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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 20, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 lETHBRIDGt HIKALD Wtdnndoy, Junt 20, 1973 EDITORIALS Famine alarm sounded Officials of Uie United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization have sounded the alarm that an al- ready serious shortage of food in the world is getting worse. Famine is no longer a bogey forecast, by alarm- ists, it is a terrible reality. A prolonged dry spell the worst in 25 years lias simultaneously afflicted wide areas of Latin Amer- ica, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Twenty-eight countries are af- fected and most of them are without resources to buy food on the world market even" if it was available. Unfortunately the huge supplies of surplus grain traditional in North America no longer exist and bidding for what is still available is pushing the cost up. This spring's Mississippi River flood destroyed millions of dollars worth of crops and thereby produced an additional scarcity fac- tor. High meat prices are adding an- other complication inasmuch as far- mers are finding it more profitable to raise cattle and sheep than to grow crops. Aggravating the situation in the ex- treme is the fact that the popula- tion explosion continues virtually un- abated. Unable to support the pre- sent population, the world is facing twice as many mouths to be fed by the end of the century. Yet no con- certed attack has been mounted on this most serious of all problems. The time must shortly come when the various religious and philosophi- cal objections to imposing popula- tion limitations will have to be over- ruled. Whatever validity there is to the supposed sacredness of the right to be born, surely it cannot com- pete with the right of people who are born to live a normal life span. Still more rain needed Prairie agriculture, during most of Its history, has been unable to pro- duce and market at the same time. When crops were good sales were usually difficult, and vice-versa. Now that the marketing problems are almost all gone, at least for the time being, the concern has been whether crop levels could be main- tained. Since yields depend almost en- tirely on rainfall, that concern is now removed for this year, over much of the farm belt. Nowhere was the situation more critical than in southern Alberta. The rain came too late to be of maximum benefit, but probably in time to stave off complete disaster. Precipitation amounts in the southeast were enough to carry most of the crops and pas- tures for the rest of the summer, but not in the southwest. Just a week ago it appeared likely that this part of the country (except for irrigation crops) would miss out on the good markets and good prices, because the fields and pastures were parched and dying. Now there is good hope. But more, much more, vill be needed to assure 2. crop. There has not been enough rain in this corner to dispel the forecasts for a serious long-term drought. It's not a one-way street The four Western premiers, at their conference in Victoria this week, made it clear their main com- plaint with the federal government is the discrimination in freight rates. This is a hardy perennial, always good for a burst of outrage. It is well known by one and all that the West, especially the Prairies, pays the highest rates in Canada. As a loyal advocate of the West and its welfare, The Herald must commend the premiers for taking up such a righteous cause. However, just between ourselves, how do we deal with certain com- parisons made by a CP Rail vice- president in a recent Winnipeg speech? He said: During 1971, 51 million tons of non-grain freight moved by rail in the West. Of that, six per cent came in from the East, nine per cent went to the East, and the rest. 85 per cent began and ended in the West. For the non-grain freight that stayed within the West, the average ton-mile revenue was 1.22 cents, down from 1.66 in 1967. But the com- parative average in the East was 2.19 cents, down from 2.27 in 1967. The non competitive commod- ity rates dropped from 1.2 to .97 cents in the West, from 1.94 to 1.92 in the East. The competitive commodity rates dropped from 2.83 to 1.81 cents in the West, from 2.71 to 2.27 cents in the East. It is important for the premiers to remember that just because a se- nior railway official gave these fig- ures, they are not necessarily wrong. Secondly (and this must be kept in the strictest confidence) the case for discrimination against the Wesf is not nearly so good if the export grain rates the so-called Crows Nest rates are allowed into the discussion. The charge to the West- ern Canadian farmer is roughly only a third of the charge to the Montana or North Dakota farmer, for instance. The antecedents of this situation are always good for an ar- gument, but can it be denied that Lhis is discrimination FOR the Prai- ries? ERIC NICOL I. i Midnight pom The skin flicks are on their last legs, said the trend-watchers. That was a cou- ple of years ago. The last legs barefoot to the neck have proved to be remark- ably durable. The sex-ploiters are still trot- ting into the movie-houses, and around the drive-ins the air is turned an ever-deeper shade of blue. Further just when we thought further impossible a Toronto TV station is scheduling late-night movies of the X-rated type, and finding a huge, untapped au- dience of viewers. This is abominable, for three reasons: 1. The lewd late-late panders to the bestial tastes of those too chicken to go to a cinema. J. It exposes the innocent to the worst kind of cinematic filth. 8. It Is unfair to those of us who have to get up in the morning. Dammit, I need my sleep. Damage to moral fibre is one thing. 1 don't mind taking that chance. But it is quite another thing to lose my shut-eye. That's unhealthy. Assuming that Toronto is the bellweath- er of television's dirty sheep, the sleepless will be counting them all across the coun- try before long. The health of the Cana- dian people will be jeopardized. We shall become a baggy-eyed nation dozing oft ovw ;