Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 30, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuttday, October LETHBRIDGE Tribute to the "log cabin socialist" By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA The province of British Columbia, since the days of Amor de Cosmos, has sent more than its share of no- table characters to the Parlia- ment of Canada. None did more to enliven its solemn proceedings than the irrepressible Herbert Wilfrid Herridge, pride of the 54th (Kootenay) battalion and eight times member for Kootenay West In his 23 years in Ottawa, Mr. Herridge co-existed first with the CCF under M.J. Coldwell; later, and not so easily, with the New Democratic Party. He was briefly NDP House leader after the founding convention. As a glance at the record will show, there were com- plications along the way. It was the habit of Mr. Herridge to remind government ministers, at suitable inter- vals and with appropriate solemnity, that he was a past vice-president of the B.C. Lib- eral party It is also an in- structive fact that he was once expelled from the CCF party of British Columbia, only to be returned by West Kootenay voters as a "People's CCFer." Equally revealing was the attitude of many Conser- vatives, who regarded him affectionately as one of their subject to the qualifica- tion that his "revolutionary Socialism" put him well to their right in the political spectrum. The truth, or part of it, was that the free and impish spirit known as Bert Herridge was not easily containable in party bottles. It was typical that Mr. Her- ridge took his political heroes where he found them. They in- cluded Mr. Coldwell, his first and revered leader; Howard Green, his old comrade of the 54th and Arthur Laing, who combined integrity with grace of manners in a fashion bound to appeal to the member for Kootenay West. To puzzled outsiders it may often have appeared that the Herridge career was a mar- vellous spoof shared with the understanding constituents of his lake country riding. But perhaps there was more to it than that. Maverick or not, he was one of the most conscien- tious of members. Possibly he reflected, in an unique way, the contradictions of an oddly divided constituency and even, since human beings are not always creatures of logic, the contradictory aspirations of many individual1 voters. In the mythology of the press gallery, Mr. Herridge was the Baron of the Kootenays. It was also said, so often that it can scarcely have escaped general atten- tion, that he waved the red flag in Trail, the red ensign in Nakusp and the Upper Lake' country. The latter allegation, suggesting calculated oppor- tunism, might be taken as a story circulated by political opponents. Not so. Mr. Herridge. to the annoyance of some colleagues, invented it, delighted in it and propagated it himself. It was said, and not in a kindly spirit, that the en- sign, for which he fought in Parliament, represented the closest approach that the member for Kootenay West would ever make to the red flag. In reality Bert Herridge was equally himself in Trail and Nakusp. The essence of his socialism was concern for the underprivileged and for under-dogs. He joined the CCF in the depths of the depression not because he was enamoured of a doctrine but because he thought the es- tablished parties were in- capable of dealing with the misery he saw on every hand. With the passage of time, however, it may have oc- curred to some in his party that the Herridge definition of the unfortunate and disadvan- taged had become remarkably elastic. As spokesman for the Committee to Save the Rox- burgh, a downtown Ottawa apartment building, he professed to be stricken to the depths of an unquestionably chivalrous soul, by the sad plight of such residents as Mrs. Walter Gordon, wife of the then-minister of finance. The social reformer was also, and unmistakeably, a country gentleman deeply at- tached to old values. He loath- ed urbanization and in- dustrialization (twin parents of socialism) and he hated un- ion bosses, power dams and a Social Credit government which threatened his earthly paradise on the Arrow Lakes. Ironically, there was more of monetary theory, strangely resembling Social Credit, than of socialism in some of his speeches for he was no econo- mist and never quite unravell- ed the tangle of conflicting, reformist ideas which he and many others inherited from the confusion of the 1930's. I once described him, after one of his more bucolic speeches, as "North America's only log-cabin Socialist." He seized on this with sheer delight, invariably so designating himself in the correspondence we had before and after his time in Parliament. If his career in the House was remarkable, it was a near miracle that he ever survived his ordeal in No Man's Land to serve in politics at all. But there was a larger miracle: though terribly maimed, he was unfailingly and ex- uberantly cheerful, the very embodiment of mischief, the Puck of Parliament. The party to which he be- longed, at least until a few years ago. had the reputation of being an ultra-serious group. Some members, reacting like Queen Victoria on a famous occasion, were not amused by the stories with which Mr. Herridge regaled his friends, practically every morning, in the coffee shop. One of his favorites con- cerned his father, a dedicated Liberal, who felt duty-bound to explain matters to West Kootenay voters when Bert stood for the CCF party. "You all the elder Herridge observed, "that Berti Willie was badly wounded on the Somme. What you may not realize is that he was wounded in the head." The member for Kootenay West was also strong on recol- lections of pioneer days. He chose to share with a fascinated House his memories of Broken Back An- nie and other storied ladies of the Yukon who drifted down to the Kootenays after the gold rush. He took particular pride in the fact that his mother, a dedicated Conservative, had enlisted the services of a number of them in the local Anglican choir. It cannot be said that the party was invariably eager to follow where the member for Kootenay led. On one occasion he startled the House with a charge that a Conservative minister (David Walker) had authorized the scrubbing of certain bronze statues on Parliament Hill with lemon juice. Mr. Herridge, having personally investigated, com- plained that the hair on the head of Thomas d'Arcy McGee, thus polluted, was turning grey and that the com- plexion of the "buxom Mol- lie" at his feet was being ut- terly ruined. The press gallery could not hope to escape. On another dull parliamentary day, Mr. Herridge rose to inquire sweetly of Mr. Howard Green: In view of the fact that a new parliamentary stone carver. Miss Eleanor Milne, has recently been appointed, would the minister consider taking advantage of this op- portunity to mark the new Elizabethan age by recommending the enshrine- ment in stone, as decorative gargoyles, of the heads of Book Reviews members oi the Fourth Estate, whose Celtic, Roman and Elizabethan features would be most appropriate for the He was an astonishing mix- ture. He would befriend any misfit or take up the cause of anyone rejected by society. But he deplored the trend of the times, hated the per- missive society and imagined a golden age. now long lost, in which every one lived simply, preferably in log cabins, worked in communion with nature, cultivated good manners and showed a proper respect for authority. He lam- pooned the very proprieties which he observed meticu- lously. He might convulse the House of Commons but he was incapable of breaking its rules and no one was ever more deferential to its traditions and presiding officer. The stories about him are legion and will be told endless- ly in Ottawa. British Colum- bia presumably will continue to send its quota of characters to the House of Commons. But there will not be another Bert Herridge. He was a rare spirit, unique, shameless, marvellous. The mould that shaped the squire of Shoreholme was long since broken in this much changed land. World of broadcasting "Mister Broadcasting: The Ernie Bushnell Story" by Peter Stursberg (Peter Martin Associates Limited, 287 From the beginnings of radio to the formation of television and later cable television. Ernie Bushnell was definitely a fierce competitor for what he thought was right for broadcasting. Mr. Stursberg portrayed him as "Mr. Broadcasting" in as neutral a tone as one could in tribute to a friend, however, if they weren't such close friends it is my feeling that the author would have suggested that Mr. Bushnell retire from broadcasting Letfs talk about your tomorrow and how you can save yvith Canada Savings Bonds down. and the rest in n easy monthly payments at The Brst Canadian Bank. some 10 years sooner than he did. It is obvious that money and position became more impor- tant than the listener and viewer to Mr. Bushnell in his later years. This is best exemplified by his destruction of certain programs even though they were being applauded by millions of viewers throughout Canada. One such program was "This Hour has Seven Days." The author does an ex- cellent expose of political manoeuvring that takes place between owners of major broadcasting firms and government officials. For ex- ample, a member of Parlia- ment favored a certain broad- caster's proposal to the government when the broad- caster agreed to hire certain people within his constituen- cy. Mr. Stursberg would have been wise to disregard the first few chapters in which he stumbled through trivia about the type of streets Bushnell's hometown possessed and a useless description of a pet collie named "Carbo." Following the trivia, the author provides several chapters of interesting and entertaining nostalgia from the days when radio was the champion entertainment medium serving both the rich and the poor. In later chapters the book is a historic manuscript and would be a welcomed addition to any Canadian historian's library. Weed out the trivia and be rewarded with an insight into the world of Canadian broad- casting. JIM GRANT Books brief in The First Canadian Bank Bank of Montreal "Railways in Southern Alberta" by R. F. P'. Bowman (Whoop-up Country Chapter, Historical Society of Alberta, P.O. Box 974, Lethbridge, softback, 40 Nobody, surely, can be better qualified to write a history of railways in Southern Alberta than Paddy Bowman. He an active association with rail-roading over a 40-year period, of which 18 years were spent in Southern Alberta. This is a straightforward report on the railways without the usual anecdotes about peo- ple and events found in most histories of this sort. Un- doubtedly the author has many such stories to tell and must have been somewhat frustrated in having to omit them from his account but his booklet will be more useful for a reference as a consequence. There is an amazing amount of information in the booklet. A double page map showing all the rail lines, several good photographs, and a list of top railway officials of the Lethbridge division complete the history Both history and railway buffs will want to own this booklet. DOUG. WALKER Tip of the iceberg Management by Objectives- -I By Reg. Turner, member of The Lethbridge Public School Board Business consultants have developed a technique called Management by Objectives which is being widely accepted as the best way to increase efficiency, develop staff motivation and give better value for the money spent. Many school systems have adopted it, most of the others are studying it. Winston Churchill High School in Lethbridge has several years experience with it and may be considered to be an example of MBO in ac- tion. A three day seminar was held a few weeks ago to familiarize all city ad- ministrators with it. MBO is very easy to describe, every employee must know exactly what his job calls for him to do, when he has completed each item of it. and how well it was done. It is fairly easy to apply to a business or industry where things the employees do are few in number and not too complex. However, the question is: Can it be universally used in a public school system? The answer to this is Yes because the school system can be looked upon as a business enterprise. The products skills, attitudes, concepts etc. cannot be pictured in a catalogue, or weighed, or measured in yards or square feet. But it is not only possible, it is relatively easy for a school system or a teacher to document in detail: a. What it offers to students. b. How it will be delivered. c. How to check that the student has acquired it. As a matter of fact many educational enterprises have been doing this for a long time; aircraft pilots, automobile drivers, computer technicians, sales persons, etc., have all learned skills from such enterprises. Furthermore, these enterprises almost guarantee that the student will learn 100 per cent of the course of instruction, while in our public schools a large number of students do not learn one half of their courses. And don't blame this on poor teachers or dumb students we have never had better teachers or better students. The blame has to be put on the conditions under which the schools operate consider these facts: 1. To give one student one day's education the school board gets a revenue of about Out of this it must pay all salaries, building maintenance, supplies, and busing How rnuch learning should we ex- pect to get for an hour? 2. Parents do not pay directly for their children's education. If they did perhaps they would be more aware of what they get for their money. 3 Children are forced to take courses they don't need. At least half our students should not be compelled to take mathematics after grade seven 4. School staffs find it impossible to take enough time for preparation planning and conferences with each other and small groups of students. 5 Evaluations come at the end of the semester and many students who have not completed their learning arrive in the next level of the subject and get no chance to complete the learning of the level they were in last. Perhaps these five points will help the reader to see why a public school system can- not deliver the goods as well as a private in- structor who would get more than for one hour's work with one student. And perhaps they will persuade the reader to take a good look at some comparatively small but very significant changes which would give our teachers a chance to get the credit they deserve for the high quality of their professional efforts. In three more articles on this subject, I will try to outline the basic characteristics of MBO and give enough illustrations of its use to at least cause the reader to want to know more about it. If I succeed in that, perhaps some will ask for more information, which requests could be handled by administrators in either of our school systems. In the mean- time, think about the possibility of such things as these happening in our schools: Each specific thing to be learned in a course spelled out in a set of file cards. No prescribed textbooks but a great variety of references. No exams in some subjects. Exams before students enter a course, to enable student needs to be met. Pass marks set at 70 per cent. No repeating of courses further study in- stead. All of these and other desirable things could happen when MBO is adopted. And when they do happen, every teacher will become a respected classroom manager and every stu- dent will become a customer who will take his learning at a pace suited to his needs and in a quantity related to his rapacity Problems will be solved by counselling. Don't tell me this is too idealistic I know it is but isn't it something worth shooting for? Left-behind towels By Chris Stewart, Herald staff writer I can't go through the fall without thinking of towels. It's a habit, I suppose, from long beach years when our home in White Rock. B.C. was a change house for every Tom, Dick and Harry who popped in over the long, leisurely summer. When school reconvened I spent the first day sorting them, separating the sheep from the goats, as it were, putting "ours" in one pile and "theirs" in another. I finally established an "orphan" shelf stacked with the abandoned ones. Some were never claimed, some retrieved at the first swim the following May and others picked up during the fall and winter. Some had identifying initials tucked into one corner. These were no problem. It was the unidentified towels that bothered me. They went through a regular upheaval everytime someone stopped in to announce, "I forgot my and started rummaging through the "orphan" shelf leaving me with an unrecognizable display. There were long towels, short ones and some fringed and thick. Some were monogramed and "hers" (which really didn't identify Others had crocheted edges (very some were embroidered, others plain, some luxurious and others threadbare. Some were large and colorful, printed with mermaids, King Nep- tune and starfish, some were striped, some plain, some stiff from harsh washing and others fluffy and soft. Washing salty towels was always a pokey business. First they had to go through a cold water rinse before joining the regular soapy wash (if I forgot the salt content "killed" the When dry I had the job of separating the "strays" (not belonging to us) and stack- ing them on the prescribed shelf all the time trying to match them with past summer guests. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. As the pile mounted I wondered, "Did all those towel owners change at our house? Is it possible7" And I remembered the umpteen swimming days since May, the number of cousins and young vacationing friends plus the adults dropping by for a swim and quite naturally everyone had to change at our house, of course. The telltale beach sand lodg- ed under the rugs was proof enough. It has a way of sifting into the shower and the bed sheets and on into the fall I was still sweeping the rear door entry where guests had shaken sand from their feet. And there, in the entry closet, was the bag of unclaimed bathing suits where guests who announced, "Oh, I forgot my were invited to rummage to see if one would fit. "Are all swimmers I mused. "If not why on earth are so many towels un- Does swimming and a salty sun bath relax one into Long after vacationers had gone, local residents bent on beachcombing wondered the same thing. Dotted on the sand were towels short ones, thick ones, long ones and thin ones, left by relaxed swimmers forgetting to claim them.