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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 10, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, April 10, 1973 Sidetracking could avoid collision An incredible operation Food prices are at their ail-time high in Canada, as they seem to be aimost everywhere. Governments, for the most part, seem to be doing their thing, talking a lot, watching the situation closely, telling people it could be worse, and launching in- quuies. Ottawa has done all these, has alerted its cadre of experts in the field, and even speculated about a curious expedient known as 'price though without much in- dication that it understood the idea or cared to. It formed the inevitable commit- tee, of course, or rnore accurately noted with friendly interest the for- mation of a committee by the House of Commons. The committee did its best- It sought information about food prices frovi the various parties it felt might be involved implicated? processers, packagers, wholesalers and retailers, and anyone else it saw in that remarkably long line be- tween producer and consumer, the ones usually lumped together under the heading "middlemen." The committee members were somewhat taken aback to discover that no one is making any money in the food business- Producers are barely scratching out a living, and none of the middlemen is doing any better. The processers just manage to break even, the wholesalers teet- er constantly on the brink of bank- ruptcy, packaging is just a marginal proposition, retailers aren't making a dime, and so forth. Some idea of what the committee went through may be inferred from the testimony of the advertising chap, who told them with every indication of seriousness that, far from pushing food costs up, advertising actually keeps them down. Now just suppose that all this tes- timony were within hailing distance of the truth, that producers really are barely breaking even, that none of the middlemen is making much profit, and that this one's a bit difficult advertising and promo- tion really do help to keep prices down, then isn't it obvious there's something drastically wrong with the whole industry? Clearly there has to be a food busi- ness of some sort; people have to eat. But if no one can make a decent return on his efforts or his invest- ment, even with prices at a level unacceptable to the consumer, then it must be an incredibly inefficient op- eration. Either that, or there are a lot too many middlemen in that line- up between producer and consum- er. Of course somebody might be lying a little. Hang on in Vietnam The incident in Vietnam which re- sulted in the death of a Canadian member of the International Commis- sion of Control and Supervision (ICCS) does not of itself warrant withdrawal. .It does, however, underline the rea- son for the tentative nature of Can- ada's commitment to supervision of the truce. There is too much continuing vio- lence in Vietnam for anyone to take an optimistic of the chances of a permanent peace. Canada's tempo- rary presence on the ICCS is based on a realistic appraisal of the prospects for peace- Loss of life does not necessarily mean that conditions have to the point where Canada must redeem its threat of withdrawal. The possibility of the ICCS suffering some casualties existed from the beginning. Only if this incident represents a worsening of the over-all situation would termination of participation be required. Despite considerable doubt about the wisdom of getting involved in the truce supervision, most Canadians would probably feel reluctant about missing a chance to contribute to the establishment of peace in Viet- nam. So now that a Canadian con- tingent is in Vietnam every chance should be given to it to be useful. Slender as the hope for a true peace may be, every straw should be grasp- ed- The casserole TDere Has been a jot of comment recent- ly about the so-called "education tax" im- posed by the Russian government against those wishing to emigrate; it requires any- one wishing to leave the country to first repay whatever the government calcu- lates it has spent on their education. The tax is levied somewhat selectively, accord- ing to reports, especially in the case of Jews wishing to emigrate to Israel. A similar arrangement here would mean that before a doctor, engineer or anyone educated in Canada could move to the U.S., he would have to repay whatever had been spent on his education, in public school, high school, college or university. A tidy sum, one would imagine. w'ithoat going into the pros and cons of this kind of tax, or worrying about the morality of a financial impediment to leav- ing the country, offhand it's hard to think of a more effective way of combating the "brain drain" of which we complain so much. by then Russia was an ally, and at the time rather upset over the continued ab- sence of a second front. This time the cap- tion was a more mollifying, Our Gallant Comrade-in-Arms. The picture, however, was the same. No one well, hardly anyone is against liberty, freedom, human rights and all that sort of thing. There are all kinds of organizations with no other concerns. Some devote themselves to protecting our civil rights, especially from our own police. They are especially worried about the police having information about pri- vate citizens (or even public ones, for that Strangely, they never seem to get half so upset the mass of information other agencies collect, or if they do they don't mention it. So far, cone of them has mounted a campaign that anyone's heard of. at any rate against the enor- mous data banks maintained by credit and collecSon agencies, banks, mortgage com- panies and all the rest of the monstrous apparatus that concerns itself with our fi- nancial affairs. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Environmentalists, conservationists or whatever they used to be called when their "thing" was fashionable, were all thrilled when the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ban on the use of phosphate detergents in or around Chicago. Now. some eight months later, they will be distressed to learn that a federal court has lifted the ban. Ruling on a suit brought by several man- ufacturers of detergents, among them Proc- tor and Gamble testifying to having lost million in sales through the ban, the federal judge said the ban was "an un- justified interference with interstate com- and thus violated the U.S. Consti- tution. Which puts things squarely in perspec- tive, eh? Perhaps Canada's unemployment insur- ance deal is pretty jammy, but our south- ern neighbors can still show us a thing or two about fringe benefits. Some will remember a recent case in which a discharged Chrysler employee went berserk and killed three foremen in his plant. Well, it has now been discovered that working conditions in the plant may have "aggravated" a nervous condition, and that the actual firing couid have Jed to a "break with reality.'' precipitating the killings. Ac- cordingly, the problem has been identified as job related, and the ex-employee clearly entitled to workmen's compensation, pre- sumably until he is cured, rehired or perhaps hucg. The anniversary of Josef Stalin's death, which occurred a white back, did not pass unrcticcd by the Canadian press; sev- eral papers mentioned it, and there were a feu- editorials 10 mark the occasion. With all 1h? current chatter about de- tente. wcrW pcare and like pleasantries, perhaps it -'Vll not IT IhougM of a- too "foft on to recoil 1Ti.it the great Rnv-ian dictator always classed 35. a Jynmi. in Holy Toronto. Ore oi lha' city's daily papers published a large, front pace picture" of Stalin an 1939, at a time when most -west- erners were quite put out over a deal SI aim had cooked up with Hitler to partition Po- land. The picture, several columns bore the caption. The Beast of the Kremlin. In 3W2, the same paper had .mother oc- casion to display z picture of Stalin, but In politics, even a complete stranger need have no problem distinguishing be- tween members on the gox-ernnjent side, and those in opposition. The oppositon members are the ones who arc always de- manding a higher standard of living, greater human liberties, and that more attention be paid to what the "common want One can hardly accuse the Cypriot Syncd of precipitate action. After onsen-ins Inat for past 10 yc-irs Archbishcp Msrltanos Jws been of the co-Jiitry, and he was recertly elected for a further Jive year term, the Synod solemnly decided it should ask for hi; resignation from the priesthood him is the usual term ior violstms a church rule against assuming temporal power. li the circumstances, their permit hj.n in v.hich 1o cither comply fiT fife an official aprieaJ almost in- decently hasty. By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA The country, it is often suggested, is merely bored by the procedural debates in which members of Parlia- ment engage. They are occa- sionally, however, of major im- portance and may constitute a serious danger to a Government in a minority in the House of Commons. Two such debates were fore- shadowed in some preliminary observations offered on Wednes- day by Mr. Speaker Lamou- reux. Both will arise from mo- tions of concurrence in reports of committees presented to the House. The problem for the Government is that it does not control these committees and lacks the manpower to defeat embarrassing motions which it cannot sidetrack by successful procedural argument. To one of these motions, aris- ing from the first report of the Special Committee on Trends in Food Prices, the procedural ob. jection is obvious. In its final paragraph, the committee de- parted from the usual pattern of such reports, recommending that the department of con- sumer affairs make specific monies available to consumer groups. While there is no doubt that Parliament can refuse sums to the executive, it should not direct the executive to spend more or to enact legisla- tion. There may be the same ob- jection to one of two recommen- 'dations from the Indian affairs committee, a motion which has to do with funding the research efforts of nonstatus Indians and Metis. Far more threatening to the Government than either of these, however, is another rec- ommendation which is probably much less vulnerable on proce- dural grounds. On March 29, by a vote of 11 to five significant ab-