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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 22 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, November 19, 19.4 SNP victories reflect trends in Scotland BALLATER, Scotland (CP) The big man in tweeds dominated the hotel bar, his booming voice with the accent of London's stockbroker belt crushing the soft speech of the locals as he reeled off a catalogue of the grouse he had shot that day A wealthy insurance broker, he rents a grouse moor in the Dee Valley, a few miles from the Queen's summer home at Balmoral, for a season. He brings parties of friends and clients for a week at a time throughout the au- tumn, picking up the tab for them at a local hotel and, presumably, receiving a tax rebate for "business enter- tainment In a small way, this man who, like many affluent Eng- lishmen, uses Scotland as a playground, symbolizes that sense of exploitation by Eng- land which has fuelled the amazing surge of Scottish Na- tionalist support this year. In the two general elections of 1974, the Scottish Nationa1 Party (SNP) with its platforn of self-government based on the proceeds of North Sea oil, has picked up one-third of the Scottish vote and added 10 seats to the single MP it had at Westminister a year ago. All its in Tory in rural areas where farmers and fish- ermen are feeling the pinch of Europe's common agricul- tural policy. These are the areas, too, where absentee landlords with homes in fashionable districts of London have their estates. Royal Deeside, as it likes to be known, is the snobs' area of Scotland where local lairds jockey for invitations to Balmoral and a hectic social round of balls and soirees goes on from mid-August to mid- September. It is full of grouse moors, glorious in their purple carpet of heather but inviting the Scottish Nationalist charge that land which produces one quarter-ounce of grouse per acre could be growing timber instead. Deeside is a feudal pocket of Britain where the clock seems to have stopped in the 1930s. Its lush, varied patchwork of hills, moors and river valleys is studded with grand estates, many still occupied by descen- dants of Edwardian tycoons who made a fortune in sewing thread or jam. A lonely pair of gateposts in the midst of glorious Oinnet Moor marks the well-hidden Scottish retreat of newspaper magnate Lord Astor, who also owns a historic castle in Kent and homes in London and the south of France. At the balls, women wear long white gowns with tartan sashes, men wear formal Highland dress and dance cards are meticulously filled in. Admission is by invitation only. To the visitor, it seems as though the natives exist on the fringe of this glittering world and there is a growing number of card-carrying Nationalists in the area. The SNP has been in exis- tence since 1926 but only in the last six the Na- tionalists returned seven MPs in the February elec- London-based politicians become aware. The party had a brief taste of political power in 1945, with an MP who won a byelection in April but was submerged in the Labor landslide of the general election in July. For more than 20 years after that, it was regarded as an eccent- ric fringe, scathingly dis- missed by Scottish Labor MPs as "Tartan Tories." Tom Howe, a local SNP chairman in the Highlands, recalls that trying to whip up membership in the early 1960s was "like digging a 50-acre field with a spade." But then came Winnie Ewing's sensa- tional byelection win at Ham- ilton, a Labor stronghold since the Labor party was first formed. Winnie, as everyone calls her, is a 45-year-old Glasgow lawyer of energy, charm and a cutting wit. She lost Hamilton in the 1970 general election but last February snatched a blue- chip Conservative seat, Moray and Nairn. SNP recruitment boomed and at the October election the party contested all 71 Scot- tish ridings, cutting deeply into both Tory and Labor voting patterns, though they did not seriously dent Labor's hold on the industrial heartland. Most Scottish Natiom' sts will tell you they do not seek a Scottish republic but inde- pendent status within the Commonwealth and loyal to the Crown. They propose an association of British Wales independent as the lines of the Scandinavian countries with, their common labor market, free trade and constant interchange in all fields. Scotland's original motive for accepting the 1707 Act of Union was economic, and the country still has a largely separate educational and le- gal system. Today, Scots see less advantage in the eco- nomic argument, especially with the prospect of the oil billions flowing south to the British treasury. Even without the oil, nation- alists maintain, Scotland could go it alone. It is rich in minerals as well as agricul- ture and timber, with enough coal to sustain the steel and shipbuilding industries. Above all, there is na- tionalists say Morayshire alone produces enough to ri- val in value the gold in the Bank of England. BILLIONS BORROWED Bank loans outstanding in Canada at the end of 1973 ex- ceeded billion. Sears The Christmas rush ends here! In luxury. feet up. Cushioned in soft, supple vinyl with 3 comfort positions to choose from! Irresistibly priced. 4 days only 109 98 For the top of your wish list. Or for someone special this Christmas. The best seat in the house in rugged, leather-grain vinyl. Total comfort recliner moves smoothly on bearing oper- ated, 3-position mechanism. Contoured back is Rea 98 filled. Sink-in, polyfoam seat 4> its'.ao cushion and no-sag spring construction. For your leisure in Gold, Brown or Black. 01R 041 001 C. best value Available from coast to coast in Canada through all Simpsons-Sears stores, this very special offer is the smcerest effort Simpsons-Sears can make to bnng you merchandise that combines fine quality with the lowest possible pnce. Simpsons-Sears Ltd. Enjoy rt now' Use your All Purpose Account At Simpsons-Sears you gel the finest guarantee. Satisfaction or money refunded. Store Hours: Open Daily a.m. to p.m. Thursday and Friday a.m. to p.m. Centre Village Mall. Telephone 328-9231 Oil firms say budget doesn't give enough OTTAWA (CP) New tax measures announced by the federal government Monday will give oil companies an ad- ditional 2.4 cents on every dollar of production income, but an industry spokesman said it is not enough to boost their exploration effort. The federal tax proposals to take a larger share of revenue from the resource industries also drew quick reaction from Alberta Premier Peter Loug- heed, who described the budget as "the biggest ripoff of any province in the history of Confederation." Finance Minister John Turner, in his budget speech, outlined changes in explora- tion writeoffs and tax abatements that will give the companies 40.5 cents on each dollar of production income, compared with 38.1 cents un- der proposals in the May 6 budget, defeat of which brought down the minority Liberal government. Primary aim of the tax cut, the government says, is more exploration for new oil and gas reserves to bolster pre- sent supplies which experts say will not be enough to meet domestic demand by 1980. But the federal government said it is retaining the most contentious proposal from the May budget, a measure to pre- vent the deduction from tax- able income of royalty payments to the provinces. CONSIDERED RELENTING Mr. Turner said he consid- ered bowing to pressure from the companies and the produc- ing provinces to change the provision, but "I have concluded that this approach does not offer a practical solution." His statements drew fire from Mr. Lougheed, who reiterated Alberta's stand that under the British North America Act the resources belong to the provinces. He added that because of the federal tax measures, his government would not feel bound by last spring's federal- provincial agreement to freeze the domestic price of oil at a barrel. Mr. Turner repeated nis contention that the measure was needed because higher provincial royalties in Alberta and Saskatchewan were threatening to erode the federal tax base. "We have pulled back from our original Mr. Turner said in his speech, pointing to changes that he said will put an additional million in the hands of the petroleum companies and provide million in ad- ditional funds to mining com- panies. 'ISN'T ENOUGH' "I must admit the federal government has taken a cou- ple of forward steps with its said John Poyen, president of the Canadian Petroleum Association. "But it just isn't enough." Either the federal or provin- cial governments would have to make further cuts on taxes or royalties if they hoped to in- crease exploration, he said. But in supplementary docu- ments released with the budget, finance department officials estimate that under the new proposals the oil com- panies will retain 40.5 per cent of production income after payments to all levels of government. They add that even under the sUffer May 6 proposals, the companies would have been left with 38.1 per cent. Prior to the tax changes, the companies were getting 52.9 per cent. Federal share of production income under the new proposals will be 14.4 per cent compared with 16.2 per cent in the May budget and 5.6 per cent prior to that date. SHARE DROPS Provincial share will be 45.1 per cent, compared with 45.7 per cent in May and 41.4 before then. While standing firm on the royalties issue, Mr. Turner said he had reviewed other proposals in the May 6 budget and "concluded in a spirit of accommodation that I should propose some changes which will be helpful to both the provinces and the industry." The minister said he had de- cided to retain the 50-per-cent federal tax on resource production profits, first an- nounced in the May budget, as well as a new abatement for the oil companies designed to put more money in their hands. The tax rate for 1974 had been 48 per cent. An abatement of 10 points already is in effect to provide room for the provinces to tax the industry's income. The additional 10-point abatement effectively reduces federal taxation on the companies to 30 per cent. Federal rate of tax would be further reduced to 28 per cent in 1975 and to 25 per cent in 1976 under the new budget to give the companies more money, Mr, Turner said. Supplies of oil and natural gas were dwindling and new sources likely would have to come from frontier areas or off the east coast where ex- ploration costs are higher. "Our reading of the situa- tion is that the industry's need for funds as they carry out this program will build up over the next two or three years." he said. Mr. Turner said that while standing firm on the royalties issue, he had reviewed other proposals in the May 6 budget and concluded "in the spirit of accomodation that I should propose some changes which will be helpful to both the provinces and the industry." The minister said he decid- ed to retain the 50 per cent federal tax on resource production profits as well as a special 10-point abatement for oil companies. With the existing abatement of 10 points, designed to ieave room for provincial taxation of profits, the effective federal tax rate in 1974 will be 30 per cent, the minister said. STILL MORE In recognition of the higher cost for exploration in frontier areas and off the East Coast, further abatements will be allowed in the next two years under the new budget, reduc- ing the federal tax rate to 28 per cent in 1975 and to 25 per cent in 1976. A special abatement of 15 points, announced in May to reduce federal tax on mining companies to 25 per cent in 1974. is retained in the new budget. Mr. Turner said under the new budget exploration writeoff for the oil and mining industries will remain at 100 per cent while development cost writeoff will be reduced to 30 per cent. Last May's budget proposed a reduction to 30 per cent for both. The new budget also reintro- duces a proposal to reduce depletion allowance for the resource industries to 25 per cent from 33 per cent. It changes the system so that depletion is no longer automatic but must be earned by the companies through ex- ploration work. Pincher meeting set tonight Public hearings into land use in Alberta have been scheduled for 15 centres in the province, starting Jan. 28 in Medicine Hat and Jan. 30 in Lethbridge. All persons are invited to present briefs to the public hearings and can do so at any of the 15 hearings. Three more sessions spon- sored by the Rural Education and Development Association for the Alberta Land Use Forum are scheduled Southern Alberta to gather briefs from area residents. Briefs from Beaver Mines, Twin Butte, Blairmore and Pmcher Creek wnl be heard in the Pincher Creek MaOiew Halion High School tonight at 7 30 p m {Tuesday) A similar meeting will be held at the Taber Provincial Building Wednesday at 7.30 p.m. and the final meeting is scheduled for the Lethbndge Exhibition Pavilion Nov. 29 at p.m. ;