Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 14, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, January 14, 1975 The right to know The federal government's attitude toward the study or. the effects of arsenic- pollution from the Yellowknife gold mines has several possible explanations. None of them is flattering to Ottawa's bureaucracy. Running scared is the occupational hazard of bureaucrats, as the initial refusals to confirm or deny even the ex- istence of the report indicate. Such behavior compounds public uneasiness. If something is hidden, so the reasoning goes, it usually means there is something to hide. The original mistake lay in the failure to release the study when it was made. This shows a greater concern for the interests of industry than for the interests of the general public. And it points to a paternalism on the part, of the federal government which ought to be outmoded. Perhaps the government should be reminded that more panic has been inspired by imagination than by fact. Mr. Lalonde's comment that the study was, after all, just a statistical analysis is empty of any justification for secrecy. Such reports are, by their very nature, apt to be statistical analyses. And ac- cording to the Canadian Press the report "suggests the poisonous substance may have had a bad effect on people's health in this region." It is possible that Ottawa has kept the report under wrap's all these years because the government is in the em- barrassing position of subsidizing the very industries which have been charged with endangering the health of the residents of Yellowknife. By buying their gold at more than world market prices, the federal government has supported the two mines in order to keep them open and provide jobs. Whether it is still sub- sidizing them at a time when gold has skyrocketed in value is another question that ought to be asked. The main ques- tion remains: Has the government demanded that the public subsidize them with its health? To put it another way, has it made economic choices that can- not bear public scrutiny? Yellowknife does not have the only mills in the world which discharge arsenic. One of the many reasons why the Montana State Legislature finally passed an air pollution control bill after a decade of unsuccessful attempts to do so was the growing public awareness of the correlation between the discharge of arsenic from the giant smelter at Anaconda and the incidence of lung cancer in that area. Although the federal department of health does not always seem to be aware of it, there are no matters in which the public's right to know is clearer than in those matters affecting health. Snow clearing policy Muskie didn't cry I am sure that the general public (taxpayers none- theless) would love to know where the snow removal equipment, used until 1967, is now. Is it in storage or has il been sold? f am curious In know since il was not used, at least no one saw it being used or surely I could see the results. The results of non- usage are still plaguing both pedestrians and motorists. The following list would cover most of the equipment formerly used: draglines, bulldozers, tractors to remove Ireshly fallen snow, machines equipped to break up the hard snow and ice. and loaders. 1 am waiting for some state- ment from the appropriate city officials, or do such statements have to be channelled through one of- fice'.' If so. why doesn't that office officially declare why the city failed to act in the latest snowstorm? Or are the departments concerned just waiting to pass the buck at a more appropriate lime say like a cooling off period? Was this equipment not purchased to fulfill a real need in the winter season? i trust thai, after experienc- ing the plight resulting from Ihe non-removal of snow policy, it (the policy) was nol adopted in order to alleviate the huge mortgage incurred by the city through over borrowing prematurely, due to the- so-called west Lethbridge development. I trusl that the Oldrnan Kiver will not divide the city like the CPU tracks did into north and south Lethbridge. Or are we now due foranother display of snobbery, to ex- perience a west versus east division? E. S. VASELENAK Lethbridge Bad language The ex-president of the U.S. used bad language and it appeared on Ihe front page of The Herald twice, I think, last fall. 1 wonder if it was really necessary ihat it be printed the second time, let alone the firsl time. Could the article have been printed on one of Ihe lasl pages of Ihe paper? Reconsidering, I guess the newspaper is the place to put Ihe arlicle because no one would want it broadcast over radio or television. Vauxhall G. WEST An illustration of the power of the press is furnished by an account in WiReport, the house organ of the American Wire Service guild, of an inci- dent in the 1972 U.S. presidential cam- paign. On a snowy morning in late February during the New Hampshire presidential primary, Senator Edmund Muskie, the front runner for the Democratic nomination to face Richard Nixon, stood on a flatbed truck in front of the offices of the Manchester Union Leader and called its publisher a gutless liar. The paper had run a letter, planted by the Nixon Committee to Re-Elect the President (later known as CREEP) asserting falsely that Muskie had in- sulted French Canadians by calling them Canucks. Nearly half the Democratic vote in Manchester is of French Canadian extraction and while it may be hard for any fan of the Van- couver NHL hockey team to think of the word as an insult it was taken to be so. The paper had also run a derogatory story about Muskie's wife. During his denunciation of the paper and its publisher, the senator wept, ac- cording to most press accounts. But two wire service men, veteran political reporters who were standing at Muskie's feet throughout the incident, vow that he never cried. The tears reported stream- ing down his cheeks by the Washington Post and other newspapers, who claimed he wept openly, were in reality snow flakes melting at his hairline (he wore no hat) and cascading down his face. As one reporter recalled the morning, snow was melting down his face also. These two were the closest reporters in the midst of the heavy snowstorm and the fact that they were competitors and filed independent stories with no men- tion of tears authenticates their version in spite of the fact that all the other reporters had Muskie crying. However, the two were taken to task by a national weekly magazine for their poor reporting and, in a book on the campaign press coverage, were labelled in- competent. "Getting zapped for telling the a colleague said. Today the two men are philosophical about the event, even though AP's regional editors rewrote the story to include tears in the second lead without checking back on it. UPI had checked with their man on the spot, been told there were no tears, and had moved the story, "without on its wires. If any single instance defeated Muskie in his attempt to become president, this was it. The story was played up national- ly and Muskie was macie to look ridiculous if not spineless. A bumper sticker was distributed in Florida reading, "Vote for Muskie or He'll Cry." It is interesting to speculate on what might have happened if the New York Times reporter, the Los Angeles reporter and the Washington Post vyriter had all been standing with the two wire service men and the senator had been shown to the country as an angry man instead of a pathetic one. Considering what is known now about the ruthlessness of Nixon's crew, possibly it would have made no difference. However, if the press had shown as much interest in the planted letter as in the tears, possibly Nixon's "dirty tricks" would'have been exposed in time to have had some bearing on the election. In retrospect, the event does emphasize the responsibilities of the press and its vulnerabilities, here as well as in the U.S. MONTREAL Increasing- ly recent years the Olym- pics movement has been used by various groups for par- ticular purposes not directly concerned with the promotion of amateur sport and the Olympic ideal. The Montreal 1376 games are no exception. Before the people of Canada are asked to dip into their pockets once more in the interests of national prestige it would be useful to look closely at the serious dif- ficulties facing the Montreal games. ERIC NICOL Dance of the veiled threat Dr. Kissinger's warning about the possible use of western military muscle in the Middle East, to unplug the oil pipe, makes us wonder about Henry. Coming from anyone but the winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, such a warning would smack of sabre-rattling. What Henry is rattl- ing is the olive branch we know thai. It is the only olive branch in the world with a hilt and an edge honed by Wilkinson. Conversely, if it is indeed a sabre that Dr. K. is rattling, it is a very leafy sabre. 11 is designed to tickle the Arabs kitch kitchy koo to death. Still, it takes a trained bird watcher to tell whether Henry is a hawk that coos or a dove thai shreds mice. The Kissinger pigeon is one of those avian wonders: able to fly incredible distances regardless of whether or not you want to get Ihe message. The latest message to the Arabs, caution- ing them about Ihe possibility of their being defecated upon from a great, height by birdies of the western powers, includes the phrase "strangulation of the industrialized world From this we may infer ihat ownership of a resource does nol granl the right to deny it to others. What's mine is mine, and what's yours is yours, unless I run out of what's yours, in which case what's yours is ours. This is economic togelherness, American style. The concept has a certain nobility. Un- fortunately, the industrialized world is a bit late in recognizing the glory of sharing. About 200 years late. It is also hard lo translate the Kissinger Principle into terms the average person can understand. For example, if I foolishly ex- The problems fall into two main areas, time and money. AS far as Quebec labor minister Jean Cournoyer, for example, is concerned the problem of time is more crucial. He said that if the current Quebec construction industry- dispute is not settled within a week, the games could be can- celled or their major facilities greatly modified. The problem is that there is only a limited length of time left before the project's in- tricately planned critical path runs out of leeway. The games site has been hurt by the general malaise in the province's construclion in- duslry. There was an industry-wide strike this summer, for ex- ample, ostensibly to gain cost- of-living increases for construclion workers. Testimony at the province's royal commission on the in- dustry revealed however lhal a prime motive behind the slrike was also an altempt lo pressure the province lo call off the inquiry. Contractors working on the games have had problems with low productivity. The undeclared war between the Quebec Federation of Labor and the Confederation of haust my funds, the fact that the bank has a lot more money than it can possibly use does not permit me to warn the bank that strangulation of my industrialized lifestyle may result in my processing the bank manager with a tire iron. A statement to such effect will bring the law hastening to my house to inform me that, despite some resemblance around the eye glasses, I am not Henry Kissinger and I will accompany them please to the bucket. Such is the distinction between inter- national law and the law that, has more im- mediate access to the short hairs. All the same, a warning such as Kissinger's makes us mutter "Oh Henry" and wonder how much of the wunder bar is nut. If anything is more apt to stimulale Ihe sale of Russian arms lo Ihe Arabs, we have yel lo hear it. And for Canadians the significance is enriched because, to some American congressmen, Ollawa daily looks more like a comfort station on the camel route. To them Mr. Trudeau is another Shah of Persia, and when the sheik hits the fan goodnight Iran. It is not only by cutting off our oil that we may be charged with strangulating our good neighbors. They may feel homicidally choked if we hold our water, our wheat, our weather (a couple of southern U.S. senators believe that we keep our warm weather for ourselves and send them the Arctic For this reason we in Canada are justified in raising an eyebrow, possibly both eyebrows, at Kissinger's dance of the veiled threat. Enough, already, with the Salome National Trade Unions has resulted in complaints that CNTU workers on the Olym- pics site have been terrorized and driven off. Structural steel workers on the site walked off (lie job Nov. 27 to reinforce demands for a province-wide cost-of- living increase. .Mayor Jean Drapeau offered to' illegally meet the increase for those working only on the site but workers refused. The games have become a pressure tool to back their de- mands. Mr. Cournoyer said that if a solution to the industry problem is based solely oh saving the Olympics "then we could be faced with serious long-term problems." In any case, work that had to be finished by Dec. 15 is still not completed. The money problem explod- ed when a bombshell of a con- sultants' report handed in last month showed the projected cosls had risen on the games to million, up from the million, originally es- timated. While projected income also increased lo S450 million from million, tlie consultants still predict a 5200 million deficit. City hall does not accept these figures and the mayor has promised to reveal his version at the right time and place. A major reason for the cost increases is (lie highly inflated price rise in construc- tion materials. Inflation has also been a legitimate reason for unions to demand more money for their members from employers. The largest part of construction activity and thus the major portion of cost increases is in the area for which the city, not the organizing committee, has direct responsibility, the main stadium, some other sports By Rob Bull, Herald Quebec commentator "I'm glad you like my overalls, but I have a confession to make I've never done a day's work in rny centres and the velodrome. Many local observers feel the city has not been doing all it could to control rising costs. It has been suggested, for example, that by choosing a French architect instead of a Canadian one to design the main stadium, local business- men working on the site had to adapt themselves to un- familiar European and thus more expensive techniques. In the interests of greater efficiency, city hall slopped calling for public tenders and instead adopted what it calls a -slream lined and nol public tender system. In addition, organizing committee sources confirm that a substantial portion of contracts for the city's siiare of the work have been issued on a cost plus basis. There is a growing feeling Ihat such practises may have aiso contributed to the doubl- ing of the costs. In any case, the elected rep- resentatives of the citizens of Montreal, the city councillors, are as much in the dark as the country at large about the way the city administers its part of the games budget. City government depart- ment heads do not report to city council but to the mayor's cabinet, the executive com- mittee. The opposition Montreal Citizens Movement has demanded a full council debate on Olympics cost because, as MCM councillor Kick Auf der Mauer says: "We're as much in the dark about what's going on in the city's share of the Olympics as we are about what's going on in the Pentagon." The mayor seems to take such criticism as a personal affront. His reaction to the problem has been to say that the games will take place in the in- stallations now planned or there will be no way. in other words, or the highway. This is a familiar stance for those of us who have watched him deal with similar crises in the past year or so. Strikes by city transit work- ers and firemen were handled sternly until the province came up with the money to moet sinkers' demands. Afayor Drapeau had a similar attitude when confronted with the financial problems of. the Montreal Symp.hony Orchestra until the people of Montreal came to the rescue. Now he seems about to sug- gest that the province deal with construction workers' demands and that somebody come up with the extra money to build the world's finest athletic facilities. At thf oriWinziiig com- mittee for the sanies, [lolvcwr. the response has been not too subtly different. The committee. CO.IO. does not want to gel involved directly in the labor problem which if sees as being subordi- nate to the real effort to have the events as much as possible on a self-financing basis. If the planned structures cannot he fjnished on time, they suggest other ones can be adapted. The city already has some fine athletics facilities "such as the Montreal Forum, for example, or the Autostade built for Expo 67 which has al- ready hosted track and field events, the main users of the planned new stadium. If 22.000 new seats could be added, the stadium would have a total capacity of and thus be able to'seat only less than those that could fit into Hie new one which is being built. If the timetable can still be met on existing plans, some parts of the new project can be cancelled at a saving of around S200 million, two com- mittee sources, one of them senior, have said. Such measures would include cancelling the retrac- table roof on Ihe new sladium and the plush facilities in Ihe tower being built to support it. Committee sources have also said that a north-end sports centre could be left on the drawing board with no crucial effect on the games themselves. Organizing commitlee ex- ecutive vice-president Simon told a news conference Wednesday, "if the city of Montreal wanls to construct more than we can pay for, that's its Why do the mayor and his entourage refuse to admit the possibility of any changes at all to existing plans, of any scaling down or abandoning of some facilities. One possibility is the use to which the new planned stadium may be put. It will be Ihe home for professional sports teams after the games have ended and, it has been suggested, a home also for a possible National Football League franchise in Montreal. This would be very nice in- deed but it has little to do with the ideal of amateur sport put forward by the Olympics movement or for that mailer with the national prestige of Canada. The games can, should and will go on. There are few in the country that would want it otherwise. But if the city.of Montreal wants facilities for professional sports il should pay for Ihem itself. Can it? The city property tax rale has risen by 17 per cent from 1969 and the water lax by 55 per cent. The business tax has remained unchanged. While 13 per cent of Toron- to's budget goes to service debt. Montreal pays 18 per cent of its budget for such costs. Expo 67 lefl Ihe city with a million debt. Man and His World costs ?5 million a year and the city will be paying million per year for Place des Arts for the next 100 years. On the olher hand, com- pared to urban dwellers in other parts of central Canada, Montrealers do not pay an un- reasonable amount in tax. City services are better elsewhere. Snow clearance lasl year was inadequate. There are not enough parks. Road services are bad. There are not enough libraries. But il is a question of priorities and the city is still a good place to live. That is why Montrealers re-elected the man who brought them the Olynlpics and the Expo's. The federal taxpayer is al- ready shouldering much of the burden for new autoroutes, a sewage system, parks and a massive new airport here. The province of Quebec is riot as rich as others and has'little money to spare. Meanwhile, ordinary Cana- dian citizens are participating willingly and lo a much greater extent than expected in the financing programs, particularly the lottery: ft has been reported here thai Mayor Drapeau has already been to Ottawa. It has also been reported that federal and provincial of- ficials are currently-, going over the books. It is lo be hoped lhal the city administration is more open to the other governments than it is to Ihe media. When I tried to get informa- tion from one of the mayor's underlings, Gerry Snyder, city 'councillor and COJO revenue vice-presidenl, I was.told, "I'm too busy talking to'Jocal reporlers lo worry about someone from oul of town." He suggested I meet him in his office al some future date or that I read the Montreal Gazette. But local reporlers have also complained about the difficulty of getting infor- mation al city hall. In any case Ottawa may soon be asked to bail out the Olympics. Before it does po it should be certain that it is not being blackmailed. Our national leaders should know for a fact that the money will be used for the only essen- tial purposes, the promotion of amateur sport across Canada and a competition of excellence in Montreal in 1976. The games are more im- portant than expensive facilities. After all, that is what the Olympics are all about. Lethbridqc Herald ndP Second Class Mall Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON. H. PIUiNG Managing editor HOY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Ediional Page Ediior DONALD R. DORAM General Manager ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"