Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD-Thuraday, October I'lHIOIKIALS Election reflections There was a time when it could safely be predicted of Lethbridge elections that incumbents would be returned to office and any attempt to have the communal water supply fluoridated would be re- jected. That was the well established pattern of voting. It is no more. The composition of city council, made up equally of newcomers and holdovers, is a truly surprising result. Many ex- planations for this outcome will be made but nothing stands out as sufficient. Those elected do not appear to fall into factions, fortunately. Each brings a cer- tain individuality which ought to make for a good council. On the issue of fluoridation the pen- dulum finally swung over slightly to the side of those favoring a proven beneficial public health measure. The surprising thing about the vote on this issue is that so many people still believe the nonsense promulgated by the anti-fluoridationists. Perhaps some of the negative vote reflects more the rejection of science and the embracing of a new kind of irrationalism than a specific opposition to fluoridation. Mixed in with this may be something of the mood of defending individual choice as opposed to enforced conformity. Unfortunately there was no surprise in the poor turnout at the polls. Nothing seems to stir people out of their lethargy regarding voting in civic elections. The continuation of that pattern is truly dis- appointing because seldom have elec- tions been so vigorously contested by so many able candidates. Attitudes from on high Two recent rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada give an insight into the court's ideas about the unwritten obligations which exist in relationships among people or, to be more exact, in relationships between individuals and organizations. In one case it has ruled in favor of an individual and in another case it has ruled in favor of an organization. In the matter of the snowmobiler who was injured while trespassing on the property of a mining company, the Supreme Court has said that the com- pany was obliged to post hazard notices even on its own private property, which was off-limits to public use, and that in lieu of such notices it was liable for damages to the trespasser, a sum of In another case, in which an Alber- ta" builder sought damages of because the Canadian National did not deliver a telegram on time, the court ruled that mere acceptance of a telegram for delivery does not guarantee such delivery and that the CN therefore was under no obligation to its client. It is difficult to reconcile these differ- ing views about obligations. In the first case a company was faulted for not going out of its way to meet its obligations. In the second case a corporation was freed from what would ordinarily be assumed to be a basic obligation, considering the nature of the company. It is true that in the one case a human life was at stake and that the other was a matter of business. But the telegram might just as well have dealt with a human life. It would be interesting to speculate on what the court's verdict would have been had this been so. As it is, the question arises as to whether the law feels responsible for protecting an individual from personal injury but does not feel responsible for protecting him from economic injury. Inefficiency is sometimes thought of as the hallmark of the Canadian economy and certainly casual attitudes toward job responsibilities can be observed almost anywhere. The high court's ruling in favor of Canadian National's casual at- titude toward its responsibilities is not going to alleviate this situation. As a note of encouragement, Chief Justice Bora Luskin disagreed with the decision, holding that it was a "monstrous" proposition that a carrier could decide if and when it would send a telegram. If the new chief justice develops any influence within the court, it may eventually change its mind about obligations in the business world. Concerned professionals The recently released report of the Seminar on the Serving Professions (sponsored by the Vanier Institute of the held in Quebec several months ago, shows that educators, doctors, social workers, lawyers etc., are concerned about their effect on clients and want to institute a more humane way of .dealing with people. It is evident from the discussions published that professionals believe all people are capable of handling their own affairs, with the proper assistance. Empire building, a common criticism of these professions, is acknowledged to be a problem, as is the institutionaliza- tion of service providing bureaucracies, which turn the client into a consumer, creating another barrier between the professional and the ordinary person. These barriers, often originating from such professional procedures, lead to an increasing dependence of persons and families, the opposite effect of that wished. A lack of time and energy were given as the major reasons for the general ab- dication of professionals in their accepted responsibility to cause social change. The effect of this could result in the general public turning to them for magical solutions to future problems with which the professions are not familiar. On the other hand the professions may follow the medieval guilds and simply disappear. The idea behind the seminar appears to be a response to a genuine need and should be repeated in future. However, instead of acting just as a discussion group, some concrete solutions to the problems of serving people should be brought forward. Then, -these suggestions should be filtered down through all ranks of professional people so the general public will benefit. ART BUCHWALD Should Rockefeller pay Nixon WASHINGTON The two major political problems in this country this week are that Nelson Rockefeller seems to have too much money and Richard Nixon doesn't seem to have enough. Last Friday the headlines said Rocky was throwing around money like a drunken congressman, while the justice department had made a deal to defend Richard Nixon's Watergate civil suits at no cost to him. This angered many people in the country, including Selwyn Mimser who called in a rage. "Why should I as a taxpayer have to foot Nixon's legal I said, "that's the way they do it over at Justice. They fed they owe Nixon something." "Why doesn't Rocky give him the Mimser wanted to know. "Why should Rockefeller give him any I asked. "Because if Nixon hadn't resigned. Rockefeller wouldn't be the vice-presidential candidate now." "That's true, but Rockefeller can't just give money to everybody. After all, there's even a limit to his I said. "How do you know He had me there. "I'm just guessing there's a limit. There is, isn't "Why are you asking Selwyn wanted to know "Anyway I think we should make Rocky promise to take care of Nixon for the rest of his life." "That's not I warned Selwyn Nixon likes a lot of perks, such as servants, chauffeurs, secretaries, ghostwriters, not to mention a press secretary and a large office staff" "Rocky can handle Selwyn assured me. "At least, he can afford it more than we can." "But." I said, "there could be a conflict of interest. Suppose Nixon ran for public office again? If he had accepted a gift of money he'd be under obligation to Rockefeller." "If you read Rockefeller's statements he has never given anybody money except as a gesture of appreciation and friendship. Not once has he taken advantage of the gifts." "You know I said, "and I know that. But does Nixon know it? I think you have a good idea, but it won't fly. We, the public, should give Nixon anything he asks for and not leave it up to the Rockefellers of this world. "While I'm the First to agree that this country should economize, I don't believe it should be at the expense of an ex-president who was forced to resign because he was up to his ears in the obstruction of justice for which he has been given a full and unqualified pardon." "Well it was just an Selwyn said. "You don't have to get sore at me." "I'm sorry. I lost iny I said. "But you have to admit, we've reached a sorry point in this country when we question a man who gives one or two million dollars away to people he has a deep affection for." "I wasn't questioning Mimser protested "All I was suggesting was a way to take care of Nixon's legal and household bills without sticking the taxpayer. Gerry Ford did ask us to think of ways of saving money." "He also said it was time we forgave Rockefeller." 1 said, "because he's suffered enough." "Don't worry Rocky, I won't tell a soul." Federal-provincial affairs By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator OTTAWA The prime minister's speech in reply to che speech from the throne contained at least one i.e. something that seems innocuous enough but where the potential impact is explosive. Mr. Trudeau is going to create a new department of external affairs. Of course that won't be the name of it. It is to be known as "an indepen- dent office for federal- provincial relations" to be responsible to the prime minister. No matter what it is called, it is a formalization of a group in the Privy Council office that has grown to treat the provinces like foreign countries. This aberration is not con- fined to the federal level. Several provinces have es- tablished a department of inter-governmental affairs with a minister at the head of the department. In Ottawa, the prime minister is the one charged with the final respon- sibility and co-ordination of federal-provincial affairs so the new deputy minister will report directly to him. At this point the question that comes naturally to mind is "so What possible effect could this remote and seldom mentioned change in government organization have on the average individual? The answer is that it will inevitably produce a substan- tial deterioration in the qual- ity of life for each of us. Our frustration and alienation will rise as the sensitivity and effectiveness of government continues to fall. Quality of life may mean different things to different people. Many of its com- ponents affect most of us. Some people are concerned about the quality of the air they breathe and the water they drink. Others are concerned about the time wasted in getting to and from work, the cost and availability of decent housing, the supply and price of food, the length of the lineup at the supermarket, the reliability of our air and rail transportation systems their recorded messages tell- ing us all the lines are busy and other things. Each of these factors has one thing in common: They are influenced directly or indirectly by government, federal and provincial, and the inter- relations between them. The problem created by these departments or offices for federal-provincial relations lies in the fact that in each case an extra mail box is involved. If the minister of environment wants to talk to an opposite number, the office of federal-provincial relations must be advised. If the minister of state for housing and urban affairs wishes to negotiate a new housing the federal-provincial office must be consulted. If the minister of agriculture has to unravel a misunder- standing with his provincial opposite numbers, the federal- provincial office will be in- volved in the act. Negotiations which formerly were carried out directly are now funnelled through the diplomatic maze. This creates what the ebullient Jack Pickersgill used to describe as interfaces. These are tension points between people and agencies where there is unclear or overlapping jurisdiction. Sometimes these can be useful but in this case the net result is more paper, more time, more frustration and less efficiency. An old rule of thumb suggests that every time an intermediate agency is created, the number of peo- ple involved doubles and the time required to do anything increases by a factor of four. With the advent of double duplication in Ottawa and the provinces (affectionally known as these numbers will be of the order of four and eight The appointment of Gordon Robertson (the present clerk of the Privy Council) as head of the new office is not re- assuring. He has a reputation as an able administrator. Less well known is his role as architect of the proliferation of government departments during the Pearson regime. Consistent with the increasing trend in these matters, the cabinet was not consulted. It was presented with a fait ac- compli. The cost can be reckoned in terms of millions. More important, it was a ma- jor contribution to the con- tinual deterioration in the speed and effectiveness of government. In the same context, John Turner's long speech on the state of the economy cited several reasons for the mysterious new brand of inflation. The size, complexity and duplication of government were not included. One concrete suggestion he would consider would be the disband- ment of this horrendous duplication of effort. Hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect benefits are involved. So, too, is the real quality of life. There is little sense in talking about improved productivity if the government's contribu- tion is negative. The old system worked very well. Federal and provincial ministers could eyeball each other and resolve their differences. The situation was succinctly put by a former colleague in the Quebec government. "You and I always got along he said. "We' didn't always agree but after a bit of give and take we made decisions and got the job done. Now with those "chaps" in- volved nothing is ever resolved." Witnesses to various federal-provincial meetings would chant amen. Gordon Robertson is a sophisticated and successful empire builder. He will insist on having his finger in every pie. The establishment of the federal-provincial relations office will cause more premature graying among ministers and deputy ministers than anything Ot- tawa has done for years. THE CASSEROLE In Calgary there is concern about the autonomy of local hospital boards. In Ed- monton they're bothered about the autonomy of correctional institutions. And throughout the province there is worry over the autonomy of school boards and boards of governors of educational institutions. In case everyone's been too busy arguing about it to look it up. according to Random House's un- abridged dictionary, autonomous means "self governing; independent; subject to its own laws only." Self governing doesn't sound at ali bad, and it's generally agreed independence is a good thing. But that last one that executives of Canada's major professional football leagues don't think Canada needs any new football leagues. Add this to the list of wonders of the world: Soviet scientists have now defined an un- derground mountain of salt nearly feet high, higher than Everest It is more than 300 million years old, and is in Kazakhstan Rear the Caspian Sea. It contains numerous different salts and may be exploited for chemical industries. Executives of Canada's major chartered banks are unanimous in their view that Canada shouldn't have any more chartered banks Executives of major food chains are less explicit about it. bat it is believed they are equally certain Canada doesn't need ad- ditional food chains. It has even been claimed The decision of the Manitoba government to eliminate grading in the province's high schools is liable to throw the admissions department of the universities into a panic. According to a department of education spokesman, the government is not prepared to cater to the minority of students who need a final mark to establish academic performance. Letters Right to employment I was much surprised that anyone would regard as controversial the statement that "no one has the right to force people off welfare and into jobs not of their own choosing" (The Herald, Oct. In a Christian society, the right of person.; to employ- ment of their own choosing seems obvious to me. In certain totalitarian states (such as Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia) people were told, you must do this, you must do that or else. Surely Canada is not going to revert to the brutal device of com- pelling people, with the threat of starvation, into employ- ment not of their own choosing. The fundamental problem is the lack of suitable employ- ment for disadvantaged groups of various sorts. Unless society is willing to tackle this problem welfare must be regarded as an ab- solute right. There is something wrong with the socio-economic values of a society which com- pels a man with 12 years of university education (four in excellent health, to live on welfare because no suitable employment can be found. JAMES J. KLEIN Govan, Sask. Environment hearing It is unfortunate that the department of environment's public hearing on the Alberta Ammonia Ltd. fertilizer plant proposed for Raymond "wifi be nothing more than a public discussion" (The Herald Oct. Perhaps the department of environment and Alberta Am- monia Ltd. have already come to some arrangement and plan to have a public hearing only for "cosmetic purposes." Residents of Raymond and Lethbridge need to be assured by Mr. Yurko that his department's public hearing will be something more than another promotional oppor- tunity for Alberta Ammonia Ltd. and its friends. Some or all of the en- vironmental hearing should be held in Lethbridge. Not only because many people in Lethbridge would be affected by this plant, but also in order to avoid the pro-development hysteria that has been organized by Alberta Am- monia Ltd. and it's supporters in Raymond. T. TILLACK Director, Lethbridge Chapter of the an Independent Canada Cow and calf prices I find it rather amusing that the fact of the price of calves and cows are of so little conse- quence that the front pages of The Herald is not embellished with the balance sheet for the calf producer. No doubt a portrayal of calf receipts on one hand and the itemization of feed costs, taxes, veterinary fees, fencing, shelters, water problems and a pick-up plus interest on "trying to stay in business" would be most Just what wisdom lies behind the hysteria that has pervaded the beef operation in Southern Alberta? Canada? Suppose a survey was made to assess what'per cent of the consumer dollar is paid for good meat against junk foods. Also could it not be equally possible to run a survey on rents and home building. Surely we are a sufficiently adaptable people to tolerate a raise in beef across the counter as we can tolerate the costs of extra vehicles, hous- ing and "recreation." I commend Mrs. Nelson from west of Cardston and B. Y. Williams of Cardston in their efforts to get more facts to the public. Very few of us are or economists with the necessary facts and informa- tion or training to fully assess the situation. The price of government is high from government should come the answers. THORA I. DAINES Cardston The Lethbridge Herald Tlh St S. lethbrtdge, Afeerta LETH8WOOE CO. LTD. Proprietors and PrtBIWhers Second dan Man Registration No. O012 CLEO MOWERS. and PuWWbw DON H PILLING DONALDS DOflAM Managing Editor General Manager MILES Manager DOUGLAS X. WALKS) Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FEMTOM Cfrcnriation Manager XEJWETH E 8ARMETT Business Manager THE HERALP SERVES THE SOUTH"