Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 9, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LITHIRIDQI HIHALD TuttWy, ED1TO1I1ALS An optimist at large tea At a time when pessimism about the world's resources is the order of the day, a speech made by Ronald Ritchie at the Financial Post's international symposium on Our Disappearing Resources must have seemed like a ray of light. It is Mr. Ritchie's contention that the world will never really run put of resources, he said, and there is little or no reason to suppose that this process cannot continue indefinitely. The two-day symposium had an impressive list of speakers, including the director general of the Commission of the European Economic Community in Brussels, the secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the executive director of Japan's Institute for International Resource Development, all of whom said the expected things. The EEC director general spoke hopefully of developments and ignored the problems of oil and the French. The OPEC secretary general made it clear that producing countries wanted better prices for their raw materials and intended to do more processing of their own resources, points which will sound familiar to Albenans. This pin pointed a problem faced by the Japanese, whose economy is based entirely on processing the resources of other nations, including Canada. Mr. Ritchie, who is a former senior vice president of Imperial Oil, a member of the Club of Rome, and chairman of Canada's new Institute for Research on Public Policy, while emphasizing his faith that technology would be able to replace one non renewable resource with another, as it has done in the past, had an expected warning for Canada. He pointed out that this country's resources are attuned to present world patterns of consumption and that their value may recede as that world turns to new materials and new energy sources. "If we are to arrive at policies designed to maximize, the economic worth of our actual and potential he told the symposium, "we should not neglect the risk that at some time in the future they may not be resources in an economic sense because of changes in the world's technology and demand patterns." This idea of resources becoming out- moded is not universally accepted, although it is a natural one for a person with his background and seems to be a motivating factor on the Alberta scene. Mr. Ritchie has announced his intention of entering politics and of running for a seat in Parliament as a Progressive Conservative. His hopefulness about the future leads to the conclusion, which is also not universally accepted, that optimists enter politics while pessimists become academics. Quarrel over Sweden and the United States recently exchanged ambassadors. Professor Robert Strausz-Hupe is the new U.S. ambassador in Stockholm and Baron Wilhelm Wachtmeister is the Swedish ambassador in Washington. The two countries had been without representation in each other's capitals for almost 15 months. At Christmas 1972 Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme made a speech comparing the U.S. bombing of Hanoi with Nazi atrocities in the Second World War to which U.S. President Richard Nixon took umbrage. Not only was the American embassy in Stockholm closed, but it was made known that a Swedish ambassador was not welcome in Washington. Anti-Americanism, which had been particularly virulent in Sweden, has largely disappeared now. This is mainly the result of the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam but there are other causes, too. Henry Kissinger's dazzling performance on the world scene is one of them. Another is that, despite the internal trouble stemming from the things done by the committee to re-elect the president, the U.S. is strengthening as a major power. Since it no longer pays political dividends to be anti-American the Swedish government has been anxious for reconciliation. It is reported that Mr. Palme and his ministers are immensely relieved that relations with the U.S. have been normalized. To have had to face an election, possibly this year, with 'the freeze still in effect would have been a political disaster. In a world in which fierce antagonists in war have become allies it would be absurd for countries such as Sweden and the United States to have perpetuated their quarrel. It is not only a relief to the Swedes that a reconciliation has taken place but to the rest of the democratic world as well. RUSSELL BAKER The thirteen cent shock WASHINGTON "Did you "And thirteen "Yes, thirteen cents. Four hundred and thirty-two thousand, seven hundred and eighty-seven dollars. And thirteen cents." "And we have to pay right "Right away. "And thirteen "Get a grip on yourself, Pat, and quit saying, 'and thirteen It's the four hundred and thirty-two thousand that worries me. Not the thirteen cents." "Thirteen cents." "I know it's a shock, darling, but don't let it crush you. I'll get the money somehow, I'll take a second job and moonlight. Why, I'll bet a man could earn a week easy, just driving a cab between dinnertime and midnight, after his regular day's work was done." "At that rate it would take you weeks, Dick, to earn the we owe internal revenue. That's 83 years. You'd be 144 years old before it was all paid." "Pat, you know I'm not the kind who gets discouraged just because there's a long row to hoe." "But you'd be too old to drive a cab, Dick. At least in the final 50 years." "What are you trying to tell "To take the easy way, Dick." "Never." "Sell your memoirs to a book publisher for a million dollars. That will pay the back taxes and leave enough over to pay the taxes on the million you'll be earning to pay the back taxes." "Oh, Pat, others have urged me to take the easy way. 'Mr. President' they said, 'take the easy way. Borrow the money from fiebe, sell Abplanalp another slice of the San Clemente lawn.' And do you know what I've told "You will not take the easy way." "That's right. I have already instructed White House attorneys to apply for my hacking permit at the Taxicab Bureau." "You know very well the secret service is not going to let you drive a cab alone at night." "That's no problem. I can fit four agents in the cab when I'm cruising. When I pick up a fare the agents can get out and run alongside the taxi. They're trained for that, you know." "If they did that, they'd be moonlighting, too, and you'd have to divide the income among the five of you. At a week it would take you 415 years to earn "We could hold a garage sale, and if I can get back those old newspaper clippings I gave the national archives as part of my papers we could pick up a small bundle of cash for scrap." "Too little and too late. The tax people want their money right away." "I could do a lecture tour. If Art Buchwald earns per lecture I ought to be good for at least Two hundred and sixteen lectures would earn me "Yes, but you'd have to do another 108 to pay the taxes on your earnings from the first 216 and another 80 to pay the agent's percentage on the 216 you did to pay the back taxes, the 108 you did to pay the current taxes, and the 80 you do to pay the agent's tee., Then, of course, yon would have to do more to pay the taxes on the 80 you do to pay the agent's fee, and then more to pay the agent's fee for-." "What is it, "Pat, you make the easy way seem very tempting." "I'll have the White House switchboard place a call to somebody with plenty of money." "Tell me something, Pat. What'do you think real people do when they get clobbered like this by the "They suffer, I suppose, just like us, and stagger around half In shock saying over and over, 'and thirteen cents? and thirteen Inviting trouble By Doug Walker Our minister, admitting to memory difficulties, has adopted the practice of asking if .there are any other announcements besides the ones he has made. Occasionally someone musters the courage to stand up and make an additional one. Nina Kloppenborg did so one Sunday morning. She said there was a meeting on "Women and the environment" that ought to be attended by tome of tlw of the congregation. When Nina sat down, Anttnon yielded to the temptation to make a Jocular remark. He said he wondered if the focus would be on women as an enhancement or as a defacement of the environment. At that point, George Chessor leaned over to me and chortled, "He's had it tj "Don't tell me the streets are so dusty people are starting to ride Transport tests efficiency of Liberals By W.A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator country's transport problems are emerging as the tough proving ground on which the Trudeau government's capacity to manage vital national services with efficiency is being tested. The Western provinces are deeply convinced that the bias of the transport system is hampering their development. Some tentative steps have been taken to come to grips with this complaint, which is of long standing, but progress towards its resolution is slow and the new leverage which oil has given Alberta and Saskatchewan is the main guarantee that the issue will not be neglected. Despite this country's greatly increased industrialization in the post- war period, grain remains one of its most vital exports, vital not merely to the people who grow it but to the country's balance of payments position. Yet the movement of grain to seaboard this winter has been a shambles. It has kept the government under almost constant House of Commons pressure. It has brought accusations against both the management of the railways and the actions of past govern- ments from the minister of transport, Jean Marchand. Otto Lang, the minister responsible for the wheat board, has often been left looking as if he were desperately alibiing for the railway companies. The government's own charges against the railways' behavior has raised public doubt either of their com- petence or their willingness to serve the national interest. The Canadian Transport Commission has produced a report that is devastating in its strictures against the safety of some Canadian National roadbeds. On the aviation side, Air Canada's position remains politically delicate, not improved by ministerial end- runs around cabinet in controversial executive appointments. It seems clear that the company faces renewed attack from the Con- servatives in the House of Commons on the transport committee. In this sombre and depressing transport situation, one of the few bright spots is the chairmanship of the Commons transport committee, from which some at least some common come. The chairman is the Conservative MP from Crowfoot. Once seldom thought of except as a half- tamed Alberta Jack Homer is increasingly seen as a fascinating amalgam of mainly good qualities: tough, individualistic, a man of prin- ciple, thoughtful and construc- tive. Since Mr. Homer, on occasion, can still display a taste for being disruptive, all that is quite remarkable. Nonetheless, last year's budget had concessions to his views which were there because he had argued his case so compellingly that opponents agreed with him. His reputation as a maverick is suffering serious damage by his habit of making good speeches in the House which stand up well long afterwards. The latest of these dealt with transport. It was probably the best Commons speech on this subject for many months- knowledgeable, firm and touched with something that is a very rare quality in political speeches: that was a touch of vision, still coupled to a firm feet-on-the-ground approach. The transport department should study his speech as carefully as the finance department once did some of Mr. Homer's views on specific taxation prob- lems. But if the Horner speech was a bright spot, it was only because of its competence, not becuse it conveyed a happy picture. He reviewed the history of the National Transportation Act, which the Liberals now seem anxious to disavow, and ended with the correct question: "Surely there should have been some kind of guiding principle that they must have believed in at that time and still believe in today. Or is it all just political He turned to the rail problem at Thunder Bay, pointing out that the port facilities are excellent but raising serious doubts about the adequacy of the rail facilities serving them in the harbor area. He believes that trackage should be rerouted and rationalized to make access to the harbor easier. Again he raised the pertinent point. "Farmers suspect that huge costs are paid, in demurrage charges. We have never been able to uncover how much. The wheat board works for the farmers but it has never dis- closed that cost." Mr. Horner drew to the slowness with which heavy hopper cars have to be moved on some sections of track through the Rocky Mountains to avoid gave the maximum safe speed as 18 mph. He proposed that with modern technology it must be possible to do some straight- ening of routes that would per- mit faster movement of freight without running into prohibitive costs. The rail situation at Van- couver harbor has been no- torious for years although that is an extremely busy harbor. Mr. Horner contrasted the in- action on this problem with the money spent to build the new facility at Roberts Bank so that coal can move expeditiously for export. Yet wheat is more important to the Canadian economy than coal but still must go through the congestion of the Vancouver port area. The con- dition of that harbor is almost as sore 'a point with John Nichol, the former president of the Liberal party who resigned from the Senate and withdrew from politics, as it is to the member for Crowfoot. Mr. Horner pointed out that in 1967 the government spent LETTERS about on Vancouver harbor, a figure that dropped to in 1972. Yet that congested harbor handles 27 per cent of the freight that moves in and out of Canada. Mr. Horner posed the problem in simple terms. "To be successful, a port must meet two conditions. It must be accessible from the ocean and it must be accessible from land." When so self-evident a point has to be viewed as a welcome intrusion of reality, questions of competence are indeed in- volved. More on investigations Skyscraper era may be ended By Anthony Sampson, London Observer commentator WASHINGTON Near the southern tip of Manhattan island, close to the heart of the financial district of New York; are the twin towers of the New World Trade Centre, the tallest buildings in New York, sticking up like giant filing cabinets above the more subtle and jagged skyline around them. The towers will not be finished until the end of this year, but already much of the space is occupied, and the visitor can get the feel of this self-contained, vertical town. It is not only the tallest, but the mostest in other respects. It will eventually hold people. It is built on a new principle or rather the oldest principle, now revived of having the ouUide walls actually holding up the building, instead of being merely a curtain or an ornament on the front of the girders inside, so that each floor, with nearly an acre of space, can be designed very freely, with fancy curved walls and huge unbroken areas. It has enormous lifts which race up to "sky- lobbies" on the 44th and 78th floors, where passengers get out and change into stopping lifts, like changing from an express train to a local train. It has its own railway station underneath, with shining escalators and marble platforms, in amazing contrast to the squalor of Manhattan's other underground stations. And it has the largest single air-conditioning system in the world, with enough power to serve a town of homes. And that is the trouble. tat these newest and most spectacular skyscrapers were conceived and designed without much thought of an energy crisis. And like most modern skyscrapers, this has vast expanses of glass exposed to the extremes of New York's climate, letting in the heat in summer and the cold in winter, so that vast quantities of energy are needed to keep the temperature balanced inside. In the new uncertainty about the high cost of fuel, architects are beginning to wonder whether the whole concept of the glass skyscraper, which has so dominated city centres over the last 20 years, may not have to be radically revised, eigher by substituting a better-insulated material, or new kinds of glass, or by modifying the height itself, so that buildings are less defiantly exposed to the elements. It is too early to predict that the skyscraper, which has played such an enduring romantic role hi American cities, has been killed off by the energy crisis, but it is very possible that the World Trade Centre may mark the final peak, the Everest of that astonishing Manhattan vange. "Never say a word in anger far less write it." A very good maxim and one I should have strictly adhered to had I realized the passions a letter to the editor would arouse. While a healthy controversy, even a nationwide debate on the subject of secret police actions could be foreseen, a writer is seldom prepared for the personal abuse and admonitions he invites. For my sin, I received private letters, some veiled threats, and a gentle rebuke from a man I respect. He, during the First World War, failed to challenge three officers in American, uniforms, later discovered to have been escaping German prisoners. He made a valid point as did the critic who suspected that every third person could be a potential terrorist if social conditions here or elsewhere frustrated his ideals long enough. Yet, there is a point of view other people brought up and many agreed with but were afraid to voice publicly. Their fears are reason enough to justify another airing. Why are many of us disturbed by the knowledge that there are secret files on individuals, the contents of which remain unknown to the persons under surveillance? On a purely psychological basis, 'the fact that the investigating branch of the RCMP recently changed its name to "SS" evokes unpleasant connotations. Whoever decided on this unfortunate designation deserves a medal for insensitivity. The SS of old used to call on suspects' co-workers and neighbors to ask them about their foes' political past, activities and character. At that time, almost everybody was suspect. Many people were so afraid to lose their jobs or like children who testified against their own parents were brainwashed, that they'd say anything to the investigating officers to ingratiate themselves. As a result, millions of innocent victims in Europe were condemned to imprisonment, torture or death in that witch- hunt 10 years ago. It can't happen here? I hope not; but there are more subtle ways of ruining a person's life than torture or firing squad. Does anybody, who is, for instance, constantly turned down for positions of trust, know what he is suspected of as a result of secret investigations? Has he any means of defending himself against false accusations levelled against him by people who, perhaps, in positions of trust themselves, .don't like his face, race, religion or politics? While at a time of worldwide terrorism, investigations into the background of different people'may be necessary, the only way to recreate a free democracy would be to demand legislation for the result of secret findings to be made known to the individuals concerned. This would give them a chance to defend themselves against falsehoods. And why can this not be done when even the federal government now demands that any report on its servants must first be shown to, and countersigned by, the person reported on? Alternatively, as has been suggested, it might be helpful to the rights of the individual if we all legally changed our names once a year to avoid the ruination of our future by ineradicable iniquitous information contained in the memory banks of the nation. EVA BREWSTER Coutts The Lethbridge Herald 504 7tn St. S. Alberta LETHBRIDQE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and PuMtsnort Second Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON H. FILLING DONALD R. DORAM Managing Editor General Manager ROY f. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT ButineM Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"