Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 18, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Wedneldiiy, Augull 18, 1971 THE IfTHBRIDGE HERAID S Anthony Westell "Suppression" of rebel poverty report of the charms of I n e political village of Ottawa is the gossip that makes life so much rr.ore exerting than it is. The simplest events in govern- ment turn out In whispered confidences to have bizarre ex- planations, and even one's own humdrum activities arc discov- ered by others lo iic exotic. Recently, for example, a friend from Carleton University came to dinner and told me about the plot to supress the counter-report on poverty. This report, you may recall, has been prepared by two econo- mists and two writers who re- signed from the si aft of the Senate committee on poverty because they feared that it was "afraid to tell the people why they were poor." The rebels published the first part of their own counter-report on poverty in a recent issue of The Last Post, a radical chic newsmagazine, and waited for the walls of the establishment to fall down. When nolhing happened and the press did not follow up their report, the authors apparently smelled a conspiracy of silence. Anyway, my friend, who has had some acquaintance recent- ly with the rebel four, was passing on to me at the week- end (he true story of how The Toronlo Star, playing its cus- tomary role of lackey of the corporate interests, had cun- ningly torpedoed the report. K seems that when the four held a press conference to pub- licize their report, The Star sent a newsman shrewdly brief- ed to attack them on the sub- ject of regional economic de- velopment on which the report was admittedly weak, and thus managed lo discredit their re- search and distract attention from (heir real message. It's an exciting yarn and I'd almost rather have had it hap- pen that way, for the prosaic truth is less creditable to us all. What really happened is (his. Adjoining the working room in the parliamentary press gal- kry there is a comfortable lounge where .some of us ne'er- do-wells occasionally pass an hour (this is beginning to sound like True Confessions) at a sa- vage game of cards called I-lcarfs. So tbcic 1 was a few weeks ago, when inlo (lie launge came four men I had never seen before to hold a press conference. We co'jld hardly go on play- ing cards, so I turned my chair around and listened to the questions and answers. 1 soon gathered that they were talk- ing about Lire counter-report on poverty I had skimmed that morning. Because [here were not loo intny reporters to ask questions and the proceedings seeir.ed lo be repetitious I de- cided to help out by asking a few. The only thing that bad jump- ed out at me from the rejxirt was the section on the federal government's regional develop- ment program "Ottawa's bil- lion-dollar it was headed which seemed to me to be quite wrong. It said, for example, that the development department "has not released any concise infor- mation on how it has spent money 1 happened to know, because I wrote a series of columns on Uie program last year, that the department has published its contracts with each province, listing, with cost estimates, the public works it is undertaking in each urban-growth centre; that it published lists of grants made to business corporations locat- ing the development areas; and that it has distributed in book- Jels (he. Fund for Rural Econo- mic Development schemes in Prince Edward Island and else- where. Thh- is all in addition to the normal public accounting by government departments. There were other statements about regional development which seemed to me to be al- most equally misleading, so I asked questions about them. Quite quickly, to my surprise and Lo their credit, the four au- thors admitted Iheir report An idea clearly out of control T-TANDWIUNGING newspa- per articles about over- population always sidestep the one solution that would te painless, simple and beneficial to our society; Put something in the water. So says editorialist Michael Malloy, wringing his hands in a recent issue of the National Observer. According to bis "biochemi- cal there is nothing farfetched about devel- oping a nontoxic waterborne chemical that would tempo- rarily inhibit human fertility without deleterious side effects, he says. Such a chemical ii, our mu- nicipal water supplies would reduce the birthrate while al- lowing every couple to have as many children as they wished simply by avoiding public wa- ter. This would immediately el- iminate most illegitirraey in our society. It would m.ike the "unwanted child" a pathetic memory. It would free our cities from much of their crushing welfare burden. "So let's target our popula- tion control on the least re- sponsible instead of the most responsible he urges. "Let's put the sacredness oF human life back in the centre of our morality and stop all Ihcse abortions. Let's allow people to have as many cliil- riren as (heir hearts have room By Don Oakley, NEA service for, and still reduce our pop- ulation. In short, let's find something lo put in the water." A great idea. The only trou- ble is that it was shot down more than a year ago by at least one biochemist unac- quainted with Ma'toy. Speaking at Cal Tech in the spring of 1070, Stanford Uni- versity c'nenust Carl Djerassi labeled the whole idea as "ab- surd." He listed a number of practical problems associated with the development of such a contraceptive agent: The substances w o u Id have to be active either in the male or the female, but only in their reproductive years. It must be active over an enor- mous dose range, since water intake can vary greatly in peo- ple. It must be tasteless. It must worlf only on hu- mans. It would be feasible only if added to central water sup- ply systems and not wells. (This requirement alone elim- inates at least half the World's It would have lo display chemical stability in contact So They Say lost our way sometime in the 19Ui century. Archibald Rogers, on today's "unlivable" cities. with pipes and other metals; light and oxygen stability in holding tanks and reservoirs; temperature stability during cooking or refrigeration. It must not react with minerals (for example, hard, soft and softened There must be no concentration problems arising from food processing as in the preparation of frozen juice or soup concentrates. "Even if these virtually in- superable obstacles could be overcome, let us not forget the tremendous difficulty en- countered in adding even as simple an agent as fluoride to municipal water says Djerassi. And anyway, the question cf side effects is insoluble, he adds. No drug is devoid of side effects, and in tlu's particular instance we are asking for a drug that wmild have minimal side effects not only In the sex and age group in which it is supposed to be active but in all other age groups and in the opposite sex. A contraceptive added to wa- ter would be a general environ- mental pollutant, he says. It would have to be considered a pesticide, albeit one Uiat is di- rected primarily at humans It is exceedingly unlikely that such a compound active in man would be ineffective in other animal species. Back In the old handwring- ing. MAKE Centre Village your one-stop shopping centre for all your NEEDS THESE FRIENDLY MERCHANTS WILL BE PLEASED TO ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR NEEDS Simpsons-Sears Golden Dolphin Bath Boufique Betty Shop Peoples Credit Jewellers Laura Secord Riley McCormick Doreen's Boutique Smitty's Pancake House Centre Village IGA Art Williams Agencies Merchant Prince Emporium Macleods Bata Slices Shoppers' Drug Mart The Royal Bank Tip Top Tailors Orange Julius Razor Edge Barber Shop Renaissance Imports Reward Shoes mighl not be very sound on the subject and Uicy would hF.vc to do more research before put- ling their final conclusions inlo a book. Thai's the whole embarrass- ing tnilh about my involvement with Ihe report and li'ie ques- tions about regional develop- ment. I was not then and I am no now, as they say in Uie loy- ally oaths, an agent of the cor- porale interesls seeking lo keep the truth Irom the poor. (I'm told that a journalistic ally ol Ihe four rebels subse- quenlly did a CBC Viewpoint on how badly The Star and the other paper.1; have (rented the rounter-report. I don't know whether he was; talking about the same non-conspiracy or some-thing else But if there has not been a plot lo suppress the report, Uie question remains of why it has not received much attention from the media. The answer, I think and Uiis is where the truth is more painful than fic- tion to (.he aulhor.s is Ibat Hie report is ncl newsworthy. It does nol lell us much, if any- thing, Uiat we did not know. II opens with splendid irre- verence and mixed metaphors: "Telling [ho chairman of Ibe Senate committee on poverty, David Croll, lo gel stuffed only an incidental but neces- sary act the weigh-in for the preliminary bnuis on the road lo the main event But the in- troduction declines at once into the misty generalities and ro- manlie rhetoric which are Ihe retreat of so many aspiring ra- dicals. "H'e liavc concluded Ihol be- fore our society can even ap proach a policy of social de- velopment, we must come un- derstand a concept o[ poverty based on says the in- troduction. "And Ihat understanding re- quires that we abandon myths and begin to search for Uie con- crete causes of poverty in the structure of our system. "Hie mandate given (he spe- cial Senate committee was 'lo investigate and report on all aspects of poverty in Canada.' Such an investigation demands Lhal Ihs focus be widened to in- clude our whole society, and lo show that the economic system by which we live not only tol- erates poverty, but in many ways crcalc-s, sustains, and even aggravates the problem. "Senator Croll rejected mis examination the examinaUon required by his mandate on the grounds of 'political real- ism'. That kind of political realism confronts only that part of political reality with which it feels comfortable. True real- ity demands an examination of ail the reality including the moral bankruptcy of Canadian social policy." That seems to promise in Ihe following chapters a new and revealing examination of how the structures of Canadian so- cicly and economic orgaaiza- lion impose poverty, bill Ihe re- port docs not deliver. It offers instead a handy guide lo most of the well-known facls alxwt poverty in Canada a useful package, but not a revelation. It establishes for example tliati there is poverty, several years after Uie Economic Coun- cil of Canada had reminded us that it is a disgrace. It is radical only when it sug- gests lhal (be failure to elimi- nate poverty is nol accidental, nol simply a fnilurc to devise efficiert programs, but (he in- evitable outcome of a system which puts business values be- fore human values, which en- riches Hie oorporalions (aided by U'.o media) at the expense of Ihe poor. This is where the counter-re- port should have started. We all know there is dis- graceful poverty and that, ob- viously, many of our social pro- grams do not work success- fully. What we want lo know now is what lo do about it. The conventional solution and what we can expect from the1 Senate coinmillcc. arc some now and heller programs, siUi as a guaranteed income H'hrme. The radical alierna- livc must surely be to change Ihe viilues and the economic structures of sociely. To be convincing, this requires not romantic rhetoric but some hard thinking expressed in careful plans. It is not enough to sneer, as Ihc four rebels do, that Ihc gov- ernment said in Ihat if rould not afford lo introduce medicare ivlini ,.t Ihe same time corporations were making profits from color TV. They should be able lo demons! mi's Imw ill practice ;i Mtricly can I'hnnso. health brtnre oulcitsiiv monl, Ilio nf forr. priv.ito profil. The authors have promised another document containing some proposls in a few monlhs. 1 hope it will be worth more nlLenlion Ihr nH'trnl of- fering, (Tormitu Mar JS.MHliralc) LB Land purchase curbs? The Saskatoon Star 1'lnjfiiix A LIBERAL member of the Saskalchc- wan legislature would like to see a curb on the acreage of farm land which Americans are allowed to buy. Tom Weatherald (L-Cannington) ex- pressed concern that Americans had been making purchases of large tracts of valu- able farm land in the southern part of the province and Uiat they were preparing (o make further such purchases. Mr. Weatherald is not the first lo voice Ihi" concern, the previous government hav- ing made a survey to iind out just what the silualion was. D. T. MacFarlane, agri- culture minister at that time, found the per- centage of American ownership to be not significant. Al the turn of the century and for 30 to 40 years after, it was possible for a man to pick up homesteads because there still was plenty of virgin land to be had. That day has just about passed and there are now only a few scattered areas in the west left to be opened to cultivation Land over the past 30 years lias risen steadily in price, until new, land that could once have been bought for anywhere from S30 to an acre has been selling for in the neighborhood of perhaps, in some localities, higher. Even so, this is cheap compared to the cost o[ land in the U.S. farm belt where the going prices rise to or more an acre. Small wonder then that agriculture-mind- ed Americans are beginning to eye Can- ada's prairie wheatlancls. Undoubtedly more will be heard alj'wl limiting the amount of land Americans may buy. It might be fair to assume that the present government with its concern, expressed during Ihc June election cam- paign, for Ihe family farm, might even consider limiting the amount of land which could be held by any farmer. Or wjul'l that be loo touchy a move to go well with farmers, who can be very individual- istic when there is too much interference into their operations? Today in Saskatche- wan there can be found a number of larrn- ers who operate on anyubere frrnn five trt 10 sections. There has been resistance m other areas to the holding of large tracts of land by groups of people, such as the Hutterites, and rnany movements have been set afoot to prevent their acquiring more. However, this cannot be considered in the same light as the American purchases, since the land the Hutterites hold supports a large number of people. f( will be interesting lo follow (lip NDP's, course in this direction, especially since the suggestion for limiting American purchases was put forward by an Opposition mem- ber. Limiting the amount of land u'Judi held by an individual or individuals could be a very tricky issue especially in a coun- try where the sky has been the limit if the money was there, and where today Uie rural population is steadily decreasing be- cause of the trend to bigness. Coal and air pollution Tile Great Falls Tribune pLANS for any new coal powered elec- tric genera (ing facilities in Montana should be cheeked carefully for provision for protecting Treasure Stale air from pol- lution. Under the heading, "The Murder of the Alvin M. Josephy Jr. notes in the July issue of Audubon that a consor- tium known as W.E.S.T. (Western Energy Supply and Transmission con- sisting of 23 major investor owned and stale, municipal and federal power com- panies and agencies, is in Uic process of operating, constructing or planning of the country's largest coal fueled power plants, together with a satellite system of smaller ones. These installations, located in various paits of the previously unspoiled de s e r t and redrock canyon lands of the South- west, are to supply electricity for such di- verse metropolitan areas as Southern Cali- fornia the Las Vegas region of Nevada and the Phoenix Tucson urban and agricul- tural cenlers of Arizona. Southern California would not allow any of the planls lo be built there because of Uie fact it would add to Uiat area's al- ready heavy buitlen of pollution. Two plants in Ihc far flung W.E.S.T. complex are in operation. The one at Fruit- land, is, to quote Josephy, probably "the most shocking single polluter of the atmosphere anywhere in the United States." It spews out more particulatc matter 300 tons or more per day than is let loose by ali stationary sources of air pollution in New York City and Los Angeles combined. At times (lie pollution hangs over an area of 10.000 square miles. "Bad as that plant is, however, it is only the beginning of the mess (Jiat the Josephy says. Late in 1970, a second unit in Hie complex went into op- eration in Clark County, Nevada, and the third great plant has been under construc- tion since early 1570 at Page, Ariz. A fourth plant, the supennousler, is planned for con- struction beginning in 1973 on the opposite side of Lake Powell from Page. Montana, with Uie revival of ils coal min- ing industry as a result of the rocketing de- majid for power, must make sure "The Murder of the SouUiwest" is not rc-enaclwf in the Big Sky Country. New marketing pattern Tlic Great Falls Tribune 'PWO stories in the Tribune's news col- umns two days apart had signifi- cance for Montana with respect (o what is happening in Uie livestock marketing field. The firsl. was a report of an interview with a Japanese trade representative on the possibility of shipping Montana beef to Japan by air. The Japanese people, with their booming economy, are interested in eating more beef. Great Falls would be the logical take-off point for planes freighting Montana-produced beef to the Orient. The other report, chronicled the closing nf Chicago's centuj-y-old Union Stockyards. Caltle which formerly would have been shipped to Chicago will be sent elsewhere for sale. There will be no more Chicago livestock quotations. There arc other implications. Giicago was beginning to lose it pre-eminence as a meat packing centre (o Omaha, Sioux City and other more western cities two de- cades ago. Tliis means thousands of Jobs once provided by the meat packing indus- try hi Chicago are gone- Changes in transportalion patterns con- tributed to this decentralization of Ihe packing industry. Livestock now can be trucked directly from farm and feed lot to the processing plant without being sub- jecled to Uie long rail haul lo Cliicago. It comes about from continuation of the general westward movement which has taken place in all things in lliis country from ils beginning. Montana, ivitb Ihou- sands of square miles of range and ils extensive production o[ feed grain, must be alert to casli in on (he new opportuni- ties afforded by these changes in llw marketing pattern. Manitoba shows hoiv The Ollnwa Citizen IN years past, more programs to assist Canada's Indian and MeUs peoples have followed a depressing pattern. While planners, perhaps with a token nod to- ward consultation with the native groups, would present the plans full-blown. They would be mcl with apaUiy or outright condemnation from those the programs were to help The government of Manitoba has an- nounced a program which earned Ihe unre- served approval of Indian and Metis lead- ers. They participated directly in its draft- ing. It is tailored to meet what tliey see as their special needs. They will have a direct vote in ils application. Some proposals roadbuilding, jub training and starter grants for new enter- prises arc not new. However, a proposal which would see people fly to mining com- munilics for I May work stinls, inter- spersed with two weeks of holidays back in their own villages, will require some working out. The thrust of (lie whole effort is to vide Indians and Metis with economic and social opportunities while minimizing distur- bance of Iheir traditional life slylc. This program, financed by Uie feder- al and provinci.il governments, faces some stern challenges. As a start, it must cope will Uie deeply-ingrained apathy and sus- picion of these people. It must begin lo counter the while man's view lhal failure lo comply with his work clhic is a sign of sloth. Manitoba's plan tackles roof problems and results will not be quick or dramatic. However, given any reasonable success, it should hasten the end ol the fatlier-knows- best approach Uiat has doomed other meaning efforts. The open space concept By Doug 1 was intrigued lo read about Deputy Mayor Hex Little's motion that UK hnnW borderine Ihc Henderson Lake Golf Club be- removed "in Ihc iiitcrrals of ri'lciition of Ihc open space coiu'cpl.'1 Although Mr. LilUo has never said so publicly (lo my knowledge) ho must ad- mire Uie modest contribution I liavc mado in Ihc promotion of the open space con- cept. IVd many people can tiiafch my rec- ord in resisting the closed space concept inherent in R fence.