Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 23, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
EDITORIALS Modifying our dependence on the U.S. Time for settlement The strike drags on. Today marks the end of the second week in which 27,000 Southern Alberta school children have been without schools, their 1,300 teachers have been without jobs and salaries, and business in this area has been without whatever benefits come from a multi-million dollar payroll. This is not a minor argument. It is a serious dispute between elected representatives of the public and a responsible professional group, between the trustees the public has chosen to manage its school business, and the professionals on whom it relies to educate its children. To the public, then, it is not a question of taking sides, but one of getting the thing settled, with the children back in school, the teachers back in their classrooms, and the economy back where it should be, without hundreds of thousands of dollars that should be circulating in Southern Alberta being held up in Edmonton. The last word from the teachers was that the strike would go until their demands are met. For the trustees, the latest announcement was that they could not and would not meet the teachers' demands. That's normal strike talk. It is disturbing, though, that the teachers claim the trustees' position is simply "take it or leave it," while the trustees insist the teachers don't want to bargain, but are escalating their demands in hopes of an eventual split-the-difference kind of mediation. That sounds like the kind of impasse that could go on for a long time. And in the meantime! the schools stay closed- The people of Southern Alberta want them open, and if the trustees they elect and the teachers they hire cannot manage that, there's only one place to turn and that is to the government in Edmonton, specifically the department of labor. It is understandable that governments aren't eager to step into labor disputes. Not only is it sound labor practice'to let the parties concerned settle matters wherever possible, but it is good politics, too; whatever a government agency does is bound to upset one side or the other, and very probably will offend both. But a teachers' strike is not an ordinary industrial dispute, in which lost wages on one side and lost profits on the other will apply strong pressure towards a settlement. Here, it is the public interest that is clearly and deeply involved. The public's agent, and its only agent with the necessary authority, is the department of labor. ART BUCHWALD 2974 food prices WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 1974-The government announced this afternoon that wholesale food prices have risen again for the month of November. Hartley Rasher of the president's Council of Economic Advisers told reporters: "While the wholesale price of leg o' lamb reached $93.50 per pound, we are very encouraged to see that turnip greens and watermelon rinds have actually gone down 2 cents a bushel. If the downward trend in these two commodities continues for another month, we believe we can reach our anti-inflation goals by 1975. Are there any questions?" "Mr. Rasher, wouldn't you consider the price of lamb exceptionally high for this time of year?" "As you recall, in late 1973 we predicted a rise in the price of lamb due to a sheep blight in North Dakota. While $93.50 for a leg of lamb may be slightly higher than we would prefer, it comes to only $7.79 a month or approximately $1.80 a week, which is certainly within the cost-of-living guidelines. According to our calculations most families in this country can still eat leg o' lamb once a year." "Mr. Rasher, eggs are now selling for $23 a dozen. Does the economic council consider this inflationary?" "Back in January, 1974, we warned the American people that the price of eggs was going up. The reason for this is that more people are buying eggs because they can't afford to eat lamb. The only way for the price of eggs to go down is for housewives to stop buying them." "Sir, the food price index shows that butter is selling for $19 a pound. Do you believe this is out of line?" "No. Actually we're very encouraged by butter holding at $19. In February, if you recall, the department of agriculture predicted that butter would be selling at $25 a pound. But thanks to a milk surplus this summer, production reached an all-time high. The president has sent the Dairy Farmers of America a congratulatory telegram for their co-operation in making butter a bargain item." "Mr. Rasher, my wife went to the supermarket the other day and she paid $15.90 for a loaf of bread. That was $4.50 more than she paid for the same loaf last month. How do you explain this?" "We believe this is just a temporary thing and we're predicting lower prices for next month. What you're dealing with here is a crust shortage. The bakers had to pay more for crust last month because of strikes in the Midwest crust factories. The president expects the strikes to be settled and bread prices should come down to $15 a loaf, providing yeast prices don't rise. This is something that nobody can predict. But we must remember bread is a luxury item, and there is no reason to have it on the table every night." "According to your latest figures milk is now selling for $10 a quart. Does the government intend to do anything about this?" "If you will recall, the government reluctantly gave dairymen a $2 milk raise in 1973. Unfortunately this turned out to be insufficient. Now I know some of you have written that the $2.raise we gave last month coincided with a political campaign contribution to the committee for the reelection of the president. I would like to state categorically that the increase in milk bad nothing to do with the campaign contribution. "When the milk producers went to see the president to present their check, they made no mention of their milk problems. As a matter of fact, the president was as surprised as anyone when they were granted the $2-a-quart increase the next day. But nobody bothered to check this out, which is only another example of irresponsible journalism." "Mr. Rasher, how do you read the next six months as far as food prices are concerned?" "We may see a Blight rise in coffee, no more than $5 a pound, bacon may go up $1 or $2 a strip and tomatoes may sell for $3.50 each. But since we've made allowances for this in our food index, we can see no unwelcome surprises for the housewife. "If she shops wisely and seeks out the bargains, she can still feed a family of four for $300 a week. But if she insists on giving her family chicken gizzards and flounder every week, then, of course, we can't be responsible tor what her food bills will be. Taking everything into consideration we feel that November, for the consumer has been a very good month." Not-so-scarce picture By Dong Walker As I was leaving the office late one afternoon I found Fred Fitznar looking for someone who could tell him where he might get reproductions of the Charles Russell drawings that are displayed in the entryway to The Herald building. I wasn't able to help him but we got Into an interesting discussion of his hobby of collecting books and pictures about Indians. He told me about offering $50 to the proprietor of a beer parlor in a south A'berta town for a picture of Custer's Last Stand. No deal was made at the time. Later the proprietor asked $150 and failed to make a salo because the price was too high. Fred didn't know how inflated that price really was. Edward McCourt in his book, The Road Across Canada, tells of visiting a museum at Sillery in Quebec. He wrote, "I was delighted to find among the clutter a gaudy lithograph of Custer's Last Stand, donated by a Mr. Hennessy of St. Louis, Missouri. The Last Stand is said to hang in 60,000 American saloonB - courtesy of the Annheuser-Busch Brewing Company." By Bruce Whltestone, syndicated commentator Since Confederation the love-and-n o t-quite-hate feeling of Canada for the United States has maintained a mainly prosperous but sometimes uneasy relationship between the two countries. In their moods of confidence Canadians think they will soon achieve relative economic parity with the United States, with sufficient economic power to counterbalance their enormous weight. Canadians, however, are afflicted by their fears that they may need United States' capital and technology as well as ever-increasing access to that market if the Canadian economy is to grow at a satisfactory speed. The split mind created by this "dependence" is aggravated by a weaker sense of nationhood than exists south of the border. Not only are Ca-. nadians less nationalistic than many other nations (witness the time required to adopt a distinctive flag) but they are fearful that their very existence depends on an American sufferance. These feelings have been basic for over a hundred years. They formed the essence of Sir John A. MacDonald's national policy which emphasized the building of a nation first rather than putting together an effi-cient economy. They were at the root of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's campaign for an independent foreign policy as well as his opposition to Britain's entry into the Common Market. Curiously enough, Mr. James Coyne's misguided efforts when he was governor of the Bank of Canada had similar motivations. The "Buy Canada Back" policy of Walter Gordon was perhaps the least lucid nationalistic platform since the war. How Canada was to accomplish this and to what end was never explained in a country that wants to raise its standard of living. Resentment of foreign capital, an integral part of our ambivalent attitude toward the U.S., is a human feeling, no doubt, but the answers provided over the past decade do no credit to economic sophistication. Prejudicial tax arrangements have proved to be crude levers and unworkable as well. Loopholes were provided as fast as the legislation was passed. Also the proposals to protect the Canadian publishing industry by disallowing for tax purposes the cost of advertising in foreign publications collapsed when the Pearson government "Vary funny - just pay the bill, please!" Yakking about energy is for real By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator Why do people babble endlessly about the energy crisis? Because at the heart of the babble there is a policy dispute. It goes to the question of who will pay for the energy shortage and around that question there are now lining up the major producing interests, the chief regions of the country and some of the weightiest names in American political life. The most visible of the interests is the oil and gas industry. It is central to the poll-tics of the South and the Southwest, and it is very clear in its objectives. The companies, both major and minor, want federal agencies to allow a rise in the price of gas and oil as a stimulus to more drilling in this country. They seek a relaxation of environmental restrictions such as the ban on construction of the pipeline to bring oil south from Alaska. Provided the price is right and the restrictions easy, they would not mind bringing in liquefied natural gas from Russia and other foreign countries. They would also not mind a change in the tax laws moving the oil depletion deduction up from 22 to 27 per cent. Working for these goals are some of the biggest wheeler-dealers in the Congress. More important, there is John Con-nally, the former governor of Texas. Mr. Connally, who seems to be President Nixon's favorite candidate for president in 1976, was identified by the president only the other day as an "unofficial adviser" on energy. A second major interest centres around the generators of electric power, public and private, who are particularly strong in the Pacific Northwest. The power interests want funds and a green light for research on nuclear plants. The political ball here has been seized by Henry Jackson of Washington, the chairman of the Senate interior committee which is conducting a study of the energy crisis. Sen. Jackson has been pushing a program for $20 billion in investment to develop new sources of power. He has been underlining the security dangers of dependence upon Soviet gas and Arab oil. And he is everything but a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. A third big interest centres around coal. It is concentrated in West Virginia but extends through parts of the Middle West and Mountain states. Above all things, the coal interests seek immediate relaxation of restrictions on strip mining. Next to that, they would like research funds for processes which would make it feasible to transmute coal into 6uch clean fuels as gas or oil. Packing the political punch Letters Rural living costs My heart "bleeds" for these poor underpaid rural schoolteachers. I doubt that anyone forced Geoff Tagg (news story March 17) and his ilk to accept jobs In the county of Forty Mile and if he and his group want to leave the county, I am fairly certain that we could replace him and them without too much difficulty. ' Why accept a job and then grumble, when it was fairly apparent that the job he was accepting was located in a rural area? In spite of what Geoff Tagg says, groceries, water, gas and electricity are not more expensive in these rural areas. We non-teachers cannot get our employers to pay our personal expenses and we fail to understand why we taxpayers should be paying our own personal expenses and part of the personal expenses of schoolteachers. If one wants to search out inequities, one can find them in any system, anywhere and everywhere. Perhaps these rural teachers should leave the county financing to the county people who know how to operate our finances to keep our county solvent. Very few schoolteachers have any idea of a businessman's problems. School teachers seem to live in their own small, biased world and they seem to think - at least the ones I've conversed with - that all the businessman has in do is to stand in his doorway and gather in the shekels. Since living costs in these rural areas are much less than the living costs in urban centres, it appears to us taxpayers that these rural teachers are definitely receiving adequate pay. Too few teachers these days are really dedicated teachers. JUDY FONTAINE Foremost Save building When we were in Lethbrldge last fall, we were very disturbed to hear about the proposed removal of an historic landmark that has overlooked and watched the growth of your city for many many years. The sequence of events transpiring within the post office building has played a role In making Lethbridge the city it is. This building can help to make the future of Lethbridge much greater than it is today. The warmth of the building as opposed to the coldness of modern architecture, certainly portrays the friendliness of the people of Lethbridge, which is not found in too many cities today. Don't lose this!! Restore, utilize and save your building. MR. AND MRS. BEN BRODERICK Great Falls, Montana. for coal is one of the most potent but underrated men in Washington. He is Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the majority whip and a leading candidate to take the place of Mike Mansfield when he steps down as Senate majority leader. Finally, there is the consumt-er interest centering in the area most dependent on outside sources of energy - the Northeast. So far the consumer interest has been presented in purest, ecological terms - a cause without a single leader. But as prices go up, practical questions assert themselves. Why should there be any restrictions on import of foreign fuels? Assuming there is an increase in the price of natural gas, isn't there some way residential consumers can get a break as against industrial consumers who can afford to switch to other sources? Why should oil prices be negotiated by the international companies, who have no interest in low prices, rather than by the governments of the consuming countries including the American government? Shouldn't there be a national oil company? If only as a kind of son-profit standard-setter in such tricky matters as offshore drilling? What all this means is that yakking about energy is not a shapeless babble. A great issue is emerging, and it is apt to dominate the politics of the next decade as a classic chapter on American history engaging interests, regions and men. backed down in the face of U.S. pressure. Another device, the Canada Development Corporation tried to provide capital that wouid otherwise have been sought outside Canada. This scarcely rev olutionary idea contains insurmountable flaws. Political Inter* ference can not be avoided permanently. On the other hand, if there were no government supervision of this agency, the government would be remiss, in view of the $200 million it has placed at the CDC's disposal. There is a lot to be thrashed out here. Not all the misgivings of responsible business lenders are atavistic. There must be logical concern about putting into private hands responsibilities for conducting an operation that, in the last resort, became a matter for government. The way to modify Canada's dependence on an American customer and supplier of capital is to turn the exercise into interdependence through economic liberalism. Whenever trade barriers have come down, Canada has benefited. Economic integration is impossible. A North American common market or customs union between the two countries would show up the economic disparity between the two economies, renew Canadian fear of political absorption and present countless problems of adjustment. The removal of trade barriers to be realistically pursued must include Western Europe and the Commonwealth countries as well as Japan. This can increase Canada's capacity to produce more wealth which is what today's national policy must be about. Canada must gear for hard-nosed bargaining on trade and be a tough negotiator, never negotiating on matters when the only possible outcome would be Canadian con cessions. Certain domestic matters too must be non-negotiable including dutyfree allowances for returning Canadian tourists, defence procurement and the level of the Canadian dollar. If the U.S. attempts to compel changes in the auto pact, Canada could suggest that the pact be abrogated. The resulting squawks from the U.S. auto manufacturers would reinforce the Canadian point of view. Canada too must have an ace up its sleeve by obtaining long-terra wheat agreements with the European Community and Communist bloc countries in order to forestall threatened U.S. dumping of wheat on the world market. Too, a Canadian government must not offer insults in return for foreign capital. It must ensure, by exercising its sovereignty, greater independence for Canadian management and better export performance by American-owned companies. The mechanism for enforcing this conduct could be in the form of a commission with authority to obtain information concerning any business or corporation whose initial purpose would be to gather information on business organizations and procedures and to act as an administrative agency to ensure that true enterprise be permitted to operate. It would carry its own investigatory activities. Policies of Canadian subsidiaries and their ability to expand their activities would become known. If Canadian enterprises were not allowed to function in accord with Canadian interests, remedial legislation could be proposed. The problem of agreeing on a generally accepted measure to deal with foreign capital is not that easy. No commission is going to satisfy those who could declare total war on Investment funds coming into Canada. However, a trade and investigating commission ought to help satisfy most of the grievances, real or supposed; meanwhile the Canadian economy would not suffer from misguided extremists. Canadian-U.S. relations havo deteriorated over the past few years to a post-war low. The issue of foreign capital, central to the entire problem, must be resolved in a manner satisfactory to both nations before we can even begin to settle other disputes with the United States. The Lethbridge Herald 804 7th St. 5., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD no. LTD., Proprietors and PublUbew Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Sacond Claw Man Registration No. oou Mambar of Tha Canadian Pratt and the Canadian Dally Nawtpapar Pl/Miahara' AttocMfton and Hit Audit Bureau o> Clrcultllont , CLIO W MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H> ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROYV MILES DOUGLAS, K. WALKER Attartfclng Managar Editorial Paga Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"