Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 26, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THI imtBKItXH KRtAlD Monday, Morth 1973- An arctic railroad? To judge solely from the daily press, a railroad to cany oil and gas from the high Arctic to eastern and U.S. markets is just a pipe dream of B.C. Premier David Bar- rett, and moreover one that has been thoroughly shot down by federal En- ergy Minister Donald Macdonald and Alberta's Premier Peter Lougheed. A look at some more specialized per- iodicals, though, gives one a rather different impression; not all the ex- perts are so quick to dismiss the idea. This is especially tme of non- political observers which might cause the odd skeptic to think a bit. To quote from the Wall Street Journal: "Rail supporters have been encouraged by a number (sic) of re- cent academic studies looking into tlie possibility of an arctic railroad tapping oil and natural gas reserves in the Prudhoe Bay area Alaska and in Canada's Mackenzie delta region. The study most noted by rail- roaders is 'Railway to the Arctic' by the Canadian Institute Guided Ground Transport at Queens Uni- versity The Queen's study claims that not- withstanding dramatically high con- struction costs, a rail link between arctic oil and gas fields and the ex- isting pipe and rail network makes good economic sense. It proposes a far northern gas liquefication plant and miles of double track rail- road, which it says could move up to two million barrels of oil or lique- fied gas a day, and at competitive rates. It quotes a figure of a barrel from the field to Chicago, as compared to 51.30 by the next most means. Moreover, it points out that the railroad would provide something like jobs, far more than the estimated 400 requir- ed to staff a pipeline operation. Pipeliners and oil men generally tend to scoff at the railroad idea, which isn't top surprising when it is considered railroads aren't exactly a growtli industry these days. And spokesmen for Canada's National Energy Board have expressed doubt that there is sufficient promise in the idea to justify the two year de- lay required for a feasibility study. But not nil are scoffers. Transpor- tation men are more than willing to consider the idea. Perhaps tlie en- ergy board should be, too, unless there's something in Canada's oil picture that indicates a greater rush than the public knows about. Medicine by satellite The introduction of satellite medi- cine could give Canada a leadership role in the delivery of health care and eliminate many future dangerous mercy missions. The bold medicine by satellite scheme of bringing medical care to remote areas is the brainchild of Dr. Hugh MacQuire who wants to estab- lish a two-way TV hookup between the 27-bed Queen Charlotte Hospital and big urban medical centres such as Ottawa and Vancouver. The scheme could be expanded to cover tlie network 600 community health centres in remote areas of Canada. Medicine-by-satellite would operate in this manner: a patient brought to a remote hospital with severe Injur- ies is x-rayed but, lacking a staff radiologist, it is necessary to fly him to a big city hospital. By using the Anik satellite the city radiologist could be contacted "by a flick of a switch." He could study the video picture of the x-ray, con- sult with r.ther specialists, make diagnosis and prescribe surgery or other necessary treatment without ever seeing the patient. Such a ser- vice would be invaluable to a nurse or doctor, working without assistance In a remote area. All that is required to make satellite medicine a reality is an earth station and time reserved on the satellite. The 24 ground stations already existing in Canada with one-way video transmis- sion facilities could easily be trans- formed to two-way operations. .Setting up a ground station and renting air time for the Queen Char- lotte hospital would cost about 000 annually but according lo Dr. MacQuire this would be far cheaper than the present air-lifting operation. The government paid in 1971 for the patient days Queen Char- lotte patients spent in Vancouver hos- pitals. An equal number of patient- days at the island hospital cost only On top of this is the cost to the patient for the round-trip to Vancouver plus the government's cost of sending specialists north to handle difficult cases and carry cut surveys. Both tlie B.C. and the federal gov- ernment have expressed interest in the idea. Ultimately it could remove the need for many dangerous and costly mercy missions such as the recent catastrophic Martin Hartwell case in the northern Yukon. Had nurse Elizabeth Budd at Cambridge Bay- been able to obtain satellite-trans- mitted specialist's advice it is highly unlikely she would have sanctioned tlie air-lift to Yellowknife which turn- ed out to he anything but a "mercy mission." ART BUCHWALD Alloiving for shrinkage WASHINGTON The big question In Washington Is do we or do we not vote billions of dollars to rebuild North Viet- nam? While this battle is raging, the world money markets are selling their dollars for gold, and in just a few weeks the dol- lar has been considerably weakened. Hanoi reads the newspapers, too, and it's just possible that they may raise some prob- lems about accepting the dollars for aid. It is not too farfetched to assume that on Henry Kissinger's next trip to Hanoi the following exchange could take place be- tween Muc Dam Luc, the North Vietnam- ese finance minister, and Mr. Kissinger. Mr. Kissinger arrives smiling. "Mr. Min- ister, I am happy to report to you that the Congress of the United States has voted to give you billion to help you rebuild your country." the minister asks. "Yes, billion. Is there anything wrong with "We were thinking more In terms o[ Japanese yen or German marks." "That's out of the Kissinger repl'ns. "Tlie bill specifically says the aid will be in dollars." minister asks, "Would you be willing fo give us Swiss Kissinger tried to control his temper. "Mr. Minister, the president had a great deal of difficulty persuading Congress lo vole billion in aid to your country. Do you realize tile spot he'll be in if he has to announce you won't accept the aid in "But look at It from my the finance minister said. "How can I tell (ho people of North Vietnam dial the United States is giving us billion when every- one north of the DMZ line knows the dol- lar is in trouble? If we accept the aid in dollars, we will lose face." "How can you say Kissinger shouts. "After all our countries have been through together." "Mr. Kissinger, we feel you negotiated the peace treaty with us in bad faith. At tho time we were working out a peace with honor you never once mentioned to us that the dollar would be devalued." "I didn't know the dollar was going io be Kissinger protested. f'That's not my "Well, someone should have told us. How can we trust you when we've already lost 10 per cent on the devaluation, and Ihe ink on the documents hasn't even Kissinger said, "Mr. Minister, surely you're not going lo let a lousy devaluation stand in the way of a generation of peace." "Mr. Kissinger, my government insists on rewriting the treaty so that aid to North Vietnam will be tied lo the price of gold instead of dollars." Kissinger says. "The dol- lar is in enough trouble as it is. If it ever gets out that even North Vietnam won't accept dollars, our monetary system could be rubied forever." "That is not our problem. After all. you people can claim you wo-n the war, (here- fore, we arc entitled to aid on conditions favorable to us.'1 "When I report (his conversation back to .the Kissinger said, "He's going to become very angry, and you know what he docs when he "Yes. wo do." the -.ninister said, "but you might roninit iiini thai, il IIP docs it, it's just going to tost him more in aid." Everybody into the water. So much for so little By Peter Desbamts, Toronto Star commentator Andrew Thompson is a law professor at the University of British Columbia, not a revolu- tionary. He has a healthy re- spect for private rights He be- lieves that it would go against the Canadian tradition to change the private rights ac- quired by oil companies oper- ating under federal permits in the Arctic and offshore regions. Except under unusual circum- stances. He now believes that the cir- cumstances are exceptional. This is the pivot of a position that Thompson outlined recent- ly at a special seminar of the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, a relalivaly new but already influential "citizens' lobby" on Arctic development. After the economic and legal questions have been analysed, Thompson steps back from the technical maze, tabes a deep breath of fresh air and makes a truly radical assertion: "Ex- traordinary changes in national I consciousness about resources, and particularly about energy, have produced exceptional cir- cumstances of the kind that jus- tify changes." In other words, Canadians have acquired a new per- spective on resource develop- ment. They are asking ques- tions and demanding satisfac- tory answers, even if it means changing a few rules that have been considered sacrosanct up to now. Is resource develop- ment automatically good? Who really benefits from it? And the basic question posed by Eric Kierans in his recent report on resources policy for the Mani. toba government: "Does so much have to be given away for so The phenomenon described in file Kierans report is a corpo- rate rip-off of heroic dimen- sions. It is the nightmare side of the great Canadian dream Kierans sees the fabulous nat- ural wealth of Canada being sucked dry by a small number of giant corporations. Tha touted benefits of employment and development are described as myths. The eldorados of the future portrayed by corporate publicity are revealed to be mi- rages as governments find themselves trapped in a process of diminishing returns. "A developing nation may he rich in its slates the Kierans report, "but when that wealth is depleted through the poverty of its policies, noth- ing remains of the original en- dowment but the instability, dis- satisfaction and political unrest arising from poorly conceived policies." Tiie claims made by Kierans about resources policy in Mani- toba apply1 to all the provinces. To some degree, according !o Kierans, their future develop- ment has already been com- promised by past mistakes. Now Thompson is taking the Kierans' thesis and applying it to the newest areas of resource development in the oil and gas reserves of the Arctic and off- shore regions. And he is finding there "a resource give-away un- paralleled in any country in modern times." Like Kierans, Thompson has credentials that command re- spect. For more than four years he has been following up his be- lief that "the most important provisions in the petroleum from the public interest point of view, are those which deal with the duration of per- mits and leases and the en- trenchment of royalty rales." "If these are made ex- cessively he warned a parliamentary committee in De- cember, 1968, "there will be public hostility and charges of monopoly, of undue exploitation, and of a sell-out of resources." Today Thompson claims that this is exactly what has hap- pened. More than 80 per cent of the Arctic and offshore oil and gas territories are covered by regulations that give oil com- panies what Thompson de- scribes as long, cheap leases. In some cases, commitments ex. tend into the next century. Thompson compares them with leases given by other govern- ments in Alaska, Australia, tlie North Sea, and finds them "en- tirely deficient." "The petroleum revenues foregone under the present sys- tem amount to hundreds of mil- lions of he says. "They are of the order required to settle native claims and pro- vide an economic base for the Yukon and Northwest Terri- tories. "In the Maritime provinces and Quebec, Ihey can mean economic resurgence." One of Thompson's central points is that the deals made in the past have been inadequate because they have been nego- tiated behind closed doors by government and the oil in- dustry. Little more than a year ago, the federal government was continuing to defend this proce- dure in its current of the Canada Oil and Gas Land Regu- lations under which permits are granted to the oil induslry in the Arclic and offshore areas. Writing to an environmental group in January, 1972, North- ern Development Minister Chre- tien stated that "it was neces- sary to consult with the oil and gas induslry for the reason that these regulations establish a contractual relationship be- tween a land owner who is sell- ing certain rights hi land, and the persons in the industry who acquire those rights." He turned down a request to bring the draft regulations be- fore a parliamentary committee because "other interests are not involved in this contractual relationship between Canada and Ihe oil and gas leases." Four months later, he re- versed himself and came out in favor of briVjing the changes before the commitlee. In the paper he delivered in Ottawa recently, Thompson remains concerned because "we have no recent assurances in this respect." But sources within Chretien's department affirm that the government is now deciding whether merely to change the regulations or in- troduce an entirely new piece of legislation and that in either case, the proposed changes wiU come before Parliament. This acceptance by the gov- ernment of wider public in- volvement in its dealings with the oil induslry already stands as a considerable achievement for Thompson and the Canadian Arclic Resources Committee. It lends credibility to his call for a renegotiation of oil leases based on a new "national con- sciousness" that the oil industry cannot afford to underestimate. U.S. Bangladesh aid ignored WASHINGTON the Pakistan war a concerted ef- fort was made here and abroad to blacken the U.S. role in Bangladesh and India. The impression was wide- spread that Washington can- celled all aid to India, includ- ing humanitarian assistance, and that we slighted the hun- gry, homeless and sick millions in Bangladesh, while other lands were rallying (heir re- sources to assist these unfortu- nate people. Figures now available show the United States has given more relief and rehabilitation assistance to Bangladesh than has any other country. More even than India. More by far than Russia. The United States, in fact, has poured ?320 million iu goods and dollars for food, medical supplies, emergency ho'.jsing, fertilizer, pesticides, cotton. K'c have provided (lie means lo rebuild hospitals, schools, homes, bridges and cs- By Ray IVomley, NEA commentator senlial power stations. The U.S. contribution, in fact, has been equivalent to half of what has been given by all the rest of the world combined. Furthermore, this country has given Bangladesh assur- ances that we will assist might- ily in the fulure development of that nation's shaky economy. We have promised to do our best lo provide a Ihird of all the foreign assistance for de- velopment, with special empha- sis on rural cooperatives, train- ing centres and development stations, Ihe supplying of fer- tilizer and the introduction of improved varieties of grains and other agricultural prod- ucts. None of Uiis discounts the very real contributions of India, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries. India's contribution of ?270 million in aid can- not go unrecorded. But it cer- tainly gives the lie lo those who bad-moulhed the American ef- fort on behalf of the new na- tion, aid provided despite strong U.S. government dis- agreement with India's inva- sion of what was then East Pakistan. Actually, million in U.S. assistance to India itself con- tinued despite the chilling of re- lations between Washington and New Delhi million in aid was The U.S. gov- renmcnt went on to seek new authority lo go on with a million-a-year program of food for Indian school children. In- dia is now making a selective review of technical aid projects (o determine those which have achieved their purpose. One can argue for or against the U.S. stance in the Pakistan- India-Bangladesh war. But it is difficult lo understand why these great American acts of mercy in India and Bangladesh, ttccds so characteristic of this country, should be obscured and ignored. Letters Ratepayers should strike It was once remarked by a wise man that iJ you would understand a man's actions, you must examine his motives. The present ATA sponsored strike is a perfect example of officials being motivated by high salaries. We have a sit- uation where several well paid executives justify their salaries by promoting annual salary increases for their members. How nvjch above the provincial average salary do these men receive? Considering their ten- months' work how much above average do the teachers re- ceive? We are deeply concerned with these escalating salaries. This is not a case of workers strik- ing against a profitable corpor- ation. It is a situation where well paid professionals are striking against taxpayers, many of whom receive much less income. If the trustees have built up a reserve, referred to by ths ATA as a surplus, it is to their credit. The ATA is not entitled to raid it. The ATA has a re- serve of million. Are the trustees entitled to a portion of this? The argument that city teachers may be receiving more than rural teachers has no logic. If the ATA doesn't like the situation it can rec- ommend that the teachers seek a more profitable profession or move to the city. Instead they strike for more money, thereby keeping teachers who are satis- fied out of their classrooms. We are faced with a situa- tion where the ATA feels that they have a right to demand and automatically receive an- nual wage increases. These are approximately- seven per cent plus furiher automatic an- nual increases which are based on years of teaching and train- ing. Where does merit enter tha picture? How many teachera are trained in classroom tech- nique before entering the schools? How Is teaching abil- ity tested and rewarded through years of teaching? Is it any wonder that build up a sur- plus of deadwood each year? This is the system which we taxpayers are paying for and perpetuating. Teachers are forced to join ATA before they can teach. How does this compulsion fit in with human rights legislation? There is only one way that trustees can accept ATA de- mands year after year. Tiiis can only be accomplished by cutting back on the number of teachers employed and the ser- vice rendered. The answer does not lie in diverting other sources of taxation to teacher salaries or in increased taxa- tion. The right to strike is a privi- lege. Many of us don't have this privilege, When a group votes to strike, I feel that they should be allowed to do so. Let them strike until they are ready to go to work. They are strik- ing against the only non-profit organization left the taxpay- ers! If the trustees submit to these demands, then it is tune for the ratepayers to strike. I want the trustees fo know that I, along with many other tax- payers, encourage them to be unyielding. Enough is enough! Milk River A TAXPAYER Unconvincing propaganda I am a mamlrer of the Erie Rivers High School Students' Union. No, this is not a letter threatening a strike but is in regard to tha teachers' strike. The other day I was watching TV when a commercial came- on about the strike. I am writ- ing to point out several ways in which Mr. Purdy stuck his foot in his mouth. 1. He said the strike was to benefit the students. How can a strike in the middle of a sem- ester benefit a student? Why don't they have the strike at the end of the semester or is it just that they don't want to waste their vacation time bane- fitting the students? 2. If the teachers want to ben- efit us why don't they spend the surplus on the schools in- stead of getting it for their own pockets? 3. He said higher pay and better contracts will attract belter teachers. In a way he just said all rural teachers are poor teachers and was actual- ly insulting them. Besides, how do they know teachers will move when they now have all their stores and doctors so close at hand? Do you think a teach- er who can drive ten blocks to an eye specialist wiU move to the country and drive 50 miles to see the same doctor? One more thing. My cousin teaches in Calgary. The teach- ers went on strike and got high- er wages. At the end of the year when she figured out her income, she had five dol- lars less because all the strike did was push her into the next income bracket. NEIL TKTELEN Milk River Disagrees with Drain I wish to comment on the "evidence" used by Mr. Drain, Social Credit MLA for Pincher Creek-Crowsnest, to support his arguments concerning coal dust pollution and the building of a thermal plant in the Crowsnest Pass (reported in The Herald March Mr. Drain quotes from on Opportunities for Youth report on the Crowsnest river com- piled by six students. Since I participated in the study and wrote the final report I can as- sure Mr. Drain that the report does not state coal dust will or does enhance the fish popula- tions in the Crowsnest River but that there seems to be a pro- ductive fish and insect popula- tion present in spite of the con- diitpn of the stream. Since larvae and nymph stages of most insects need ox- ygen to survive it would bo sheer folly to suggest (as Mr. Drain docs) that a smothering layer of silt would benefit these organisms. When trout spawn they choose a gravel bottom free from silt because their eggs need a steady supply of oxygen to mature. A silt layer (warm or otherwise) would pre- vent the free circulation of water around the eggs and cause their suffocation. Mr. Drain's claim that a black silt layer would, by absorbing sunlight and raising water temperature, increase the oxy- gen level in the water, puzzles me. Unless the solubility prop- erties of water have changed drastically I studied high school chemiitry, I believe ths ability of water to hold oxygen and other gases decreases as the temperature of the water in- creases. If Mr. Drain would halt his misguided crusade for conservation of the environ- ment long enough to observe gases escaping from a heating kettle of water I am sure that he would agree. In fact thermal (heat) pollu- tion of streams and lakes is a matter of growing concern to environmentalists because of the resulting oxygen depletion. Phillip L. Copper stales in a department of energy mines and resources publication (Water Pollution Everybody's war) that "Heat drives oxygen and other gases from the water to tlie detriment of fish and other aquatic life." I would suggest that Mr, Drain get his facts straight be- fore making further covmients concerning the environmant and environmental damage. GARY W. LAWRENCE Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald 5M 7ih St. S., Lcthbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALI> LTD., Proprietors and Publisher Published 1903 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Clasl Man Registration No. 0012 of Tha Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Mvxlallon and tha Audit Bureau of cVcullllonl CLEO W MOWERS, Editor Publlsnar THOMAS H. ADAMS, Gaiwral Manager UOH PILLINtt WILLIAM HAY Ma.iaglng Editor ROY F. WILES Advertising Manager Astocllte Edilor OOUGLAi K. WALKER editorial Page Editor HERAID SERVES THE SOUTH"