AS THE new Parliament prepares for its first session one aspect of the election result is probably regretted by all parties, ins as well as outs. The House is too lopsided.
No matter who wins no group should have the crushing majority—nearly three times the membership of the combined Opposition—that the Liberals have now. It’s bad for Canada, bad for the Government, even bad for the Liberal Party.
Parties so swollen with victory tend to become arrogant and complacent. Already, after 14 years in power, some Liberals had the notion that they ruled by divine right. Now they’ll be sure of it.
Governments need the stimulus of a strong Opposition. They need to feel themselves in some jeopardy. Landslides are easily mistaken for blank cheques, blanket approval of all the party has done or will do. The weakened opposition now sitting opposite the Liberals will have great difficulty in piercing this armor of self-satisfaction.
For the next five years what the parliamentary Opposition cannot do must be done by the public and press. It becomes our job to criticize—not to carp, not to nag, but to speak out vigorously when we think the Government is off the track.
There’s ample occasion for vigilance. Canada faces grave problems, especially in the economic field. We must export to live, and export markets are harder and harder to find. The public will have to keep the Government on its toes.
One cheering thing, as we turn to this task, is the amazing like-mindedness which the election revealed across Canada. Most of us seem to have voted for the middle of the road. We firmly repudiated Socialism—the CCF took an even worse beating than the Progressive Conservatives, and the Communists were nowhere at all. Canadians swung neither Left nor Right; they voted Centre.
We were like-minded, too, in another sense. The vote for Louis Stephen St. Laurent was almost uniform from coast to coast.
It would have been better, perhaps, had Quebec returned more Progressive Conservatives—Quebec should not be a bloc. But perhaps from now on it won’t be, for one of the factors that kept Quebec a bloc has been weakened if not shattered by this 1949 election. That factor was the impulse to keep a solid front to the non-French non-Catholic and presumably hostile majority.
Mr. St. Laurent, Quebec’s own man, got a solid majority in all but one province. He was accepted everywhere in Canada as an able, honest, devoted man. The fact that he happens to speak the language and profess the religion of a minority had no relevance. Nothing could show more clearly the maturity and the unity of this nation.
Louis St. Laurent has proved that race or creed have nothing to do with success in Canadian politics if a man is a good Canadian.
It’s Rude to Glare
npHE modern automobile sports headlights of amazing brilliance and penetrating power. To poke an oncoming driver in the eye with their 64-candle-power beam of light is discourteous. It’s also downright stupid.
When two drivers rush at one another, each in the other’s glare, they’re inviting a vacation in hospital, or worse.
It takes a garageman only 10 minutes to aim your lights properly. The job involves adjusting four screws.
If your car is old it might be wise to have a checkup. Even if you drive a 1949 model don’t assume you’re in the clear. The rear springs tend to sag about two inches after a couple of hundred miles of driving, and this tips your light beam upward. And don’t forget a heavy load in the back seat or trunk has the same effect.
Spare 10 minutes to avoid being guilty of glare—and you may spare a life.
Why Kill Them at 65?
A DOUBLE DILEMMA faces the bread^ winner over 40.
If he (or she) is looking for a job he’ll find some employers don’t want him—he can’t keep up as stiff a pace as a younger man.
If he is employed in a company with a pension plan he’ll probably be retired at 65. That’s the last thing that many a keen, vigorous worker wants. He won’t starve—but he’s apt to rot. For too many men retirement has been a death sentence.
Many employers now realize that, in the proper job, an older man can be worth more than he was 20 or 30 years earlier. The older shoulders carry wiser heads.
As for the man nearing retirement age, why cast him aside if he’s still delivering value? It may seem cruel, but many able men would rather die with their boots on than face the killing boredom of retirement. Why not give them their choice?
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