Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD TutMtey, March 19, 1974 IJHIOKIALS The question Mr. Whelan may well be right when he said last week in Ottawa that cattle producers really should be getting 10 cents more a pound to break even. At least, it should be simple enough to arrive at a correct figure for this, since there should be no hidden costs here at the beginning end of the food chain. Since the seven cent subsidy granted is less than the subsidy which Mr. Whelan originally claimed was necessary, it could be that a little bit of political psychology entered the picture to make the subsidy more palatable to the general public. The main problem with the subsidy is that it leaves unanswered the question raised by the president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (and by many local feeders) who has pointed out that cattle prices have been in a bad slump for six months and has wondered aloud why this has not been reflected in the eventual cost of beef over the retail counter. This is the question. All the discussion about quo- tas, tariffs, surtaxes and competing American cattle should not obscure this point. If cattlemen are getting less for their product than they did six months ago, whatever the reason is, this should have resulted in a lower cost all along the marketing chain until it reached the consumer. It has not. To be sure, in the past two weeks, some of the local retail stores have lowered prices on certain cuts of meat on certain days, but this is not enough yet to establish a trend and it comes much too late to answer the cattlemen's question or to satisfy the skeptical consumer No one in government seems to have an answer to this discrepancy in beef prices. Certainly, Mrs. Plumptre's assurance that there are no villains in the food industry who are exploiting consumers is not good enough. Subjective terminology doesn't lend clarity to the problem. If there has been a short-term maximization of profits (another euphemism for 'windfall profits) somewhere in the middle distance between the ranch or feedlot and the kitchen, this should be ferreted out. On the other hand, if there is a valid explanation for the price discrepancy, Mr. Whelan or Mrs. Plumptre or whoever is interested in the general public should make that known. Thus far the government has shown little inclination to make a comprehensive investigation of the production, distribution and marketing of food. Sporadic granting of subsidies to producers, occasional policing of retail practices, and gratuitous statements that all is well or that the government can do nothing, are not adequate in the face of serious inflation. Prospects for Europe What does Europe want? Does it want to be entirely free of the embrace of the United States? Would it welcome U.S. domination in a more extreme form than ever known in the past? Or is there a genuine interest in working out a real partnership between the European Community and the United States? At present relations between the U.S. and Europe are badly strained. Some commentators even speak of "The Trans Atlantic Rift." It would be easy to blame this situation on French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for engaging in a slanging match, but responsibility is more widely dispersed. The will to work out ,the basis of European unity, which is prerequisite to a mature relationship with the U.S., has been lacking. C. L. Sulzberger, in an article elsewhere on this page, argues convincingly that M. Jobert's implication that Europe does not need the American military presence is nonsense. Yet the kind of talk that is originating in France plays directly into the hands of the faction in the U.S. Senate that is determined to reduce American forces in Europe and perhaps phase them out entirely. The rest of the west European countries are abetting that end, too, by not taking a strong stand. The other possibility to a partnership relationship with the U.S. is that Europe will come to have a greater reliance on the Americans than since the days of recovery after the Second World War. One scenario has it that the economic difficulties that lie immediately ahead for Europe will result in sharpened competition and further fracturing of common institutions. Then as the situation, worsens, left-wing protest governments could take power and the U.S. would step in to protect its interests. Another variation on the reappearance of the U.S. domination in Europe sees right-wing governments returning to power by vote or by force. Such governments might appeal to the U.S. for economic help and military assistance. Few Europeans seem to be thinking about the alternatives to a partnership of the U.S. with a united community. Yet unless there is some move soon to halt the slip back to nationalism, the most undesirable prospects may become real. Consideration for cash By Don Oakley, NEA service Strange to relate in this day of the ubiquitous credit card, some people still prefer to use cash in their everyday business transactions. Peculiar as this habit may be. they should not be penalized for it, contends at least one consumer group. Or to put it another way, merchants who accept credit cards should be allowed to give discounts to cash customers. This is the brunt of a rait that has been filed in District Court in Washington, D.C., by Consumers Union. The organization wants the court to outlaw provisions in credit card contracts that bar merchants from offering such cash discounts. The suit argues that merchants honoring the cards must absorb what amounts to a service charge of from 2 to 8 per cent of the sales price which, of course, is tacked onto the sales price and that they should be permitted to offer an equivalent cash discount to customers who pay cash and thus save them the service charge. If the suit is successful, that green stuff we used to carry in pur pockets could become fashionable again. OIOFAMERICA 1NC "Gentlemen, now there really IS a crisis! We'll have to lower our prices Multinational morals By Leonard Silk, New York Times commentator NEW YORK The dinosaur died out, they say, because it had a pea-sized brain. Could the gargantuan oil corporation expire for the same reason? It is difficult to figure out how the corporate mind works. One oil industry executive has tartly remarked that security and growth can be added to profit as corporate goals "if you want three goals rather than one, but the first two are implicit in profits." Acceptance of this simple fact of life should spare one a great deal of moral indignation and surprise surprise that after years of .receiving huge tax breaks and oil import quotas allegedly to avoid a domestic oil shortage, there should be a horrendous domestic oil shortage. Surprise that the same oil companies that extracted those import quotas from government to prevent foreign price competition should now attribute their failure to build domestic refineries to the uncertain supply of foreign crude oil. Or surprise that some oil companies, in the midst of an energy shortage, should reduce the crude oil they are bringing into the United States, lest they have to share .that oil with other companies at some cost to their own profits. You might have thought that, with the enormous increase in oil profits, thanks to the run-up in prices after the Arab embargo, the multinational oil companies would have said to themselves: "Let's bring in the oil and share it, but protest the allocation rules as vigorously as we can, because they are costing us money. But we should act as though we are seriously concerned about the nation's problems, and recognize that the government has to allocate oil somehow, since sectors of the country and the economy are suffering. After all, this big country is an important part of our market." But if you thought so, you would be forgetting the simple and fundamental principle of short-term profit maximization. The multinational corporations would like to be world citizens, but since there is no world government, no world community to which they are responsible, they must feign loyalty to every country where th'ey do business, concealing the flag under which they really sail a Jolly Roger emblazoned with the motto, "Short-run profit maximization." But is that corporate flag really a Jolly Roger, or does it signify as legitimate and worthy a purpose as that pursued by most nation- states? "There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than making said Dr. Samuel Johnson, and this may hold for corporations as well as individuals most of the time. In their quest for profits, corporations doubtless increase economic efficiency and the multinationals do this on a global scale. But some American corporations were happy to do business with Hitler, or to subvert democratic government in Latin America and elsewhere, and there is nothing innocent about that. In any case, economics is not everything, and the nation- state, when it is healthy and principled, is 'the appropriate institution for serving the broader social, political and psychological goals of its citizens. To safeguard the freedom of its citizens, a nation cannot be the instrument of corporations that have no other purpose than profit-maximization, however legitimate and useful that objective may be in a limited context-. The multinational corporations would be wiser to cease trying to bend the political process to their own purposes, at home or abroad. That is a dangerous game, which is bound to provoke a social reaction in this country and others. Corporations that are insensitive to the needs and rights of any nation to determine its own social ends may be digging a grave for themselves. Has France shifted policy? By C. L. Sulzberger, New York Times commentator PARIS I don't for one minute believe French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert was being serious when he recently hinted that the .presence of American troops in Europe was not "a matter of fundamental importance" to France. France, more than most of our North Atlantic "Bring in M. Jobert an' we see if we can't do somethin" about de Gaulle blabber." treaty allies, makes it a basic matter of policy to do everything possible to keep U.S. forces over here except help pay for them. The fact is that while France accepts the inevitability of reductions in the United States garrison and sympathizes with Defence Secretary James R Schlesinger's efforts to elaborate new strategy, it is fully aware western Europe would be helpless to defend itself against Soviet threats if all the Americans left. It knows this would produce a "Findlandization" or neutralization of this region, probably starting with West Germany. That is the last thing Paris wants. The inference of Jobert's statement is therefore even less likely to portend a major policy shift than Harold Wilson's proposal that American Polaris submarine bases be removed from Britain. Paris knows there can be no European nuclear force, based on pooling French and British atomic weapons, until there is European political unity, which is still a long way off. France may have doubts about UK degree it can count on immediate U.S. nuclear response to a Soviet attack in Europe Yet it knows from a defecting Czech general that even a decade ago Moscow's war plan reckoned on reaching the Rhine within three days and, if France held out. occupying this country within two more days. Little over a month ago, Pompidou was making no secret of his desire to keep American forces in Europe. Why then should Jobert have chosen to imply in a radio interview that this presence might not be commensurate with The suggestion would seem to mirror a profound shift in this country's foreign policy, more important than any (including withdrawal of the veto on British Common Market membership) since De Gaulle expelled the NATO organization and command from France in 1967. One could conjecture that Pompidou who considers foreign affairs a domain "reserved" to him might be seeking a major readjustment with Russia because the Soviet Union has risen so high on the relative power scale. France's president is known to be deeply concerned about what he considers a de facto, implicit accord between Brezhnev and Nixon which would have as its ultimate effect the "natural consequence" of neutralizing Europe as the two superpowers withdrew their horns from the possibility of direct engagement. Could Jobert's slightly delphic statement mean acceptance of this kind of inevitable neutralization? I doubt it. Pompidou's policy is still GauHist if on a deliberately reduced scale. It has pulled away from excessive pretensions such as interference in Canadian Quebec and helped Britain into the European Community. Obviously, befou going to Moscow last week. Pompidou and Jobert were determined to improve their negotiating position as much as possible on the two issues of European security and the Arab world by sticking a thumb in Uncle Sam's eye. Letters Biased reporting In fairness to both sides of the Middle East conflict, as well as the trust invested in honest journalism, facts and figures should be cor- rectly represented. Mis- representation in an edi- torial that .influences the thinking of so many people (i.e. "A necessary reminder" of March does more harm to the cause of peace than would silence. Regular British readers know the London Observer's political sympathies and its biased, if colorful, reporting, but it should be mentioned in Canada where this fact is not widely appreciated. Bearing in mind its reporters' tendency to swallow hook, line and sinker any exaggerations dished out to them by Arab dignitaries, let's take a closer look at the editorial. Quite apart from their undeniable strategic importance, the Golan Heights are now deemed a "fertile I notice, and, according to the reporter quoted, peasant farmers were displaced from there in the 1967 war. If this area is indeed fertile, only the. future and Israeli know-how might prove this contention. All I ever saw during my recent visits was a magnificent crop of rocks on wind-swept desert. If there ever were farmers, they must have scraped a miserable existence from that barren soil. My guess would be that they'd have starved to death long before Israelis silenced the unmerciful guns that, for years, shelled their farms and killed their women and children from these Heights. Two thousand years of injustice to Jews have, for once, no place in this argument since it would not justify the suffering of Arab peasants and children; nor has the comparison of Qun- eitra with the French city of Strassbourg during its lengthy occupation by Germany. History makes no mention of Strassbourg systematically killing defenceless German farmers prior to the 1870 Franco-Prussian war. Nor could Arab despotism be compared with the politics of the free French city. Twenty thousand Syrian civilians may wtli be appealing to the governor of Quneitra for assistance but, while there is little likelihood of them getting any more help from his office in Damascus than they did when he ruled in his palatial Quineitra villa, the reason for their displacement cannot be stressed too often. I remind readers that Israel did not start the October war nor did Israelis shell the Golan Heights in the years preceeding the 1967 war. Instead, they were sitting ducks on their farms in the Upper Galilee. If any valid comparisons can be made on lengthy occupation of captured territory, why does nobody ever mention Eastern Europe which has now been under Communist jurisdiction for 29 years and has driven .west more refugees than the Middle East will ever know? Would such comparison perhaps prove that refugee problems could be solved, that western nations have absorbed and rehabilitated refugees from the East, a solution Arab countries have consistently refused to do? Finally, I too believe it is necessary to acknowledge not just from time" to time but always that there are two sides to any argument. Not, however, at the expense of a people who are already forced to apologize for not having been destroyed or, for that matter, to the detriment of poor Arab peasants and refugees who have been purposely kept in abysmal ignorance and abject poverty by their own leaders. It is beneath contempt to argue the accusation implied in the tale of missing Arab children in Israeli-held territory. EVA BREWSTER Coutts Moloch worshippers The Christian College Association of Alberta is reported (The Herald, March 15) as saying that Alberta's universities are anti-religious. I agree 100 per cent. I attended the University of Lethbridge in 1971 and the calendar described Zoology 2910 as "A detailed comparative study of the major vertebrate groups, with emphasis on evolution of the various organ systems." Note the word "evolution." The Lethbridge Birth Control and Information centre pulls off a stunt similar to. the stunt the university pulls off. centre claims to be non-religious when in reality it peddles the oldest religion in the world Hedonism. Its staff believe young girls should be able to get contraceptives without parental knowledge. Many who work at the centre believe in abortion on demand. When they get their way, anyone will be able to have an abortion and throw the fetus in the hospital incinerator thereby getting rid of their babies in muchlhe same way'the ancient worshippers of Moloch did. GLADYS KNIGHT Bow Island. Pursuit of progress It becomes more apparent each day that man's mad pursuit of so-called "progress" does not recognize any limits this side of complete destruction of all that is natural. In general there are hundreds of examples of this madness, but in particular, I point to the needless destruction of the old Limber Pine at the Burmis Corner on Highway No. 3. Again the Alberta Department of Highway engineers are demonstrating their complete lack of an appreciation of natural esthetics. They are also demonstrating a lack of engineering imagination and basic alignment ability in the fact that they cannot find an alternate route which would both save this tree and provide a safe highway D. MacFARLANE Calgary Assert independence It was with great disbelief that I read the letter from Peter Nagai "our super patriot." I too wish Canadians would grow up. It is just as impossible for a nation to achieve maturity as it is for a child who is economically, socially and culturally dependent. Every mature adult has gone through a period of rebellion and self assertion. Canadian's greatest struggle'remains here at home, for there are only too many who. through apathy and ignorance, are willing to let a Canadian slide back into his security blanket. Yes. the challenge must be met, Canadians must assert their independence. JUDITH STOCKDALE Lethbridge The Lethbridgc Herald SM Tffi SJ. S. Lethbridge. Alberta LETHBR1OGE HERALD CO. LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher OONH PILUNG Managing editor DONAtOR DORAM General Manager ROYF MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER COftonai Page Editor ROBERT M fSNTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"