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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 13, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 22-THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Wtdnwday, March 13, Grain car repair to cost Ottawa .43 million OTTAWA (CP) The gov- ernment has agreed to spend million repairing old railway cars'under a program aimed at increasing sagging grain deliveries Otto Lang, minister respon- sible for the Canadian wheat board, told the Commons agri- culture committee today the program will add an extra 2.4QO cars to the roughly 22.000-car gram-hauling fleet. Under agreements worked out with both railways, the government will pay half the repair costs provided the cars are used to haul western grain during the next five years. The companies will pay the other half Canadian National Railways had agreed to have 1.400 boxcars repaired under the program and CP Rail had agreed to have repaired. The government would give the CNR million and CP Rail 43 million. Mr. Lang said that CN started its repair program last November and that 450 old cars now are ready for service CP would begin its program immediately and should have 700 cars ready by May 15. The announcement was made during heated opposition criticism of a drop in gram deliveries during the current accounting year for crops which began last Aug. 1. Mr Lang said the -wheat board had shipped roughly 140 million bushels less this year than last, but last year, exports climbed to a record 850 million bushels. Mr. Lang said the wheat board's goal this year had dropped to between 700 and 750 million bushels. He said in reply to questions by Gordon Towers Deer) that he had hoped for deliveries somewhat higher than that, but that it was impossible always to export more than we produce. Farmers grow about 600 million bushels of wheat each year, along with about 450 million bushels of barley and 300 million bushels of oats. About 250 million bushels are held from one crop year to the next to take care of sales commitments in August and September, the period before the current year's crop is har- vested. Conservative farm critic Jack Murta (Lisgar) charged during the meeting that farmers will lose between and million in sales this year because the railways had slowed down grain movements. Ships were lined up near Vancouver waiting to be loaded. "Why in God's name wasn't more planning SYSTEM STRAINED Mr. Lang replied that the railway system had been strained to its limit this year as record shipments of all products were moved. A car shortage was being felt in a number of industries, including lumber, potash, fruits and others. The whole problem had begun with last summer's railway workers strike. Heavy snow on the Prairies during the winter added to the problem Farm critic Alf Gleave Biggar) said farmers now feel that the railways themselves have gone on strike. Transport Minister Jean Marchand had admitted there had been a complete breakdown in the country's railway system. Mr. Lang replied that a committee of elevator men, railway officials and others involved in the grain trade has been set up to consider the problem. Those involved m the rail movement of goods all said they were doing their best. "But the problems are prob- lems of a peak operation in a booming economy there are inevitably Mr. Lang added. He said the real challenge is to cut down on the amount of time it takes to unload and send a rail car back for more grain. A proposal that would give the transport minister rnore power to deal quickly with railway procedures would be put before the Commons soon. Service station 'major tourist asset' Masterpiece 6will be burned' LONDON (Reuter) Thieves who stole a Vermeer masterpiece from a museum here two weeks ago say they will burn the painting on St. Patrick's Night, Sunday. A letter from the thieves to The Times says the theft has established that "a capitalist society values its treasures more than humanity." "Therefore, we will carry our lunacy to its utmost extent. The painting will be burned on St. Patrick's night with much cavorting about in true lunatic fashion." The letter, signed is the second received by the newspaper from the thieves in the last week. Both envelopes contained scraps of canvas which Scot- land Yard is "99 per cent cer- tain" come from the painting, The Guitar Player. Soon after the painting was stolen last month, the thieves issued two separate demands. They called for more than million worth of food to be dis- tributed to the poor on the West Indian island of Grenada, and the transfer to Northern Ireland of two Irish Republican Army (IRA) sisters serving sentences in an English jail for car bombings in London. The museum ignored the ransom demand and the parents of the two girls, Dolours and Marian Price, said their daughters are not interested in the offer. Debate Nick Taylor of Calgary, newly-elected leader of Alberta's Liberal party, took in Monday's debate in the legislature and found it a bit tiring. OTTAWA (CP) Quick now! What is Canada's greatest tourist attraction? Placid Lakes? Primeval forests? Spectacular mountains? Scenic coasts? Rolling prairie? If you said these and other things you are only half right. This year the big attraction is expected to be the friendly national service station, seemingly capable of endless babbling streams of gasoline. Tourist officials say-Canada should have a bumper vacation season this year, partly because of those taken- for-granted stations. "If you ask me to make a bet on it, we're going to have a very good Dan Wallace, director of the Canadian government tourist bureau, said in an interview this week While officials decline to make estimates of future tourism, they say the 36 million Americans who crossed the border last year should at least be equalled and probably surpassed. Claude Bennett, Ontario minister of tourism and industry, is more optimistic than federal officials. He told the Ontario Development Corp. conference in Niagara Falls Monday the energy crisis will result in the province's biggest tourist year. Federal tourist officials are looking at the American fuel situation with mixed feelings. If the United States solves its fuel the Arabs finally let them have enough they can come here without trouble. If it doesn't, there are about 120 million Americans who can make the border on one tank of gasoline. Tourist officials say about two-thirds of American tourists in the past came from within 300 miles of the many a couple of tanks of gasoline. FfHSfi OLD BOTTLES p 5 The Bottle Collecting Craie u weeping the n country Over million cotlecton are fusing J. fibMlout prices for old bottles of ill descriptions Hire if your opportunity Write to find out -II ibout whit 10 collect, <0 aifc. where to tell COMPLETE INFORMATION PACKAGE ONLY K W TO COVER POSTAGE AND HANDLING SATISFACTION GUARANTEED COLLECTORS GUILD tOLLecroRS 313 72 W.llmalon SI W Moilhom Onl Crowsnest rates under the gun as never before By JIM NEAVES EDMONTON (CP) The health of the 77-year old Crowsnest agreement under which the Canadian Pacific Railway agreed to charge low rates for grain movement in perpetuity in return for major concessions is being ques- tioned now as never before. Although discussed at intervals since 1898, the rates now are considered either terminally ill or extremely healthy depending on who is asked in the growing dialogue. As usual in such contentious issues, the agricultural community is split.' One side says the rates must go to ensure a viable rail transportation system for grain. The other says demise of the rates would be devastating for prairie grain producers. Politically, the issue is a hot potato. John Diefenbaker. former Conservative prime minister. Roy Romanow, Saskatchewan attorney general, and Dr. Hugh Homer. Alberta's agriculture minister, all oppose any interference with the rates agreement. RAILWAYS ACCUSED The issue has come to a head due to the Canadian Wheat Board's problem in getting Prairie grain to export position. At one time, it was estimated the board was 100 million bushels behind in its delivery schedule and the railways have been accused of deliberately holding back to force review of the Crowsnest agreement. Under the 1897 agreement, the federal government provided a cash subsidy' of almost 5 million and a land grant to build a rail link through the pass on the Alberta British Columbia boundary. The B.C. government gave the CPR almost 38 million acres of which 90.000 acres of coal- bearing land were turned over to the federal government. In return, the CPR agreed to a reduction of three cents per 100 pounds "in perpetuity" on grain and flour from points on CPR lines then existing in the West to Fort William, now Thunder Bay, and points east. In 1925, an amendment to the Railway Act made the Crowsnest rates permanent and extended them to all export grain on all railways. Two senior railway executives told a recent conference of the Canadian Industrial Traffic League that what was originally beneficial in protecting farmers against cost increases has actually hindered development of "an acceptable, least-cost transportation and handling system." This is rejected by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture which last month reaffirmed its support of the Crowsnest rates, and by E. K. Turner. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool president. INCENTIVE STRESSED Opponents of the rates say higher returns would enable the railways to provide more rolling stock for grain movement and the incentive to move more grain. Roger Murray, president of Cargill Grain Canada Ltd., told the Palliser Wheat Association in Jan- uary, that the "Holy crow" is hampering grain exports. The Palliser group, representing about 3.000 farmers in Saskatchewan and Alberta, advocates removing the Crowsnest agreement. Mr. Turner said Mr. Murray attacked the agreement because he represents a large American grain handling firm and "The American grain companies are disturbed about the transportation rates we have in Canada because they have to compete against them in the world market" Mr. Turner agreed with Roy Atkinson. National Fanners Union president, that the railways "are bent on a course of breaking the rates." One of the major concerns is that if the Crow rates are abolished grain producers would get "locked into higher rates if and when grain prices drop again. Mr. Turner estimated that abandoning the Crow rates would mean increases up to 60 cents a bushel for transporting grain. Buying new drapes? Consider at low Eaton prices ever have them dry cleaned. They're hand-washable and never Now that you've decided on shag for your home, make it the best value for your money. Buy Eaton's top-selling Cabana nylon. It's an Eaton Canada-Wide Special 10 Semi-sheer open weave "Como" has added luxury of matching lining -1049 I Pleated pair You get that light, airy, open weave look with "Como" drapes. But you have the added advant- age of matched linings to give you privacy. And they're Fiber- through and through. Com- pletely care-free. Budget-priced now. 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