Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 4, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
LfiTHfahlCGe HiiRALO 4, 1974 SEDIT01U ALS Upholding a principle The House of Commons is arguing how big it should be. With so many other more pressing issues to be dealt with, it is to be hoped the argument is short. The only real principle involved is the traditional democratic one of "represen- tation by population." The members of Parliament do not represent forests or farms or even provinces. They represent the Canadian people, and for parliamen- tary election purposes one Canadian should be as good as another. Whether they live in PEI or in Ontario, whether they grow wheat or trap lobsters, they are all entitled to an equal voice. Discrepancies in the population of con- stituencies should be at a minimum. As one province grows faster than another, or people move from one to another, the representation must be changed. The Liberal proposal is that no province should lose seats, that the others should gain to maintain the proper ratio. The Conservatives say that means a steadily growing House of Commons, which is bad, and that therefore some should lose when others gain, to main- tain not only the right ratio but a manageable total size. An interesting difference of opinion but not worth a fight. A dream? Elimination of acts of violence in Bri- tain by outlawing the Irish Republican Army sounds like wishful thinking. The history of that nefarious outfit does not provide good grounds for believing it can be put out of business. British police will probably be con- siderably more zealous than their counterparts in the Irish Republic in cracking down on IRA suspects. But cop- ing with the unpredictable and irrational sympathies evoked by police action against urban guerrillas generally, and the Irish version in particular, is another matter. It cannot be forgotten that some of the most despicable of the IRA desperadoes have been English, not Irish. Probably the Wilson government has the support of the majority of people in Britain in moving strongly against the IRA. even as the Trudeau government had the approval of most Canadians in in- voking the War Measures Act at the time of the FLQ crisis. It is not likely either that the British people will have reason to conclude, as Canadians have, that the need for draconian measures is ex- aggerated. So, politically this is likely to be a good, even an unavoidable, move. If the IRA activity can be greatly reduced it could cool the mounting desire of the British to wash their hands of Ulster, bring the troops home and let the Irish settle their differences themselves. That, of course, would probably mean civil war in Ulster and perhaps in the Republic as well. To let this happen is not something responsible people can countenance. There is a hope that history does not need to determine the future. It may be possible to confound the skeptical and effectively curb the activity of the IRA in England. That might influence the Irish Republic to get tough, too. Then maybe a little cooling would take place in Ulster with a possibility of a return to the experiment of shared power within that community. It sounds like a dream but at least it isn't an impossible dream. ON THE HILL By Bert Margrave, MPfor Medicine Hal Albertans are just lucky By Harry Bruce, Toronto Star commentator HALIFAX The oil is there in Alberta by reason of what insurance people call an act of God. Albertans did not put it there. Alber- tans, when they settled their countryside, did not even know about it. Albertans, by themselves, did not even bring it out of the ground. The Americans did most of that. "Oil parasites" is too strong a label to paste on Albertans. Nor can we call them camp-followers: for it was the oil camp that followed them. Let us just say they're lucky to live where they live and that, judging by their premier, their luck has not made them foolishly generous. They used to be just about as poor as us Maritimers, you know. Before the oil boom Alberta was just another one of your average have-not provinces and, remember, the boom began a mere 27 years ago. The oil gave Alberta sudden wealth and a convenient memory. Maybe people who win million-dollar lotteries also find parts of their past easy to forget. Alberta, of course, hasn't much past anyway. Not as a province of Canada. We invented her, really, and helped people her, too. By I mean Ontario and Quebec and the old Maritime provinces who got together to form Canada in 1867. It was our Parliament, the Canadian Parliament, that created the province of Alberta in 1905. That was little more than a generation before the oil boom. The romance of European immigration rightly dominates prairie history these days but it was our people, eastern Canadian people, who provid- ed the bulk of Alberta's first settlers. Like Premier Peter Lougheed's Nova Sco- tian forbears, they left family behind in the east and therefore I like to think they would not have approved bumper stickers urging, "Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark." The stickers are products of the new Alberta, and so is the oil. The old Alberta (or, at least, the somewhat older Alberta) faced general bankruptcy in the thirties: and, or course, you know who bailed her out, don't you? Yes, it was the federal government with tax revenue from people across the country including eastern bastards. And that was only a dozen-odd years before the great days of Alberta oil. Now, however, Albertans often talk about their oil the way British Columbians talk about their weather, "Back, back I say... back, blast War declared on IRA By Robert Chesshyre, London Observer commentator as though its existence were somehow proof of their own excellence. "We've got they seem to say, "because we deserve oil. Perhaps the rest of you are simply not worthy of its marvelous, economy-fattening, account-swelling, larder- filling and life-giving benefits." This attitude may be part of the reason why Premier Lougheed reacted as he did to the federal government's budget news that it intends to tax the oil industry to benefit all Canadians. With a truly Texan mastery of the art df hyperbole, Lougheed said Alberta was now the victim of "the biggest ripoff of any province that ever occurred in the history of Confederation." (Some Nova Scotians still in- sist the biggest ripoff in the history of Confederation was Confederation itself but even they might concede that Lougheed, for a young prairie pup, demonstrates a flair for Alberta insists the British North America Act gives it exclusive rights to tax the petroleum industry. Alberta Oil, in other words, is Alberta's oil. It is not Canada's, nor partly Canada's. It is all Alberta's. A few naive questions: What's happening to that shining northern experiment in happy, side-by-side survival that we used to insist was so wonderfully Canadian? What does "Canada" mean if Canadians in one spot exploit provincial rights and an acci- dent of nature to grow ever more rich at the expense of Canadians who are already much poorer than they are? What does "Canadian nationalism" mean if the real threat is not the gargantuan outside influence of the U.S. but, rather, the sour in- side influence of provincial meanness? Are we now on the road to becoming just a bunch of nasty, squabbling, little half countries? Will P.E.I, apply for entry to the United Nations? Consider the sovereign states of Alberta, 'British Columbia, Quebec and, if they strike it rich offshore, of Nova Scotia and New- foundland, too. Maybe even Ontario will want to go it alone. For a rich personage, Ontario has always been awfully keen on Confederation but, what the heck, Canada's only okay if you're poor. Once you're well to do, who needs it? It's a drag. LONDON In the wake of the savage bombings of two Birmingham public houses, in which 19 people died and dozens more were horribly maimed, laws of unparallelled peacetime severity have been rushed through the House of Commons. "It's thundered the popular news- paper headlines. The measures, described by their author Roy Jenkins ironically the most civilized and progressive of British post war home secretaries as greatly increase police powers and reduce the civil liberties of those suspected of being members of the Irish Republican Army. This becomes a banned organization, membership of which can result in five years' jail. Britain has had nothing like them on the statute book since the end of the Second World War. They reflect accurately the mood of public fear and anger, and were a political necessity at a moment when feeling ran so high that there was a real danger that widespread vengeance would be exacted from innocent Irish people living in Britain. There are roughly Irish people in Birmingham alone, one in 10 of the city's population. Under the new law the police will be able to arrest without warrant suspected terrorists, hold them at first for 48 hours without charging them, and then for a further five days with the home secretary's approval in order to interrogate them and investigate their back- grounds. Powers to prevent suspect Irish people coming into Bri- tain and expel those already here will be greatly increased, and it will be an offence to wear paramilitary uniforms. If the IRA changes its name and appears in another guise, it will be banned under whatever title it chooses. The Jenkins laws, which have to be renewed every six months, will at least be a boost for bewildered public morale. In practical terms they may be of less value. Special powers have long ex- isted in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic without noticeably helping the control of violence. Irish Republican organizations are already pouring scorn on their effec- tiveness. "Banning the IRA has never harmed anyone said a Belfast sym- pathiser. Certainly in Northern Ireland Catholic opinion solidifies behind the IRA at times of special measures and intensive activity by the Army as for example when intern- ment without trial was introduced. In Britain there is a possibility that individual terrorists may find it easier to get help and protection in Irish neighborhoods if the IRA can manage to make propaganda out of any police misuse of the new power. Many right wingers, however, feel that Jenkins has not gone far enough, and the cry for the restoration of capital punishment for acts of terrorism is drawing rapidly increasing support among Conservative MPs. But while there is a Labor government and certainly while Jenkins remains home secretary, it is highly unlikely that hanging will be brought back. A major argument against it is that the Irish Republican movement has always thrived on martyrs. The leaders of the 1916 Dublin rising against the British were unknown and un- supported until they were ex- ecuted. Roy Jenkins's unenviable task is to strike a balance between these conflicting demands for civil liberties and for retribution. His chief hope must be that the police growing more sophisticated in their hunt for the bombers can arrest the right people and secure convictions. Another Jenkins worry is that public anger will lead increasingly to "backlash" at- tacks on Irish people and property. In the hours follow- ing the Birmingham bombs, petrol bombs were hurled into several buildings. These included an Irish club, a priest's house, an Irish building firm and a pub. At the same time workers at several factories downed tools, and one group of car workers had to be sent home when fighting between English and Irish workmates was threatened. Trade un- ionists are desperate to con- tain this irrational retaliation. One said: "Revenge goes out in circles until the civilian population is cowed. The bombings and the backlash could set off unreasoned feelings that know no bounds." If the new measures prove ineffective the next step likely from the government would be the introduction of identity cards, compulsory during the Second World War but abolished a few years later. Then the country really will feel it is back at war again. A dubious Christmas gift By James Kraft, syndicated commentator "You need a quart of non-renewable Federal-Provincial contentious threat to confederation and basic diminishing natural resourct KUWAIT The oil producing countries here in the Persian Gulf are prepar- ing a dubious Christmas present for consumers in the United States and the rest of the world. At their next meeting in mid December the producers are going to an- nounce a 1975 price schedule which will look like a reduc- tion. In fact, the new arrangements will probably mean an increase in prices certainly not a cut. Behind the confusion is the arcane system of oil pricing which has developed over the years. At the base of the crazy structure is the posted price, now set by producing countries. Though those countries like to refer to posted price as though it were the true pnce. in fact it is only a point of reference for three other considerations which determine the real price of oil. First, there are the royalties for the right to ex- tract oil. The royalty is a fixed percentage of the posted price. Second, there are the taxes which the producing countries levy on the oil companies. The taxes are a percentage of the posted price minus royalties and the cost of production which is calculated at around 10 cents per barrel. Finally, there is the buy back price a concept developed since the countries, last year, acquired 60 per cent of the ownership of the com- panies. The buy back price, which is what the companies pay the countries for their 60 per cent of the oil produced is also set at a portion of posted price. Over most of the year, the producing countries have been keeping the posted price stable. Thus the Shah of Iran and oil minister Zaki Yamani of Saudi Arabia can claim they are not pushing up prices. But behind the screen of the posted price, they have been adjusting and read- justing tax, royalty and buy back rates in ways that inevitably mean higher oil prices. As 1974 began, the posted price for basic crude oil was set at per barrel. The royalty rate was 12.5 per cent, the tax rate was 55 per cent, the buy back price was 93 per cent of posted price. That meant an average cost of per barrel to the companies; they sold the oil to their refineries at a barrel. At a meeting of the oil producing countries in Vienna last month, new terms were set effective Oct. 1. The royal- ty rate was hiked by about a third to 16.67 per cent. The tax rate was raised by about a fifth to 65.75 per cent. Though posted price and buy back price stayed constant, the average cost of the companies went up to per barrel. The sales price rose by about 50 cents to In the middle of this month, the six oil producing states of the Persian Gulf met again, and accepted in principle a Saudi Arabian proposal for another change. This time posted price comes down by 40 cents a barrel thus seeming to justify claims by the countries that they are reduc- ing prices. But the tax rate goes up by more than a quarter to 85 per cent. The royalty rate goes up by about a fifth to 20 per cent. The buy back price rises slightly to 94.85 per cent of posted price. The cost of the companies under that formula would rise to per barrel. The sales price would probably come out to at least per barrel a risk of about one dollar over last year. The latest readjustments have been put into practice only by Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar so far. But the odds are that the new schedule will become univer- sal. The Shah of Iran told me in an interview in Teheran the other day that he was prepared to go along with the Saudis, which practically clinches it. What all this means is that the thunderings about oil price by President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger and Treasury Secretary William Simon have been in vain. Despite talk of co operation, producing countries have been using the screen of complexity to promote a creeping inflation ot oil prices. The fundamental need now is to halt the upward creep to stabilize prices. Probably the only way to do that is to stop the thundering, and begin a dialogue between the producing countries and the consuming nations. The government's new budget has now been before the house for a little over a week. It is another inflationary budget in my opinion. Government ex- penses or pay outs will increase in 1975 76 by some 15 per cent, somewhat lower than the 25 per cent in 1974-75. Current estimates suggest a surplus of million in '74 '75 due, I am sure, to our pre- sent inflationary economy. (Last May Mr. Turner had projected a million Mr. Turner also predicts a further deficit of billion in '75 '76 and this is the reason most observers have tagged the budget as inflationary. He suggests that this million added to the billion figure will be what he calls a "turn around" of billion, which he hopes will contribute impressively to maintaining a healthy economy. The most important budget item, by all odds, was the reference to resource matters, especially as they relate to Alberta. In my opinion, Mr. Turner wanted to create the impression that he had indeed opened the door for meaningful discussions with Alberta. In some respects he has done this, but on digging deeper, the door isn't open very far. Here are some items. Last May he proposed to allow only 30 per cent of exploration costs to be tax deductible, while on Nov. 18 he returned to the 100 per cent which still exists. However he intends to stay with the 30% figure for development expenses, and this will include our Alberta oil sands a real setback in the short and long term development plans for these oil sands. Mr. Turner made no com- promise on the most controversial issue of all oil companies are still not allow- ed to deduct provincial royalties, taxes or other levies for income tax purposes. The matter of provincial rights relating to our natural resources is once again a ma- jor confrontation between Alberta and the federal government and, like a year ago, it is coming just as our energy demands will once again peak especially for heating fuels. In the meantime, drilling rigs continue to pull out of Canada for Montana, Texas and the United Kingdom's North Sea. Also, there is some indication of large companies now pulling out of their com- mitments to help develop our far north petroleum and gas resources. Eric Kierans' budget com- ments are worth noting. He was very critical and said it meant the end of provincial rights for their own resource development. He also stated it downgraded premiers to the status of mayors and he wasn't slighting the office of mayors but simply referr- ing to the fact that mayors and councils have no con- stitutional authority over natural resources. During two budget debate days, both Otto Lang and Mr. Trudeau cautioned that the federal government may have to tax provincial crown cor- porations if this device is used by the provinces to avoid federal taxes. There was no mention what- soever about agriculture in the budget. Surely this was a disappointment in view of the serious situation in our Cana- dian economy relating to such items as eggs, cattle, turkeys, domestic feed grains, and transportation of agricultural production. However, there was con- siderable emphasis on housing. The reduction of the building materials sales tax to five per cent, plus signs of lower interest rates may put some life and activity back into the mortgage market, and stimulate some new hous- ing starts. In summary, the thrust of the new budget seems to favour individuals and not the industry that could create jobs for those individuals. But even individuals may not be favored since Mr. Turner forecasts a 12.4 per cent increase in personal income tax for 1975. It seems to me that inflation will still be with us and that the federal govern- ment is still the big winner! During budget week, the next most important item in terms of oral questions was the current White House proposal to initiate import quotas on live cattle, beef, hogs and pork coming from Canada. First negotiations between the respective governments were not held until Nov. 27, and these were not at the ministerial level. I urged Mr. Whelan to point out to Mr. Butz how the ratio of cattle and people between our two countries works so drastically against us in Canada. In addition, I urged him to point out that while we can be hurt by the new U.S. action, I sincerely hope that neither our cattle industry or our federal government can be intimidated by this new Washington development. Two other Canada U.S. trade issues may very well be involved along with this cattle quota item. These are Canada's newly announced intention to curtail and end petroleum exports to the U.S., and the open ended auto pact agreement. First reading was given last week to a new bill that would increase the House of Com- mons seats by 15 only one of which would be allotted to Alberta. This will be very controversial. Should our Parliament increase its seat numbers at considerable ex- pense, or should the popula- tion allotment per existing seat be increased? If you have opinions on this issue, please let me know as I will be most interested. Please note that this bill does not relate to in- dividual electoral boundaries but only to the total number for Canada and the number for each province. I have received a number of complaints about post office mail service most of which involves Calgary postal ser- vices. The postmaster general, Mr. Bryce Mackasey, has advised me that we can expect much better postal service im- mediately, due to his recent personal visit to the new Calgary postal building. Berry's World 1974 by NEA "Schedule some more foreign trips for me soon, so I can pack up my troubles in my old kit bag..." 504 7th St. S Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDO6 HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Second CtaM Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and PuWitner DON H. PILLING Managing Editor ROY F. MILES DONALD R. DORAM General Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Paga Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"