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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta l-THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, June 17, 1974 High consumer price index another issue Bv W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator Unusual air pollution A story which is currently going the rounds 'of Canadian geographers concerns a message from the Lord to Moses. To wit: There's good news and bad news. The good news is that I'm going to devastate the land of your oppressors and rend the heavens asunder. The rivers will run red with blood and the Red Sea will part so that you can lead your people to the promised land. The bad news is that you are the one who is going to have to write the environmental impact statement. At the moment, environmental matters are not the principal problem in the Middle East. However, the attention which has been focussed on that part of the world has turned up an astonishing story about air pollution. This is a problem usually associated with Los Angeles. Tokyo. London, or industrialized areas like the Ruhr Valley. But what capital probably outranks them all in lethal sulphur dioxide and soot content? What capital has such bad air pollution that the duty tour of some diplomats and servicemen has been cut from four to two years and they have been given a 10 per cent hazardous pay differential? Ankara. Turkey, is the city. This news fulfills the warning given to Kemal Ataturk when he made it the capital in 1923. At that time his foreign advisers forecast problems of pollution if the population rose above 30.000 and now. half a century later, it is approaching two million. Neither the automobile nor heavy industry, the two familiar culprits of air pollution, is to blame. The latter is almost non existent and vehicles do not exist in great enough numbers as yet to contribute much pollution. Part of the problem is geographical. The town sits in a depression surrounded by mountains, a natural setting for temperature inversions which put a lid on the local atmosphere and prevent clearing, much like the situation of Missoula, Montana. The smog that collects in this bowl is due to the almost universal use of lignite as a form of fuel, to heat everything from humble huts which crowd the inner city to office buildings and institutions. Lignite is a low grade coal, harder than peat but softer than bituminous, and the kind which is burned in every stove in Ankara contains a large amount of sulphur and emits obnoxious odors and grime. It was once said of Missoula. although the situation there has reportedly- changed for the better through pollution control and the abolition of teepee burners, that breathing the air there was the equivalent of smoking 56 cigarettes a day. Breathing the air in Ankara, according to a Turkish newspaper, is the equivalent of smoking ten packs a day. The problem is not going to be solved easily because it means switching to a new 'fuel supply putting controls on every stove and furnace. And it will never be completely solved because of the natural obstacles to the movement of air. Life on the windy. Canadian prairies, where the sub bituminous coal is almost sulphur free and very desirable for thermal heating, is a blessed, if frequently unappreciated, contrast. OTTAWA The biggest question of the election campaign at this moment is whether the public will react to the jump in the consumer price index with a surge of angry and frightened emotion or not. If the public should remain cool, this question is almost as dangerous for the Conservatives and Robert Stanfield as for the government. By far the biggest part of this impressive jump in the index came from food and that is the weakest link in the chain of income and price controls that the Conservatives are offering as their answer to inflation. They would exempt food prices at the farm gate and the price of imported food, (from which much of this jump is not susceptible to domestic control in any case. It seems to me that if the Conservatives hope to exploit this issue effectively, the time has come when they must be much more specific about the entire problem of inflation and controls than they have ever ventured to be so far. Unfortunately Mr. Stanfield's first statements after the new consumer price index figure was published did not indicate any inclination to be specific. The Conservatives have been explicit that they would not attempt to control farm prices. They should explain, however, what they would actually do about food prices, which is not quite the same thing. If these are controlled at the processors' level, or further along at the retailers' stage, the effect would quickly work back on the farm gate and an effective control would have been imposed on farm prices themselves. If the controls were set so loosely that this effect did not occur, they would have very little meaning in terms of prices paid by the consumers. There are two reasons why even the proponents of price controls are afraid to impose them at the farm level. One is a simple political one: Farmers have clout and can make politicians pay for a long time for things that arouse their resentments. The other is awareness of the ease with which misapplied controls can disrupt supply. Even without controls, we are seeing the beginnings of a decline in hog production as a consequence of the high cost of feed and the relatively low price of pork. It was one of the items that was down in this latest poll and, although it has Minority rights Two further points on the Hutterite issue, based on the recent meeting in Carmangay: (1) The provincial government was criticized for "ignoring the wish of the majority" in allowing Hutterite land expansion. But that's not what democracy is all about. The system of self-government developed in England and bequeathed to Canada is not just majority rule but also minority rights, and protection under the law of those minority rights. The essential minority- right is the right to be different. In Ulster the Protestant majority denied the Roman Catholic minority certain rights, and that was the beginning of the trouble that has now got so out-of-hand. Recognition of minority rights is the keystone of a free society. And regardless of the majority feeling around Carmangay, it is very likely that the majority of Alberta voters support the traditional concept of minority rights. (2) The deputy premier promised the Carmangay people their concerns would be That is fair enough. But will that consideration also extend to the large corporation farms, and even more importantly to the large land- ownings of so many non-Hutterite individual farmers? RUSSELL BAKER A little help for friends As part of its new friendship with the Arabs, the United States has agreed to redesign the camel. In its present form, as everyone knows, the camel is a horse designed by a committee. Professor Kissinger wanted to avoid a repetition of this botch by designing the new camel all by himself, but he ran into a snag at the White House. The Kissinger design called for replacing the camel's long, drooping neck with a more rigid upright neck similar to the giraffe's so that the camel would be able to get a better view of what was coming over the next sand dune. The White House, however, was unhappy with this. President Nixon is concerned about keeping favor with southern senators whose votes he may need to avoid conviction on a bill of impeachment. For this reason he wanted the redesigned camel to reflect his love for the South. And so General Haig. the president's assistant, told Kissinger to build an alligator snout onto the new camel. Kissinger agreed, but under tests at the Pentagon the giraffe neck broke down after less than 50 hours of supporting the massive alligator jaw and left the snout dragging in the sand, which ground down the alligator tcelh and damased the A subsequent modification removed the neck entirely and attached the snout directly to the ramcYs shoulders, but this had to be abandoned after Senator Goldwater said it looked too radical. The final compromise was suggested by the state department, acting on its basic operating principle, "when in doubt, do nothing This called for doing away with the nrrk and .-noul altogether and. in their place. to keep the South happy, attaching a possum tail The Pentagon objected that this would give the camel a tail at both ends, which would make it militarily hard to cope with because i1 would be hard to tell -whether the camel was retreating or advancing At this point Kissinger produced one of his ingenious solutions, and redesigned the camel so it would move sideways. The department of transportation objected, however, that with the camel's hump and flanks moving sideways into the wind, the creature was aerodynamically unsound and would be blown backwards in high desert winds. Its solution was to remove the hump and take off the camel's legs, so it would lie close to the desert floor, thus reducing wind resistance. Kissinger objected strongly. A camel without legs was useless, he said. "If you made the possum tail stronger." the president suggested, "you would have a camel that could swing by its tail through the palm trees." "But there aren't enough palm trees to make tree swinging a viable means of locomotion." said Kissinger. The agriculture department said it could plant palm trees along the major camel routes. "That still doesn't solve the problem of the hump." said Kissinger. "If we remove the hump as the department of transportation proposes, we will have a camel with no hump, and a camel with no hump can hardly be called a camel at all." "What we rould do." said the army, "is take a lot of horses and put a hump on each horse's back and have the horses move along the palm lined camel routes so every camel would have his hump moving riphl along under him." Kissinger said the burden of carrying humps would put a terrible strain on the horses' neck muscles, hut the army said that that was easily solved by replacing the horses' necks with the discarded camel necks that had to be removed anyhow to make room for the possum tails. "It is clever." Kissinger admitted "The Arabs not only get a new camel and plenty of palm trees but also a horse designed hv a committee, while the president strengthen? his position with the crucial soulhrrn blor "Thai's government with a purpose." said the president "Henry, get cracking Getting a reputation By Doug Walker One morning I nipped out of my office about 11 o'clock to go to the post office for some stamps for home use. When 1 returned a few minutes later 1 said hello to Bruce Ball who was seated in the circulation department area in from the golf course, was Brucc's response to my greeting. 'It's Margaret and not attracted much political attention, the department of agriculture surveys already have shown the adverse effect on production. These reports have, incidentally, been published as usual during the campaign although all parties ignore them. The second largest element in the big jump in the consumer price index came from higher costs for petroleum products, even though the worst impact from this will not show up until next month's index just after the election. All through the pe- riod when the supply and price of oil was the dominant prob- lem of the advanced world, the Conservatives in the House of Commons were vague about their position. They had a most understandable reason. Their party interests conflict over oil. All the seats in Alberta, where the bias is towards high oil prices are held by Tories In Ontario, where they must make gains if they are to form the next government, the bias is strongly the other way. Anyone feeling dissatisfied with the present government, must wish that there were a better basis than actually exists for estimating now what the Tories would be doing in a few months if they garner enough votes to take office. What would really "happen to incomes in relation to price increases, past and current, if they were sub- jected to Mr. Stanfield's freeze followed by flexible controls? What would he really do about food prices? What would his true approach to oil problems turn out to be? The vital Liberal position on future food prices is known to the public: It is that Canadians must expect to pay a higher proportion of their incomes for food than in the past in the interest of stability of supply and decent levels of farm incomes. The Conservatives are certainly on the side of good farm in- comes but they have been much less frank about the consequences they think would flow from this. Arab world leans toward U.S. as middleman By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator I thought it was bad enough that some of 1he fellows in the newsroom have taken to calling after me. "have a good game. Doug." every day when I leave work in the afternoon It wouldn't be so bad to have this reputation for doing a lot of golfing H 1 had a justifiable reputation for bring a golfer to go along with it. The Arab world is now tilting towards the United States. So by his visit. President Nixon visibly identified himself, in the very midst of his impeachment troubles, with what looks like a success. But underneath the Arab tilt there is a disruptive process almost certain to put poor Arabs against rich Arabs in the near future. The real ques- tion, accordingly, is not whether this trip is necessary, but whether it isn't risky. The basic current now- running in the Middle East is a transition from international tension to economic development. Egypt and Syria have moved to settle their dispute with Israel. The Syrian agreement opens the way to arrangements engaging Jordan and the Palestinian Arabs. The United States, because of its contacts with Israel and the skillful diplomacy of Henry Kissinger, was able to play a useful role in easing the tension between Jews and Arabs. On his trip. Mr. Nixon will be basking in the success of Dr. Kissinger's efforts. But even as the Arab dispute with Israel recedes, a new conflict comes forward. It is the conflict of interest between the few thinly- populated Arab states, enriched by oil. and the other Arab states, which are impoverished by geography. A few numbers tell the story. On the low side of the scale. there is Egypt. II has a population of 35 miHson. But its income per person, or per capita gross national product. is reckoned at about annually. Syria, with a population of about 7 million and a per capita annual income of about is in the same boat. So is JordaTT, with a population of 2.5 million and an annual individual income of All three countries, moveover, are increasing their national product by only 1wo to three per cent annually. Since their population is rising at the same rate, personal mrome is virtually standing still In dramatic contrast, there arc the oil-nch countries around the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia, with a population of about 900.000 persons, has now an annual per capita income of about S800 a year. That is expected to soar to before the end of this decade. Kuwait, with a population of about 800.000 enjoys an annual per capita income of nearly S4.000. That is expected to rise to by the end of this decade. Qatar with a population of has an annual per capita income of S2.730. Bv 1980 that is Letters Election promises At this time of election promises, which are nothing more than lies generally, it is brought to mind the Biblical statement that governments used to exist to punish the people. This is true today. We elect governments and then pay them to rob us. harass and generally do opposite to what common sense would suggest. Rob us? Yes! Each time we buy a new car or truck. We can even buy a box of Canadian made 22 shells cheaper in the U.S. Free trade with the U.S. would mean a great savings on many important items. Yet no government would dare work for it. The car companies would murder it. At income tax time those of us who make any money at all are taken to the cleaners and if we overpay they are loath to return it. keeping it on some pretense or another. Robbery! No doubt. Then when they get the money it is thrown here and there in grants, gifts and squandered by the millions. The national debt is climbing This costs millions in interest. These are some forms of robbery, and politicians offer no solution. Harass us? Yes return from a trip abroad and the minion of our government, instead of being glad to see those who pay their salaries, cross question and generally try to give the gestapo treatment in many cases. The Queen's Cowboys love to harass if they can spot some slight deviation from the thousands of rules we may know nothing about. And on the point of common sense, why don't we establish factories and projects where the unemployed can work and earn a living? DISGUSTED TAXPAYER Ravrnond Queen's great-aunt "Cousin of Queen Faces Murder Count"