Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 24, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
LETHBRIDQE Lethbridge on trial It is important to remember that the United Way is not "they" asking "us" for money for "their" purposes. The 15 agencies in the United Way are not indulging their own fancies. They are doing the people's work. They are each taking a certain load off the community's shoulders. In three general areas, name- ly character building and'youth services, health and rehabilitation services and family and counselling services, these 15 agencies are filling gaps that must be filled if this is to be a community worth living in. Whether they admit it or not, people are their brothers' keepers. Those who can must help those who cannot. The work in the 15 agencies is done by people who feel a special mission to help in this or that area. But in addition to all of that volunteer work, money is needed. Therefore an additional large group of people has taken on the task of raising money for all of the agencies. So the Lethbridge citizen is doubly served by people giving generously of their time and talents by those who run the agencies and by those who collect their funds. All that remains for the citizen is to provide the funds. How easy it has been left for him! This community can afford the objective with no pain or discomfort at all. It was intended to make the campaign short, swift and successful. So there should be no coaxing, no stalling, no quibbling. Another thing: inflation has hit the agencies as hard as it has hit anyone else. In dollar terms the objective is higher but it is still modest for a city as prosperous as Lethbridge. The United Way is being tested. If the citizens fail to respond, some of the agen- cies may be forced out of business. But the need will not go away. Since no better way of raising the money has yet been devised, it is not the United Way but Lethbridge that is on trial. Inconsistent attitude Hon. Otto Lang, minister in charge of the Wheat Board, has made the only contribution to the Vancouver grain- handlers' controversy in-many days a vigorous rebuke to the farmer-owned ter- minal elevator companies for not accepting the Perry award. The only way to industrial peace, if negotiation fails, Mr. Lang said a day or so ago, is to bring in an independent ar- bitrator and to accept his findings. Dr. Perry was brought in as an independent arbitrator, Mr. Lang points out, and his award must be accepted. Right on. Dr. Perry's credentials as an independent arbitrator may be challenged. His award may be criticized as highly inflationary. But some judges may not be qualified and some of their decisions may be injudicious; nevertheless the rule of law requires the acceptance of those decisions. For that reason the elevator companies should accept the award, as Mr. Lang recommends, and everyone should get back to work. There's only one hitch. This is one of the very the government has come out so firmly in favor of -the in- violability of arbitration awards. In near- ly all cases, especially if the award was not acceptable to the unions involved, the government has encouraged or imposed settlements higher than the awards. In other words Mr. Lang's solicitude- for arbitration awards is inconsistent. Why does he impose this one on the farmer-owners when the government honors others only according to whim or politics? The left-alone children A special 10-day education program will start in Britain in October to focus on and help educate parents to the "sins of as a reporter in the London Observer calls it. These sins refer to mental ill treatment, specifically in this case of leaving young children un- attended. The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) in Bri- tain reports that the numbers of children left alone regularly during the day or the night or both, is rising rapidly. Blame is laid, in part, on spiralling inflation caus- ing many more mothers to work outside the home to supplement the family in- come. Ignorance, rather than wilful abuse, may sometimes be the cause. Some intelligent parents just don't use com- mon sense when it comes to safety for their children. They leave children in cars in the shade without remembering the sun moves around in the sky, or leave a window open from which a small child could fall. They obviously forget that full time supervision is mandatory. Money is apparently no measure of sanity, as judged by one of the Observer's tales. A couple who went off one Friday afternoon for the weekend, left their 12 year old daughter and her five year old brother alone in the house with "plenty of food." The boy was sick, the girl panicked but even then the parents were extremely reluctant to return home. Often the cases reported in Britain are not the result of stupidity or greed, but simply cries for help. A neglected child may be the result of something else wrong in the family. The Observer notes that mental ill treatment, more so than battering, is hard to detect; the effects take longer to be revealed but they may scar more deeply. Sensitive teachers in Britain are on the lookout for latchkey children, who not only go home to an empty house but also stay alone most of the evening. A child who spends long periods of time alone is likely to be listless and withdrawn at school, or fall into bad habits the boredom and temptation are certainly there. One attempted solution is a pre-school centre open 11 hours a day, and a play centre for older children. These attempts are a start and Canada, as well as Britain, needs a concerted effort to help parents with the supervision of their children expecially during working hours. Letters "Harold, there's a terrible little green bug in my potatoe salad and my corn an' juice n'butter Competition effective By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA The latest ven- ture of the Food Prices Review Board, although plain- ly embarrassing to some merchandising organizations, is anything but an attack on business. By monitoring the prices of basic foods over a four week period in 26 Ottawa-Hull out- lets and publishing the results, the Board has demonstrated very plainly that competition remains an effective force at the retail level. There cannot well be suspicion of combina- tion when price disparities are substantial enough and persis- tent enough to indicate that superior efficiency and managerial competence does yield benefits to consumers. Individual prices would be of little significance because they vary from day to day (and sometimes from branch to branch of the same But a weighted food basket, with weights calculated in proportion to the importance of the item in the average family food budget, is a quite different matter. The variations were con- siderable. Comparing two out- lets in the Gatineau-Hull area for the week ending September 14, the Board reported a differential of 14 per cent. It is also interesting to observe that while the general performance of some firms over a month long period was markedly better than that of others, the ratings changed a good deal from week to week. Thus a firm ranking seventh (of 10 outlets) on August 4 was in first place on September 14 while the best performer on the earlier date had dropped to sixth place by mid-September. There may be objections of detail to the Board's com- parisons. Certain difficulties are in fact recognized and the Board (which leaves con- clusions to the consumer) con- cedes that there are problems which might result in a vari- ation of from two to three per cent in the total weighted price index. Making due allowance for such errors, however, the results may still appear impressive enough to shoppers. It may also be objected that it is unfair for a state agency to publish comparisons which could be detrimental to cer- tain firms. The answer is that the Board, set up to provide some assistance to consumers in a time of ranging inflation, is merely employing in slight- ly different form the weapon of publicity which was relied on for many years by the Com- bines Investigation branch, which had the same essential function. Its most notable advocate was Mr. Mackenzie King and it was considered respectable enough to com- mand the support of Parlia- ment decades before Mrs. Plumptre became the scourge of the chains and of Eugene Whelan. The Board, at one and the same time, is demonstrating the existence of effective competition and applying a spur to competition. Most Canadians do not live in Ottawa-Hull and general conclusions cannot safely be drawn from the respective performances of particular firms in the national capital areas. A general monitoring system might well require a large bureaucracy and un- acceptable expense. But the Board's technique does not rely on universality for effec- tiveness. What is required is only that action should be un- predictable. (It was not in the Ottawa If the firms involved have reason to suspect (and they should have no reason to suspect) that the same technique may be applied next week in Winnipeg or Vancouver, that suspicion in itself would be a healthy stimulus to improved performance. Price competition is doubtless effective to the ex- tent that retailers consider price to be the primary concern of consumers. It is obviously not the only con- sideration. The Board, which is trying to evaluate other concerns, mentions a number of them: location, store layout, courtesy and help- fulness of store personnel, ef- ficiency of check-out service and quality of merchandise (including perhaps merchan- dise not entering into the basket of foods weighted by Statistics Canada.) There are probably others, including the rather important matter of access. The modern super-market is built around the parking lot; it was for this reason that it developed late in European cities where space seemed non-existent or prohibitively costly. But con- ditions in parking lots vary greatly and a cheaper basket may not be particularly attractive if the consumer has reason to fear that his trip to the food store will be followed by another to the automobile body shop. In other words, managers are competing for our custom with their own weighted baskets; price being only one of the weights. Whether their readings of consumer minds are correct is an interesting question. It may be tempting to under-rate the price concern if only because business has so often rejected with indignation the ar- gument that price is the prime test of efficiency. But while other factors are not to be ig- nored, inflation has certainly sharpened consumer price perceptions. On the other hand the very proliferation of outlets, by widening choice, may have rendered other con- siderations extremely marginal. Why should price performance not be the governing concern if it is equally hazardous and frustra- ting to shop at neighborhood superstore A and neighborhood superstore B? The Board has gone to con- sumers to ascertain their thinking on this matter. The results of a questionnaire are now being analyzed. What is revealed should be of interest not only to consumers but also to those who must base their business decisions on readings of consumer minds. Discussing American nee-isolationism By William V. Shannon, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON If this were a book instead of a newspaper column. I would give it one of those fashionably long titles such as. "some preliminary thoughts on America's world responsibilities upon being denounced as a neo- isolationisl." Everyone agrees in theory that the United States ought not to be the world's policeman. But in practice as each situation arises there inevitably goes up the cry for American leadership. Americans of every political persuasion are becoming rather weary of this unrelenting round of diverse responsibilities. Yet when one attempts to define standards by which this nation's real interests can be measured, anomalies and contradictions immediately show up. Gearly, what happens in Canada and Mexico is of vital concern to us because Uiey are our neighbors. Because of a shared heritage of culture, law. and free political in- stitutions, we are deeply involved in the fate of Britain, the other democracies of western Europe, and bv extension Australia and New Zealand. It is also in America's national interest to help our Second World War enemies West Germany and its in- dustrial Ruhr and Japan with its economic genius to stay in the ranks of the free and friendly nations. If we agree that North America. Western Europe and Japan form the heart of America's interests in the world and if, for reasons of space, we leave aside the complex question of America's relations with the so-called Third World, we still have to take into account anomalous situations, specifically the city of West Berlin and the state of Israel. By any normal ways of reckoning national interest strategic location, profitable trade, intrinsic power neither Berlin nor Israel qual- ifies as one of America's vital national interests. On the contrary, it makes no geopolitical sense for the U.S. to mortgage its power and prestige to half a city isolated in hostile territory. Similarly, if Israel did not exist, our relations wifh the countries would presumably go much more smoothly. But nations, no more than individuals, can make all their decisions on coolly calculated appraisals of self-interest. Americans, like all Western people, feel some degree of guilt because we did not stop Hitler in time to prevent his holocaust of most of Europe's Jews. When the Second World War ended, this country did not open its doors quickly or widely to the surviving Jews and thereby provide an alter- native to the Zionist answer. Religiously speaking, many Americans are concerned because no believing Christian could be indifferent to the fate of God's old testament people. History, too, imposes responsibilities. Neither Israel nor West Berlin could have survived this long without American military and economic aid. Each succeeding president since Harry Truman in 1948 has strongly reaffirmed America's support. Are these two vulnerable positions vital interests in the sense that the United States would fight for them? One can answer with question. Would the Russians have fought if we had tried to help the Hungarians or the Czechs during their un- successful struggles tor freedom? The United States did not know the answer but decided not to take the risk of finding out. As long as the United States remains strong, the Russians are likely to be equally prudent. In thinking about America's sense of obligation to West Berlin and Israel, these two poignant, perpetually en- dangered orphans from the storm of the Second World War, one is reminded of Robert Frost's poem in which the husband and wife gently argue whether they have a duty to help their former hired man. He --ays, "home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." His wife replies. "I should have called it, something you somehow haven't to deserve." If the people of West Berlin or of Israel cry out to us, we cannot pretend to be deaf. Discipline in school As a teacher and parent in Lethbridge, I wish to express my concern on the subject of discipline in our public schools. I am aware that, as a society, we are endeavoring to nullify most things that the previous generation managed to accrue but this phenomenon is probably none more true than in the field of education. In the past weeks since the beginning of school The Herald has aired the views of parents, teachers and ad- ministrators on the subject of discipline in our schools. The result has been the propaga- tion of a wide-ranging dispari- ty in views which, in view of the topic, is perfectly under- standable. The controversy has been largely centred around the use, abuse and non use of the strap in our schools. The primary argument against the use of the strap has been that it has a demeaning or debilitating effect upon the development of a child's self image. Hand in hand with this argument, I have heard the premise that the children in our schools ought to be treated in an adult and respon- sible manner and that a teacher must insist, with recourse to no corporal punishment at all, that children maintain a reasonable standard of behavior at all times. Now while such a state of affairs may be very satisfac- tory ideologically (and it is to the situation in our city schools is one of reality, not fantasy. That is, the children in our schools, and indeed children everywhere, are just not responsible, young adults they are children and have every right to be carefree and irresponsible. However if this is true (and most parents, let alone teachers, will tell you that it is) it has and will-have a profound affect upon our new school discipline policy The new policy has taken the sting out of any teacher's or administrator's insistence on proper conduct; that is, the student no longer need fear or expect any physical punish- ment for his behavior. Thus, as a letter in The Herald (Sept. 12) points out. the only recourse left to teachers and administrators dealing with problem children is to dismiss them from classes or school a step which few teacher: would ever relish taking. I can attest that most of the teachers I have bee associated with have a love for children and for educatio which is most sincere anc which motivates them to much of themselves and theit time to the furtherance o happy, well adjusted people. I can further assur- you that the picture of vicious sadistic teachers and ad- ministrators beating childre with the strap in gay abando is a total myth. While it may be true that the strap had been abused at times in the past those instances were indeei few and far between. Today where the strap is used, it if used solely as a last resort; in all other cases, it remainr merely as a threat o; punishment. Most teachers used thir threat as only one of theit many tools in maintaining dis cipline. Most teachers strivp to utilize understanding reason, honesty and concer when dealing with theii students. It is only when these methods fail that they nee recourse to any punishment at all. The new policy strictly prohibits any action in this1 regard a teacher ma> intervene physically only to prevent a fight or to stop a stu- dent from hurting himself. Sadly, this new policy hat many teachers concerned for the welfare of their student" as well as the tota educational process. In summing up, this teacher hopes that the new policy doe1 not take us too far toward: chaos in the classrooir because it is indeed a distinc possibility. I just hope tha people in this community will see fit to extend the same con- fidence to the teachers o their children as they extern to their family doctor. Foi teachers, I am convinced hold their children in just as> high a regard as do doctors. As for myself, my son wi continue to receive discipline when and if I deem i necessary, and I hope hif teachers do the same when he goes to school. RON M. HARRIf Lethbridge A political football This is in reply to the letter, Fluoridation is a farce, (The Herald, Sept. We also have raised five children and until seven years ago when we moved to Lethbridge we lived on a farm. Our children had well balanced meals with plenty of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and all the milk and milk products they wanted and a minimum of junk foods but that is where the similarity ends. My children's teeth are a disaster area. In contrast I am a grand- mother and have had only one very small filling. I went for my first dental exam when I was in high school. The dentist couldn't believe that I could have perfect teeth and live in a fluoride poor area. I told him that I had lived at Skiff until I was old enough to go to school. He said "that explain- ed it. That is natural fluoride country and I had the advan- tages of it." The village where we farm- ed for years after our marriage and where our children spent their early years had natural fluoride in the village well. The school doctor used to get quite upset when we went from the well to a central water system with no added fluoride. He said he could tell the differenc- between the children who hat had the advantage of thi fluoride over those who hai not. The cavities increase alarmingly after the well wa: closed. He was most upset that thf fluoride issue had become political football instead of medical problem. He es pecially disliked the fact elderly people were scare into thinking that fluoride was harmful to them. He state that there were far fewe fractured bones and hip< among people who had the ad- vantages of fluoride. I did not realize that our farm well which was shallow one, did not contair fluoride until our childre began having far too mam cavities. We used fluoridi pills and the children had theii teeth painted with fluoride bu this was too little too late, sincerely hope that m grandchildren will grow up ir a more enlightened age o place. My only complaint abou fluoridated water is that peo- ple like me who have neve had a toothache surely can ge careless about their children1 dental care. R. FERGUSQ1V Lethbridge School discipline Since teachers are for- bidden to verbally or physical- ly reprimand a child, the school aulhontes have no choice but to put the matter of discipline in the parents' hands In the "good old days" my parents said, "If you strapped at school you'll ge- another at home." ANOTHER CONCERNED PARENT The Lethbridge Herald 9W 71ti S1 S Jjethbnoge. Alberta LETHBWIDGE WEWAID CO 3. TO Proprietors Second Class Mail Registration Mo C4EO MOWERS. Editor DON M P1UWO Managing Editor OORAM General BOY f MIIES Advertising Manager OOIH51ASK WAlKCfi Editorial Page Editor flOSEWT M f tNTOM Circulation Manager KENNETH E 8ABMETT Business Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"