Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 9, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, January 9, 1975 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Controversy surrounds proposed loan By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator OTTAWA Does the name Paul Gerin-LaJoie mean anything to you? It should, because as president of the Canadian International Development Agency he sends hundreds of millions of your dollars in grants and loans to developing nations. Right now, Mr. Gerin- LaJoie is involved in a controversy concerning his recommendation for a million loan to Cuba. The money would be used to buy technical equipment in Canada and would be made on most favorable nation (best possible deal) terms. It would be a 50-year loan. The interest rate would be zero and no repayments would have to be made during the first 10 years. The -balance, presumably, would be repaid in equal installments over the remaining 40 years. Purchases in Canada financ- ed by the loan would include Pharmaceuticals, scientific research equipment, animal health aids and paramedical equipment. The emphasis would be On agricultural and health services reflecting the priority areas in the current Cuban five-year development plan. In one least, there is a relationship to previous Canadian commer- cialsales to Cuba, i.e. the sale of cattle. In particular, Canada would be supporting the National Centre for Animal Health and the National Centre for Scien- tific Investigation. Opposition in the Canadian government is really based on two factors. First, the relative need of Cuba in rela- tion to other developing countries and, second, the way the loan proposal has been handled by Mr. Gcrin- LaJoie. Cuban per capita income is about per person per year. That puts it in the mid- dle rank of developing nations. Some officials suggest that there are other Berry's World 1974 by NEA. Inc "Hey, buddy! Got any good tips on the market countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, where the need is more desperate and aid more urgently re- quired. From a humanitarian standpoint, they argue, the specially favorable terms of the loan are misdirected. The same officials are upset about the procedure. They suggest that an effort was made, months ago, when Mitchell Sharp was still secretary of state for external affairs, to get the minister to approve the loan before the usual interdepartmental dis- cussions had taken place. Mr. Gerin-LaJoie, anticipating that such favorable terms would meet with opposition if scrutinized in the normal way, attempted to circumvent the usual checks. Mr. Charles Morrow, the chief information officer for CIDA, denies any irregularity in procedure. He emphasized the role of the Senior Aid Board. This is a group chaired by Mr. Gerin-LaJoie which includes, as members, the un- der secretary of state for ex- ternal affairs, the deputy minister of finance, the depu- ty minister of industry, trade and commerce, the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada and the secretary of the Treasury Board. When asked specifically, however, if the Aid Board has considered this particular loan and on what date, Mr. Morrow was unable to provide the information. Elsewhere, I. was advised that the Senior Aid Board meets infrequently a couple of times a year to consider policy matters. It does not consider individual grants and loans. The mystery persists. Adding to the mystery are some of the unusual items alleged to have been included on the Cuban "shopping" list. For example, two lie detec- tors and a lawnmower were buried under one of the "health" categories. When I asked Mr. Morrow about this, he said the list had been "subject to some change since first prepared late last spring." Later, in answer to the direct question, Mr. Morrow was very careful not to deny that the lie detectors had been included in the original list. He skated around the subject adroitly by saying that he had "gone over the ex- isting (presumably revised) list and that he had found nothing which could be so categorized." In any event, Finance Minister Turner has written Alan MacEachen, secretary of state for external affairs who will have to make the final decision, suggesting a 30- year loan with three per cent interest and a seven year period of grace. The confusion surrounding the case provides a good launching pad for a thorough parliamentary review of Canada's aid programs and the way they are ad- ministered. Some months ago, a group of MP's who looked at some of Canada's aid programs abroad, returned to Ottawa in a highly critical mood. In addition, a report prepared by Price Waterhouse and Company Ltd. for CIDA, on its internal administration, was not produced for Members of Parliament notwithstanding a committee vote requiring its production. Mr. Gerin LaJoie having first agreed to produce an expurgated ver- sion, later refused to do so. The higher prices of oil and other commodities should also be taken into account in the review. In Cuba's case, for ex- ample, revenues from world sugar sales will increase dramatically this year. Two million tons of sugar should produce about billion in foreign currency as against million a year ago. No one here knows how much the Soviet Union is paying for the other 3.5 million toils of Cuban sugar. Not too much, probably. In any event, this lack of information is cited In the letter drafted for Mr. MacEachen in reply to Mr. Turner as justification for the Canadian loan. A more pru- dent manager than Mr. Gerin- RCV6LS10K6 imnsiT mix t LETHBRIDGE TRANSIT MIX 12th Street 2nd Avenue North Call: E. H. Buck 327-7262 Equipped to serve all parts of the industry, summer and winter. Maximum Quality Control. Prompt Delivery. No job too large or too small. Efficient and Courteous Service. LaJoie might have insisted on getting this information from the Cubans before submitting his original recommendation. As it is, the favored "soft loan" is virtually a gift. If the inflation rate in Canada con- tinues at anything like its present level, say 10 per cent a year, Canadian taxpayers will only recover a tiny frac- tion of the original purchasing power. In addition, taxpayers will have to pay about million dollars interest, at current rates, on the money borrowed by their govern- ment to facilitate the 50 year loan The investigation should be broad enough to include policy on financing exports as well. The Canadian Export Development Corporation has just loaned million for three ships for Cuba. The borrower is the Central Bank of Cuba and the supplier is Marine Industries Limited of Sorel, Quebec. The price includes three coastal tankers of tons deadweight each. The terms provide for 20 per cent cash and the balance to be repaid over eight years in semi-annual installments. The interest rate has not been disclosed but is something more than 7.5 per cent, but well below current bank rates. At present inflation rates, the final repayment at the end of eight years will be worth less than half the original advance. Furthermore, the price of the ships is subsidized 17 per cent. This benefit is available to all ship purchasers but the subsidized interest rate is not. In other words, the Cuban government can buy coastal vessels made in Canada on better terms than Canadians wishing to do the same. On the face of it, the heightened activity and interest in Cuba by the Cana- dian government suggests that it has replaced the former Commonwealth countries as top dog with Canada in the Caribbean. This must be rather discouraging to those who are valiantly try- ing to make democracy work in the Commonwealth countries. A policy of preference for Cuba is quite within the government's right. But it should be clearly stated and explained to Parliament and the Canadian people. The most distressing aspect of my brief investigation was the inference that officials were less worried about the Cuhan request for lie detec- tors etc. than they were about the possibility of the Canadian people finding out about it. A thorough inquiry, more along congressional lines than those usually associated with parliamentary committees dominated by a government majority, would shed some welcome light on the subject. Some reporters and com- mentators have suggested that the Canadian Inter- national Development Association is so important now that it should report to a separate minister and ministry. I doubt that this would be the best solution. It would add to the conflict between departments primarily interested in Canada's external policy. A more acceptable and, suitable solution assuming that greater ministerial review and accountability for our foreign loans and grants is desired would be the es- tablishment of an associate ministership responsible for the day-to-day administration but reporting to the secretary of state for external affairs on policy matters. The cost would be less than a separate department. The frustration infinitely less. Meanwhile, Mr. Mac- Eachen should hold up approval of the Cuban loan un- til Parliament resumes later this month. The MP's should have a chance to express their opinions on such an important and controversial matter before the final seal of approval is given. crazy An end to permissiveness By Louis Burke, Lethbridge teacher The priest is vital to aU humaasociety. He is found not only in a church, but everywhere. The young man on stage with his guitar is a priest, and his singer helper or go- go dancer is the assistant in the ritual. Vince Lombard! was the high priest of football; the divine image of that toughness all coaches, players and fans worshipped. Likewise Dr. Spock has been looked upon as a priest of family life and education. His disciples ushered in the permissive society which has enslaved this generation of parents and will destroy the next one, if it continues. In the past when a priest erred he was ex communicated, or de frocked. The armed forces uses the terminology "stripped of his rank." The expression "de however, sounds much better and is more final. It is, therefore, time to de frock Dr. Spock, look- ed on as the high priest of destructive per- missiveness in present-day society. "Spockism" appears everywhere and at all ages. There exist respected people in the ear- ly stages of old age who advocate this philosophy of no punishment or punitive ac- tion. This doctrine of permissiveness crops in our schools when youngsters are not chastis- ed when they do wrong. It has seeped into the homes where parents refused to spank little ones when they are naughty. Not that children ought to be battered for their mis- demeanors, but they ought to be spanked firmly, especially between the ages of two and five years. If the job of firm direction is not complete between those ages, any attempt afterwards will most likely result in failure, child frustration and human distor- tion. This does not mean that child guidance ceases at five years of age. Those who have children take on a 20-year job at least! Not only are "Spockists" ruling our homes and schools, they now have control of all social-aid sections in city, provincial and federal government. Our jails are full because those who apply the law are soft and these institutions are not too uncomfortable to be deterrents any more. Vandalism reigns and rages because the "rewards" do not fit the crime today. The cases of battered children is on the increase because young parents, and sometimes old ones; register complete frustration somewhere along the course and take it out on their little ones. These facts are never going to decrease until individuals get back to reality. The most vital part of reality is the im- perfection of human nature. Self control and self discipline are ideals greatly to be wished, but realities never to be achieved for the vast majority of mankind. Firm and sen- sible direction is a necessity and a fact of life. If a four year old does a naughty thing, the parent should spank the little person firmly; the one who laughs, giggles and imagines the whole matter cute is quite foolish and an enemy of the child. Believe it or not, the pendulum has already started to swing back on Dr. Spock. Per- missiveness is dated, old fashioned and a serious error, today. In ancient Chinese society it was the parents who went to jail for the son's crimes. So let's de frock Spock and Spockists in our community now. Besides, it is known Dr. Spock did not bring all this permissiveness into our socity. It was fuddle duddle headed parents and people who misinterpreted the unfortunate man and his book which became the Bible for parenthood a short generation ago. So the ball is right back where it always was in the laps of incompetent parents who were only too happy to find Mr. Scape-goat in Dr. Spock. National vs human interest By Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday Review LOS ANGELES At the heart of the troubled condition of the United Nations to- day is a clear conflict between the way most human beings see the world and the way national governments see it. Increasing numbers of people everywhere have a new awareness of themselves as members of a single world community. They know that the main problems of our time all have a world dimension whether we are talking about the danger of war; or the arms race that consumes a large part of the world's resources even as it intensifies inflation; or the spreading danger of world famine; or the energy shortage; or the deterioration of the world's environment; or the struggle for human rights. Hence there is a growing sense that our planet has to be managed in the human interest. But this is not the way the sovereign national governments see the world. They see it the way they have always seen it as an arena in which they pursue their objectives through a balance of power or spheres of interest or through arms superiority. The human interest as such is not the primary concern of sovereign governments. Indeed the core of the problem is that the national interest and the human interest are generally at odds. The difference between the way most peo- ple see the world and the way national governments see it is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the attitude toward the United people want to eliminate the weaknesses and flaws of the United Nations and make of it an organization that can keep the peace on the basis of genuine organization that can represent the world's peoples. By contrast, most governments see the United Nations as an instrument for advanc- ing their own foreign policies. Thus the United Nations tends to be an amplifying system for separate foreign policies instead of an effective instrument for meeting com- mon dangers and common needs. How, then, can the national governments be made to change their view of the world to see it as a single habitat that has to be managed for the human good? As Americans, we have the obligation and the opportunity to register with our govern- ment our convictions about the need for a foreign policy directed to the human interest. Americans have no reluctance to speak up on national and local issues as .they demonstrated so dramatically during the past year on Watergate, and as they have demonstrated repeatedly over the years on issues affecting us directly as farmers or workers or businessmen or professional people. On such issues as wages or prices or subsidies or taxes we don't hesitate to ques- tion the judgment of the government. It is only on issues of foreign policy that we become deferential, giving the government a blank cheque to make far reaching decisions. Yet Vietnam has demonstrated that there is no aspect of government that should be allowed to function completely apart from the checks and balances of con- stitutional government. An informed and articulate public opinion is an integral part of those checks and balances. Raising questions or prodding the government in an effort to push it in certain directions does not mean that we are necessarily declaring our lack of confidence in President Ford or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It is entirely possible that the government may be looking to the public to furnish a base of support on certain issues. It may be impolitic, for one reason or another, for the government to take the initiative on those issues. But even on those issues which have already produced clear op- position by government, the public should not allow itself to be intimidated by what it conceives to be superior wisdom. In an open society, wisdom in government is always desirable but it can never be taken for granted. Luxury or necessity By Marie Sorgard IRON SPRINGS Happy New Year! How many times have you heard that refrain dur- ing the past week or two? How much significance did it have? Just how happy is this year or any other year in the future, for that matter, going to be? How long will it be before this, expression becomes obsolete? We -have reached the point where we can take a long range look at what is to come in the next century, as it is now only 25 years away. But I wonder if we have also reached that long sought state of Utopia without realizing it. The luxuries of 25 years ago have become the necessities of today, a pattern which has repeated itself time and time again down through the ages. Almost any whim or wish can become a reality if a little effort is put forth. A second family car, a boat, or a television set are but a few of the items that are often classed as necessities in a nation in which the credit card has become a status symbol. We take a lot of things for granted. As you wished your neighbor a Happy New Year you may have also made a resolution to do something about a rumpus room, carpeting for the kitchen, or a patio for the backyard this year. Then again your list may have included other things you have needed for a long time, such as a bigger car, or a cabin at the lake. But do we really need these accessories or conveniences, and what about the generations that are to follow us? What will be left for them? Many of these ex- travagances are helping to diminish, either directly or indirectly, our. supply of deplelable resources, and by the time the next century arrives we may have had to make some pretty drastic adjustments in our lifestyle. It's all in the name By Doug Walker "Careful darling, you're get- ting your lolly covered in hairs." I had just finished dripping some Thousand Island dressing on my salad when Judi picked up the bottle and began to read out the contents "pepper, onion, mayonnaise she said.. said Elspelh, "don't let your father hear that or he'll never use Thousand Island dressing again." This reminds me of the time when as a high school boy I was helping a farmer combine his crop. I declined the dessert one day, say- ing that I didn't enjoy bread pudding. The farmer who had just finished eating his dessert upbraided his wife for serving the stuff. "You know I don't like bread he shouted at her.