r.ni the government. If Mr. Slanfield was under- estimated by the Liberals, il is now apparent thai the New Democrats, dazzled by Iheir provincial viclories in western Canada, made even larger er- rors of judgment. As they had expected, seals fell away from Ihc Liberals, but it wns the Conservatives who made the most striking and disconcerting gains. The objective of Ihc Con- servatives in Ihc new Parlia- ment is clear. They wish lo (le- feal the government, as soon as possible and lo bring on new elections. It is by no means obvious that Mr. Lewis shares Ibis en- Ihiisinsm. He can scarcely have forgotten the collapse of Ihe CCF in MWiH. As Ilic has praised minority unvmimcnl, he may now tcel thai his host course is to .su.slain Mr. Trudcau, while insisling on measures having some resem- blance !o Ihc New ncmocnilie election program. Hut be may be in danger if an impression develops thai the NDP is acting out of fear; hence presumably his references nt Ihe weekend convention of Ihc Ontario Fed- eration (if Labor lo "a cnm- palgn Hint will come .shorllv" and lint even more .surprising suggestion of Cliff Kcolton, fed- eral secrclnry of the party, Hint the next election is "just a breath away." If so, it must be an election by NDP choice. Mr. Lewis, in the role of the big, bad wolf, will have no competition; cer- tainly not from Mr. Caouette who may be reasonable or un- reasonable but it is plainly in no position to blow Ihe House down. Meanwhile the New Demo- crats and Conservalives have begun an exchange of in- civililics which clearly fore- shadows their altered relation- ship. To achieve his purpose Mr. Stanfield must force the NDP to vote in divisions as an Opposition party. He has at his disposal a great many weap- ons; most of them fashioned by the NDP. They are to be found in Ihe record of NDP com- mentaries on the Ttudeau gov- ernment In the last Parlia- ment; in Uie principles es- poused by NDP members and their votes as set out in the pages of Hansard. In brief, the Conservalives through their motions are now in a position lo cause the NDP great embarrassment and they have an incentive lo do so. There is no question at all lhat Mr. Lewis holds the balance of power in a house of minorities; the trouble is that the apple of his desire may well be a poi- soned apple. With Mr. Caouetle in no posilion lo share the re- sponsibility, Mr. Lewis has not even the choice; to bite or not lo there are lo be mass abstentions on division, which would not be likely to impress the watching voters. One thing is certain. The al- liances of the last Parliament arc now out of the question. Everything suggests that, from Ihe outset, the Conservalives and New Democrats will bo manoeuvring against each other, with tho other parlies lensc observers, alert for any move thai might force Mr. Lewis lo use Ihc lelhnl power of which he is now the solo proprietor. eminent, nut of the individual. And it is growing. If we are lo have more gov- ernmenl, openly or in disguise, il is clear also, I submit, that we are lo have more national- ism constructive, generous and worthy ol a great people or destructive, mean and self- defeating. In any case, the im- pulse called Canadian identity, for lack of a belter name, was perhaps the one coherent theme running through the election and all parties in varying de- grees, though no politician could translate it into specific, understandable policies. However it may be translated in the Mure, Canadian national- ism cannot long remain a gesture because it will quickly encounter, in explicit form, the nationalism of the world's most powerful, and resource-hungry, nation next door. The relations between Canada and the United States, delib- erately blurred and postponed in the election, must increasing- ly trouble any Canadian govern- ment from now on. Lester Pear- son's original prophecy lhat these relations could no longer he considered easy and auto- matic, as in the good old days, is finding full confirmation to- day. As he could not. foresee some ten years ago, our nationalism must also encounter a newly prosperous and powerful Eur- ope, a Britain about lo enler it, a quarrelling Commonwealth of very dubious prospects, a rich Canada uniquely lacking a mass domestic market and, in short, a basically altered ex- ternal situation. More than ever before we Canadians are now on our own. A third point, sedulously ob- Bcured in the election, is that our economic problems will not yield quickly if they yield at all, to Keynes' fool-proof solu- tions (or to Mr. Unemployment, for example. Is so deeply and organically In- stalled in our exploding labor force, in the reluctance of idle workers to move where joha are open, in the changing atti- tudes of the young to work and live generally, in the automa- tion of industry and in the peo- ple's impossible demands on any productive system that the old remedies must be Inade- quate. Even if the Keyneslan pump were used lo distend the money supply until the Bank of Can- ada burst like an over-strained balloon, still this easy, familiar solution wouldn't work In our Canadian circumstances. And the ensuing debacle would make our present wild Inflation look like perfect price stabili- ty. For neither unemployment nor inflation have the govern- ment and opposition parties any real cure, only placebos and promises, because the interlock- ed paradox is far more com- plicated and intractable than they yet understand, or at any rate, admit. They should rot be blamed for failing to understand it when the thing is so new, EO unex- pected, 50 much a part of the world wide social revolution and, in a nation as naturally rich as Canada, so baffling and infuriating. But all the parties can be blamed for pretending that they understand and can masler it. Thus for reasons grossly ab- breviated and incomplete here, (and wrillen before the immed- iate Ottawa situation has be- gun to clarify) Canada faces, during the next few years, per- haps the most difficult decisions in its entire history. They will face it no matter what happens In the new, stillborn Parliament of paralysis. Beside them even wars, though terrible, were simple and easily understood since ev- eryone agreed on a single Joint purpose. When there is little agreement nboul anything, and unanimous dissatisfaction aboul everything, we should prepare ourselves for n rough road, as yet unsurveycd and unseen. Above all, we should realize that we must live for a long lime willi many of our current, unsolved problems, and various new ones ns well; that our un- rcalislic cxpcclations and econo- mic fanlasies must yield to Ihe actual facls and limits of our Canadian life. 0" n fragile parliament ary parachute we are at last des- cending from Ihe pink pre-elec- tion clouds lo an unknown Icr- rain lillcrcd will] broken heads and polilical corpses. The elec- tion didn't help much to en- lighten us, or cushion our fall, bill in due course events will. The Letlibridge Herald 604 7lh SI. S., Lclhbndgo, Albcrla LETHBRIDGE HERALD TO. LTD., Proprietors nnd Publisher! Published IMS 1054, by Hon. w. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Roolslrallon No. ml! Member of Tho Canadian Preii anrl Ihc Cnnadlnn Dally Newspaotr Publishers' Association and the Audi) Qurcnu al Circulation! CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor nna Piilill'.htr THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Mnnnocr DON PILI-ING Mnnanlnfl Editor ROY F NVIl.ES Advertising. Manager Wll.l 1AM MAY Tclilor DOUGLAb li. WALKER Kdlloitni Editor "THE HERAID SERVES THE SOUTH"