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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 14, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THi UTWUOGI HttAlD AjKil 14, EDITORIALS Complacency On Mercury Pollution? Sovereignty Issue The issue of sovereignty over Arctic waters continues to be troublesome. Canada, in effect, asserted sovereign- ty over the waters by means of toe Arctic anti-pollution bill recently in- troduced in .parliament. But the United Slates has rejected the claim. Although the U.S. admits the dangers to marine environment in the international .guarantees to protect against pollution, it regrets the unilateral approach to the prob- lem taken by Canada. It claims readiness to seek either bilateral or multilateral solutions within the framework of international law. Yet the U.S. has not given much leadership in the seeking of such solu- tions. She has not adequately protect- ed her own coasts off California and Louisiana even though the dangers were well known. -Canada could not afford to-wait for the U.S. to start showing the kind of concern that is so obviously necessary. A significant precedent had al- ready been established in toe matter of Canada policing the Arctic waters. The Humble Oil Co., a U.S. firm, had already accepted Canadian anti- pollution rules before the Arctic anti-pollution bill appeared on the scene. If protest is justified now by the U.S., it was justified at toe time toe tanker Manhattan was made lo agree to Canadian rules. Whatever might be said on the technical questions of coastal juris- diction on other bases, Canada ap- pears, to have made a solid point in having made toe owners of the Man- hattan come to heel. On any count, the control of pollution is a much more important matter than sover- eignty and has rightly been given precedence. TORONTO Between 1M6 and 43 reufeots of UJoaaata, Japaa, were killed anda others were hideously crippled by mercury pnhxim'ng. the result of eating feh taken from MJBumtft Bay, the site and sewer of the Nitro- la the Swedish gwern- ment bund the vice of mercu- ry fungicides after dicovering hiffk leVdft ID soil, water and fish. nose facto are well toown in the scientific world and the? raise the most ques- tions Mooning tbe mercury pollution of Lake Erie, where commercial fishing has now been banned. The Ontario Water Resources Cotnmjjico knew early in 1963 that the mud bottom of LaJu St. Clair was extensively pollut- ed with lethal rnmrarrafimg of mercury. Mud taken during a biological survey of tbe lake in 1968 revealed con- centrations at as hundreds of parts of mercury per milboo parts of mud. The World Health Organization has set the safe level for human consumption at .03 parts per million; the fish at Vina mala Bay cantata- ed 27 to 100 parts per million. The commission also knew where the mercury was com- ing from: The concentrations were greatest just below the point where Dow Chemical Can- ada Ltd. at' Sarnia discharges effluent into the St Oak river. Dow uses mercury to produce chlorine; the only other known By Banli kt Tit ig Free Press user along the St. Clair system k the Wyandotte Chemical Company of Htchfeafl-Down- ttretm on the Detroit river. Why then did the OWRC not act immediately? Why has it taken the federal department of fisheries until row to dis- cover that fish from Lake St. Clair are not safe to eat? The answer to these ques- tions is a frightening mijture of political complacency, bu- reaucratic lethargy, scientific indifference and government insularity. The federal government had ample warning. Dr. Anthony Keith, director of the Cana- dian Wildlife Service, learned of the Swedish experience, at an international conference in 1966 and knew then that Canada was importing large amounts of a mercury fungicide calied Panogen from Sweden. The Ontario government has been even more slow footed, considering that far the put year Fred Burr, the New Dem- ocratic member of Use legisla- ture for Sandwich Riverside, has been trying to alert the government. to the mercury danger, Last June 27, Mr. Burr asked Energy and Resources- Minis- ter George Kerr if, in view of Sweden and Japan, he would not investigate the seriousness of the problem in this province. Mr. Kerr replied he was "not aware that mercury com- pounds pose a pollution prob- Troop Pullout Due The next reduction in toe strength of U.S. forces in Vietnam is due April 15. But President Richard Nixon is reported to be under strong pres- sure to pause in his program of with- drawal. Both General William West- moreland, toe Army Chief of Staff, and General Creighton Abrams, toe American commander in Vietnam would like time to assess toe effects of cuts already made. A recent rally of right wingers de-' manding that toe war be escalated to win .military victory is not likely to influence the President's decision. Pollsters hold that this is a distinctly minority view in toe United States today. It runs counter to toe war- weary mood of the country. President Nixori is not likely to be much affected cither by toe Morator- ium demonstrations scheduled lor Wednesday. He knows the mood ffof toe country without of such demonstrations. The anti-war organizers will be focusing attention on the cost of toe war to individual taxpayers this time. They feel that only toe announcement of a time- table for withdrawals wiiraffect them very much. Then toe demonstrations would be turned into celebration. The best is that Mr. Nixon will announce a troop reduction as promised. If he fails to do this he will undermine toe credibility of his Vietnamization program which is already under serious attack by critics. By ins t inc t it is likely he would prefer to heed the advice of the military but his political savvy and his prevail. Being President of toe United States at this juncture in history would seem to be an unenviable task. However, according to a recent report, Mr. Nixon seems to enjoy his position. If some issues such as Vietnam do not soon improve he may change. Best In The West The people of southern Alberta will Drama Festival seven years be offering their congratulations to tnis area been represented in toe top xi_. -i drama competition of toe country. In toe Playgoers of Lethbridge. whose production- of Brendan Behan's the Hostage has been chosen toe best in the west To all toe other congratula- tions Tbe Herald adds its voice. .There will be six competitors in toe Dominion Drama Festival to be held in -Winnipeg in May. Since toe Playgoers represent the west and thus become the host group. The Hostage will be toe first play pre- sented in toe festival. 'Not since the Coaldale Little Theatre, group was in toe Dominion being judged worthy to represent toe west, the members of toe cast of The Hostage have brought honor to southern Alberta as well-as to their group. While taking note of the winning ways of area dramatists, a word of commendation is also in-order for toe members of toe Cranbrook Little Theatre group whose production was declared the winner of the British Columbia regional drama festival. It is good to see dramatic groups out- side toe major centres doing so well. Ice Melting In Europe By WtUgaag Jnker VTS SPRING in Europe not just sea- lonally, .but also politically. The ice of two decades of Cold War is melting. And many Europeans ask thu question: Will it melt slowly enough so mat then will be i bright and lovely summer? Or win it melt too fast so that flash floods win bury not only what is being built today, but also what has been built in the past? Tbe one who tries to control OK tempera- ture most effectively, so that R does not be- come loo warm or too cool, is West Ger- many's chancellor Willy Brandt. How he handles the situation win most effectively Europe's fate for the next decades. No doubt Willy Brandt is fully conscious of he is doing. Ke has learnt his lesson as minister for foreign affairs. Then he started oui with his policy of detente bet nten East and West. Things, though, developed loo fast. After he was being hailed in many Eastern European court- tries, the Czechs reacted collectively and demanded reforms. Willy Brandt then knew that he had un- derestimated'-lhe force of silent popular opposition against dictatorial regimes. The Soviet reaction in Czechoslovakia showed htm that he had to play it much more coolly lor the benefit of his own policy and the people in Eastern Europe. In Erfurt, where be met the prime minister of East Germany, Will! Stoph, he proved that he has mastered the art of dealing with the Communists. Undoubtedly he would have liked to wave enthusiastic- ally to the East Germans who called him to the window. Instead he calmed them down showing them at the same lime that he cared for While radical rightists in his own country though a minority call him a bailor, he. may realize that even by offering the East certain concessions without getting something in return his policy win succeed after all. One thing is certain. Once the Eastern Europe countries come out of their isola- tion, the demand for more freedom and democracy from tbe people win become too loud for the governments to be ignored. We have seen already what happened in Yugoslavia and Romania: And just now, tbe Hungarian government silently gave the people much of what they were de- manding in the 1956 revolution. The East German government Is in a precarious position. After what has hap- pened in wished never to have agreed to negotiations. Even if they may achieve their objective diplo- matic recognition as a separate nation by West Germany and other Western coun- tries, Ihe popular tide in Uieir own country may force them to follow Hungary's ex- ample or risk open contempt. It may be too late even for the hawks to back down and cancel Ihe next meeting between Brandt and Sfoph in the West German city of Kassel without risking popular revolt. Willy Brandt's vision, after all, is not (hat of a new strong and united Germany. His vision still is to create united Europe East and .West ending forever centuries of atrocious and destructive senseless wars among neighbors. He knows that it Mill take time and much patience to convince the Soviets that in the end a United Europe neither Communist nor capitalist, but something in-between Mill serve them best as well. It certainly is worth a try. Wish Vd Said That 'J'WO former Saskatonians each other at church recently, The other lady said to my wife after they had identified themselves, "You know, your fact has been bothering me for months." Dy Deng Walker discovered F.lspeth, "They can't drink in tt, or. fish in it V NOW ask 'em rf they'll tell it Letters To The Editor 'Bon If Quebec Leaves Confederation If Rene Levesque, the Parti Quebecois and separatists suc- ceed, it may mean the end of French culture in North. Am- erica. Canada should co-op- erate if Quebec leaves. In ev- ery national crisis since 1867, the Red River rebellion 1870, the Northwest rebellion 1885, the First World War, the de- pression when constitutional problems disrupted effective ac- tion, and Second World War, the presence of Quebec in Con- federation was a source of weakness, not strength, If Que- bec separates, Canada should say "bon voyage" and there should be no army of occupa- tion east of tbe Ottawa. Anglophone Canada already becoming daily more Amer> canized, will then inevitably join the U.S'.A. Quebec will be a French island of in an Anglo Saxon sea of State supported French TV, ra- dio, literature and hopes of bi- lingualism outside Quebec, to- gether with tbe Francophone communities beyond the prov- ince, wiU probably shortly die. Quebec as one-third of a na- tion of has a veto over Ottawa whkh can not ef- MK> ouiuuaruiuiTOt. m UK ij isolated French islands of neks-Day. parade in Dublin a ]e for sjx weeb subject to overwhelm- Irons produced by a nucl Tni Irish, sneak Irish It was wnt- _ J fectively act against the wish- es of an overwhelming major- ity in Quebec (viz. conscription in two world With sep- aratism, this leverage will end. The iso" Quebec, ing .English TV, radio, .com- merce and press will soon with- er and die. One of the motives for Irish independence in 1917 was the preservation of Gaelic culture. The Irish government has made strong efforts, but today Gaelic is a dying tongue, used mainly by a few thousand in the extreme west of Ireland. From .across the Irish sea, English TV, radio, press and business are submerging Gaelic culture. In one St Pat- ten in Ontario" but he would look into E. Five moatta later, Mr. Kerr said fish fnm suspected waters were being analyud. Last November he wrote to Mr. Burr that it would not be wise to prohibit tbe uce of mercury by indmtiy rf present time. AH this, it may ba noted, after the Ontario Water Resources CommissiaB, which Mr. Kerr administers, had dis-' covered the condition of HM Lake St Clair bottom. Meanwhile, the running was tatting to the Dow Chem- ical company, aufcumh Dow was the only conceivable source of the menu? n Lake St. Oair, the OWRC fett it had to prove it. UnfortuMteiy, lacked (at that time) the tech- nical know how for ddecUig minute quantities of mercury in water and therefore could not show there was mercury ia Dow's effluent Theoretically, there should not have The UM ol mercury to produce chlorine involves dumping.it at the end of the process into a brine catchment. But OWRC of- ficals were able to show then was leakage from the system by deducting Dew's consump- tion of mercury from its in-. ventory and coming up with a deficit which could only be explained by1 leakage. Thus satistSed, OWRC put the company "on program" a time table lor progresciTeiy reducing the of mer- cury discharged down to zero. Just when this was started is unclear; there is some uncom- fortable evidence that it began as a crash program only a few weeks ago, with Dow dropping from 201! pounds of mercury pollution a day to 20 pounds. In any event, the company ad- mitted, when the ban on com- mercial fishing was amnmrrd, that its effluent still contains-.? parts per milUon'of mercury- over ten times above the WHO safe As for fish analysis, Mr. Ken's statement that OWRC was- analyzing suspected .fish for 'mercury covered a multi- tude of sins. Tbe OWRC at that time did not have tbe means or the know bow to' detect mer- cury in fish. It had to send Ha samples to the University .'of Southern California, which samples, when they were re- turned some six. months later with readings as high a Major league base- baU teams opened the season in eight National and American cities today, in the initial games of what is expected to be one of the best pennant contests in the history of basebatl. Striking in defence of sovereignty in India, the Brit- ish government took into cus- tody leaders of the Indian na- tional "civil disobedence" movement headed by Mahatma Gandhi. Sailors pkketed Can- ada's Great Lakes ports today as a strike called by Ihe dian Seamen's union halted nav- .igatkm along the great Wand waterway. The billion dollar Chrysler strike moved Into its SOth day today after onsucceu- ful all-night negotiation, Fidel Carfro'i agents rounded up hundreds of sus- pects today in a bid to keep a. pocket-sizeri revolt against Ihe revolutionary regime from reaching dangerous The Lethbridge Herald 604 7th St. Lethbridge, Alberta tETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publisher! Published 1905 1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN CUM Mill JiDmbfT Mil ptm 1H D.-ilj r bni' Amoclitfn ind dw Aodil ef Ci CLEO W. MOWTU, EdIM tmi PibUlko THUKA1 a ADAM, Goenl Kuuor JOE SA1XA EtiKer ROY r. KIU3 WILLIAM RAT Anodate Cdjtcr DOUGLU K WAUCEB EAttKI rw MM THE HERALD SERVES THE ;