Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 27, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, January 27, 1975 A political definition of recession By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator Give it a chance Maybe it's time to stop criticizing the postal system and start trying to make it work. It is true that the new code seems vulnerable at several points. Why, for in- stance, was it felt necessary to divide Lethbridge into so many divisions, each with a different code? Why was it not possible to anticipate the resistance to the system from business, ordinary citizens and postal workers themselves, a resistance which is being cited as the reason for disappointing service and for predictions of future chaos? Answers to these questions will be valuable for future systems and for those who derive their main satisfaction in life from saying, "I told you so." The plain fact is, however, that the system is here, the machinery has been installed and it's time to start living with it. This means using the code. Everyone! But "everyone" has not been using the code. According to the Financial Post, in an issue which did not carry the code when delivered to The Herald, the federal government codes only 45 per cent of its total national mailing and the Quebec government codes only nine per cent. The Alberta government uses courier service, at least for its "in- house" mailing. Most companies, ac- cording to The Post, have co operated quite well. Some, like Bell Canada, use the code but have not conformed to re- quired sizes and shapes. Under certain circumstances, the system can deal with such situations. Trade unions, which use the mails ex- tensively, do not use the code as a matter of principle and professional people and small operators are not very co operative. And all of this in spite of the fact that, if they are sent a mailing list, the post office will look up the codes for all the addresses at no charge for the ser- vice. The post office expects that 23 per cent of the mail will always be uncoded, for legitimate reasons, and it expects to be able to handle this much. It also an- ticipates that, at the present rate of change, the actual percentage of uncod- ed mail at year's end will be more like 40. When the Toronto post office, which handles a quarter of all Canadian mail, switches to new machinery in the fall, disaster is apt to result. No deadline has been set for letters but April 1 is the deadline for codes on mail- ed publications. Publishers are having difficulty meeting this deadline for reasons which escape logic considering how long the code system has been in ex- istence. One of the proposed penalties also escapes logic. It would result in the recipient's having to pay 4 large postage due bill for uncoded publications. Although this is only one possibility (another one being that the post office would refuse to accept uncoded publications) it does fit established prac- tices within the system. Anyone who had to pay 16 cents postage due to receive a Christmas card from a friend who forgot to put on a stamp is aware that in- nocence is no excuse in the postal system and, in fact, it is doubly penalized. If penalties are being considered by the post office as an enforcement measure for any class of mail, those penalties should be assessed to the sender. Your friendly neighborhood con- sumer, the recipient, has enough to bear. OTTAWA The real differ- ence involved in calling the present state of the economy a "recession" or in applying some other label is political with, possibly, some slight psychological overhang of wider importance. For the two-and-a-half- dozen men in the government, the difference is obviously of great moment. Their daily sessions in the House of Com- mons will be a bit more un- comfortable if the opposition can pin the word recession onto the economy than otherwise. That is why the prime minister, during his im- promptu press conference last week, was at such pains to put down all suggestions that we might be undergoing a reces- sion. The country's gross national product has not actually fallen off yet although growth has all but stopped. So according to the strictest text-book definitions, the prime minister is right and the economy is not in recession. By this same strictest of definitions, recession will have started if gross national prodiict, just about static late last year, slides even a trifle in the first half of 1975. In fact, though, nothing will have changed except the day to day comfort or discomfort of the cabinet during question period and, just possibly, the public mood to a minor degree. The real change in the public mood, though, seems already to have taken place. These things are very difficult to pin down, because they do not lend themselves to hard and fast measurements, but the public's mood seems to be a bit more realistic than it was some months back. Then there appeared to be a strange, perverse inclination to believe that the worst possi- ble disasters were just around the corner, about to swamp the world. Now the common mood seems to accept it that the world faces extremely serious problems that will be hard to solve but that do not involve automatic and inevitable disaster. Dr. Arthur Smith and his people at the conference board have had such a sen- sitive feel for this country's economic trends in the past that their forecasts are always interesting. Their latest is that economically the country will have a thoroughly uncomfortable time for the first half of the year, with growth at a standstill, or even falling off fractionally, un- employment rising and prices still going up sharply. They expect this pattern to change about mid-way through the year, with a good recovery developing after that. So far as the short run is Those naive easterners A disturbing statement came out of Ontario the other day. A provincial cabinet minister who had been in the Middle East on a fact finding (or a dollar finding) mission assured his countrymen that they need not worry about any attempted Arab takeover if they accept Arab investment money. The Arabs, he said, had no intention of influencing the internal affairs of other countries. Not everyone is as sanguine about Arab intentions. However, even granting that Arab investors want only good investments and not political leverage, the minister's conclusion is unfortunate. Canada's national integrity should not have to depend on the intentions of its foreign investors. Intentions are elusive and they can be misleading. Laws and regulations, on the other hand, are specific and can eliminate worry about foreign takeovers, whether by Arabs, by Japanese or by Americans. They are a much more reliable safety factor than intentions. To rely on the latter is to ex- hibit a naivete which Canadians ought tc have outgrown by now. but if they've stopped making the root of all evil..." Imbalance of error in world affairs By C. L. Sulzberger, New York Times commentator ART BUCHWALD Kicking the habit WASHINGTON Mrs. Dalinsky called me up last Monday night and said, "Could you come over to the house right The urgency in her voice scared me and I rushed over. "What's the I asked. "It's Harry. He's in the den watching a football game." "What's wrong with "There's no football on. He won't believe the season is over." I whistled. I walked into the den and there was Dalinsky sitting on the edge of his chair shouting, "Come on Kilmer. Go for a I said, "that isn't a football game you're watching. It's a movie, 'Cap- tain with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland." "Don't interrupt he snarled. "If you want to watch the game, sit down. Otherwise go in the other room and talk to Marion." "Harry, buddy, the season is over. There is no more foot- ball until the summer." He looked at me as if I had struck him. "No more foot- ball? But it's only January." "Look at the set yourself. Errol Flynn is sticking a sword in that guy's gizzard." Harry looked at the screen. "I thought it was Howard Cosell. You mean there are no more games until the "I'm afraid so, Harry. I hate to be the person who breaks it to you." "But there's always football on Dalinsky protested. "What about the college "They're over, too." "And the World Football I shook my head. "They're going bankrupt. Harry, you have to face reality. Life isn't one continuous football game." "I don't believe he said. "I'm sitting here until the game comes on." Mrs. Dalinsky whispered to me, "I told you. He won't leave the den. He keeps switching channels. Two hours ago he thought Perry Mason was Joe Namath and he kept yelling, 'Suit up, Joe, suit up.' I sat in a chair. "Harry, you know what the networks do when they have no football to show you. They give you tenr nis and golf and basketball and hockey and bowling. They try to make it up to you. But you have to co operate. You can't pretend you're watching football when in fact "it's another sport. It is unfair to them." "Look, 0. J. Simpson, is going off Dalinsky said. "That isn't 0. J. Simpson. That's Olivia de Havilland and she's not going off tackle. She's getting in a whaleboat to escape from J. Carrol Naish." "Well, why doesn't Frank Gifford say Dalinsky demanded. I went in the other room and spoke to Marion. "It's a severe case of pigskin trauma. He's been on TV football so long he can't kick the habit." Marion started to cry. "What can I "You can either go along with it, or we can give him electric shock." "Electric "It's painless. It makes him forget he ever saw a football game. The only trouble is there are side effects. He'll also forget the rules." "I'd rather let him work it out by she said. I agreed. We went back in the room. Dalinsky was watching Rhoda. "Who's I asked him. he said. "But I think the Jets are going to go for a field goal." GENEVA In the days of Dulles, the original brinksman, a certain stability was granted to a frightened world by implicit acceptance of that new geopolitical concept, a balance of terror. Although the United States was still unchallenged as. paramount military power, enough warheads and delivery systems were already possessed by the superstates to insure total human suicide if war escaped control. The balance of terror that continued into the 1970s was based on one logical assump- tion that no nuclear armed nation would make the fatal error of pushing the big button and killing itself in the name of victory. But the era of that sombre logic may be vanishing. We are threatened by much doom and little judg- ment in all quarters. Jordan's King Hussein warns that the Middle East is heading for "a fresh dis- aster." Pretoria's official organ fears all Southern Africa may "be plunged into a bloody conflict between white and black." The Viet Cong provisional government denounces a U.S. demand that it obey the 1973 Paris peace accord, and armed conflict is LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Setting a bad example Berry's World People need sincerity from their civic leaders. Alcoholism is denounced, yet taxpayers' money is spent setting an example directly opposed to what most leaders preach. Why the hypocrisy? Why not simply say there should be no alcohol at public gatherings sponsored by the city. I believe city council could set a very good example by not serving cocktails to anyone, much less the VIPs and dignitaries connected with the Jeux Canada Games. I am sure that all would get just as much enjoyment and it would be in line with deflating inflation if the citizens of Lethbridge served fruit juices, milk, tomato or grape or apple or pineapple juice instead of liquor. The spirits of the officials should need no uplift through the use of alcoholic spirits. The Herald would perform a great service to this com- munity if it published pictures of the dignitaries and so- called leaders of Southern Alberta as they emerge from the publicly funded cocktail party. If these people need liquor let them purchase their own. Surely this is one time an ex- ample could be set for young Canadian athletes. E. S. VASELENAK Lethbridge The real VIPs 1975byNEA. li looks to me as though you have the 'post- Super Bowl City council will spend over on cocktail parties for so called VIPs attending the Canada Winter Games (Herald January Wouldn't it be more sensible to use the taxpayers' money to provide free home to Games transportation for senior citizens who find it dif- ficult to get out and about, and to grant students reduced entrance fees? Our children and senior citizens are the real VIPs and extra city funds should be spent on them instead of buying booze for the local and visiting elite. TERRY MORRIS LOLA MAJOR JOANNE PRITCHARD PEARL McKAGUE LOIS BARR G. L. HALE WAGNER SAENDE' ANN JOHANSEN Lethbridge Editor's note: The city not paying for the cocktail par- ties, other leveli of govern- ment are (clarifying story will be found elsewhere In today'! The argimenl of Ike two above Is not really affected by the change in mden landing of who It do- ing the. paylnf. spreading again in Indochina. The great Soviet American detente could prove to have been shipwrecked on the U.S. trade bill clause guaranteeing emigration of Russian Jews. At the same time, Brezhnev is physically ill and fighting for his political life. This has thrown the Middle East into a tizzy since Brezhnev cancelled his proposed trip. Israeli forces are pounding out daily object lessons in Lebanon. Palesti- nian guerrillas have shot up the plane of one of their best friends, Yugoslavia, on the airport of another, France. The price of oil has now risen almost sixfold and the United States is warning so often that it might have to oc- cupy some petroleum states that the world speculates Washington "doth protest too much." This skepticism is enhanced by the apparently deliberate toughness of the American view. President Ford and his two strong man ministers, Kissinger and Schlesinger, have gone out of their way to play anagrams in public on the kind of force the United States might have to use in the Middle East. The nuclear carrier Enterprise, famed for its In- dian Ocean demonstration in 1971, is again on the prowl in the same waters. A U.S. naval squadron wiggled around the oily Persian Gulf late last year. The carrier is suddenly at sea amid more unexplained but announced U.S. fleet move- ment than in years. This has, nevertheless, produced relatively gentle reactions from quarters that usually like kicking U.S. ad- mirals. The Egyptians don't seem put out about American approaches to the Red Sea. Indeed, Cairo appears touchier about Brezhnev's failure either to come to Egypt or to send arms; and it hints that Moscow organized riots against President Sadat's regime. There has never in Soviet history been an orderly transi- tion from one leader to another. Many people now speculate that Brezhnev is doomed and his ultimate successor remains uncertain. The Moscow bosses are old men with only Shelepin, at equivalent to that Benjamin among the Chinese colleagues of Mao Tse tung and Chou En lai, the 40 year old Wang Hung wen. Now the elderly Russians are battening down hatches for a storm and several new clouds mounting on the world horizon are related to this fact. It is not just the industrial west that has suffered from economic recession. Planned Soviet growth of manufacturing and agricultural production are 20 per cent below foreseen levels. So, although the United States suffers from Moscow's denunciation of the trade pact, so does the Soviet Union. The may hope to be able to compensate by aid from Japan and the Common .Market. It is also more used to pulling in its population's belt when things get difficult. Moreover, the tough group among those contesting Brezhnev's succession is in- furiated by Washington's assumption that it is entitled to make the Soviet Union pay for favorable trade by conceding internal liberty. The problem posed, not just to Soviet leaders but to Senator Jackson and Secretary Kissinger is this: should it be considered a political error to try to dictate moral terms to other lands? And if it is a political error, would that weaken the American position as a global force? On the other hand, had the courage to insist on such "interference" existed among big powers in the 1930s, might not Adolf Hitler have been thwarted? This is part of the entire imbalance of error, and I don't know the absolute answers myself. concerned, that is a prospect the country can endure without too much difficulty. No one likes the prospect of rising unemployment but, controversial though it was, this country does possess an unemployment insurance system that goes a long way towards removing the worst effects of short-term un- employment. Long-term job- lessness is a quite different and much more serious problem. That is one of the special difficulties the inevitable periods of economic slowdown cause this country. With the rate of labor force expansion still high, a period of slow job formation creates difficulties that extend into the future. Even when recovery begins and job for- mation speeds up, there are both the current new entrants to the labor force and the un- absorbed surplus to be concerned about. Generous unemployment insurance provisions are not a good sub- stitute for jobs except over relatively short periods of economic difficulty. The worst of the hazards confronting the world, even overshadowing inflation, has been the possibility that the economies of the weakest countries might collapse un- der the strains of the new balance of payments burdens imposed by the quadrupling of oil prices. If this were to oc- cur, the effects on the world would be incalculable Trading patterns would inevitably be harmed and the pressures on nations to try to protect themselves by restric- tive practices would be very serious. This danger has not by any means been overcome but ef- forts are being made -and some of them are bearing ffuit. Last week's decision in Washington to set lip an IMF fund of ?6 billion has the great merit of involving both the oil- producing and 'the oil- importing countries in the es- tablishment of safeguards against disaster. It seems likely that the second "safety net" fund sought by Dr. Kissinger will also be estab- lished. It would involve billion Which could be used to bail out any of the advanced industrial nations unable to cope with oil-created balance of payments problems. The success of the Martinique meeting between President Foru and Giscard seems to provide assurance that this se- cond safeguard will be es- tablished. At the same time apprecia- tion of the immensity of the problems .they have created seems to be growing in the oil- producing states. It was always unreasonable to im- agine that people on the receiving end of a huge flow of dollars would instantly realize how potentially harmful this situation was likely to prove in the long-run for themselves as well as others. They had, moreover, the unhappy exam- ple of the industrial nations, the most powerful of whom had given past proof of how little concern they felt for developments that harmed others while enriching them- selves. Canada has been sheltered from the direct consequences of the international oil problem but there is not much evidence that we are using our breathing space sensibly. Even though we know that the day is not far away when we will again be net oil im- porters, with the serious im- plications that has for our balance of payments, we go on subsidizing immediate con- sumption of petroleum prod- ucts. Unlike the United States and some of the European nations, we make no effort to cut oil consumption even in obvious ways that would not be painful. The prospect of meeting our impending deficit through unconventional or frontier sources do not now seem very good. We remain a comfortable country taking the short view and making the most of it. The Lethbridge Herald 504 71h St. S. Lethbridge. Alberta LETHBRIDQE 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"