Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 -THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, February 28, 1974 A can of worms Speeches from the Throne serve only to indicate the nature of the government's concerns. Sometimes the legislation submitted later does not live up to the Throne Speech anticipation, and sometimes very important matters of policy and legislation are not even hinted at in the Speech. Several items in the Speech opening the new federal session are quite interesting help for rural and native housing; abolition of the means test for the Canada Pension Plan at age 65; a national petroleum company; permitting provincial governments to participate in bank ownership; and so on.. The Speech was of special interest to farmers. "Increase the availability of reasonably priced feed grains" was one item in the summary. How's that for a teaser? More manpower for farms. A grain market "insurance plan." And so on. But in grain transportation is the biggest area for speculation. With current grain prices there is no serious dispute from the producer. The complaint is in the handling, in the shortage of cars, in antiquated rail procedures, in out-dated terminal facilities. More and more it is being suspected by farmers that the poor service is due to the unduly low revenue (the Crowsnest rates) the railways get from hauling grain. Indeed, railway spokesmen have admitted as much. A few weeks ago an episode in Calgary inspired comment in this column. A spokesman for beef cattle feeders said if it weren't for the Crowsnest rates the cost of moving feed grain out of the prairies would be higher and so the price to prairie feeders would be lower and the cattle industry would be better off. A recent farmers' meeting in Manitoba, reported in the Free Press Weekly, dwelt on the same theme. The rail system was decrepit, from the grain growers' viewpoint, and the railways were entitled to enough additional revenue to improve the system. The Crowsnest rates were no longer jus- tifiable, in the opinion of many farmers. Yesterday's Speech from the Throne promised improved rail grain-moving capabilities, and an end to discrimination in freight rates. The prairies have long complained of discrimination against them in general freight rates, but a case could be made for the Crowsnest formula being sheer discrimination, not against but FOR the prairies. In all of this the farmers' interests are heavily involved in charges for moving grain which in the end he pays, in possible rail line abandonment, in the possibility of eliminating perhaps 90 per cent of the present designated grain delivery points, in subsidies for uneconomic rail operations, in federal taxpayer assistance to either the railways or the farmer by way of buying more grain cars, in unit-train possibilities, and so on. Wednesday's Speech from the Throne did not open a can of worms. The lid was already coming loose. The Speech did not tighten it. Oil companies under fire The Japanese Fair Trade Commission has indicted 12 Japanese refining companies, the Petroleum Association of Japan and 17 officials on suspicion of violating the country's anti-monopoly laws in fixing prices and regulating sales by volume and geographical area. In France, indictments have been handed down against regional executives of several multinational and national oil companies for price fixing and collusion in driving an independent wholesaler out of business. This is referred to as a million scandal and involves apparent deals on submitting bids so that one company would supply all the schools of Marseilles, another would have the hospitals and still another would get the contract for public buildings. A government report leaked to the public in Germany charges multinational oil companies Esso, Mobil, Chevron, Shell and British Petroleum are named with manipulating prices to squeeze out independent dealers, juggling books to avoid paying German taxes and creating an artificial oil shortage in Europe. Italy is rocked by a similar oil scandal. In Britain, the tax bonanza reaped by oil companies in the North Sea has played a part in the national elections. The London Observer has claimed that its staff members, since 1965, have paid four times as much in taxes as the top oil companies. And in the U.S., testimony before a Senate committee indicates that the Jus- tice department dropped a criminal anti- trust action in 1953 against seven major oil companies charged with operating an international cartel to control prices because of pressure from the Eisenhower administration in the name of national security. The ramifications of this case are held to have been a barrier to further prosecutions. The coincidence of all these actions leads to the pragmatic conclusion that governments are finding the oil industry a popular target for political reasons. that they are finally getting the message from the man on the street who, ignorant though he may be of corporate economics, rebels against the seeming injustice of shortages and rising prices in the face of excessively high profits. A more charitable view would be to assume that governments everywhere are finally waking up to the dangers inherent in the tight and interlocking structures of the oil industry, in which a single, integrated company can control the flow of oil from well to gasoline pump with very little interference or overseeing from government agencies. Oil companies have been able to operate within and across national boundaries in their own naturally narrow interests and sometimes these interests have not coincided with those of society at large. It is, for instance, widely assumed that the gasoline shortage in the U.S. stems from a lack of refining capacity and while this has resulted from decisions made within the corporate structure of the industry over the past decade, the effects are nationwide and touch the lives of millions of Americans. This would seem to indicate a need for government awareness and readiness to take -action to prevent just such shortages as are occurring. It is apparent that the whole structure of the oil industry needs reassessing and that governments need to be better informed about, if not actually involved in, the development, production and marketing of oil. If, as is true in Canada, a government decides to establish a national company (and most governments it should be kept in mind that the industry, with its unofficial cartels and other arrangements, for mutual good can hardly wrap itself in the flag of free enterprise. A government that is better informed might even find itself sympathetic to the problems of the industry. At any rate, one thing can be said with grim certainty. Oil profits for next year will not be as great as for this year, for whatever reasons. Letters "Mind you we'll still be 16 away from ideal" Strategy for David Lewis By Anthony Westell, Toronto Star commentator Ottawa Dear David Lewis, I expect you're getting a lot of letters these days from busybodies telling you how to lead the New Democratic Party in this session of Parliament, so you won't be surprised to hear from a professional at minding other people's business me. I've'given you plenty of advice in the past and I've always been right well, almost always but you have not paid the attention I would have hoped for, so I would not be trying again now unless I thought it terribly important. The fact is, David, that if you play your cards right in the next month or two, you just might become prime minister. At the very least, you have an opportunity to lead the NDP in the long- awaited breakthrough to major party status. Interested? I thought you might be. So here's the situation as I see it. There is a crisis in Canada. No, not the so-called energy crisis. Despite all those speeches you made last year, Canadians are beginning to understand that we don't have an energy crisis in this country, and you're not going to be able to whip up much excitement on that issue this year. The real crisis is basically a crisis of confidence in the economy. People are scared. They are frightened by rising food prices and worried by all this talk of chaos in world markets and runaway inflation. But the really creepy thing for most people is they sense that nobody is in charge around here. They don't expect to understand economics themselves, but they think that government ought to know what to do. And if not the government, then the opposition leaders. Trudeau thought he knew how to beat inflation when he was elected in 1968 but, instead, inflation beat him. He hasn't had a new idea on the subject since about 1970. A lot of people would like to believe that, and in the absence of a more persuasive idea, they probably will. But you don't believe it, do you, David? You're a socialist, so you've always believed that in the end the capitalist economy would break down and that the free market would not be able to divide the national wealth fairly. Right now, perhaps for the first time, a majority of Canadians may be willing to agree with you. They at least know there is something fundamentally wrong with the economic system and they are looking for a political leader who knows what to do about it. If you can step forward now, David, with a convincing explanation of what's wrong and a reasonable suggestion for putting it right, you could win a heck of a lot of votes in an election this spring. It won't do, mind you, to repeat all that rip-off rhetoric and try to blame everything on the corporations. People may be in a mood to hate big business and get mad at rising profits, but they're also smart enough to know that the problem of inflation goes much deeper than that. So you need to talk now less like the leader of a minority party scrambling for attention and more like a politician on the edge of power and keenly aware that he may soon have to translate his rhetoric into national policy. What you should say and I hope you're paying attention is something like this: You should freely admit that a good deal of our inflation is imported and that we can't do much about that, except to set a good example to other countries. But to the extent that inflation is produced within Canada, it means that too many people are fighting for the available wealth. Everybody wants more. Wage earners want higher wages. Professional people demand fatter fees. Corporations claim bigger profits. Poor people ask for a larger share of affluence. Farmers charge higher prices. The mechanisms that used to regulate demand, effectively if sometimes brutally, no longer work, or are no longer acceptable. Competition is not the force it used to be in holding down prices and profits. Trade unions are not intimidated by unemployment. Government feels compelled to protect the poor by raising social security benefits. The federal government also has lost influence over the economy. The provinces and cities are increasing their taxing and spending powers. But perhaps more im- portant, the mandarins of the Ottawa establishment no longer enjoy the authority which flows from prestige. Almost everybody now ques- tions the expertise of the experts in the finance department and the Bank of Canada. Book review "Marilyn Beck's Hollywood" by Marilyn Beck (Prentice- Hall of Canada Ltd. dear... I think I beard it buzz." What's behind the scenes of that tinsel world called Hollywood? Marilyn Beck, syndicated Hollywood columnist for The New York Times Special Features, reveals all: the now morality, fiddles failures You can say, David, that what we have now is a sort of economic anarchy. And what we need is a new system for setting priorities and managing the economy not just for a couple of years, but permanently. We need to ensure that competing demands do not impose excessive and inflationary strain on resources, and in order to make sure that wealth is more fairly shared, we need to make private interests more accountable to the public. You would be foolish to pretend, David, that you know exactly how to bring this new system into operation. It will be enough to persuade the people that yon understand the problem and know how to go about solving it. You should promise that, as prime minister, you would at once bring together in a public conference the repre- sentatives of all the eco- nomic interest groups: the provincial and city governments, big and small -business, the professions, trade unions, the welfare community, consumers and so on. As national leader, you would put before the conference an estimate of the wealth to be produced over the next three years and be prepared to debate it, so as to reach, as far as possible, a consensus. You would then ask the representatives of the interest groups to state their claims upon the available resources, and to justify them. How much is required for investment, interest, wages, welfare and so on? You wouldn't expect to get agreement, of course. But you would help to educate the public and reduce excessive expectations by letting everybody see why they cannot have everything they want without damaging somebody else. It would be your responsibility as prime minister to make judgments between irreconcilable claims, and to lay before Parliament in broad outline the nation's economic priorities for the next few years. With the approval oi Parliament, you would also have to set up, with the help oi interest groups, machinery for implementing the plan again only in the broadest terms, so as to leave room for enterprise. Idealistic, you say, David? You bet it is. But then, so was Keynes! And while some leaders are paralyzed b> crisis, others see them as ar opportunity to make great progress, to win acceptance for change and reform whicr would be unacceptable wher the times are stable and the majority of people art comfortable. So there's how to win OK election. David. Yours sincerely Anthony Wester P.S. I've offered similai advice in the past to Trudeai and Stanfield, bat they don't seem interested. dropout stars, and intrigues of the movie world. She also provides comments on the good influence thai Hollywood could have on worldwide audiences. Illustrated and indexed, this interesting book should please television and movie fans, and anyone who has followed the antics of showbiz celebrities. TERRY MORRIS Orchestra personnel In a recent letter appearing in The Herald, the writer, identified only as Concert Goer, while endeavoring to justify Mrs. Pat Orchard's critique of the Feb. 4 Lethbridge Symphony Chorus concert, said "while names of all the chorus were recorded in the program, the instrumentalists remained anonymous, except in Mrs. Orchard's review." This statement is completely false. 1 suggest Concert Goer refer to eight of only are the names of "the orchestra personnel listed but also the instruments they played. If the writer paid as little attention to the rest of''the program, one wonders much credence letter deserves. MERLE SMITH Chairman Program Committee Lethbridge Sympjiony Association i Extremely dangerous I have been reading articles referring to the film on exorcism, and obviously those who write in favor of such a film have not witnessed demon possession in all its horrors! I have witnessed demon possession in the Orient where innocent lives have been possessed, mind, soul and body, by a force that completely controlled them. They were unable to cope with any situation in life. It is impossible to describe the terror that controls the life of the demon possessed and also the fear and dread that is experienced by those around. In the Orient the power and horror of demon possession is well-known, and people there do not "play around" in this connection. I have also learned' that deliverance from real demon possession is only possible through the power of one who has more power than the demons, the Lord Jesus Christ, with whom nothing is impossible. I have seen demons silenced and cast out only after terrific struggles when the name of Jesus is mentioned. I have not viewed this film, but I firmly believe that the subject of demon possession should not be used in the entertainment world. My advice is to stay away from the extreme danger which such a film might bring. Don't invite demon possession! IVY OWEN Lethbridge VIC gobbledy-gook Mr. Crofton's letter (Herald, Feb. is a very fine example of government gobbledy-gook. One would infer from it that there are a great many jobs available in Lethbridge for any one wanting to work. I would say that a very conservative estimate would place the number of jobs available in Lethbridge at 10 per cent of the number of people in the city drawing unemployment insurance benefits. If such is tne case, 1 see no reason why anyone outside the city should be expected to travel back and forth from his residence, so those living in town could continue to rdraw UIC benefits, rather than work. I realize now, that it is rather naive to expect logic, or common sense from anyone working for the government. In a private business, if an employee becomes ill, his work has to be taken over by someone else. At UIC it is just left on his desk, until he recovers. I think this points out that not only is there no liaison with Manpower7, but there is also none within the UIC. In my opinion, the only liaison is between themselves and their paycheques. STILL DISGUSTED Picture Butte Uneasiness over movie As a concerned parent, citizen and churchman I would express my uneasiness and forebodings over the forthcoming showing of the motion picture, The Exorcist in Lethbridge. Having read the book upon which the film is based and after reading a number of reviews of people who have seen the picture I can see nothing but harmful results, even serious emotional problems, arising from viewing the film. If it is true, as reviewers say, that the picture is even more nauseating than the book, then the lasting feeling of man is one of a brutish, hopeless feeling of human nature. It is reported that the scenes of mutilation, vomiting and language, drains even the most stable of personalities. What will the Film do to the unstable, immature adolescent? More important is the theological question that is raised in the film. The Exorcist provides an easy answer to the age old problem of evil in life. Evil is caused by a devil that physically possesses people for no explainable reason and can only be removed by ritual. The message of the movie is that evil is not a matter of personal responsibility and requires no effort or decision on man's part to remove it Evil is indeed a mystery that haunts our human condition, but we know that a great deal of it is caused by man's inhumanity to man. I am not willing to accept the premise that man's shortcomings are caused by a physical being called the devil. Rather it is man himself and his lack of faith and the weakness of his will in succumbing to temptations that has caused much of the suffering and hatred between men and nations. I pray that the citizens of Lethbridge will weigh the cost of seeing a highly artistic, technically superb movie picture against the destructive dehumanizing message it conveys. I do not think it is worth the price. (REV.) KENNETH MORRIS Lethbridge Ever had one of those days when you feeL.oh, to hack with it! The lethbridge Herald SM 7th St S. LWhbrWge. Atberta lETHBffiDGT. HERALD CO LTD Proprietors Second Class Malt Registration No 0012 CUO MOWERS, and PtfctiSber OONH PHUNQ Managing ROY F. WHIGS Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Page EdRor DONALD R OORAM General Manager ROBERT M. FENTON Otrctflalion Manager KENNETH 8ARNET7 Manager HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"