Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 22, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD W.drw.d.y, January 22, 1975 IJHTOIUVIS The big poker game North America will go "down the drain" unless the energy problem is solved. It can only be solved by a combination of these measures: but orderly reduction in consumption, say by taking most of the private cars off the roads. development of the Cana- dian tar sands and the American oil shales. development of coal and the manufacture of synthetic gasolines and fuel gases from it. development of alternate energy sources, such as nuclear, solar, tidal. The only one of these in which there has been any real action has been the Canadian tar sands. And now the Syncrude project is practically on the rocks. The remaining companies have said they need huge subscriptions of new capital and firm assurances of consistent government policies if it is to remain alive. That statement was called a bluff by several otherwise responsible Cana- dian leaders. For far too long most Canadians have stood on these dogmas: that there is too much foreign capita] in this country already; that the resource companies have unlimited capital; that in their greed for profits they will continue to invest in oil, gas and pipelines; and that they don't deserve profits, at least increased profits, at least increased profits commensurate with increased risks. So who is really bluffing? It would seem to be the Canadian people. And their bluff is being called. The Kremlin and the Pentagon A noted phenomenon of this season of the year is the January blizzard of stories out of Washington concerning Soviet military might. As regularly as the calendar, that is to say, as regularly as the annual budget is presented to the U.S. Congress, come scare stories from the Pentagon and its allies on the U.S. scene about the latest in Soviet ar- .maments. They are designed to retain the lion's share of the budget for the U.S. Defence Department. This year's blizzard has so far failed to materialize. There has been one story detailing U.S. Defence Secretary James Schlesinger's analysis of casualties from a Soviet nuclear strike and some conjec- tures about multiple warheads on Rus- sian missiles. But, by and large, it has been a mild January. However, in the battle of the U.S. budget, the Pentagon is getting a boost from an unlikely source the Kremlin. The struggle for power that is going on within the Soviet Union to see who will succeed. Leonid Brezhnev as the all powerful head of the Communist Party comes at just the right time for the U.S. military establishment. Any change in the internal power structure in the Soviet Union is apt to be a change to a harder line. Even the thought of this will produce enough jitters around Capitol Hill and along Pennsylvania Avenue to insure the U.S. Defence Department against much erosion of its budget re- quests. In fantasy, this power struggle in the Kremlin might be looked on as extreme- ly sophisticated propaganda operation put on by the Pentagon for just such a purpose, but in fact it is just an unfor- tunate coincidence. Is there a message By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator ERIC NICOL The big question "Should I buy you are asking yourself: You feel that you should join the rush to purchase gold bars, but you wonder if gold will give you security. After all, what did it do for Montezuma? Let nie guide you. I speak as a person who carefully reviews his portfolio of investments before he buys a brick of ice cream. Some men think nothing Of dropping into a gold boutique and picking up a couple of ingots for the little lady, to cover their being late for dinner. I am never that late for dinner. From the viewpoint of the average person who doesn't happen to be an oil producing Arab, the decision to buy gold is a biggie. Anything that costs an ounce is.going to create a problem around the house. Not everyone wants to go to the expense of in- stalling a wall safe behind the portrait of Aunt Flo. Nor does sleep come easier to him whose dreams of monetary survival rest on a lumpy mattress. Despite the loss of confidence in paper money, and the prediction that financial anarchy will be the reward for all of us who have grittily salted away savings in stocks, bonds, bank loans and insurance policies, I see no reason for throwing our apron over our head and running out in search of Rumpelstiltskin. In a democratic society, the standard of currency is whatever most of the people say that it is. If most of the people don't own gold and lots of it, they are not going to accept the person sitting atop his heap of old watch fobs as king of the hill. Sacred to democratic rule is the principle that the will of the majority prevails regardless of the fact that the majority made a booboo. In the event that paper money does become worthless, each of us could nominate a sub- stitute means of exchange. In our house the chosen currency would be the lids of peanut butter tins. We seeni to have a stockpile of peanut butter tin lids in our basement, last time I looked, and. I assume that someone in the family has found his own way to profit from the coming monetary crisis. Should the monetary breakdown be accom- panied by political anarchy, however, you can probably forget about those mutual fund shares that you lit a candle for in 1968. If the despot in charge has bad teeth and a rich cache in gold fillings, he may impose gold as the standard of wealth. But the private owner of gold will need to protect his hoard with a small army of guards. We are then back to the era of Robin and his merry hoods. If you are buying gold you should go the whole hog: take archery lessons, build up your resistance to fat friars. But I doubt that, even with the best freebooting will in the world, there will be enough gold to serve as currency. The Spanish Main has become undependable, and is unlikely that the Klondike will continue to yield bullion to anyone but Pierre Berton. Take my advice: ignore the gold market. Let the Swiss gnomes spin Straw into meadow muffins. Treat gold with contempt. Not just your wedding ring. All your trinkets. Those who join in the gold rush will find themselves up Dawson Creek without a paddle. Serve 'em right, too, for their heresy to the Almighty Dollar. OTTAWA The Trudeau Government has a message for us but is apparently en- countering unexampled dif- ficulties in putting it into words. This is remarkable because the Government attaches great significances to com- munication; a fact apparent not only from the spending figures but also by the emphasis so frequently placed on the importance of dialogue. Furthermore, the message which it is seeking to for- mulate has to do with mat- ters of most serious concern. On Thursday, following a cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister offered some com- ments on the economic situation, both here and in the United States. He observed that Mr. Turner's budgetary response was "about adding: "Indeed, the U.S. Government, to take that ex- ample, which had a contrary stance a month before our Budget, is now taking a stance which is very much the same as our Budget, which means that we're trying to steer the economy through that narrow line between the danger of too high unemployment and too high inflation." As( we are reminded on appropriate occasions, governments cannot ac- 'complish these miracles by themselves. They require public co-operation and as- sistance. Thus we have been exhorted at various times and by various administrations to buy bonds, to tighten our belts, to increase production or to eat more eggs. What is the part of patriotism in the present circumstances? The question was put very clearly by one reporter. "What can the average Canadian do, or what would you Uke him to do, to help the economic situation? Show restraint? Spend money: What's your optimal Canadian in this situation, what's he Mr. Trudeau's answer, as taken from the transcript, was as follows: "Well, in our type of market economy, where we don't have price and wage controls, the consumer spends money according to his preference. He has a preference scale and he spends his money on various products, the Government can .only respond and adjust to that. We're not directing him to spend in any particular area and I'm not answering your question by saying you should be spending more on durables and less on energy and so on. It's a market economy.and the consumer spends where he can, where he wants to." While this certainly describes the existing situation, any optimal Cana- dian who can find guidance in it ought to be considered for an honors award. It is possible that the Prime Minister's answer should be studied in the context of his earlier remarks about the United States. The current view in Washington is that the. country should spend its way to prosperity. A similar, although less complicated, policy was advocated in an earlier slump; it inspired a- popular song which began with the line; "Mr. Herbert Hoover says that now's the time to buy." According to the modern Republican version, which recognizes the enhanc- ed status of General Motors, American consumers should spend an additional billions, buying more automobiles but driving them less. As Mr. Trudeau observes, we are still better off than the United States. Is the message then that we ought to spend patriotically but with less abandon than our American neighbours? The Prime Minister's answer appears open to that interpretation, providing we spend according Spending money without discussing policy By Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star commentator Defence Minister James Richardson wrestled anoth- er million for his department. Defence spending next year will be (2.8 billion. Richardson won although the government Supposedly is exercising restraint (the mo- ment restraint actually is ex- ercised the entire country should stand to attention) and despite the rival claims on the treasury of his colleagues. The war within cabinet was a phoney one. Defence policy, the heart of the matter, never was discussed. Indeed, three weeks before cabinet debated the issue-, Prime Minister Trudeau foreclosed one policy option by announcing, while in Washington, that he would extend the Canada-U.S. air agreement that expires next May. Immediate political need settled the decision: aoncern that both Richardson and his Chief of Staff, General J.A. Dextrase, would resign; fear of a complete collapse of arm- ed forces morale and, lastly, a realization that amid economic slowdown, defence spending justifies itself by mopping up unemployment and by subsidizing Canadian industries. Cabinet ducked the key is- policy priorities and the money available to meet them. Responsibility has been pressed to a committee of senior officials from Defence, External Affairs, Privy Council and Treasury Board. The committee will report in May. Cabinet then, for the first time, will con- sider policy. Richardson's accom- plishments do deserve two cheers. Quite loud ones. The armed forces desperately needed more money. One ex- ample: for lack of gas Arctic surveillance flights have been grounded since mid- September. Richardson also has had the sense, and sensitivity, to end the idiotic policy of total unifi- cation engineered by former Defence Minister Paul Hellyer. Richardson's problem now is that neither he nor the government, have a workable defence policy. Canada, he says, will continue "the four vital roles" set out in the 1970 Defence White Paper: Cana- dian sovereignty (everything from apprehending insurrec- tions to patrolling the North American defence, both air and sea: membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and peacekeeping. These objectives are so vague as to be meaningless. They can as easily justify defence forces of one million as of ten thousand. (In fact we have today in uniform.) Canada has neither the money nor the political will to fulfill all four roles ade- quately. Some examples: patrol the fisheries the navy has only destroyers, costing million each. To halt an unarmed trawler takes only a fast, small frigate. Yet even in the expended budget there's no money for frigates. -Our NATO contingent of troops and airmen amounts, barely, to a membership fee in the club. The cost of membership soon will rise sharply. Our CF-104 planes are obsolete. Our NATO partners, and the new military powers of the Middle East, are negotiating to buy the new U.S. tactical fighter, the YF-16. Again, there's no money in the budget for the new plane. Something has to give, not a plane here and a radar station there such as Richardson an- nounced, but an entire defence role. The extra money simply prolongs the agony of the deci- sion. Richardson has taken his troops up to the top of the hill and given them a badly- needed rest. Now he has to march his troops down again and decide what he wants to do with them, and can afford to'do. to a preference scale, which we will doubtless do in the absence of further guidance. Good citizenship does not, ap- parently, require us to rush off to General Motors; nor does it require us to spend less on the plans being hatched by the of- fice of energy conservation or the advertising campaign which is supposed to be in prospect. While the earnest citizen may find this a bit unhelpful, he cannot well complain that his Government is imposing any burdens on his con- science. But is this a correct interpretation of the Prime Minister's remarks? The text shows that is not the complete message. There was a subsequent question. "How about in terms of jobs, in terms are you asking for any kind of restraint in terms of salary, To this, rather different query, Mr. Trudeau replied: "Well, the. general approach that we've been using in fight- ing inflation is --that" there should be exercise of restraint in government spending at all levels, and in consumer spen- ding, that there should be less waste in the use of energy, food; that there should be a tighter management of not only the national budget but each individual's budget." The Prime Minister, as innumerable observers have pointed out, is the Government's finest com- municator. Clearly, there- fore, the problems of commu- nication in this particular area must be of exceptional difficulty. For the optimal Canadian must apparently reconcile the irreconcilable if he is to extract from these successive responses the message that his Govern- ment is endeavouring to con- vey. Each of us must tightly manage his individual budget while spending according to his preference scale. We should observe restraint while spending where we can and where we want to. There should be less waste in the use of energy but the Prime Minister, because the Government can only respond and adjust, will not say that we should spend less on energy. For the citizen to res- pond and adjust he must read the message but Mr. Trudeau, for reasons undisclosed, will not entrust him with the key to the cipher. Less than optimal Canadians may be tempted to draw conclusions which would have little appeal in Ottawa. Some may be persuaded that government policy amounts to recitation and little more; in which case, it presumably matters very little how we respond to it. To others, it may appear that the Govern- ment's conception of restraint is represented by its own spending record; in which case, we presumably have quite enough guidance in our own individual preference scales. Letters Nauseating odors I feel that something should be done about the odors com- ing from the stockyards. The odor comes from three places' that affect the northeast residential area of Lelhbridge. The northwest residential area of Lethbridge is affected by another operation. This is a most nauseating odor in certain types of weather. I have interviewed 10 people and all have commented that the smell is bad I feel the city should designate some specific area about 10 miles out of town for the stockyards or they should try controlling the odor so that when it does smell it will be less aggravating. CAROLYN BALOG Lethbridge "Second-class citizens" In reference to The Herald article oh Hutterite expansion (Jan. 15) in which a member of the agricultural develop- ment committee called Hutterites "second class citizens" because, "in order to be a first class citizen you must serve on county and school boards, you should be on the chamber of commerce By his definition this country is filled with second rate citizens, several million at that, who have never held those elite positions. I suggest that the member check for tarnish on his halo or someone might rate him as a third class citizen for mak- ing such remarks. E. MORRIS Lethbridge Value in nationalism I have a healthy respect for most of the opinions express- ed in The Herald on the editorial pages, but a state- ment like "National sovereignty has become a rallying cry of dubious value" must not go unchallenged (The Herald, Jan. Quite the opposite is true. It is the only cry of value in a world engaged in operation Inter- national Rip-off. Only when a country is strong as a nation, or nationally, can it go to the aid of others and become a power-house on the inter- national stage. I do not con- demn internationalism, ex- cept when the price to pay for it is nationalism. We cannot help others if we are weak ourselves. Britain's real problem lies in the fact that it has no pride in itself as a nation. Its nationalism is dead. The only way to revival is "to break out the and the only way to Canadian survival is to. "break out the flag." If The Herald writer believes otherwise, he or she is making a grave error. LOUIS BURKE Lethbr'dge Student-teacher conflict I am a student at a separate school where there are a lot of mean and cruel teachers. I have noticed students getting threatened and hit for un- deserving reasons. Once when a classmate of mine came late the teacher asked him to explain why he was late. After he explained the teacher tried to hit him even though the reason was good; Another time when school had ended I asked what was for homework. Then a teacher came out and told me to be quiet. I tried to explain that I wasn't being loud when he cut me short by grabbing me by the neck and threatening to break my neck if I ever talked back again. (The problem was I wasn't talking back or even being I don't see why public school teachers can't hit the student while separate, school teachers can. A STUDENT Lethbridge Editor's note: Ralph Himsi, superintendent of the separate school system, says neither the school' board nor the teachers would endorse ver- bal abuse. Although the board allows use of the strap for dis- cipline, members would be against brutalization such as the letter describes. Judging the facts We ought to find out the facts before deciding what to do. For example: that "cow Is the man or proposi- tion desirable? Do we pat him on the back for not complying with the law? And brother, haven't they an Oldman River Commission there? The Ray- mond Ammonia plant never got to first base. Please don't bother to chase down a prison escapee who says he is now rehabilitated. (The Herald, Jan. Selling dope or something, who cares? I congratulate The Herald on an excellent bit of sarcasm. But many are not, though saying it. We must do something for mankind and sell all our water to the U.S. (The Herald Jan. I heard the same sob story on putting gas across the border before reaching B.C. I didn't see one word about water for this area where the SMRD has nearly reached its limit and so has our development. Haven't the problems in the Peace River Country taught us anything? But what judgment can be expected from a country letting millions of eggs rot while millions starve? The only solution I have heard is that we have no right to eat as much meat and I suppose we ought to eat less eggs. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say these were the only commodities and we were the only such country? Use a little judgment. We ought to. J. A. SPENCER Magrath Letters are welcome and will be published providing: identification is included (name and address are required even when the letter is to appear over a they are sensible and not libelous; they are of manageable length or' can be shortened (normally letters should not ex- ceed 300 they are decipherable (it great- ly helps if letters are typed, double spaced with writers do not submit letters too frequently. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Lethbridge. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON. H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R. DORAM General Manager ROY f. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"