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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 28, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD 1973 Conflict of interest guidelines weak What's Nobody really knows what lies ahead but everybody must have some forebodings as national economies shudder under the impact of energy shor- tages caused largely by the Arab oil em- bargo. That there will be a drastic reduc- tion in the standard of living seems that some economies might collapse is possible. One thing is the day of cheap natural resources is gone. Oil will be available again the Arabs have already announced an easing of their cut- backs but only at greatly increased prices. Soon others are going to follow the example of the Arabs and demand higher prices for the things required by the manufacturing nations. The United States spent billion on metal imports in the bill has been projected at billion in 1985 and billion by 2000. As things have been going those projections could be merely guesses that will prove to be wildly wrong. There is a belated measure of justice in the rich nations having to pay greatly increased prices to the poor countries for their basic resources. The bargain-rate prices paid for most of these resources has been little improvement over the out- right exploitation that characterized the colonial era. As a consequence the rich nations have steadily been getting richer and the poor poorer. Much as it may inconvenience the peo- ple of the rich nations to adjust to less affluence it may be a good thing to have_ the balance redressed somewhat. If it does not actually reduce the dangers in- herent in the gap between the rich and the poor it should at least help to ease some troubled consciences. One major doubt hangs over all such speculation. Adjustment to the new situation may not come fast enough and collapse of economies may be world- wide with resultant endemic poverty. To avert such a calamity only concerted planning and action will suffice but there is little evidence of it taking place. No wonder there is so much uneasiness around. Ride the bus home The thing to do this New Year's Eve will be to ride the bus to and from places of revelry. This is especially so when returning home from parties where alcoholic beverages have been consumed in liberal quantities. Those who follow the new fashion will be guaranteed a reduction in the unplea- sant prospects that face the over- indulger. They will doubtless have to en- dure the misery of a hangover and perhaps the shame of some remembered misbehavior but they will not be in trou- ble with the law. Best of they will not be responsible for someone else's death. Riding the bus is likely to be fun for everyone with the possible exception of the drivers who have to give up going to parties and have to be on duty through the long night. Revellers can extend their fun time by going home on the bus together. Congratulations are in order for those public spirited citizens who conceived and financially backed the plan to provide free bus service through the night till 4 a.m. It is a superior idea to that of expecting the police department to run a taxi the police have enough to do in carrying out their respon- sibilities. More madness The U.S. defence department plans to produce a new type of nerve gas which is less lethal than the present family of nerve gases but is safer to tran- sport and store. The U.S. arms control and disarmament agency is challenging the plan on the grounds that it is militari- ly unnecessary and will complicate pre- sent negotiations on a treaty to ban production of chemical weapons. The disarmament agency has also pointed out that since the new binary nerve gases are easy to semi-industrialized nations may be able to acquire them. In President Nixon renounced use of biological weapons but permitted con- tinued production of chemical weapons as a deterrent against their use by the Soviet Union. He promised the United States would not be the first to use them in case of war. However reliable the two super powers may however steady their nerves in using deterrence the possible proliferation of nerve gases which are to transport and. leads rapidly to the conclusion that there has to be a better road to peace and accommodation among the nations on earth and that the search for that road had better be undertaken soon and seriously. RUSSELL BAKER Small power signs in U.S. By Russell New York Times News Service WASHINGTON-I have a suspicion that. America is no longer No. 1. It cannot be con- of but There is evidence everywhere. Evidence that does not fit with the number oneness of things American. There are let us be frank too many small-power signs in the American wind. We remember what life in a small power is we Americans who traveled the ravaged small powers of the world during the that Augustan noon of the American empire. In those days America was truly No. and also No. and No. 3. 4 was Notre We we we smiled. In declining gasoline was an outrageous 50 cents a gallon. The when there were any cars at were silly little putt-putts. And the- lights were dim. Lights so dim that you couldn't see the merchandise was quint- essentially small-power. Mel asked once what Belgrade was a whole city illuminated with a ten Now these small-power symptoms are spreading across America. The the car's the inflated price of oil chilly rooms. There are other symptoms of creeping number perhaps even number nineness. Foreigners have periods when they do not trust the dollar. The famous dollar is almost as trifling as the once infamous French franc. From time to time the politicians try to shore it up by devaluing. Foreign tourists are now arriving in New York in unprecedented numbers. This may be the surest sign of for it is the fate of small powers to be toured and it is the destiny of their people to be photographed looking picturesque in their quaint small-power native just as Americans once smiled and snapped a so now others come to smile and click. One could go on cataloguing evidence of small-power onset. In small for ex- government is rarely taken seriously by anyone but policemen and government and seem to be approaching this state. The more interesting is whether we ought to be unhappy about our Certainly it is inconvenient when traveling abroad to have your money rejected by arrogant hotel clerks. Certainly it is uncom- fortable to lack for gasoline and oil. Certainly it is a nuisance to have to endure our now con- stant so typical of the small-power economy. I am not that the advan- tages of being No. 1 were not outweighed by to spend enormous sums to acquire the wherewithal to blow including to kingdom come. In this is the first thing for which our money is ear- marked even now. Only after we have paid for our self-destruction do we get around to seeing whether anything is left for making life more tolerable. I hope no one will attack me here as a I realize that truly great powers must spend most of their resources on destructive programs. I know that if they did not do so they would not be I know that to be a great power by to be a terrifyingly destructive in- fluence in the world. My point is that if we hadn't had bad to be No. or No. 2 or No. then some other people would have had to-pay for the equipment needed to blow us all and we might have been able to spend our wealth on sweeter things. Countries that are No. or No. or No. 36 don't have to spend all their income to get ready to wipe themselves out. As a they are often very pleasant countries. Kenya and Cambodia before the Americans smelled Communism in the elephant It is a very bad time to be in the big-power and a very good time to be a small power. The Arabs illustrate this most painful- ly for the big powers. Consider America in full regalia of number oneness as it was in Indochina. There we fought a ten-year war in our leaders kept telling to make sure that America would go on being No. 1. Ten years of war because Ho Chi Minh was threatening America with Loss of Loss of Loss of number Ten years of war. Then the without shooting at a single undid the oil and did us more damage than Ho Chi Minh ever dreamed possible. The Arabs unders- tand the absurdity of being No. 1. They have understood it ever since 1955 when Gamal Nasser seized the Suez Canal and told us we could choke on our frustration. He knew we could not not with No. 2 interested in the outcome. When No. 1 and No. 2 their number oneness and number twoness require them to destroy including themselves. Which means that they cannot fight. as Nasser perceived in 1955 and the oil Sheiks perceive means that if you are lucky enough to be a small power you can tell the big numbers of the earth to choke on their frustration. Wouldn't life be better if America was No 7 nr No 8' Or mavbe By Maurice Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA The Trudeau government deserves some credit for the new conflict-of- interest guidelines for public servants and order-in-council appointees. While far from they represent an in- itial attempt to deal with a difficult matter and we have waited a long time for that in this country. It cannot be in defence of past that conflict of interest is a new problem. What has changed is the degree of public awareness of the problem and concern about it. There has been in the past decade an astonishing growth in the sheer size of govern- ment and its complexity. Government spending has practically tripled while at the same as noted in the latest report of the auditor parliamentary con- trol of expenditures has been weakened in a variety of ways. Many of the new programs accord great dis- cretion to administrators. In as we learn from every departments have become remarkably in- genious in cutting corners. It seems incredible that bilingual grants to municipalities in the national capital region could be approved as a pro- but this happened in 1972. In the same period the relationship of government to private industry has changed dramatically. The govern- ment nowadays supports business with grants and aids under a wide variety of programs. it has become a great competitor of industry in the quest for talent and it is now commonplace for people to move from the private to the public sector and back again. It is important that the government at last has acted to prescribe some ad- mittedly very and has set these out in an order in council. In the words of the Prime order to assist public servants in determining where areas of conflict of interest may particularly in areas related the good news you won't have to worry about the high cost of living anymore Revival of age-old interest in land By Bruce syndicated commentator For many especially there has been rising interest in Canada's farm land. Its unusual attractions are receiving renewed recognition as more identify the rural life with the good life. Contrary to popular im- ownership of agricultural land carries with it very few taxation advan- hobby farmers are granted minor concessions and capital gains taxes for farmers are reduced in On- tario depending on. the length of time ownership is retained. But these seem to have played only a small part in the boom that has raised farm land prices so rapidly over the past few years. the purchase of farm land is the oldest form of long-term investment. The urban when he made his bought place in the He liv- ed there on his rents and his descendants did not return to the city for several generations. Until agricultural land was the main source of revenue for many wealthy hospitals and particularly in Britain and France. Over the last quarter of a with farming more it still has not been easy to raise rents to very profitable levels. Agricultural land has been renting for approximately per acre in Southern Ontario and even lower rates prevail on the Prairies. This has had two a large number of sales to developers which have tended to take the land out of farming and to the es- tablishment of huge farms which presumably would be more efficient. In either the remaining farm land became more scarce more valuable. while admittedly land values were Canada's remaining family farms led a more precious ex- istence as the capital require- ments of even a relatively small farm have risen. Add to this the fact that the costs of what the fanners need to buy were also going up. To some owner- occupiers have been able to raise capital for expansion or even day to day operations by borrowing against increased land values but this still leaves a mounting burden of interest payments to drag down overall profits. Today the main attraction of land whether to farm or even to rent is the long-term likelihood that it will maintain a real value through any degree of monetary inflation the total amount of land is limited and diminishing through the demands of development. as long as farming remains a relatively indepen- dent form of there will be no lack of potential fanners. Increases in world popula- tion have made less likely another domestic farming depression of the kind that became all too familiar between 1890 and the Second World War. The trend in land prices from the 1950's onwards reflects these con- siderations. Up to 1962 land prices rose fairly at a rate rather faster than that of in- flation. there were then several developments which led to a surge in prices. Canadian export par- ticularly to Communist soared. Govern- ment policies beginning in 1957 were directed toward helping the small farmer and this led to increased profitability all along the line. That particular surge abated in 1968 when federal government policies reverted to curtailment of output. The 1972-73 shortage of all kinds of food products has prompted another dramatic reversal so greater production is now the suggested course. suddenly prices rose sharply reflecting increased profitability from farming operations. In addition to farmers as land buyers of a new type have emerged. Private wealth also is still evident in the attracted to properties with sporting and leisure potential and to places convenient for weekend travel from the main urban areas be they Ottawa or Montreal. The new elements that have appeared are looking for security from our current in- flationary spiral and hoping to regain some of the old spiritual values which accrue to land owning and basic values in a sense of belonging and the wish to be a primary producer. The great majority of tran- sactions in agricultural land are bared on the assumption that the land will remain a change of usage of enormously in- crease its immediate value. is evident enough in some of the prices paid in areas whose developers may have new plans but this is not all that widespread. Consolidation and preservation of both capital and rural values rather than speculation are the marks of much agricultural investment today. Some may be looking at a but more are seeking other goals now. The 'return to the land is an age-old desire which seems to be ex- periencing a revival in the 1970's. As a agricultural land once again has proved to have enduring value. to commercial or financial we are ask- ing that public servants dis- close in confidence all commercial or' financial interests where such interests might conceivably be construed as being in ac- tual or potential conflict with their official This was weakened notably by the two sentences immediately following in Mr. Trudeau's statement. onus to dis- close such' interests and to determine where such in- terests might be construed as being in conflict with official duties is being clearly cast upon the public servant himself. Only those matters which the public servant believes are in actual or potential conflict of interest will require The obvious objection was voiced by Robert Stanfield. recognize also that in many ways a person may be the poorest possible judge of potential conflicts of interest in his own There may also be a strong likelihood that the least trustworthy may have the weakest perceptions in such matters. Two important criticisms were also voiced by Stanley Knowles. The first is that the guidelines are applicable across the entire public ser- vice although there is surely a case for stronger rules applicable to those in policy- making positions. the statement ignores the development which has oc- casioned greatest concern in other namely the fluidity of movement between the public and private sectors. It may well be the public servant's special knowledge of the operations of government how decisions involving for are actually made which makes him attractive to some firm doing business with the government. The problem is inherently difficult. As Mr. Knowles the government cannot deny freedom of move- ment from one occupation to another. But what is the said tht veteran Winnipeg member can be made thai the government will not deal with firms which have in their upper echelons those within the last year or were in the sacred precincts of the government Surely the matter is not so easy. For the government must necessarily deal with a great many firms and some industries are dominated nowadays by a few giants. Would it be to ban all dealings with such firms as Imperial Oil or Stelco during the present energy Mr. Stanfield recommended that these difficult matters should be the subject of study by an appropriate committee of the House. This is precisely the argument that has been made here on many oc- casions. It is of that there are many com- mittees and that some are overburdened. But it is also true that much committee time is devoted to matters of much less importance. The Conservative leader should press this proposal on the government and ministers should give it most serious consideration. crazy Miss Smith we aren't at the office. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD.. and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 CLEO W. MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON H. PILLING Managing Editor ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager know It looks silly it's got something to do with conserving HERALD SERVES THE ;