Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 27, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
LETHBRIDGE August Government confidence unjustified Pragmatism vs humanitarianism Maybe it's time to think along more pragmatic linos about the world popula- tion problem. The developed countries of the world, with the U.S. as figurehead, are being attacked by some of the developing countries at Bucharest for trying to foster population control. The charge is that the rich countries are merely trying to protect their affluent way of life so that they will not have to lower their standard of living by sharing with the increasingly numerous poor. There is some truth to this charge but less justice. No nation would adopt as a long-range policy a deliberate practice of lowering its standard of living as long as there was an alternative. The alternative of the moment is to try to persuade the poor but teeming countries of the world to place a higher value on human life. be facto methods of population control famine, flood, rioting, disease, malnutrition, war are less acceptable to the developed countries than to the un- derdeveloped countries where such events seem commonplace and con- siderably more effective than birth control even though this cannot be stated as national policy. In all justice it should be said that it is precisely those rich countries under at- tack that furnish the food, the drugs, the personnel and other supplies to help whenever disaster strikes. Whether this is seen to stem from humanitarian feelings or a guilty conscience depends Contrasting oil policies Venezuela and Norway offer contrasting examples of oil development policy. This is not surprising since the countries themselves are contrasting in many ways. It is true that both have representative governments and both own or plan to own their oil industries From the start. Norway has retained a controlling interest in all the operations off its continental shelf and Venezuela has announced its intention of nationalizing its industry, paying for leases and equipment Irom oil revenues. There the comparison ends. Norway, with an already high standard of living and a quality of lite it respects, is deliberately limiting oil exploration off its coasts to prevent any vast economic or social disruption by a sudden influx of oil money By controlling production. Norway can also anticipate that its revenues from oil will last far longer into the future. Venezuela, on the other hand, has been an oil producer for decades, with all the old habits of full exploitation of resources. As the fourth largest producer of petroleum in the Free World it can now anticipate an annual windfall of billion. Although it has a low standard of living and many areas where money is badly needed (a third of its work force does not have full time jobs, half of its children are illegitimate and it badly needs training schools for doctors, technicians and skilled workers of all kinds) there simply are not enough avenues within its social and economic structure at the moment for channeling all the money into worthwhile projects and much of it will have to be invested abroad. To facilitate efforts to absorb as much of the oil profits as possible, the Venezuelan congress has voted its newly elected president extraordinary powers to rule by decree on economic matters for a year. This has enabled the government to pay off to private banks debts incurred by farmers at usurious rates and will speed construction of a hydroelectric project on the Orinoco River which is larger than Egypt's Aswan Dam complex. It has enabled the government to buy out the iron mining operations of U.S. Steel and Bethleham Steel. It has also led the president to rather silly extremes. In an attempt to create jobs he has decreed that all automatic elevators must be manned and all public establishments must staff their rest room facilities. The inability to comply with this ruling has forced even churches, let alone bars and restaurants, to close their doors. Many critics worry about the effect of rags to riches on a nation which they say has never appreciated the work ethic. Venezuela's former oil minister, who can claim credit for the country's new riches because he was the chief architect of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has pointed out that a simple solution to the whole problem, and the one adopted by Norway, is to freeze oil production at a lower level to keep the government on a tighter budget. But nobody seems to be listening. By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator on the point of view. But the one obvious fact is that these rich countries do manage their societies and their economies so that they have surpluses to share, which should give some credence to their advice. In looking at the population situation unemotionally, these ideas need to be considered. In the first place, the charge that the rich nations of the world are ex- ploiting the poor is rapidly becoming passe. With the commodity-producing nations of the world, most of whom fall into the underdeveloped sector, rapidly attempting to form cartels as did the coffee, the sugar and the oil producers before them, it is hard to know who is taking advantage of whom. The charge is made even more spurious today by news to the effect that within many of the developing countries the rich are ex- ploiting the poor. In the second place, it is rapidly becoming apparent that the best way to cut down on the population explosion is to increase the standard of living in a socie- ty and that to this end resources and assistance from outside should be devoted to economic development for the future rather than succor for the present population, if both cannot be carried out at the same time. This idea will appeal less to the rich countries with their humanitarian instincts than to the poor, who are pragmatic because they have no choice. OTTAWA The Govern- ment justifies its position in the dispute between western grain companies and the grain handlers with the argument that the case has certain "uni- que aspects" and will not, therfore, become a precedent for other industrial settlements. John Munro, the Minister of Labor, in taking issue with suggestions that a settlement based on the Perry report would be inflationary, emphasized these distinctions and observed: "I personally do not feel that this es- tablishes any sort of ben- chmark at all." Various unique aspects have been mentioned, including the demand of the handlers for wage parity with the longshoremen. There is every reason to as- sume that the Government, worried as it must be about in- flation, does not wish the set- tlement it has in mind to be taken as a benchmark or precedent. But the pertinent question surely is: what assurance do Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Munro have that it will not in fact prove pattern set- ting? At the moment there is con- siderable interest in Ottawa in an arbitral award won by the Government's information officers, 673 in number. Apart from large retroactive payments and a retroactive reclassification. these officers have won a guarantee of full compensation for inflation. Their position might be described as unique: certainly their duties cannot be com- pared with the postal workers and other groups about to enter into negotiations. Nevertheless. Claude Edwards, president of the Public Service Alliance, has termed the award "un- doubtedly a breakthrough." As he ex- Ford must encourage friendly relations By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator ERIC NICOL WASHINGTON The Cyprus issue is not, as some imagine, an irrelevant nuisance which serves only to mar the debut of President Ford. On the contrary, it reflects in small the large problem which heads the foreign policy agenda for the whole Ford administration. That is the matter of reknitting relations with this country's friends and allies, notably in Europe. At the root of the problem is a dramatic waning of the cold war. The European allies are no longer afraid of Soviet aggression. China has entered the world system and virtually abandon- ed revolutionary subversion. There is an easing of pressure on regimes in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In effect, the confrontation which gave shape to world politics in the postwar era has dissolved and there is now no dominant structure in world affairs. The absence of structure defines the new perils to inter- national security. Probably the most immediate threat to security all over the world arises from antagonism between countries once linked by their mutual security arrangements with the United States Greece and Turkey, India and Pakistan, and Israel and the Arab states. The second most immediate danger lies in the winding down of authoritarian regimes sustained in the past by the United States as a part of the anti Communist cause. Countries in Europe (Spain. Portugal and Africa (Ethiopia and Latin America (Paraguay and Brazil) and the Far East (South Vietnam and South Korea) all fit that category. Competition for status between this country and its friends also has nefarious effects. Even the easing of tension with the Communist world can only be managed safely in the context of co operation between the United States and its friends. A bidding for the favors of Moscow makes detente dangerous. Finally, there is inflation. It is in large measure an inter- national issue the biggest spur comes from the hike in oil prices by the cartel of producing countries. Next there is the food shortage, and after that the bidding up of other commodities in the international marketplace. Unless the main trading countries co operate in managing their economies, the effort to check inflation will either fail or, worse, lead by a concatenation of deflationary measures to a spreading world recession. No rule book exists for reviving friendly and allied relationships. But a couple of important lessons may be learned from the failure to fulfill the promise of what, in 1973. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called the year of Europe. For one thing, military security cannot be the handle. The Europeans and Japanese did not respond last year, nor will they in the future, merely because the United States in- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR You don't own a boat? City council's patchwork solution What I Did On My Summer Vacation: I learned that I am a blighted area since I don't own a boat. It is not till I get away from my own house, to some hub of holiday fun, that it is borne in upon me that today everyone owns a boat ex- cept me. Without a boat hitch at the rear of my car. mine is a transportational eunuch. Steam yields to sail, but nothing especially lithe, well tanned blondes yields to us who are boatless. We are flotsam, or possibly jet- sam, bobbing in the wake of the Affluent Society. Example: the day my young son and I took the ferry to the island, where we spent the evening fishing for shiners off the dock side float. As we squatted there above the green water catching nothing, a large power boat burbled up to the float and a middle aged couple busied themselves securing their sea- going palace. They then threw several enormous fish onto the float and began beheading them, sluicing the blood off the planks with the gusto of those who know that you only go around once in this life. Running out of fish to gut, they turned their attention to Chris and me. "Any boomed the man. I said. "We haven't fallen in." "What you using for "Bread said my son. The way he said it seemed to summarize our status, and I hoped that the man and woman would cast off before we sullied their bilge. But noblesse, apparently, oblige, among mariners, and the man brought my son a hunk of piscine offal for bait. My son was charmed. "I would have dug some I said lamely, "but we only came over this after- noon on the boat." "Where is asked the woman. "Where's "Your boat." My son averted his eyes, and I knew that I was sunk up to my navel in humiliation, as I said: "We came over on the ferry." My boat was a 300 footer that cost several million dollars, but these qualities were more than offset by my having to share the boat with quite a number of persons that I hadn't invited aboard. "The said the man. "You came over on the Clearly, his nautical charts had not prepared him for such a dire strait. His wife grimaced slightly, like Cleopatra beholding a seagull crap on her barge. My son did nothing to disturb the impression that he was open for legal adoption. I said to him: "Well, I guess we'd better be running along." "I don't want to go yet." He caressed his mess of fish innards. Rather than force him to choose between his father and the largess of the boat owner, I subsided to the float and watched my son fall in love with the huge crab net produced from the hold of the cruiser. My son caught bushels of crabs, the boat owner lounged on his deck with a cold drink, and I plucked wistfully at my bread crumbs. Many mosquito bites later my son and I trudged in darkness back to the borrowed cot- tage. To re-establish the bond between us, to let him know that I wanted him to enjoy something of the delights of owning a boat, I was about to offer to buy him a yachting cap. But something warned me to button up. There's no point in trying to make a youngster understand that it is possible to become a father without ever setting foot on a marina. Not in our time. I am certain that the 20 year old man who was arrested for cycling on an arterial road was not alone in being surprised by the city bylaw which prevents cyclists from using the city's main streets. Most people would not only be surprised but resentful as well at the passage of the bylaw, especially since it is becoming increasingly clear that bicycles are a clean, healthy and reasonable alter- native to automobiles for city transportation. Instead of developing plans for bikeways (narrow lanes for bicycles only) on these arterial roads, the city has pushed cyclists on to side streets where they are just as likely, to be hit by careless drivers or by drivers who do not see cyclists at intersec- tions. In fact, I have found cycling on most arterial roads somewhat safer than side streets because the flow of traffic is less interrupted by cross traffic and because motorists tend to treat me more as a vehicle (although it must be said that most motorists here do not seem to understand that a bicycle is a legitimate traffic vehicle that must be treated as another automobile would be Why has city council passed this bylaw? Probably because it is their circuitous, patchwork way of dealing with a real problem. Most cyclists in this city are still children, children who ap- parently have never been taught by their parents or by the police how to conduct themselves on city streets. Many of them invite suicide by riding against traffic on the left side of the street and none of them seern to know that they must obey every traffic regulation that an automobile driver obeys. Automobile drivers, as I have suggested, also seem to think that bicycles are toys, not vehicles. So, how does city council handle the problem? They burn down the barn to roast the pig. Instead of initiating bikeways or bicycle riding programs or a bicycle drivers' test or crack down on cyclists and motorists who disobey basic driving laws, they simp- crazy Told you the flat! battery': ly push the bicycles off from main streets (and thereby eliminate it as a transporta- tion vehicle) and on to side streets where fewer people will be around to see accidents that will be just as severe and as frequent as they are on arterial roads. Finally, the attitude of the city and the police is seen clearly in the way this law has been administered. No arterial roads were posted with the new regulation (automobile drivers are in- variably told where they can and cannot and, at least when I recently bought a bicycle license, no one made any suggestion about the ex- istence of this or any other bylaw pertaining to bicycles. City disregard of bicycles is also apparent in that children still ride bicycles on the wrong side of the street with apparent impunity, and the city does little about cleaning up grave'l along the sides of streets where cyclists are forced to ride. Most important, however, this bylaw and these attitudes suggest to me that this city is not prepared to recognize bicycles as legitimate traffic vehicles (as they are in most progressive places) or to believe that bicycles offer real advantages to city tran- sportation. JAMES TAGG Lethbridge timates that they may be in danger. Rightly or wrongly, no one is scared anymore. The appeal has to be based on political co operation, not on a covert threat to security. Secondly, no progress can be made against the grain of internal politics. President Georges Pompidou of France stood to gain politically by a show of spitting in the American eye. Prime Minister Edward Heath in Britain and Chancellor Willy Brandt in West Germany preferred the wrath of Washington to the wrath of Paris. In Japan. Kakaei Tanaka apparently calculated that his best interest was to show that, he did not need American patronage to cut deals with China and Russia. Now there's an un- mistakable change. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a strong leader who is more American than the Americans in his approach to security and inflation, has become the decisive figure in Euiope. The new leaders in France and Britain Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Harold Wilson do not have complexes about their relations with Washington. Rampant inflation, not to mention a poor showing at the polls, should presumably have taught Mr. Tanaka a lesson. Conditions, in other words, are far better now than they were last year. The important thing is to find an occasion for beginning the reknitting. Presumably it will have to einne after the elections this November. Almost certainly it should precede further steps toward detente with the Com- munist world. Perhaps the right vehicle could be a visit abroad by the new president. An even better opportunity probably will come when the foreign leaders begin to pay their calls on Mr. Ford. For this time the state visits will not be pure formalities. There is critical work to be done in rebuilding harmonious relationships, and that work ought to be the central foreign policy objective of the Ford adm.nistration. plains: "The lead group in a category establishes a pattern and all the other settlements follow it." It is surprising that the Gov- ernment, in the light of some fairly recent history, is so con- fident about the non- inflationary character of the proposed West Coast settlement. The "unique aspects" of such settlements seem to be quite readily forgotten with the important result that a serious divergence develops between what the Government wants and what the Government gets. One of the more interesting disputes of the 1960s culminated in the famous 30 per cent Seaway employees settlement. The Pearson Government, which was wide- ly criticized for sanctioning the settlement, insisted from the outset that it was not to serve as a precedent in other disputes. In making his case in Parliament, the Prime Minister of that day, did not fail to point to the unique cir- cumstances justifying a settlement. The Seaway, as he pointed out, is an international operation. Canadian employees worked side by side with American employees but were victims of an unfair wage dis- crimination. It is of interest that Mr Pearson, in the same speech, referred also to a controver- sial longshoremen's settle- ment in Montreal. The problem in that port city was that their wages were well below those of construction workers and also below those of longshoremen on the West Coast. Both disputes, therefore, were exceptional and both, as he emphasized, involved a relatively few workers. The trouble was that if these careful distinctions did not appear to make an adequate impression on the general public they made even less on the leaders of other union leaders, fashioning their demands on management. By year end it- was becoming plain that these non- precedents were having mark- ed inflationary effects. Perhaps the best evidence in this regard (because 'the source is non-political) is the Annual Review of the Economic Council qf Canada which appeared only a few months after Mr. Pearson's hopeful speech. This report specifically noted the role of these two settlements in the general evolution of collec- tive bargaining that year. To quote directly: "Normally, bargaining in Canada is not characterized by strong national pattern- setting; for example, settlements in the steel, and automobile industries in On- tario do not usually exert any great effect on collective bargaining in British Colum- bia, which tends to have a life of its own. But large, highly publicized settlements to which governments are par- ties inevitably have somewhat more impact on the climate of collective bargaining across the country." As time went on the signifi- cance of the Seaway settle- ment became even more ap- parent. It became something of a such an extent that governments approving later settlements felt it im- portant to emphasize that they were in no way comparable to the pattern setters of 1966. What is now proposed on the West Coast is manifestly large. The companies have been told very bluntly that it has the sanction of the Government. It has already been highly publicized and is assured a further blaze of publicity if it is legislated by Parliament. These char- very ones mentioned by the Economic at least as ob- vious as its unique aspects. How then can Mr. Munro be confident that it is within the power of a Minister of Labor or even a Prime Minister to determine what shall be a precedent of benchmark and what shall not? The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. OORAM General Manager ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"