Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 16, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, March 16, 1974 Arab investments The facade of the international world of business, particularly in real estate, is undergoing change these days. The change was predictable and reflects the need for the Arab world to find ways of .investing its oil money. Nevertheless, it is surprising to find that an island off the shores of South Carolina is being bought by Kuwait for development as a resort. Or to learn that million worth of land in California is being purchased so that 40 young Suadense will have a training ground in developing real estate. Libya has established an investment bank in Buenos Aires. Some Kuwaitis are establish a House of Kuwait on the Champs Elysses in Paris which will house a luxury office and bank building. The Shah of Iran has bought and is remodelling a large office building on lower Fifth Avenue in New York City. The same Kuwaiti group which bought the island off Charleston, S.C., is putting up half the money for a project in downtown Atlanta which will include a Hilton hotel. Most of the Arab money an estimated to billion will enter the international money market this year has thus far gone into real estate and banks. The Arabs have proven themselves to be very conservative investors and they like real estate because their own real estate has risen faster than other investments. They are also investing in oil and allied industries, with which they are familiar. Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are investigating the possibility of building a refinery in Puerto Rico and Saudi Arabia is also talking with the Philippines about a refinery and petrochemical plant in the islands. A spin-off of all this activity should be a trend toward stabilization in the Middle East over the long pull. The volatile, emotional sense of Arab nationalism which has caused much of the tension in the Middle East has been based on deep- rooted feelings of inferiority. In assuming their fightful place in the international world of business, earned by their oil money, the Arabs may lose some of this feeling of inferiority and be able to negotiate their differences from the strength of self-respect. At the same time it is to be hoped that Canada, which is looking for capital investment, will lure some of the Arab money north of the 49th parallel. Population issue is complex Delegates to the Bucharest conference on population this summer will be meeting to share information and ideas on a broad range of concerns. The pressures of rapid population growth will certainly receive major attention but there are other related issues that demand consideration as well. In many countries the problems created by migration from rural areas to cities, especially large cities, are of urgent concern. The phenomenon of declining rural populations with corresponding burgeoning city populations is world wide; it affects Canadians and Americans as well as Indians and Nigerians. Although there is undoubtedly a close link between rapid population growth and migration to the cities, it is not likely that city congestion will be solved or 'even thought to be solvable by simply stepping up the dissemination of birth control information. Halting the rush to the cities may require a change in the conception of what constitutes the good life. And that immensely complicates the issue, because changing philosophical outlooks is difficult. Much thought and investigation has already been devoted to the subjects which will be before the Bucharest conference. Many countries have government sponsored population research centres whose findings are readily accessible. What is looked for is the stimulus that comes from ques- tioning together the findings. WEEKEND MEDITATION One of life's greatest puzzles The writer of the 73rd Psalm faced one of the greatest mysteries of life. He saw "the prosperity of the wicked. They have no pangs, their body is sound and plump. They are not in trouble as other mortals." They are arrogant, deride God and God's power, their wealth increases, and it seems useless for the writer to have tried to obey God and do good. I thought to know this, it was too hard for .me; until I went into the sanctuary of God. then I understood their end." What does he mean? He has to believe that God is just or he will go mad. Can God be trusted? He had been raised in the faith that the good prospered and the evil were punished. It is the problem of the book of Job: Why do the righteous suffer? Then in the sanctuary of God comes the answer. The wicked, no matter how great their possessions, are truly destitute. They have missed all that makes life meaningful and worthwhile. This is the tragedy of life to miss the best. They have missed the fellowship with God which is the true end of life. Not only so. they have lost the capacity for goodness, beauty, and truth. So some of the pursuits of life are obviously evil. Many, however: pursue ends in life that are not gross and sinful in themselves, but rather are insufficient. Success in a profession, excellence in athletics, achievement in the arts, a fine home all these are good. But they are not enough. Each one has a hollowness. a meaninglessness. unless it is placed in a larger picture of life. In the final judgment, the reality of God's presence and the fellowship of God are the only supreme good. All external values such as the drive to be rich, to have a good time, to become famous, do not belong to the real issues of life. The world can give them and take them away. They do not really matter, they do not belong to our real selves. The Pslamist sees the final summing-up. If a man has no true life of the soul, if he has grown coarse and mean, if he has no intercourse with the spiritual world, if he has no sympathy with the things that are unseen and eternal, then he is poor, naked, blind, miserable, and everything he holds is sawdust. Mr. Stephen Spender, one of Britain's greatest essayists and observers of the contemporary scene, described his transition from agnosticism and paganism and return to the Church: "I wanted to know the answer of good and evil: what was unbearable was to think that there is no moral awakening, that we creep from moment to moment deceiving ourselves, sometimes guilty and remorseful, sometimes happy, but never knowing the answer, never seeing things as a To be in the midst of all this rich opportunity, the wisdom of the ages about you. the chance for a life of glory, the radiant vision right there, -and yet to let it all go unrealized, unappreciated, unseen, this surely is hell. Nothing can compensate for missing God and the truth and wisdom of God. All else is frivolity compared to this. To love God is to live: to miss God is to sink into eternal death: to live without God is to end in anguish and despair. F.S.M. St. Patrick and the snakes Insurance companies losing By Fred Cleverley, Herald special commentator WINNIPEG Insurance company presidents in Mani- toba have fired their first gun in the fight against government fire insurance, but unlike the cannons in the earlier fight against automobile insurance the at- tack was opened with the force of a pea-shooter. Although there's a reason for the subdued approach taken by the private companies, the arguments they have presented against government fire and general insurance are logical and reasoned. But in the numbers game of politics, the private companies know they have lost. Unlike the fight over the Manitoba compulsory automobile insurance where there was a chance of defeating a minority government, Premier Ed Schreyer's New Democrats now have a small but effective majority which they intend to use to win the fire insurance battle. Ironically, the two companies which will be hardest hit by the government Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company and the Portage la Prairie home-grown in- dustries owned not by share- holders but by their own policy-holders, whose only- crime appears to be success. Wawanesa, now is one of the insurance giants in Canada, and Portage la Prairie Mutual now sells most of its policies in and around Toronto. The private companies say rates for fire insurance have increased less than 12 per cent during the past five years, a figure less than the general in- flationary trend. They point out that many people confuse rates with premiums, 'ignoring the fact that premiums are the result of rates multiplied by the amount of coverage. The insurance companies say they cannot be blamed for the increase in property values which have contributed most to the increased cost of insurance. The private companies sug- gest there are only two real reasons the Manitoba govern- ment is moving into the fire insurance business. The first is to fill an election campaign and the second is to get its hands on the million a year of cash flow provided by the premiums. They distrust Premier Schreyer's promise that the government insurance will be competitive, and say it will only really compete if the government does not compel those organizations depending on government grants, such as schools and hospitals, to buy government insurance. They point out that when former premier Ross Thatcher of Saskatchewan broke the government's monopoly in these areas, the cost of insurance dropped as much as 50 per cent. The drop was so dramatic, they say, that the succeeding NDP gov- ernment in Saskatchewan has not reinstated the monopoly. unce private companies are effectively forced out by pressure or other means, they will find it difficult to reestablish, even if a succeeding government opens both automobile and fire insurance to competition. Then, according to the private insurers, the ax falls. Given a near monopoly the way is clear JFor the government to do what Saskatchewan has done this all its fire insurance customers to increase the amount of their policies by 15 per cent, thus eliminating the customer's traditional right to determine his own insurance coverage and costs. But as logical as the argu- ments presented may appear, the fight against government- fire insurance in Manitoba will be largely a show Fight. with the outcome known well in advance. The private insurance com- panies admit they have lost first in Saskatchewan, and now completely in Manitoba and British Columbia. Two major companies withdrew from the automobile extension insurance field (where competition is per- mitted above and below the basic government insurance) this and the one remain- ing company says the govern- ment is forcing it out of the same field by changes in regu- lations requiring extension policies to pay more and more "claims. The private insurers now are concentrating on maintaining their hold on Ontario and Quebec, and possibly one of the big weapons they have been handed so far is the Manitoba governments "track record" on its automobile insurance. The Manitoba Public Insur- ance Corporation admits now that it lost million in au- tomobile insurance last year. In addition the total premiums paid for automobile insurance (with no increase in rates) last year rose to million, up a substantial amount from the million collected in the last year of private insurance in Manitoba. In addition, the govern- ment's insurance scheme has been accused of "cooking its books" to paint a brighter picture, ignoring million in start-up costs. This year. Manitobans got their first government automobile insurance rate increases, described by the government at from 9 to 19 per cent. But in reality, the creation of a new "business use" category increased costs to some 49 per cent of the policyholders as much as another third.1 If the private industry is successful in selling these facts to other areas in Canada, they may retain the right to do business there. Alberta Liberals optimistic about future By Marjorie Nichols, Herald special commentator "What we need is a crosade against some ferocious dragon." EDMONTON The proof of the politician as eternal optimist was well demonstrated here when a 46- year-oid Calgary oilman earned the right to lead the Alberta Liberal party. Nick Taylor, founder of his own successful oil company, won a narrow victory over Edmontonian John Borger. To an outsider, the most impressive aspect of the two- day leadership fight was the fact that the Alberta Grits could attract 600 voting delegates to their convention. The Liberal party has not been a viable force in this province's political life for 20 years U holds not a single seat in the legislature. Retiring leader Bob Russell had three unsuccessful runs at winning a seat, the last daring a 3973 by-election. So why would a man like Taylor scramble so hard for a title, because that is the substance of his victory? The answer is a mixture of inexplicable optimism am" a realignment theory based on the assumption that even Alberta voters will one day realize that they must have balance in their politics. The Liberal party's chances are hitched to the assumption that Social Credit will continue to wane as a force and that the Liberals not the NDP will be able to step into the void. Taylor is confident that his party will pick up from six to eight seats at the next election, which probably is not more than 18 months away. "The Socreds have difficulty articulating reform ideas." he says. "They are basically stuck with a conservative leadership. And the NDP doesn't find too much favor with Albertans The new party leader, who two unsuccessful runs at federal politics. tne idea of bringing massive industrial development into the province. His idea is to remake Alberta into a North American version of Switzer- land. Agriculture and energy would be the backbone, but the major export of the future would be technological expertise. While the Alberta Liberals can convincingly establish the possible variables for their success, there is one formidable constant that must be contended with: Peter Lougneed. The Tory premier has a great deal riding on the outcome of the oil-pricing issue Speculation is that if Lougheed finds himself stalemated, he may call a general election to gel a new mandate. Oil pricing aside, the Conservatives, under Lougneed. have been systematically covering all of the political bases, from left to The scn3iljv> lo the fact that it remains the only non- socialist island west of the Ontario border. A good example was a Letters Production necessary Economists would have us believe that endless proliferation of government, and of government spending is the only answer to our employment problems. Unfortunately they have neglected to tell us where all this public money comes from. The concept of bigger government, with its attendant and unbelievable increases in the numbers of civil servants has been tested sufficiently, it would seem, to have established an undeniable inflationary trend. These mysterious economic theories have accomplished little more than escalation of taxes, confiscation of savings and destruction of individual initiative. The interest on the public debt has assumed astronomical proportions under all this expert guidance, and it is not paid in any measure by anyone in the public service. If the secret of economic success is to borrow more and more money and force lesser people to pay the interest, we have never heard an economist or a government official admit it. When we speak of the multiplier effect as applied to the spending of public money we must remember that every dollar collected as a tax has to have a base in production somewhere, and to pretend that these dollars multiply themselves is just a fancy way of saying the dollar is losing its value. Project the thing just a bit and imagine everyone being employed by the government in paper shuffling and cultural jobs. The dollars would multiply quickly until truckloads would be needed to buy daily necessities which is exactly what happened in every case where economists undertook to spend nations to riches by expanding so-called government services out of proportion to employment in the private sector. Wild, recent announcement by the government regulated Automobile Insurance Board. Effective March 1, all Albertans obtaining their first drivers" licences became eligible for the premium rate previously given only after a three-year accident-free period. Estimates are that this order will cost the insurance industry million a year in lost premiums. For drivers between the ages of 16 and 20, it will mean a reduction from about a year to about in insurance rates. U is impossible to believe that 1his order was not issued to coincide deliberately with the start-up of B.C.'s AutopJan. a major selling point of which is reduced premiums for young high-risk dnvers. A; 'Of'g as Loagheed continued demonstrating this ikind of responsiveness, the job facing Taylor and his Liberals will be formidable indeed. uncontrolled disastrous inflation has been the result and the authors of economic gobbledy-gook have invariably blamed it all on outside influence. This country runs on production. It does not run on give-away programs 6r welfare or handouts or income-tax or the number of government jobs we can brag about. Without production in six or eight basic industries there would be no pay cheques for anybody in the civil service. Oh yes, we could nationalize the oil companies and grab the lucrative lumber and mineral industries and divide the profits, but somebody would have to do some work to keep things moving. We could increase taxes still further because big business is making some money, but when the tax grab finally infuriates producers they quit. A hundred thousand acres of rapeseed would assure those jobs at Western Canada Seed, but our rapeseed profits go to Ottawa to finance the rapid growth of government. Destruction of initiative is considered to be secondary, if we read of the hundreds and thousands who are living off our efforts, and living in most cases better than we. The original purpose .of government was to serve the people. Today the people serve the government, some a third of the time, most about half the time, and the countless civil servants are there every day. We're heading for a colossal bust. When it comes the economists will be among the first to flee, to practise their mythical alchemy elsewhere. And if China, or Chile, or Uganda or Cuba don't want a bunch of refugees a lot of our government employees "will have to lower themselves to some productive work. Milk River L. K. WALKER Letter found appalling I was appalled at the letter by a certain Morley Gilchrist (Mar. 12) which proposed the killing off of a portion of the. population to make the world "ideal in site and quality." Among other things, Mr. Gilchrist is insulting all intelligent, thinking people by suggesting "we all have ideas about such programs." There have been people with such ideas. Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were among the more successful. I would much rather see a world full of drug addicts and moonshiners than one that has allowed such barbaric and preposterous ideas to become implanted in some people's heads. Such ideas have no place in a society where human beings must live together. The social scientists that Mr. .Gilchrist. would eliminate are probably the most realistic and useful segment of our society, and through their able work we may someday be able to eradicate such thoughts from people's minds. As for the money that is used to treat these "undesirable" people, it is a small amount compared to the money spent in mental hospitals and penitentiaries to treat people who would try to do exactly what Mr. Gilchrist is proposing. It is time that people did some thinking and understanding and got off their high chair, instead of presumptuously making themselves judge and jury of mankind. Mr. Gilchrist's life is not worth more than anyone else's, be they drug addicts or social scientists! SANDRO CHISTE Lethbridge Rationale unacceptable I was appalled to learn that city council has seen fit to withdraw Financial support from the community Birth Control and Information Centre. This essential service has proven over the course of its' existence to be functional and necessary to a vast number of Lethbridge citizens. The centre has provided valuable information to both students and faculty of the University of Lethbridge (and similar institutions, e.g. Lethbridge Community College) concerning birth control and social diseases. The policy of confidentiality maintained at the centre, which is not totally exercised elsewhere in city medical advisement centres, has aided and assured its acceptance into the community as a whole. Anonymity is desired by many and found by all at the Birth Control Centre. The council of the University of Lethbridge student union cannot, at this time accept or understand city council's rationale for the proposed, withdrawal of funds from Lethbridge's only Birth Control Centre. Surely, council must realize that if the city removes its support from the centre, it will cease to exist. We do hope that council will find it within their power to release to the public all pertinent documentation leading to this decision. We trust as well that before any decisions are acted upon by city council, careful consideration will be given all representations by citizens of LeUibridge and district. KHYM GOSLIN Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald TJti Si S LeThbrWge, LETMBRIOGE HERALD CO. LTO ProprWtws and Second Oiws Mart! RegWWBon No 0012 O.EO MOWERS. Editor and DON H P1UWG DONALD B. DORAM Managing Editor General Manager ROYF MJLES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER i Editor ROSEOT M. FENTOM CtrciMfion Manager KCNME7ME, 8ARWETT Busmess Manager 'THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"