Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 20, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Wednesday, February 20, 1974 Is Candu obsolete? One of the obstacles faced by Canada's nuclear reactor salesmen on recent visits to Britain was posed by a single word in the London Economist. That publication, in a line drawing comparison of American, Canadian and British reactor systems, referred to the Canadian one as "obsolete." There was no explanation of this criticism in the text of the story and nothing further was said about the system, which, in itself, was surprisingly poor journalism. The Economist is widely read, widely respected, and widely quoted. It is also a journal of strong and occasionally maverick opinion and this seems to be one of them. Interest in nuclear reactors on the part of the British press is occasioned by the fact that Britain is at a critical stage in its nuclear power program and doing considerable soul-searching about second-generation reactors. It had seemed destined to buy American. However, the decision has not been made and the consensus now seems to be that the British may be equally interested in doing something with the Canadian system. Candu, as the latter system is known, uses uranium in heavy water, in which the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen. On a comparative basis, Candu costs more than the American systems to build but is more economical to run. It uses natural uranium as opposed to enriched uranium which is required by the American systems. It is possible that the Economist based its criticism on a very superficial analysis of this fuel comparison. If so, it was mistaken. The difference is simple and entails sorting out the fissionable isotopes before using them, as with "enriched" uranium, or sorting out the usable isotopes within the reactor, as with the Candu system. Both are more or less equally efficient in their use of uranium as a fuel. It should be pointed out that neither is a breeder reactor, a type which is so efficient that it produces more fuel than it consumes and is looked on as the nuclear power system of the future. The trouble is that no one has yet made one that really works and when this does happen the long-range problems of a system that produces more fuel than it consumes are obvious, if not exactly simple. The Americans gained a head start on the world market with their systems by offering free fuel for a specified number of years. Many countries which bought American and are now having to pay for the expensive enriched uranium are reportedly having second thoughts about the wisdom of their purchase. For lack of any other persuasive reason in a comparative assessment of the American and Canadian systems, one must suspect that the Economist's reasoning represents either ignorance or a typical attitude toward colonial achievement. At the very least it does seem to justify the strong suspicion that Canada has carried modesty too far and displayed too much diffidence in reacting to its own successful reactor system. The prevailing mood Guessing what will be in the throne speech next week is a popular game in Ottawa these days. Many of the pundits think the government will feel it necessary to tackle the unemployment insurance issue again even though it doubtless prefers to leave the act as it now stands. Any proposal of drastic alteration of the act would seem to be unthinkable if the Liberal government hopes to remain in office. The New Democrats made that clear in the last session when they threatened to withdraw their support because of disagreement with proposed revisions. Unemployment insurance is too dear to the hearts of NDPers for them to countenance any serious undermining of the concept. The heed for revision of the act may actually have disappeared now. Last December, Mr. Robert Andras, minister of manpower, admitted that earlier most of the criticisms levelled at the administration of the act had been valid. But Mr. Guy Cousineau, chairman of the unemployment insurance commission, while agreeing that this had been so, asserted that the situation had been corrected. The fact that the number of disqualifications increased four-fold last year to might bear this out. Unfortunately the impression got around that the UIC is a soft touch. While abuses may actually be minimal, it is going to be hard now to eliminate the notion that they are excessive. Just as many people persist in believing that the majority of welfare recipients are free- loaders, despite all the evidence to the contrary, so a distorted view of unemployment insurance is likely to persist. The government may feel it necessary to propose changes in the act, then, simply because of the extent and depth of antagonism expressed toward unemployment insurance. There have been indications that the Trudeau government is prepared to flow with the prevailing mood and may see it as a long- term advantage to risk defeat on an issue such as this. ERIC NICOL Stomping on the CBC I have been invited to mug my maiden aunt. My maiden aunt is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Hie invitation to stomp her as a form of therapy comes from The Committee on Television, an independent group that includes Allan King, Patrick Watson and other persons who have carved a notch on the medium. The committee a submitting a brief to the CRTC hearing this month, with recommendations that would shake Auntie clean out of her button shoes. They want me to add my boot to working the old girl over. She has been pretty good to me, over the years, and I guess they think that it is the least I can do. One of the things the CBC does that bugs the committee, and a lot of other people, is to foul op TV programs with commercials. Hie committee wants to see the commercials lumped together at the end of the program, or better yet treated with Plug Off, the new miracle cleaner that removes commercials entirely, leaves programs bright and shining like new. Well, most viewers will buy that, no doubt But maybe the committee or somebody should find out whether viewers are prepared to pay an annual licence fee, as do the British, to make up for revenue tost by Auntie when she ceases nattering about persistent What worries me, as a part-time nephew, is that a poll would find that a majority of viewers will switch to the private TV network, commercials and an, and will let Canada's major unifying force topple into the grave, rather than pay an annual licence fee that exceeds Canadians tend to take a hard line towards the cash value of contributions to the national culture. Ask the average Canadian to fork out real folding money to sustain a commercial- free CBC, and he will suddenly find a rich cultural heritage in Pig "N" Whistle. He wants to keep the true North strong and free, the operative word is free. Even if it has come from the true South. Another recommendation of The Committee on Television that makes me nervous for Auntie is that the CBC should air fewer, but better, programs. The argument here is that the old dear dissipates a good deal of money and effort trying to keep something other than the test pattern on the screen from early morning till late, late night With four or five hours of prime-time socko shows, say the advocates, Auntie can conserve her energy and recapture the esteem of a nation that has been concentrating a fiied gaze on Cher's cleavage. The problem here is that the committee assumes that it is possible to know in advance what will be a better program. If this were true, there would not be a broken bean for every light on Broadway, nor a broken budget for every CBC producer on Janris Street The best-organized, most creatively- minded Auntie imaginable cannot predetermine whether a show will succeed. Hell, sometimes even Hockey Night in Canada bombs. Also, who is to define what is a "better" program? Is it the program watched by the most people? Or the program that Auntie's mandarins decide is best for the viewer? It is an very well to build a better scale to measure what is culturally heavy, except that when Canadians want a show that carries more weight they watch Frank Cannon. Ticklish business. Go ahead, Committee on Television. Put your wtdzbang up Auntie's bloomers. But don't touch a hair of that good grey bead. Backed into a corner By Dong Walker In the rcnovai'.ns that have been made at The Herald ?ny has been divided and I save been fo the inner area with Grover occupying the outer part. i of my have accused me of planning this arrangeinept in to make it tough for people to get at me. But tiny Joanne isn't much of a deterrent to anyone bent on in- vading the premises and there isn't any door between the two parts. The truth is that once a visitor gets into my office he has me backed into a comer. The only escape route would be over the partitions into Pat Sullivan's office or into the newsroom. "Forget it comrade this is our greatest danger..." Views on Solzhenitsyn By Dev Murarka, London Observer commentator MOSCOW The expulsion of Alexander Solzhenitsyn to West Germany marks the end of a chapter in post-Stalin dissidence in the Soviet Union. Though his expulsion was something of a shock, it was not altogether unexpected and there is relief that nothing worse has befallen him. As for the reason for his expulsion, several important factors come into it. In the first place the authorities were becoming extremely irritated by the fuss surrounding Solzhenitsyn. They were also nervous in dealing with him because of the likely repercussions abroad. But in taking him out of harm's way, internal exile or imprisonment was ruled out because of the complications of political situation in Europe and the Soviet interest in a successful outcome of the security conference in Geneva. The Kremlin could argue that expelling him was the best of all alternatives, because after a while the agitation surrounding his name would die down and as an exile he would have less influence upon remaining dissidents in the Soviet Union. The Kremlin seems also to have made sure that even his expulsion will yield some dividends in propaganda as far as the ordinary Soviet public is concerned. The choice of Germany, rather than Sweden or any other West European country, is significant. The emphasis on all official comments about Solzhenitsyn since the publication abroad of his August 1914 has been his alleged pro-German sympathies. This line of attack became even more prominent after the publication of The Gulag Archipelago. Since then he has been denounced as a spiritual collaborator with German Nazism. The authorities were becoming a little nervous about physical harm coming to Solzhenitsyn. In view of the passion aroused against him as a result of official propaganda, it could not be ruled out that some ill- educated Russian might man- handle him seriously, and once that had happened, the Soviet government would be connected with the crime, in such matters its credibility being not very high as far as the Solzhenitsyn case is concerned. This danger was the greater in view of Solzhenitsyn's repeated assertions in the recent past that he had received murder threats or that the KGB wanted to kill him. With Solzhenitsyn safe and sound on German territory, such charges against the Soviet government can no longer be easily made. By William Safire, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON When Westerners of all persuasions outdo each other to embrace one man as their champion, a suspicion arises that the focus of all this adulation might be too true to be good. Liberals love Solzhenitsyn for the enemies he has made in the Soviet Union, for his genuine courage in challenging the status quo in that totalitarian state, and for proving that there really is a force of "world opinion" able to modify Soviet tactics in dealing with a leading dissident. Conservatives love him not only for asserting the rights of the individual against government repression, but for reminding Americans that "Godless communism" is alive and well in Moscow, and for helping hard-liners to show that Soviet talk of detente is merely a ploy in a long-term strategy that seeks to enslave the rest of the world. Solzhenitsyn has achieved the status of "most favored novelist." His willingness to suffer martyrdom, his skill at publicizing his own plight (as well as that of others who might not want such his status as Nobel Laureate, and his ability to express what has been happening in the Soviet Union firsthand, from the inside all that has added up to the Schweitzerization of Solzhenitsyn, the creation of an unassailable hero. Now that he is out of the Soviet Union, however, his martyrdom shrewdly denied, cracks will appear in the pedestal we have built for him. Politicians who praise him now for his opposition to oppression may discover, to their dismay, that their chosen symbol does not share their admiration for democratic principles. I suspect we err in assuming that a religious technocrat's vision of representative government to be our own; the adversary of our adversary is not always our ally. Then the flip-flopping will begin: his literary works will be judged on merits other than the circumstances in which they were written, and he may be re-evaluated more as a Mailer with a cause than a Dostoyevsky with an understanding of character. Then some against-the- grain profilists may report him to be cabbier, more messianic and less beatific than is customarily associated with sainthood, and today's intellectual inspiration may become tomorrow's former hero, the old champ who turns into a bore. At least, that is what the Soviets hope will happen. We are playing right into their hands with a suspension of our critical faculties (Solzhenitsyn's Nobel prize message was not in the same league with William with a worshipful media build-up: and with the use of a hot new celebrity for our own purposes. While on the inside as a dissident writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a test for Soviet authoritarianism; on the outside as a literary superstar, he tests the unsentimentality of our judg- ment and the consistency of our conscience. By Lajos Lederer, London Observer commentator LONDON In the midst of world-wide concern over the Solzhenitsyn affair, past experience of Russian measures covering real motives, bids one recall the circumstances in which Stalinism in the Soviet Union was first documented for denunciation. This was by Nikita Khrushchev in his celebrated speech to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party. Now in his book. The Gulag Archipelago, Solzenhitsyn has, in the main, repeated what Khrushchev dished out in 1956 about the cruelties of the Stalinist regime. Could the present Russian hierarchy have deliberately engineered the Solzhenitsyn affair with precisely the same motive? It is a bizarre thought. Yet if the book had been published without any condemnation by the authorities it would almost certainly have had far less impact: it might even have passed largely unnoticed by the outside world. On the other hand, to have boosted The Gulag Archipelago and praised the author officially would have been to invite the suspicion that Solzhenitsyn had become a captive propagandist of the post- Stalinist Communist Party. There is. of course, no doubt about the persecution to which Solzhenitsyn has been subjected. But it would not be out of keeping with the devious Soviet mind to turn such treatment to some advantage. Russia's current over-riding political motive is to fuel the country's economy, which is still, after 30 years, far behind what a great country with such natural material resources ought to have. It needs capital, technological experience and managerial skills. But meeting these needs can be ensured only in a more liberal context and if the outside world can be persuaded that the Soviet leadership is becoming more tolerant It was to create such a belief that Leonid Brezhnev obtained the consent of the Soviet Presidium to embark upon a policy of detente with the United States. To combat the opposition, Brezhnev and his allies may well feel it has become necessary to warn the Russian people that if this policy fails there will be grave danger of a return to the days of Stalinism. In this context the Russian handling of the Solzhenitsyn affair looks on the surface to be a disaster. Yet sending the dissident author into exile in a friendly country is a great change from the days of Stalinist liquidations. By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator Mr. Solzhenitsyn, like the physicist Andrei Sakharov, decided that it is no longer feasible to try to work within the system for reform. By courting trouble, and finally achieving it Mr. Solzhenitsyn was signaling desperately to the Weft. He was telling us that we should ask far more than we have in return for our capital and technology. He was asking us to insist on more changes in Russia, and more basic changes, as a price for Soviet entry to the advanced world. He was making the case that if the West cracks down hard now, Mr. Brezhnev will yield not be forced to give way to a new set of hard- liners. My own sense is that Mr. Solzhenitsyn is right It seems to me very clear that the United States should raise She price for detente. If the Russians want to be part of the developed world, then they are going to have to behave like an advanced country. That means, at a minimum, whittling down the military occupation of Eastern Europe and allowing the basic freedoms which one of the greatest writers in the world needs to continue his work. Letters Primitive school boards We seem to have come full circle in the matter of school discipline through The Herald's interviews with teachers and administrators, those who know and are competent to deal with it. But the reporter failed to make the obvious inference, that school board interference is unwarranted and should be ended. Consequently I wish to claim a bit more of my 30- year space credit to offer a solution. I paraphrase Cato's famous dictum, "school boards must be destroyed." But, it is unlikely that our political Doctor Lougheed will agree to amputate from the civic system this primitive appendix through an act of Legislature. True, the school board performed an honorable service in pioneer days But when the form and structure of society had taken shape with an educational community established, they had passed their time. Unfortunately, when William Aberhart swept the little red schoolhouse into oblivion he failed to include the board. So, over the years it has continued to interfere and obstruct, pouring every sort of nonsense into the system until teaching is almost as hard to find as the drug counter in a drugstore! What to do? Th simplest solution: transfer the entire system as we know it from Grade 7 to 12, into the department of youth, recreation and culture, freeing the education department to do a streamlined job of teaching for responsible citizenship. At age 12, require all children to face an effective intelligence test. This will shunt 85 per cent into recreation with its many activities in the recreation centres associated with our community folk colleges. Youths then may learn freely, whatever manual, service or artistic skills appeal to them, with help from their adult counsellors and coaches. The 15 per cent can then be trained in a set of secondary academies for recruitment into the professions and into business and government administration. Under this plan the board of recreation drawn from home and recreation associations, working with counsellors and coaches, can skim off the vicious and useless into gaols and other institutions leaving the 75 per cent to develop freely as their aptitudes lead them. The best product will be that select group of specially talented individuals whose growth rises from a late flowering of their intelligence not caught by the standard age 12 tests. These are unique beings, the ornament of the generations. They win honor from all, including the professional, managerial class whose very training limits their uniqueness. Those gifted ones rising from our recreational services by following their own bent, are our best hope. It is they who guard and carry the flame of our collective being, who know whence they spring and are true to their origin in our living nation. 0. CLAYTON BRICKER Lethbridge History of believing The Herald's page five (Feb. was most interesting. So many words to say so little. What difference whether the crossing was 1300 BC or 1450 BC. Of greater importance is why did the waters part as a result of a conversation between a man and God. Don't forget the repeat performance in, the crossing of the river Jordan. Of course there is an answer. This is the business of God, so ask Him. Christ was born the same as all. He did calm the waves. There is no reason that God should not direct the dements. Perhaps some day we will know how he did it, but until then we should not consider these events without direction. They say1 there are men who do not believe in God but in years of seeking I have not found one. In the evolutionary process there was a time that somebody first believed in God and so did all his descendants. No matter where men are found they have a history of believing in a god. Now I could really have a find, if I could locate somebody who was an evolutionary throwback to our ape ancestors; who never did believe in God. He would be a most interesting ape-man for study. Strange to say; nobody wants the honor. When universities study any subject they should not do so with a biased opinion. The subject should be presented in such a way that there is a choice of conclusions; the student must be educated so that he can make a choice. In public and high school there are Christian and ape schools. The university seems to be taken over by the apes. Could this be the reason that they do not know the difference between science and science fiction? M. E. SPENCER Cardston Affluent must share After reading an article in The Herald (Feb. 11) (World's real crisis may be shortage of food) and hearing other news on energy shortages, rising food prices and spiralling inflation, the answer seems to be evident. One-third of the world's population are suffering from malnutrition, while another one-third, at least, have more than enough food. Therefore why couldn't, as Lester Brown is quoted as saving in the article, "the affluent nations tighten their belts to fill the largest food deficit in Asia that we've ever seen." We, in Canada, may be worried about whether we are going to buy enough food to keep our children fat, however, the parents in some countries worry if their children will get even one decent meal in days. I know this message is heard every day, but I don't think it can be stressed enough. If everyone reading this would give up one meal per week, per month per family, that famine so evident in Asia could be put off Just a little longer. One worthy cause is: Care of Canada Dept. 2 Ottawa, Ontario klp5a6 The help will be greatly appreciated and the reward even greater, for as Christ said, "Sell all your belongings and give to the poor. Provide for yourselves purses that don't wear out, and save your riches in heaven, where they will never decrease." OSCAR TAVERNINI Lethbridge Unimpressed I am not impressed with the "pottie parades" picture on the front page of Thursday's Herald. To me it is neither funny, cute, nor informative for front page material. I would think the Kradle Koop nursery has more entertaining activities to portray if the idea is to contrast child-like innocence on a page of heavy news. IAN G. MANDIN Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald S. Uflferttge. HERALD CO. LTD "roprtelors and Second Class Mat! Registration No O012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON H PILUWS Managing Editor OONALOW DORAM General Manager flOY f MILES Advertising Manager DOiXSLAS K WALKER Page Editor M Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETJ Buwness Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"