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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 22, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Thursday, August LETHBRIDGE Cameron Lake Alternatives to industrializing Alberta By Nick Taylor, Alberta Liberal leader Editor's note: The leader of the Liberal party in Alberta, Mr. Nick Taylor, has question- ed the desirability of promoting industrial expan- sion in the province. In the interests of furthering discus- sion of this point of view The Herald is publishing this ex- plication of Mr. Taylor's position. Responses from readers are invited. Mr. Douglas Fullerton, Toronto Star columnist, some time ago wrote a partly humorous, partly philo- sophical open letter to Premiers Lougheed and Blakeney which asked why Premiers Lougheed and Blakeney wanted industry. His article served to emphasize, in a humorous way. a problem that is besetting people in the so- called industrialized nations of the world. Processing plants, factories, et cetera, although they may bring population and industrial muscle to the nation as a whole, usually fail to bring greater prosperity or increased quality of life to the individuals living within that society. Fortunately, Alberta and to a lesser extent, Sas- katchewan, have arrived at that point in history, where due to the demand and atten- dant increase in prices for our primary products Of oil, minerals and agriculture, we have the profits to build a new society. The problem is whether we build an industrial society, as has always happen- ed since the industrial revolu- tion when an area chose to be more affluent, or whether we can skip the industrialized process entirely and go into the post-industrial era as Japan and West Germany are now attempting to do. They have found that large scale in- dustrialization and the subse- quent importing of labor, as Alberta would have to do, is a never ending treadmill of labor strife, pollution and inflation. Since the process of in- dustnalization is almost irreversible, a great deal ot public debate and reflection should go into making the decision of whether to enter or skip the industrial era for Alberta. We have heard arguments that in an industrialized society, the processors make more profit than do the producers, employ more people, manufacture goods more cheaply, have a more even growth than a raw material based society, and lastly, that industry pays for our municipal services. Most people add what they like to call the clincher "What will we do when our raw materials run out and we will need to replace the Although I do not believe in an industrialized society for Alberta I do hpiifvr m the bt'ilt 'i i comphshed b> methods other than industrializing. I believe that the economic and social growth ol individual Albt-rUins can best be done by develop- ing our administrative, design, and financial centres. our tourism oi and process.ng aid ither renewable natural resources such as timber and fishing. From the industrial revolu- tion to the 1950s, it was cor- rect to surmise that because the people who did the manufacturing and processing were in short supply, they controlled world commerce. They told the primary producers what they would get for their raw material and what society would have to pay for the finished product. However, now that raw materials are in short supply and processors are plentiful, the world is coming to us. Still, we are talking about going into processing, an already overcrowded field. Any emerging country that can buy Japanese or American computers can now be a processor. Since we, in Alberta, are already short of labor, have a zero population growth (there are fewer children in our schools than there were six years ago) it follows that we would have to import this semi-skilled labor to operate our new in- dustrial plants. Have we thought where we will get the people, knowing that most of the rest of North America, and West Europe have zero population growth? One often hears that a ma- jor benefit of industrializing is cheaper manufactured products. The cost of a product in our market economy is usually determin- ed by the cost of the nearest competitive product. Industry here is not likely to give us cheap products in Alberta anymore than it brought cheaper prices to Ontario when industry moved up from the U.S. If we want cheaper finished products, we should make it a condition for selling our raw materials to a processor, that we receive back at wholesale cost or less, a certain percen- tage of what the processor produces. The processor gets the labor and pollution problem and an assured raw material supply, and we gain a cheaper product, and hopefully, if we bargained right, a very high price for our raw material. Industrial plants require a great deal of capital per job compared to design and ad- ministration fields or tourism. This demand for capital is usually satisfied either by en- couraging foreign investment or an alliance of government and private enterprise, as was worked out in Japan in the 50s and 60s and in Italy in the 20s and 30s. We are now doing the same in Alberta through the medium of the Alberta Energy Development and the Alberta Development Cor- poration as well as continuing foreign investment. The end result, either way, of bringing in capital is a great loss of inde- pendence and political power to the average man in the street. The first, because foreign capital is directed from outside the country, and the second, an alliance of local capital and government that started for the purpose of petting industry underway and kerpint' ownership where the i are erected or laws passed that perpetuate their power and curtail com- petition. Mum argui Uiat we should industrialize, so we will have more people to pay for municipal services Now that ''ff think Ati me last 15 have taxes gone down? Every time a mayor proudly an- nounces he has landed another industry, vou can expect taxes to go up in the next year. These big beautiful in- dustrial complexes, par- ticularly petrochemical plants, are built to return the builders' investment in four years or so, then a profit for 12 more years approximately, when, due to rapid technology, they become obsolete. The financier builder has made his profit but society is then faced with persuading him or someone else to put up another new plant to employ all the people now being laid off Full employment then becomes an elusive nightmare repeated over and over again. Investigating further the theory that industrial workers bring prosperity to society, we must use our ability to do an accurate cost-benefit analysis on the bringing in of labor. Fifty years ago imported labor not only cost the employer little but society also paid little. We were satisfied to let immigrants live in squalor with few ser- vices. Today, an imported worker brings children to educate, possibly a parent for old age pension, medicare for all, and probably social costs such as welfare and children's allowances. In addition, we have roads to build, utilities to install, and finally, the cost of keeping the air and water clean. Quite a bill. A semi- skilled worker brought into the industrial labor force is not an economical addition to society. Society's new jobs have to be in administration, finance, etcetera "brain jobs" with less capital invest- ment but more return to the economy. Japan and Germany term them "high value added" jobs. Another argument we often hear for industrializing Alber: ta, is our need to replace the jobs that will cease to exist as we deplete our natural resources. But, the decline in a particular natural resource's financial return is usually very slow due to the fact that as the resource becomes more scarce, the Trice generally goes up. However, maybe more impor- tant. is that the type of search that we use for one resource can be easily directed into another line, as the first resource becomes scarce or something else happens to reduce the attractiveness of hunting for it. Industrialization based on non renewable assets also encourages the use of these assets at a greater rate than if the non renewable assets are to be used in Alberta alone. In- dustrial plants have to shoot for the largest possible market rather than one within the province alone When non renewable assets are sold without processing but for the highest possible price, and also with the requirement that as much as the finished product that one needs within the province be returned, there is a tendency to gear produriu n K province r either than oup.iiif, up one's msides. so to speak. at as fast a clip as possible to provide the products for a hunjjn world Admittedh. a sti irtlv law maii'i'icil proof- ing society can also ao the same thing, however it is much oasi'5r to thT1 putting political pressure on the state to produce these assets as fast as possible in order to give prosperity not only to the people who have built the factories but for the imported labor force. Finally, it would be hoped that we in Alberta would have developed such an expertise in looking for natural resources, that by the time our own supplies were depleted, we would have become acknowledged experts in look- ing in other areas for other people. In other words, we should be a head office and ad- ministration centre for ex- ploration and development in other parts of the world. We already do this to a limited ex- tent as most of the exploration for oil in the Territories, the Arctic, and the east coast of Canada, is administered from Calgary. In fact, the growth of offices in Calgary and Ed- monton and the oil industry in general in the last five to 10 years, can be attributed more to world wise expansion than any increase in finding oil in Alberta. If the best future for Alberta is not in industrializing with its attendant increase in pop- ulation, what are we going to use for an alternative. I am not a zero population growth fan, so much as an exponent of increased wealth and leisure for those already here in Alberta. I want to see the pre- sent residents of Alberta grow in both an intellectual and financial sense. To do this, the industrial era can be skipped to put us directly into the post industrial era where the quality of life and quantity of life are not incompatible. One of the first alternatives is quickly apparent. If we can keep our air clean and our fields green and our popula- tion small, these are the very essentials of tourism. Tourism can yield many more millions of dollars to Alberta than it does at present. On a cost-benefit analysis, what better dollar can a society make than from tourism? The people come, spend their money, and leave. We do not have to supply schools, pen- sions, medicare, sewers, and houses to keep them all year round. We take their money and their home society has to supply these other costs. Another alternative to in- dustrialization is agriculture, where I think that Albertans tend to be apologetic rather than proud. Whether in China, Russia or North Africa, western Canada is famous not for its engineers or lawyers or politicians, but for the fact that the western Canadian farmer resides here. Those people know and they appreciate more than we do. that the western Canadian farmer had done more in the last generation to expand his output per capita than any other sector of our civilized society. The shortage of food is going to become even greater in the future so that the farmers' economic posi- tion is going to become better. Since we reside in an area that has some of the best farming land in the world rest-arch assistance and guidance, can develop as much in the next generation a ll t If VM rr.- ou: uaiisporuitMii, will find that the farmer can push his high duality oroducts further irrigation, not only from surface waters but from underground water well irrigation. Because much food needs to be processed, processing plants may fulfil our sense of having to have just a few factories on the landscape. Closely allied to farming is the question of fisheries. Stocking our streams and lakes and rivers can be stepped up. Our fishing output has decreased considerably over the last 10 to 15 years. In China, many farmers have converted ponds and dugouts to fish raising. This is something that could be look- ed into here as it yields a fan- tastic amount of protein equivalent, in a protein-short world When casting about for in- come and job producers that do not involve factories or processing plants, we might invite or endeavor to attract administrative centres such as the head offices for com- panies operating around the world, as well as computer, research, and design centres and centres for government departments. In this era of instant communications, head offices have a tendency to go where the quality of life is best, rather than locate next to a plant. There are few areas in the world that are as nice to live in as Alberta and once it becomes known that we have made a solid commit- ment to the future, that we are not going to be converted into another southern Ontario, Pennsylvania, or a Ruhr Valley, we will have no dif- ficulty in building Alberta as an administrative and design centre. Research, design, and administration centres can be, and should be, encouraged to locate in our small towns. Let us not forget that many in Alberta will continue, as they do now, either from choice or necessity, to work in the trades or general labor. As mentioned before, with a school population that is decreasing, and already jobs going begging, we have little fear that we will run out of menial or semi skilled jobs. Even if not another Industry were to establish in Alberta for the next generation, we cannot replace ourselves with the present birth rate. The question is going to be who and how many will we import. I cannoi over-emphasize the urgency of Alberta's situation. The public must become aroused All three political parties presently in our legislature are geared to a policy of industrialization. Albertans may not get a se- cond chance because an in- dustrialization policy is irreversible. You just don't tear factories down, and most important of all. you cannot w k iip peonle and move them ,c o! green around C aigarv and Edmonton. The second step, so that the mavors and councils of these transportation will allow our western farmers to be the truck gardeners and food suppliers to areas as far away as Japan. Only three per cent of our arable land is under irrigation. We have done little or nothing to investigate ai int thought ot not be- ing allowed to bring in in- to their city, would be i ft 1t or-i a 11 ve p-'iiip .'-IP ?hird np i? licensing of all new businesses, be it industrial or otherwise, to see that they locate where we wish and that on a cost-benefit analysis they add to Alberta and Albertans living here. Let's skip the industrial age and move into the post- era. Curriculum changes needed By Terry Morris, local writer We waste too much school time on math! Every school day students and teachers spend about an hour toiling over obscure and irrele- vant mathematical tricks most of which will be forgotten when students quit school. In elementary school, parents are often dragged into the conflict as math homework or un- finished work is brought home by johnny or Mary. If this sounds negative or provocative, I'm in good company. At a recent meeting of southern Alberta school trustees, modern mathematics was described "as things thrown together in a batch." One trustee questioned the need for mathematics after Grade seven provided students had been taught math "aimed at fulfilling their future daily needs rather than requirements for a professional career." Why does math have such a hold on school curriculum? Part of the answer can be traced to tradition. The three Rs have long dominated our school programs and even a small shift in emphasis from math to other subjects is likely to cause an uproar. More important than tradition are the vested interests of publishers and some school per- sonnel. Preparing and publishing text books, workbooks and teaching aids is very expen- sive. Large sales can also make it a very profitable business and it's not surprising schools endure a barrage of advertisements that extol the virtues of the latest text book or miracle gadget. There's lots of money to be made from schools and profit is often more important than pupil need Publishers are helped by non-teaching educators who abound in school systems. A great many subjecj supervisors are employed and no matter what their subject specialty, math, hygiene, cosmetics or bicycle safety, these people must justify their very lucrative positions. They are compelled to push and publicize their subject to ensure it receives maximum attention, time and expenditure. Obviously, they will oppose any attempt to downgrade the importance of their specialty. Unfortunately, as publishers and supervisors fight for a share of the school budget and curriculum the real needs of pupils get overlooked. How much math will students need to cope with their daily needs in adult life? Most peo- ple want to tell the time, have a knowledge of measurement to help them in household tasks, and have the money skills to cope with shopping, personal budgets and income tax. Provided they know when and how to add, subtract, multiply and divide there should be no problems in managing personal affairs. It's strange that curriculum, what we offer to students, receives such scant attention from our trustees. If some school subjects are dated or over-emphasized they should be replaced by other areas of study. Now that school trustees are questioning part of the school curriculum let's wish them success in their attempts to make schools more effec- tive centres of learning. The promised land By Marie Sorgard, local writer IRON SPRINGS When the Coyote Flats Historical Society met recently considerable discussion took place regarding a name for its second book. One of the members, a Dutch immigrant, suggested that it be called The Promised Land. He told about the plight of the people in his homeland, Holland, after the Second World War. A tiny country, it offered very little opportunity for families who wanted to pursue an agricultural career. Canada became the promised land for these people, and most have had their dreams fulfilled within the past few years. At this point I thought about our first book Coyote Flats. The tales of the people who came here at the turn of the century were tales of people seeking a new way of life in a new land. Most came by train or covered wagon, bringing their few possessions with them. Families found themselves living in tents, shacks, and a few in holes in the ground, until the men could get around to building houses. The house was often only a one or two room structure, but it provided shelter from the elements and became home for the family, sometimes for many years to come. The story repeated itself in the late twen- ties and early thirties when people came here from Europe. They at least had beet labor houses to move into. They had no conveniences, but neither did many of the farmers for whom they worked Eventually, after many years of hard labor, and often with a helping hand from their employer. reached their long sought goal, a farm to call their own Today many of these people are enjoying a life of retirement and can af- tord the luxury of an occasional trip to Europe to visit with relatives and friends The Japanese who were forced to leave their homes at the Pacific coast in the spring of 1942 and come to the bleak beet shacks on the prairies must have taken a dim view of the situation. Many who had been professional people or affluent executives found themselves on the end of a hoe, thinning the lowly sugar beets They too stayed, and while the older generation has retired their families are engaged in extensive farming operations or ir. other business ventures or protessions After the Second World War the beet labor houses once again became home to another group the Dutch seeking a new way of life in a new land. Today the countryside is dotted with dairy barns and broiler farms, owned by the Dutch Each group of settlers had its own problems, which must have seemed insur- mountable at times, with which to contend But tor each. Coyote Flats, in the heart of southern Alberta, has lived up to its reputa- tion and fulfilled its promise the promised land ANDY RUSSELL The need for wilderness areas WATERTON LAKES PARK For too long Canadians have been unconcerned about conserving wilderness country, a condition probably resulting from long exposure to vast reaches of it. Most of the population of Canada is located inside a 300-mile wide strip of country lying just north of the 49th parallel To the north lies vast reaches of largely non- arable land in such quantity that it would appear to be inexhaustable. But a closer look at it reveals that much of it is being exploited to a point of great waste. It was only a short time ago that early settlers fought the wilderness for their survival and the experience is still hung over, hence we are losing wild country of great value at an alarming rate. True, we have set aside many national parks enclosing vast reaches of the country's magnificent features, but even here wilderness values are being threatened by the sheer weight of people. In the five major Rocky Mountain parks examples of overuse are legion: campgrounds trail? and lake shores show heavy wear if ten ve- .T" to ecology ?-f r roads and towns' (i overcrowding, proven to be self-defeating a cure, and dangerous to the very things parks were formed to protect. Thus, we fail to realize the dangers we create and that such oversight destroy parks as wilderness preserves. We have also overlooked certain unique features of this land that can never be replaced once pone In all fhp region of Canada. V.T have preserve one area sufficient to truly represent this kind of ecosystem. As a result, we have lost some wildlife species indigenous to prairie: the kit fox, black footed ferret and pinnated grouse. It is still not too late to reintroduce these if suitable country is set aside. In the great reaches of totally unique and magnificent rain forest country found on the west coast only one small strip enclosed in the Pacific Rim National Park has been set aside for future generations, and it is too small to be completely representative. Until quite recently there was an opportunity to preserve the fabulous mountain and lake rain forest region the Owikeno Lakes country near the head of Rivers Inlet containing some of biggest and oldest spruce and fir timber left in Canada and richest sockeye salmon producing waters of North America. But it is too late, for clear cutting operations are in full swing. There was a similar forest region of great beauty on the heads of the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers. Ironically enough, although is enclosed in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park no protection has been afforded and it has been devastated by clear cutting. Again, two of the finest salmon and steel head rivers in the world have been severely damaged. In the face of the great food value of these fish alone, how do our economists figure the cost? We also observe the taise economy ot for access roads and f }i