Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 22, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Friday, November 22, 1974 Pious hope While the federal government's budget was not specifically designed to fight inflation, that insidious cancer was not entirely ignored. Finance Minister John Turner explained his tax cuts as an attempt to reduce the impact of inflation on people of modest income For them the cuts should just about wipe out the ill effects of higher food costs, he said. Mr. Turner asked people to remember this when thinking about .going after higher salary or wage contracts The probability is that this will not be taken into consideration by very many people. When income hikes are sought it is seldom because people are suffering actual deprivation. If they say it is, they are being dishonest. The majority of peo- ple in this country are faring quite well. They certainly are not going without the basic necessities. What is generally sought are the means to acquire more of the luxuries of living. In most wage and salary negotiations of late the prime concern seems to be to keep up with the gains made by other groups, not to keep the wolf away from the door. Doctors, for instance, have not sought an increase in fees because they can't keep enough food on the table but because they haven't had a fee increase for some time and thus are falling behind in their purchasing power relative to other groups There always seem to be pace setters whose settlements make the others restive and keep the aspirations high. The kind of clause in the new Lethbridge teachers' contract that gives them an ad- ditional percentage increase if the average increase other major urban boards grant their teachers is greater than the already substantial increase called for in their contract should prove a popular thing. An ideal union contract, no doubt, would be to take this concept a step further and tie it to whatever group gets the best deal of all. Mr. Turner's dream of Canadians curbing their desires for more and more of the national pie hasn't a ghost of a chance of becoming reality. The fact is that the government is, in large part, responsible for nourishing discontent. Both by intervening in labor disputes to get big settlements for strikers and by granting high salary scales in the civil service, government helps create the pace setters. A slowing of the wage and salary spiral will not be accomplished through the utterance of pious hopes. If Mr. Turner and his colleagues think the country's health requires a diminishment of expec- tations they should say so bluntly and give some leadership that would lead to its realization A bargaining point A U.S. government report on critical imports, recently completed by the staffs of 10 different departments and bureaus, concludes that the U.S. will not face another resource crisis like the oil crisis in this century. This is based on the fact that the U S. has stockpiles of many raw materials, and imports others from friendly developed nations. The U.S. is dependent on imports for only 15 per cent of its in- dustrial raw materials, apart from fuel. By way of contrast, Europe imports 75 per cent of its raw materials and Japan imports 90 per cent While the report does not envisage the development of cartels to cut off supplies of the imports which are vulnerable, it does acknowledge the possibility of supply disruptions to chromium and platinum and "price as with Jamaican bauxite and Moroccan phosphates The report is in sharp disagreement with a private study made by the Brookings Institute which cites a number of effective cartel arrangements, in tin and mercury in ad- dition to bauxite and phosphate The second report sees the Third World countries as direct threats to the U.S. economy and says the resource situation threatens relations among the in- dustrialized nations of the world, who will have to compete with each other for vital raw material. The importance to Canada of these reports has two dimensions. In the first place, the government report is apt to have been overly optimistic about security of supply, since it does not pay off diplomatically to be pessimistic about a country's dependence on some developing nation Government action may very well be taken from the un- acknowledged point of view of the second report, that everything possible must be done to protect U.S. imports In the second place, Canada supplies half of the U.S imports, according to the government report. This means, and it has been so interpreted by a White House official, that the U S. will act to upgrade its relations with its mam suppliers, including Canada Mr. Whelan (or Mr. Gillespie) may have something to bargain with after all in seeking talks with Washington about meat quotas. THE CASSEROLE Toronto isn't the coldest place m the world, but it still has plenty of sub-zero days every winter It is noteworthy, therefore, that On- tario Hydro's new office building in Toronto has no furnace, or any other internal heating devices. It is a special, energy conserving design, intended to be wanned in winter by no more than the heat from office lights and the bodies of people working in the building Canada's War Amps, the society that has done so much to help disabled war veterans, will extend its services to civilian amputees This reminds us that the Legion. Army and Navy Club and other veterans' organizations, must all disappear unless non military members are welcomed. No one sane could possibly wish to see their ranks replenished any other way. Canada has proposed to the United Nations that it develop facilities for training member nations' troups in peace-keeping duties. Now that this wholly sensible idea has been ad- vanced, it seems scarcely credible that UN peace-keeping duties have been going on for decades without it. Red-letter day By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator OTTAWA Budget day was a red-letter day for me A life-long ambition was fulfilled. As a neophyte journalist. I was permitted to enter the "lock-up" with access to a copy of the budget a full seven hours before it was released to the public. It wasn't the first time I had known the contents in advance. Cabinet ministers are usually briefed a day or two before publication But there was a strange fascina- tion about what went on in that locked room where newsmen prepared their stones in the afternoon before the big event This year, for the first time, the curtain was drawn and I was allowed to peer into the unknown. The action took place in the conference centre the old railway station It is quite posh since it was refurbished for federal-provincial meetings Anyone who remembers it as Union Station wouldn't recognize it now from the inside A commissionaire greeted me at the door We hadn't seen each other for several jears and were pleased to meet again Inside. I had to show my parliamentary press gal3er> pass because my name isn't yet on the printed list of gallery members Beyond the reception area the big room with all the typewriters It was a relief to see the one with my tag or, it What if it had been missing'' Across the room was tJie table where the secret documents -were piled 1 sipnc-d a declaration that said I wouldn't reveal anv of the contents of the budget until the minister was on his feet in the House of Commons Then I was given a copv Soon it was announced that ofiinaK would arrive at 4 30 p m to answer questions At the appointed hour we adjourned to another room Could we attribute dr.s-Acrs to government officials someone asked No was the reply, this is a i-o- -vrnt TV Letters Independent Alberta I believe in an independent Alberta m the same way that the NDP believes in the im- mediate nationalization of all industries in Canada. My posi- tion expressed in a recent report is that Albertans should encourage all Canadians to think about what the benefits are to Alberta in Confedera- tion and what the costs are In the private sector the oppor- tunity costs are much greater than the benefits I would like Bessie Annand to wait until part two of the study comes out, then she can see what Alberta gets by way of federal government spending and what Alberta pays to the central government. The Independent Alberta Association is a non-political fact-finding group dedicated to the renegotiation of Alber- ta's place in the partnership of provinces established by Confederation. It supports the principles of free enterprise and the rights of individuals and has members from all political parties and from all western provinces. Referring to Quebec, the prime minister said just before the budget that any province can "take its marbles and go home" so to speak. It seems to me that Alberta wants to play by rules The NDP and the Liberals seem more ready to change the rules and even change them as they play. The report recently releas- ed by the Independent Alberta Association is available in a complete edition for in an abridged version for and in a summary free to members. It is being read by politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and Canadians from all walks of life Those concerned about Alberta's position in Confederation can get further information in the detail they want by writing to me in Lethbridge or to the associa- tion in Calgary I invite Bessie Annand to read what is m the report DR HERB AXFORD Lethbridge Open board meetings 'Is Mr. Turner in... Respectable budget By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator briefing was to be treated as if it didn't exist And so the 25 officials, six at the table in front and 19 in a row of chairs behind, skated the fine line between inflation on the one hand and unemployment on the other hand, until the time for questions was exhausted. Did they leam their footwork from the minister or did he learn his from them? Back at my place, the moment of truth had arrived Charles Lynch came past to suggest that I should lean forward into the typewriter My posture, obviously, was less than professional. 'I can't." I replied. "I haven't got my eyes I started wearing glasses recently and because they are used only occasionally, I leave them places this time in Toronto Chas thought that my excuse after all what can an editor say when you can't see a word you are typing was hilarious Time is pressing and the pressure is building as the deadline approaches. Susan Rvislcr of United Press International turned tn that she thought she would enter me in r.exi vear's two finger typing contest Last v ear Max Keeping of CJOH won it and he is a lot better than 1 am but I am making OTTAWA John Turner has produced a very respec- table small "c" conservative budget. It will not totally please anyone On the other hand it is not likely to totally displease anyone It should delight most economists because it reflects the consensus of the dismal science it is a two-handed budget. In other words, it reflects the government's concern for unemployment on the one hand and inflation on the other hand without really coming to terms with either. It predicts without actually spelling it out, continued stagflation i.e. too much infla- tion and increased unemploy- ment at the same time From a conventional point of view, it is an improvement from the May budget It con- tains most of the re-election goodies provided at that time. In addition it announces new measures to stimulate produc- tion and encourage house- building Taxes will be removed from transportation equipment and personal in- come tax exemptions increased To meet mounting criticism that their taxation policy might lead to a petroleum shortage in a few years, the government has increased the special abatement for profits in that industry after 1974; and.restored the 100 per cent write-off for exploration ex- penditures These two measures will help to restore confidence, at least in part A popular announcement is the increase in duty-free allowances for tourists. The quarterly exemption after 48- hours absence is doubled from to The major annual exemption of is increased to and the minimum absence reduced to 7 from 12 days That will make honest citizens of thousands of weary travellers who always have difficulty converting foreign currencies into Canadian dollars, and who usually err a bit on the liberal side. The subject of housing got more than a casual tip of the minister's hat. The decline in housing starts this fall has become a matter of deep concern. Not only is the waste of manpower morally un- acceptable when there is an acute shortage of decent ac- commodation but the ripple effects on the economy are serious too. Thousands of peo- ple have been laid off in the lumber industry and the same could happen in appliance manufacturing unless something is done at once. To encourage new starts, the federal sales tax on building materials has been reduced to five per cent. This will reduce the price of an average house by several hundred dollars, in addition to the grant to first-time new house purchasers an- nounced a few weeks ago. These measures will help but they are not half as impor- tant as interest rates. To get the rental housing industry out of the doldrums the minister re-instated for a limited period, the system under which taxpayers will be per- mitted to charge depreciation costs of apartment buildings against income from other sources Professional people like doctors and dentists used to do this quite a bit It reduced the tax payable on their professional income in the short-run and gave them a nice asset that would increase in value over the years and provide them with a rental in- come perhaps when they retire. The income tax cuts were the minister's pride and joy. If you add all the changes of last May and now, about people will be taken off the tax rolls. A married wage earner with two children under 16 will pay no federal tax in 1975 unless his income exceeds Berry's World B1TEA BULLET TODXT 1 wrap it up and trot over to Parliament Hill to phone my paper At the other end of tbe line a co-operative secretary takes it all rj'wn for It is pretty long, she says, near end She deserves a medal With a sigh of relief 1 go to the gallery to raUh a moments of Robert Stanfield's TfnH to Turner Stanfield .s at his witty best riTit] the House is ITI an uproarious -mnmj M 10 o clock the bell rings and the MP's depart 1 still have the press conference and th< minister s partv to attend but it's been a s to be on both sides of the 1974 by NEA Inc If he earns his take home pay will rise by in 1975 as a result of the reduc- tions The minister went on to say that the would represent a large part of the increase in that family's food over the last 12 months The minister failed to say, and for very ob- vious reasons, that the tax- saving was only about one fifth of the family's loss of purchasing power through inflation. Without a big increase in pay, in addition to the tax cuts, the family would be in deep trouble. This leads to the greatest weakness in the budget It doesn't really attack the problem of inflation at all The minister rejected the two extremes, i e an all-out at- tack on unemployment on the one hand or an all-out attack on inflation, even if it resulted in higher unemployment, on the other. "The first is he said "And the second is inhuman That is fair enough but he then goes on to give the im- pression that he has opted for continued "stagflation" which is too much of both at the same time. If the budget leans in either direction it is mildly expan- sionist Even that could turn out to be a delusion. Turner predicts a real growth of about four per cent next year But most of this will come from the extra people that he predicts will be working The increase in productivity per person, therefore, could be about one to one and a half per cent. All salary and wage increases in excess of that will be on average pure inflation. Turner hopes to bring this relationship between wages, profits, prices and productivi- ty under control by means of concensus "Inflation is the enemy of sustained good economic he admits. "This is why we will pursue, with vigor and perseverance, efforts to achieve a national consensus to proceed not by edict but by consultation Good luck to the minister. If he and his advisors had spent a few moments in reflection they would have recalled that John Young and his Prices and Incomes Commission tried that a few years ago. It didn't work then and the odds are a thousand to one that it won't work now Perhaps that is why Turner virtually admitted defeat in advance. "We cannot expect to eliminate inflation over night." he said. "We will stnve to get below the two- digit level next year It will take "self-discipline and a good measure of political courage to get it down to five per cent" over the next few years Indeed it Mr Minister Our concern is bas- ed on the unhappy conclusion that so far two ingredients are missing They are self- discipline and political courage On Nov. 19, an open meeting was held regarding a motion before University of Lethbridge governors of open- ing meetings to the general public One case was put forward to the following effect Input from interest groups would be viable, for it would give governors the possibility of rationalizing better infor- mation Minority groups could be represented An agenda could be released before the meetings, so the general public would be aware of what is going on, and could present a reaction if they so decided, before something was done by the board of governors The whole point is of course, open meetings so that the public is aware and can comment. There were several com- ments from board members which disagreed with the open concept They wished to keep the meetings between themselves Bill Lambert an English professor, and board member made the comment "the barbarians would come and confuse the issues" Mr Lambert was refenng to the general public and m par- ticular the press He is worried that the press might interpret things differently from what they really are, and confuse the issue Mr Lambert is further worried that some members might not have the ability to ward off public concern and might be influenced by what the public wants. Exactly what kind of democratic system would we have if the public had a behind closed doors Heavens! If the press were ever invited they might un- cover another Watergate or something' In Canada. Canadians are concerned about the freedom to make in- put into the decision making process If not the decision (through tnen at least the right to make a presentation or brief. This kind of practice is followed around the world in democratic nations. Exactly what is going on behind those doors that some members feel should be kept secret9 Why are some members afraid the public might find out how they stand on certain matters' Why are some members so fearful of the press and public reaction to what the press may dis- perse to the public? Is a closed board of governors, which is the highest authority in the Uni- versity of Lethbridge, rep- resentative of the so-call- ed liberal program of educa- tion that the university adheres too? What a farce' A liberal institution with closed doors It makes one wonder whether this is South Africa or Canada JOHN ANDRUSIAK Lethbridge Chain letter We suffered a great loss recenth in the death of our young son and among all the beautiful cards and floral tributes came this terrible chain letter talking about luck. I have had my bad luck, now I need a stronger faith in God Can't something be done to stop such heartless and stupid people, as the one who sent me this letter? I tore it to shreds in a fit of anger and tears. Have we not suffered enough7 MRS BARRIE CALHOUN Foremost "Non-golfer" golfs In a recent report in The Herald, regarding the land swap between the city and the country club. (Nov. 19) it was stated "the quandary was resolved by Lethbridge voters who sent enough non golfers to break the deadlock." This implies that the six aldermen who voted were non golfers. This is not true. I mav be a lousy golfer and no doubt countless golfers at the Henderson Lake golf course would heartily agree with this assessment, nevertheless I feel slighted to be classified as a non golfer Remember it takes years of both physical and mental concentration to achieve the status of being a lousy golfer Modesty prevents me from signing my real name 'PIPE PUFFER DUFFER" Lethbridge Former Irish president I would like to correct one item of sad news which appeared in The Herald Nov 18 It is connected with the death of Mr Erskme Childers, former president of Ireland, and it read that he was the first Protestant president of that country This is an error Of the four presidents to date. he is the second Protestant to hold that office The first president, the great Dr Douglas Hyde, who once taught at the University of New Brunswick, was also a Protestant I have no doubts that many more presidents will be of that faith, too. LOUIS BURKE Lethbridge The lethbridge Herald 71ti St S UffMbndgc. 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