Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 18, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD -Tuesday, September 18, 1973 West Germany's 'Watergate'unfolds By Jack Serkoff, London Observer commentator More fuel for inflation The government in Ottawa has releas- ed its July figures on retail sales and con- sumer debt. Both are up dramatically, an indication that while people complain a lot about high prices, they still keep buying, even if it results in them getting deeper and deeper in debt. It's hard to work out aggregate figures on consumer debt, because of the ac- counting techniques used; different kinds of credit granters are required to report in different terms. (Governments are always uneasy about statistics that reflect unhappy situations, and tend to obscure them a But a little patience and some elementary mathematics will show that consumer debt in Canada has increased by more than billion in the past year, to approximately billion. This is pretty well in line with U.S. figures, which show an increase last year of billion, to a new high of billion, for a population roughly 10 times as large as Canada's. Sixteen billion dollars is a lot of money. It works out to about for every man. woman and child in the country, around per family. And that doesn't include mortgages on real property, a separate matter entirely. Consumer debt is financed in various ways, all of them at the expense of the customer. There is always an interest charge, which in one way or another is added to the cost of whatever is being financed. Interest rates vary, but gt icrally speaking none is lower than the 11 or 12 per cent that banks charge for certain personal loans. Acceptance com- panies, loan companies and the general run of what the public calls finance com- panies usually charge more, sometimes a great deal more. Interest rates of 24 per cent per annum are not uncommon, and some go higher than that. Very often there are additional charges, too. Figures needed to calculate the over- all cost of consumer credit in Canada simply cannot be obtained, but there is enough information available to indicate that the average interest charge is not less than 18 per cent, when all types of consumer debt are taken into account. It is also demonstrable that the goods Canadian consumers bought on credit last year cost them something like three billion dollars more than if they'd paid cash. If that's not inflationary, nothing is. BONN The parliamen- tary inquiry into allegations of corruption in the Bonn Lower House has entered its fourth month with prospects of determining just what is fact and what fiction in the "Steiner as bleak as ever. The key question a nine- member all-party inquiry commission has been trying to answer is. did Chancellor Wil- ly Brandt's left-liberal coaliti- on really stoop to bribery to save itself from defeat in a vote of no-confidence on April 27, 1972? At the time, defec- tions from Herr Brandt's coalition had wiped out its ma- Ban curb parking The popular trend to North Lethbridge is showing in the traffic squeeze on 13th Street North. Fashionable new sub- divisions, smart apartments'and attrac- tive trailer courts, all housing motorists, most of whom commute daily to work in South Lethbridge is putting a strain on this main artery, particularly during rush hours. The 13th Street thoroughfare is one of three crossings from north to the south, the others being Stafford Drive, connecting with the Ninth Street bridge, and 23rd Street, connecting with Mayor Magrath Drive. Besides being narrow for the amount of traffic 13th Street carries (it actually provides tor two 12-foot lanes plus two parking lanes) it is pocketed with parked cars which drastically cut down the navigable area. North from Se- cond to Third avenues it is a four-lane thoroughfare with all curb parking prohibited, and this is appreciated, but at Third, fronting the York Hotel, it graduates down to two lanes of southbound traffic and one northbound lane with parking permitted on the east side. Between Eighth and Ninth avenues' the driving width narrows into two lanes as parking is permitted on both east and west curbs. North ot Ninth avenue the street narrows into two lanes. Future improvements envisaged for 13th Street North include widening (possibly during the next ten years ac- quisition of some property is already un- derway) and the ultimate elimination of curb "parking as tne traflic count warrants it (maybe within the next five It is understandable that street widening will be a lengthy rocess requir- ing costly land acquisition, the setting back of some buildings and replacing sidewalks and curbs, but need the elimination of curb parking be delayed further? It would be better if 13th Street North could accommodate both curb-side park- ing and a full traffic flow, but the unfor- tunate truth is that at the moment it can- not. So which takes priority? Traffic does. Curb parking must therefore be heavily reduced. In iairness to the merchants along that street, a parking ban is not enough. The city should immediately purchase several lots along the street preferably at least one to a block to provide for off-street parking. With the city reviewing traffic needs annually it is hoped the next inspection will convince the traffic department that immediate measures must be taken to ease the growing congestion and otten hazardous driving conditions on this im- portant Northside street. Good advice on starting school The public school board's director of pupil personnel services, Mr. F. G. Cartwright, suggests that some children have trouble at school because they are sent there at too young an age. At first blush that sounds like heresy. Ever since education was first proclaim- ed the absolute answer to almost everything, it has been an article of North American faith that no one, es- pecially the young, could possibly get too much education. Moreover, the notion that a head start is the way to overcome handicaps is built solidly into western consciousness. How, then, can starting school earlier be anything but good? As it happens, it can, and very often is. Children can be badly upset, and their educational prospects severely damaged, by sending them off to school at the wrong age, which usually means too young. It seems most probable, then, that Mr. Cartwright's view is correct. As any teacher knows, not all children are equally ready to learn when they first come to school. The reasons are a matter for the professionals, but there are very significant differences between chi'dren, and how they learn. That's why the curriculum for qualifying teachers, in this province and most others, THE CASSEROLE jority and there was stalemate in Parliament, with the votes evenly balanced. Herr Brandt survived by two votes. One was that of Herr Julius Steiner, the 49- year-old former opposition backbencher who has lent his name to the affair. The identi- ty, of the other opposition member who voted against his own Christian Democratic Party has never been es- tablished. Herr Steiner's claim, in a series of newspaper and television interviews, that he was paid Deutsche marks for supporting the government by Herr Karl Wienand, the chief whip of the chancellor's Social Democratic Party, led to the establishment of the inquiry commission. Steiner, who described in minute detail how and when he was paid even down to the color of an envelope he said contained the cash has stuck to his version under per- sistent questioning. Wienand has denied it with equal per- sistence and greater elo- quence. So far the inquiry has done little more than strengthen the traditional belief of many West Germans that politics is a dirty game usually played by liars and cheats. The only fact that has been ascertained beyond doubt is that Steiner in fact paid marks into his bank account the day after the vote. The latest Bonn politician to fall under suspicion is Science Minister Horst Ehmke. He was called before the com- mission following newspaper reports that he withdrew 000 marks from secret government funds two days before the critical vote. Ehmke admitted that he had withdrawn the cash but not, of course, to pay Steiner or any other opposition deputy. The money was drawn, accor- ding to Herr Ehmke, to settle outstanding obligations in includes courses in educational psy- chology, strongly stressing individual differences. For reasons which no doubt seemed compelling enough at the time, it was decided long ago that school should be a daytime operation, so many hours a day, so many days a week, from early September until late June. It was also decided, probably on grounds that made pedagogical sense a century or so ago, that six is the right age at which to start formal education. Accordingly, children usually trot off to school for the first time the September closest to their sixth birthdays. This means that the child's chronological age is really the prime consideration in deciding when he starts school, even though every qualified teacher in the province knows that chronological age has very little to do with a child's readiness to learn. It is hardly surprising, then, that some children have trouble when they first go to school, and that this trouble can stay with them long past the first year or two. Mr. Cartwright's suggestion that parents consult knowledgeable professionals before sending their children off to school, is sound advice. The government in Ottawa is about to un- veil its gussied-up Confederation building, where it has built and furnished fancy offices, lounges, play-rooms and so forth, hoping to lure some of the MPs out of their musty old rooms in the Parliament buildingts proper. One nice feature is a complete and function- ing beauty parlor, for the five (5) lady MPs. Suppose they have to make appointments? Apropos current usurious interest rates, here is an exact quotation from the financial page of an English-language newspaper published in Europe: "Frankfurt, Sept. 3: Overnight money rates fell swiftly today to 16 per cent the level at which the Bundesbank is offering to discount bills from a nominal 20 per cental the start of trading. The 40 per cent rates reached Friday fell as expected Responding, in his inimitable fashion, to complaints of tardiness in developing an anti- inflation program (that's what they call the PM explained that doing it any sooner would have meant "basing legislation on hypothetical situations." Well, it's his business, but if that's a principle doesn't it place such alliances as NATO and NORAD, and other little odds and ends of legislation like well, the Criminal Code, for example in rather an odd light? None of the big oil companies has really been crying the blues about hard times, but even s--o the latest report from Royal Dutch Shell comes as a bit of a surprise. It has an- nounced first-half profits 167 per cent that's right, one hundred and sixty-seven per cent higher than for the first half of 1972. Finally making a move on the cost of living Domestic meddling often muddles By Tom Wicker, New York Times commentator NEW YORK The National Academy of Sciences a private organization has warned Soviet authorities that the arrest or official silencing of the physicist, Andrei D. Sakharov, could bri- ng about a curtailment of American Soviet scientific co-operation. Rep. Wilbur D. Mills, who as chairman of the ways and means committee is a key figure in any trade legislation, has said bluntly that the ''martyrdom" of Sakharov or the novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn might well prevent further im- provement of American Soviet trade relations. This was a reference to legislation that would extend "most favored nation" trade status to the Soviet Union. It already is being held up in the ways and means committee because of Moscow's hard line on exit visas for Jews seeking immigration to Israel. If "most favored nation" status continues to be withheld, of course, the Soviets can take their own steps to foreclose important American trade opportunities now developing in Russia. More important, such a breakdown in trade relations could lead to a curtailment or reversal of other advances in Soviet-American relations possible even in the sur- passingly important area of nuclear arms limitation. No doubt with all that in mind, Henry Kissinger repeatedly took the position, during the senate hearings on his nomination to be secretary of state, that "painful" though the situation of Sakharov might be, "I feel nevertheless that we must proceed on the course on which we are" that is, toward detente. He could not, he said, "recomme- nd as a principle of American foreign policy that our entire foreign policy should be made dependent on that particular aspect of the domestic struc- ture of the Soviet Union." Kissinger also posed a ques- tion of his own one that if raised more often in the last two decades might have saved Americans much grief and disillusion: "should it be the Letter Teacher incomnetence I was correctly reported in The Herald as saying that we have some incompetent teachers on our staff. This statement was made at the September 11 meeting of the public school board. It seemed to imply that we have some completely incompetent peop- le holding teaching positions in our schools. I did not mean this, I do not think this, and I will change it at the next board meeting to: we have some incompetence among the teachers on our staff. Incompetence, (which is not a bad word) is common in the professions for several of experience, lack of in-service training, un- familiarity with the system, incorrect objectives, and in- sufficient guidance from supervisors. I was concerned with the last of these points when I made the statement about incompetence and I was not criticizing teachers at all. The existence of in- competence is admitted by every agency concerned in boards, the department of education, and the Alberta Teachers' Association spend millions of dollars a year on programs specifically designed to increase the competence of teachers. This is so because our whole educational effort depends on the teachers and all other agents are there to help and to support the teachers. However, I will be more careful about my language and never use the term "in- competent teacher" again. In return I wonder if Gerry Heck, president of the ATA Local will explain his use of the word "police" in connecti- on with ATA activity. Does it involve secret reports, and black listing? I know exactly what he meant but we must be careful about how we say things, mustn't we? REG TURNER Lethbridge principal goal of American foreign policy to transform the domestic structure of societies with which we or only to affect the foreign policies of those societies? Turn the situation around and the cogency of the questi- on is clear. Should the Soviet Union refuse to deal with the United States, for example, until the federal government finds and tries those respon- sible for the killings at Kent State? or until all charges are dropped against those who resisted the draft in the belief that the war in Vietnam was immoral and illegal? However justified in the abstract, or from a Soviet viewpoint, such a policy probably would seem self- righteous and self-defeating to most Americans. On the other hand, the same Americans may rightly feel that their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize or promote represssive societies; and "most favored nation" status is as much a subsidy as the military aid that helps the "authoritarian" Greek and South Vietnamese and Philippine governments stay in power Can the United States logically, sensibly or ethically demand a standard of conduct by the Soviet Union that it does not demand of its own allies and client states? It is of course, offensive to know that American tax dollars are being used to build "tiger cages" in South Viet- nam, or to support torturers anywhere; and if Congress were willing to put a stop to that, it would stand on firmer ground in its attitude toward Soviet repression. Even in that case, Kissinger's question would remain; and it is hard to see how short-run insistence on improvement in Soviet society would serve humanity better than long-term pursuit of im- provement in a great-power relationship that could destroy humanity. The American government need not, however, pass by on the other side of the road with its eyes averted. Kissinger said that strong represen- tations already had been made to Moscow that its crack-down was endangering trade legislation and other steps necessary to improved relations. Mills's statement and that of the National Academy of Sciences should have added teeth to these war- nings, which may yet cause Soviet authorities to ease their position. Such an effort to convince Moscow that detente is en- dangered by outraged Americ- an public opinion is not an ef- fort to transform Soviet society. In the spirit of Kissinger's question, it is instead an effort to influence Soviet policy in the direction of detente above all. case the no-confidence vote succeeded and a new man moved into the chancellery. The minister said he put the money in his safe. Nothing was taken out of it in the remaining days of April, he said. The audience of journalists who have covered the hearings in an increasingly cynical mood could not help but make comparisons with Watergate when Herr Ehmke refused to name the eventual recipients of the cash in his safe, citing "reasons pertaini- ng to national security." Ehmke. the first cabinet minister to give evidence before the commission, instead hinted that the entire Steiner affair was a plot by "forces" presumably the opposition trying to dis- credit the government. A similar theory was advanced two months before by Herr Herbert Wehner, floor leader of the Social Democrats. He suggested, without actually saying so, that domestic intelligence services had a hand in paying Steiner and directing suspicion towards the government. Factual evidence for such speculation has not so far been advanced. Although not very convin- cing, the plot theory would answer another puzzling to bribe-taking in the first place? It finished his question: why did Steiner confess to bribe-taking in the first place? It finished his prospects of ever returning to political office or even holding a responsible job. He is now unemployed. The opposition, of course, has its own views on who pulled the strings in April 1972. Its more conservative members and most of the anti- government press have suggested that Herr Brandt's government was kept in power by the evil forces of international communism. Herr Steiner is a self- confessed double agent who worked for East Germany with the approval of the West Germans as well as for West Germany. It follows, the opposition has argued, that East Germany paid him for voting against his party to prevent the government's fall at a time when it was putting the finishing touches to its Ostpolitik. Perhaps the most astoundi- ng aspect of the Steiner affair is the public's reaction. Although the case has been making headlines regularly it has failed to spark visible public anger. If it is mentioned the subject more often than not is closed with a shrug and the remark: "Well, we know what they are like, don't Even in the unlikely case that the commission unearths the truth, the exercise would still be academic. For although it might not be very honorable for a deputy to sell his vote or a party to buy it it is perfectly legal under present rules. The Steiner case has given rise to calls for a change in these rules, but there is no prospect of this happening in the foreseeable future. (C 1973 by NEA, if only you can stay out of trouble, you'd have it made mean The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St S Lethhndge.Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Publishers Published 1905-1954, by Hon W A BUCHANAN Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 Member ol The Canadian Press and the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEO W MOWERS. Editor and Publisher THOMAS H ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILI IAM MAY Editor Associate Editor ROY Mil Efi DOUGl-Af) K WALKTR Advertising Mnn.iqrr I dilori.il P.igo Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"