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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 LETHBRIDOE HERALD Wednesday, February 6, 1974 Is the cowman a farmer? The contradictions in prairie agriculture were never more vividly exposed than at the Western Stock Growers convention in Calgary this week. A committee of the association recommended that the Crowsnest freight rates on grain were too low! Prairie agriculture was founded on grain-growing, especially for export, and the Crowsnest rates, fixed by Parliament to keep down the cost of moving the grain to dockside, were of utmost importance in developing the grain industry. But for them, and going by equivalent American rates, farmers would otherwise be charged probably 50 to 75 cents a bushel more by the railways today. The need for a more diversified and thus less vulnerable agricultural economy on the prairies led to today's highly important beef industry, which in the earlier years was relatively insignificant. In a sense the young Western beef industry came into competition with the entrenched Eastern feeders. And both the Western and Eastern feeders need large amounts of grain, which is grown almost entirely in the West. It has been obvious government policy to strengthen the grain growing in the West, and to keep a viable feeding industry in the East. Current feed grain prices are extremely high, the cost of moving the grain by rail to export position extremely low, and the cost of moving it to Eastern feeders is subsidized. This is a bonanza to the Western grain growers, but the Western cattle feeders feel badly victimized. They can't afford to pay the existing prices for grain, and their costs are higher than those of the Eastern feeders. A prosperous prairie cattle industry depends on cheap feed. A prosperous prairie grain industry depends on high feed prices. Whatever solution eventually is found for the plight of the Western feeder, however, it would be most damaging to prairie agriculture as a whole if the Crowsnest advantages were ever lost. It is astonishing that any group of farmers should ever have proposed surrendering them. Or does the cowman still consider himself not a farmer? Is growth obsolete? Slowing down growth is an objective which national leaders are not championing yet. The recent State of the Union address by President Richard Nixon, for instance, betrayed not one iota of interest in the subject. Similarly, in Canada, cabinet ministers are still talking in terms of the expansionist philosophy that has for so long been deemed to be of the essence of the system that leads to the good life. This seems very strange in view of the energy shortage in the world and the grave warnings, in consequence, that a drastic change in living is in store for most people. Confronted with the prospect of an end to oil supplies, many people have considered the likelihood that other things could cease to be available, too. Such practices as built in obsolescence, as means of promoting K growth, now seem intolerable. Appeals f- to conspicuous consumption are beginning to be considered in poor taste. awareness of the need to end shows signs of penetrating even to young people as they turn off lights and turn down thermostats, probably for the first time in their lives. Many people now seriously question growth as a defensible objective. Their numbers are drawn from those who have an extensive knowledge of the world as well as those who may be responding merely at an intuitive level. They cannot all be dismissed as of no consequence. There are indications that the mass of people may actually be abreast of this kind of thinking and ahead of their leaders. A recent poll from Israel, for instance, shows that more than 80 per cent of respondents are ready to accept a one fifth cut in their standards of living, while nearly 20 per cent insisted that such a cut is necessary. Changes are taking place so rapidly that the people who shape policy are often found to be working from premises that are no longer valid. It is possible that growth has already become an obsolete thing and national leaders have not wakened to that fact with all its implications. The great corn syrup mystery The absence of white corn syrup from grocery shelves since before Christmas is one of the world's unsolved mysteries. Not only unsolved, but almost unknown, except to those few devotees of the I practice of making gumdrops for Christmas, a main ingredient of which is white corn syrup. It has not returned to the shelves since its absence was first a month before the holidays. Everyone knows that the world sugar shortage came about because half of Australia sank beneath the South Pacific I> Ocean after a series of floods. If that :isn't convincing, the new price of sugar is. And the shortage of flour why else does it cost so much? is no economic mystery. Everyone knows that the U.S. sold all its wheat to Russia and now it needs it back. Green cheese has disappeared from the market, but everyone knows where it .has gone. The whereabouts of the world's annual supply of white corn syrup remains a mystery. Is it rolling about sluggishly in the hold of a freighter off Vancouver, eluding search planes and waiting for the price to rise with the next annual Christmas demand? Have the members of CSPC (Corn Syrup Producing Nations) had a secret meeting in Vienna and agreed to cut back on production to spur the search for alternative sources of quick energy? Or is the answer more obvious? The U.S. is the world's largest producer and exporter of corn. Is this just retaliation for the Canadian export tax on oil and so simple that Ottawa doesn't recognize it as a quid pro quo? Two things are certain. If and when white corn syrup reappears on grocery shelves the price will be doubled. And if automobiles on white corn syrup, everyone would know what had caused the shortage. Wouldn't he? Letters Cheery claims unjustified By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator WASHINGTON The trap President Nixon has dug for himself is defined exactly by his State of the Union message. In order to rally his followers, the president has to sound confident and upbeat, as be did in the message actually delivered to the Congress and seen on television. But the facts, as laid out in the full written text of the message, do not justify ringing claims. The effect is to deepen public mistrust of Mr. Nixon, which goes to the heart of his basic problem and thus promotes even more the chance that he will be forced out of office one way or another. Consider first the major claim staked by the president." That is the claim that the economy will be in good shape this year. "Let me speak to that issue he said boldly in the remarks delivered to the Congress and over national television. "There will be no recession in the United States." But in his written remarks, and even more in the Economic Message, Mr. Nixon was far more cautious. His written State of the Union message said: "We have known for some time that a slowdown of economic growth is inevitable in 1974 Unfortunately the very mild slowdown which we anticipated in 1974 now threatens to be more pronounced We expect, therefore, that during the early part of this year output will rise little if at all, unemployment will rise somewhat and inflation will be high." To most Americans, a recession is precisely stagnant output and rising unemployment The addition of high inflation hardly makes matters better. So the president's boast, on examination, turns out to have no foundation. The more so as he seems to have no timely measures in mind for perking up the slumping economy. Consider next the cheery note sounded by Mr. Nixon with respect to the energy crisis. In his spoken address to the Congress and the nation, the big emphasis was on "a goal to which I am deeply dedicated. Let us do everything we can to avoid gasoline rationing." On top of that, the president announced that "I have been assured, through my personal contacts with friendly leaders in the Middle East area, that an urgent meeting will be called in the immediate future to discuss the lifting of the oil embargo." But the fine print of the written message struck a different note. There was no stuff about avoidingrationingr nor about "my personal, contacts with friendly" leaders" in the Middle East. On the contrary, the fine print said: "We still face genuine shortages and sharply increased prices." What this says to me is that Mr. Nixon is once more trying to con the American public. On television he makes marvelous music and paints beautiful pictures. He seems to promise no rationing and no recession. In fact, he knows full well that the promises are dubious. Even his own advisers, a supine lot, do not go along with his rhetoric. Nor do they have any programs for averting the trouble that looms ahead. Accordingly, it seems to me that the State of the Union has a negative relation to Mr. Nixon's impeachment problem. The impeachment proceeding is now rolling. The House, thanks to careful preparation by Chairman Peter Rodino of the judiciary committee and chief counsel John Doar, is not going to be stampeded. It is going to move in a deliberate and careful way. The voting of subpoena power assures that it will get what information is required. Thus the process cannot be stopped in its tracks by a mere presidential speech or indeed any external event. In the present case, however, my sense is that the president deepens bis troubles. He has once more shown cynical disregard for keeping faith with tbe American people. He is once more misrepresenting. He is once more abusing tbe popular trust which in this country is the found of legitimacy. So the speech cannot put an end, as the president hopes, to what he is pleased to disparage as a year of Watergate. On the contrary, it shows that Mr. Nixon cannot level with the American people now anymore than in the past. It thus underlines the importance and urgency of unraveling to the end the complex of frauds and abuses and lies for which Watergate is merely a shorthand term. Nixon's grave inconsistencies By Norman Cousins, Editor of the Saturday President Nixon has used his authority to block billions of dollars appropriated by the Congress to clean up the air and waterways of America. The reason he gives for holding back these funds is that he believes the expenditure of such money will have an inflationary effect. Forget for the moment the constitutional question whether the president has the right to reverse decisions of the Congress. Forget also for the moment the related issue concerning the fact that the president has held back the Watergate tapes on the grounds that he wants to preserve strict lines of separation between the executive branch and the other branches of government, yet be does not hesitate to arrogate to himself tbe authority vested in the Congress to appropriate funds. Consider only the president's argument that he wants to keep down government spending in order to fight inflation. Then consider the president's re- quest to Congress for fW billion for the new military budget the largest peacetime military budget in the history of the United States. In asking Congress to appropriate all these billions, the president said nothing about the fact that sky-high military spending has represented the greatest single cause of inflation in the United States. Nor did the president refer to charges made by congressional leaders of both parties to the effect Out the security of tbe United States is being weakened, not strengthened, by such mammoth military 'expenditures. These critics have pointed to overlapping in the military services; to the disproportionately large number of officers compared to enlisted men; to irregularities in procurement and maintenance; to discrepancies in bidding and spending; to unlimited stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction despite the fact that we already have the power to destroy any enemy or combination of enemies many times over. The president has pointed to his trip to China and to the detente be negotiated with tbe Soviet Union as measures that have substantially reduced world tensions and contributed to the prospects for enduring peace. He has also called attention to the SALT talks as setting the stage for significant arms reductions. If all this is true, why is it necessary to increase the military budget far beyond what it was while we were at war in Vietnam? The president can't have it both ways. He can't refer to the improvement in the world climate for peace as the result of his initiatives, and then ask for more money than we have ever spent before for military purposes. He can't talk about the need to combat inflation, and then support the kind of arms spending that makes inflation inevitable. He can't talk about the need to keep America strong, and yet see no danger in the scuttling of programs designed to strengthen America in the way it needs most to be strengthened by getting rid of the slums; by improving the quality of education and health care; by protecting our lakes and rivers against poisoning and the air over America against becoming an open sewer; by developing new sources of energy, and by making it possible for the American people to get from one place to another sensibly, safely, swiftly. So long as we have something to show for the money we spend, we have the best hedge against inflation there is. The main cause of inflation is the expenditure of mammoth sums in ways that do not satisfy consumer needs and that create vital shortages. The fact that so many billions of dollars are spent hi maintaining military bases overseas despite basic changes in tbe world conditions that Drought these bases into being results in the flight of capital from tbe United States and adds to our economic difficulties. The grave question that emerges from all this is whether the military establishment, despite President Eisenhower's warning, has already reached a position of such political and ecreomic strengths that not even the president is in position to cope with it. Consistency is not tbe ultimate virtue, to be sure. There are times when we have to make adjustments to new facts and conditions. But when inconsistencies result in departures from basic values and principles, then it is difficult to imagine a more serious situation for a country and its people. Norwegian situation On Dec. 18, there appeared in The Herald an editorial, Hard Lessons to Learn, very critical of Norway's choice by referendum not to join the Common Market and predicting dire consequences as a result. What has happened since then? Contrary to the editorial's predictions Norway did get a trade agreement which is satisfactory to most Norwegians. Norwegian exports are up. Its currency is now the strongest in Europe. Instead of unemployment there is a labor shortage; indeed talk of importing laborers e.g. from Yugoslavia. The country except for the inland far north is prosperous. However, the oil crisis may put a crimp in prosperity till Norway gets its oil and gas areas in the North Sea developed. Till then, because of its huge amounts of hydro-electric power it may suffer less than other countries. The present prime minister has also stated that reopening the question of European Economic Community membership remains a possibility. After all, a couple of years is hardly enough time to judge. The editorial didn't even grant that length of time. The statement that such complex problems should be decided by elected governments and not by referendum is debatable. It can be said that depends on how well-informed the voters are. The statement that "narrow nationalism is a disease from which it is a blessing to be delivered" did not take into consideration Norway's history. Decimated by the black death, weakened Norway became a vassal state of Denmark for over 400 years. Then after one and one- half years of independence, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 forced it into a much junior partnership with Sweden, lasting till 1905. There was the German occupation 1940-45. After these experiences Norwegians are wary of any involvements which might threaten their independence in any way. Nevertheless Norway is a NATO member. Since Peter the Great's days Norwegians have felt concern about Russia's interests in the rich fishing areas of their north and an outlet to the Atlantic, and more so since the U.S.S.R.'s seizure of Finland's Arctic coasts. They feel safer with NATO. An editorial is an expression of opinion. I feel that this one drew conclusions far too soon, and also did not take historical facts into consideration. SVERRE J. SOLBERG Eidsvoll, Norway. Questionable progress One would like to say, Canada has come a long way in a relatively short time. Just recently the Canadian government sent a large airplane to Chile to pick up a plane full of terrorists and political criminals. They were brought into Canada, on arrival they were given warm shelter and clothing, every bit of it at the Canadian taxpayer's expense. I hope that all the good-hearted taxpayers have sent tons of letters to Mr. Trudeau and Sharp, letters congratulations for a warm welcome to these terrorists. Of course they didn't write any letters. Canadians leave everything to the politicians who are selling Canada down the river, not the beautiful river either. The river that flows to the far left. Once on it there will be no return, but will end in horrendous dis- aster. Like I say, when1 my family and I arrived in Canada in June of 1950, we were dumped in a filthy shack at Iron Springs, Alberta without a cup of water offered. Well Canada has come a long way since. BORN TCf LOSE Abbotsford, B.C. McPherson supported Hooray for Dr. McPherson and his views on corporal punishment in the schools, and may this humane gentleman serve many more years on our school board. I fail to see the parallel, as expressed by Marie Lundgren, regarding traf- fic offenders, drug traffickers, and strapping in our schools. When law breakers have their day in court, they lose a social privilege, such as loss of a driver's license. They are not strapped, beaten or bullied. And God help the policeman who is ever accused of police brutality. The same applies, in the classroom. There is probably some privilege that a child holds very dear, that could be removed, and thus serve to better punish than the strap. It is simply a humiliating and degrading experience. We can all, as adults, brow beat the child. But what of the teacher who can verbally attack tbe student at will, with nagging and insults. How about the strap for tbe teacher too, for unbecoming conduct? These teachers may be few and far between, but they're there, nonetheless. They get their kicks out of a smack to the head, a posh, a shove, bat worst of all then- verbosity. Strapping can only serve to promote more violent feelings of frustration in a child. It is just one more despicable act performed in elementary schools that furthers to turn the child "off" toward teaming, until by junior and senior high, the teachers in these grades have a group of teen-agers with distaste for almost all forms of education. And blessed be he or she who can again instil some spark of interest in the marvellous learning process that the child so eagerly anticipated when entering grade one. Marie Lundgren says she doesn't question "Dr. McPherson's credibility as a pediatrician, but was he ever a He's teaching every day of his life as a child specialist. Dr. McPherson has certainly taken a sane step hi the right direction. I too speak, not as a doctor or teacher, but as the mother of four children in the public school system. None has ever been strapped, nor have I ever received a call regarding behavior that would require extreme punishment, but should I ever, tbe behavior would be corrected promptly, at home. SHEILA RYAN Lethbridge Skiff alive, hopeful I object strongly to the ridiculous cartoon in The Herald (Feb. 1) about the death of Skiff. Skiff is not dead. This cartoon shows the store being closed. Also tbe post office. This is not true. The biggest little store in Southern Alberta is still open for business. This isn't the first time D'Arc put down Skiff. He had a half-page article on the death of Skiff last year. How many tunes can one place die? We might not took very good. We don't feel very but we are not E A D, and where there is life there is hope. Thank you for tbe cheap publicity, but we can do without that kind of publicity._____ A SKIFF RESIDENT Skiff. The Lethbridge Herald 5047thSIS UHNbrttfje. Afcwrtt LETHBRtDGE HERALD CO. LTD PuMMwra OMM MM ftagfMrMRon No 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor DOWH PULING DONALD R OORAM DOUGLAS K, WALKER Edflor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH" ROBERT M CtacwAVPon Mwyw KSWHETH E. BARNETT ;