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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 4-THE LETHSRIOQE March After thirty years In approving the export of natural gas from Alberta, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board must first satisfy itself that the gas is surplus to the province's needs for the ensuing 30 years. This fact alone is not enough for present public consumption. With increasing doubts and anxieties about the energy situation, and with arguments, both political and economic, over the development of resources, the board needs to make public the bases for its decisions and to look on this as a continuing duty. Does it, for instance, simply project the present consumption of gas for 30 years to ascertain Alberta's needs? Such an unsophisticated approach seems unlikely. But if it does use a growth factor, by what method is this factor selected? Do the board's projections of needs take into account the present provincial government's attempts to bring industry into the province? This will make a difference in the normal growth rate. Such questions as these are becoming increasingly more important as large blocks of gas are consigned, with what seems like haste, for export or for use which amounts to export. Doubts about the future are reinforced when a company such as the fertilizer complex proposed for Southern Alberta announces that it expects to use the equivalent of more than half the reserves of Suffield. Premier Lougheed has said that Suffield reserves are enough to meet the needs of residential gas users of Calgary for 200 years. However, this is a hypothetical comparison, since the gas seems destined for sale for present economic benefits instead of being preserved for residential use beyond the 30 years. This brings up the question: What is going to happen at the end of 30 years? Implicit in the selection of that lead time is a promise by the province's energy officials that other sources of energy are being developed for use when gas supplies wane. But what are these plans? Will gasification of coal have been developed within the province by then? Will most power plants have been converted to coal? Is the province looking at other sources of energy, such as nuclear power? In short, what research projects are under way that specifically anticipate the eventual exhaustion of Alberta's natural gas. As a matter of policy, the board needs to do its thinking aloud about these matters, if only to reassure Albertans that someone is giving them some thought. TO r EWEHStS- 1 Mm MTD MHtttVCH 1 TUM' "Did you hear that? I told you we'd catch Nationalization no answer By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator ERIC NICOL The lonely landlord life This friend of mine I'll call him Smith a few years ago bought a small, elderly apartment building with his life's savings. Smith's banker had told him that owning an apartment building was one way to hedge against inflation, and Smith trusted his banker. A person has to trust somebody, in his life, or he becomes emotionally sterile. Before he bought the old apartment building Smith was an average sort of guy, a printer by trade, loved by his wife, respected y his children, friendly with his neighbors. Immediately after he became owner of the block of flats, however, a terrible transformation smote Smith. He turned into .a landlord. "It happened Smith told me, over a drink he obviously needed. "One minute I was a decent human being, the next. Smith blew his nose. I was shocked to see how close the man was to mental breakdown. His deodorant had quit too. The first day he was a landlord, Smith said, he didn't notice much change in his appearance. Perhaps his fingernails grew a shade faster. A bit more hair on the back of the hands. A slight sharpening of the canine teeth. But nothing to prepare him for the devastating changes for which he was fated. Anxious to retain his membership in humanity, Smith personally reassured each of the residents of his apartment building that the rent would not be increased unless it was absolutely necessary. A week later it was absolutely necessary. To avoid having to raise the rent Smith had been doing as much of the building maintenance himself as he could manage with three hours sleep a night. He did the janitorial work, washed the windows, fixed the plumbing, mowed the lawn, and talked to the residents perched on window sills threatening to jump. Smith sold his own home and moved into a room in the basement of the apartment building. His wife left him because she didn't want to share their bed with a boiler, and his children became alienated from him because their friends would not associate with somebody whose father was a landlord. Yet it was necessary for Smith to raise the rent, because he was unable to bleed oil for the furnace or crank down higher taxes. He personally apologized to each of the residents of the apartment building, and he put a canary bird in the lobby to sing, as an act of love. The residents responded by forming The Tenants Association and putting Neet in the canary's bathwater. Smith's mail now consisted almost entirely of unsigned letters accusing him of gouging, kneeing and other martial arts of the mandarin class. To escape the waves of hate pounding against his door, Smith moved out of the building, into a tenement occupied mostly by other soft-hearted landlords. Aside from hating the landlord, the landlord tenants had little in common, their attempt to form a protest organization petering out when they found they could meet only when the moon was full. When the government froze rents, Smith suffered frostbite. His hedge against inflation had turned into a bush of thorns. His canary spat in his Smith decided to sell his apartment building. He lost several thousand dollars on the deal, but the instant the papers of ownership changed hands he felt an enormous weight lifted from his shoulders the hump that had grown there. His teeth straightened. His children invited him to stay with them in their VW van, for the weekend. His wife sent him a card of Congratulations. Smith had rejoined the human race. A heart wanning story, I think. It's good to know that sometimes the best thing a person can do about inflation is nothing. OTTAWA In the light of Jean Marchand's recent per- formances as Minister of Transport, it is difficult to see that much would be gained by the appointment of New Democrats to the present government. The Marchand speech of March 7 was almost an open invitation to David Lewis to introduce a motion calling, among other things, for the nationalization of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It would have been against human nature for Mr. Lewis, a vintage Socialist, to have resisted the temptation. It might also have fitted badly with Mr. Marchand's imme- diate plans, whatever they may be. Even Mr. Lewis, however, may have been moderately surprised by the Marchand reaction. The minister, in his House of Commons speech, seemed to waver rather uncertainly from paragraph to paragraph. He was not, at the outset, "in complete disagreement with any of the ideas contained in the resolution of the New Democratic Party." But almost immediately he was troubled by ideas which were "too general" relating, if he might say so, to "a somewhat outmoded form of intervention by the state." Later he referred mildly to nationalization (including a takeover of 47 subsidiaries) as a panacea, observing that it would be interesting to have a public and political debate "and maybe our views do not differ greatly on this matter." In midflight, Mr. Marchand lost interest in bringing CPR under public ownership. But it seemed to revive as he approached his conclusion. "If it should be necessary to nationalize the CPR, in order to have a really integrated system, if it should be silly to have two railbeds following the same path and the CPR should not want to correct that situation or wish to sell their property at such prices that they become prohibitive when they know they got it practically free, then we can past, tfce promise of hrtare use the instruments we have and I would have no objection to nationalization." By nightfall Mr. Marchand, brooding on his troubles with CPR officials, was avowing his readiness to "fight like hell" to nationalize the company if necessary. Some taxpayers, hard enough pressed to buy groceries, may be resistant to the argument that they should accept collectively at this time the huge costs of buying up another railway. They will not find much enlightenment in the debate for while the members, in their speeches, explored many difficult and irritating problems, none of these appeared to be directly related to the fact that the CPR is a private company. Mr. Marchand's approach is, to say the least of it, curious. Speaking of the law of 1967, he said: in other words we thought that through competition between railways, trucks and boats, we would get a near perfect system." Perhaps they believe in fairies in the department of transport. Before Jack Pickersgill is boiled in oil on Parliament Hill, it seems only fair to point out that he would have been the last Minister to promise any such thing. The imperfections of the system are obvious to passengers and shippers It would be helpful, however, if those who are calling for drastic remedies (either nationalization or nation- alization, if necessary) would make up their minds about the nature of the problem. Mr. Marchand fired the socialist enthusiasm of David Lewis by damning competition. But Mr. Lewis, describing competition as a sham, asked: "Who is competing with whom? The CN, as well as CP, now controls not only a railway but an airline, shipping and trucking enterprises. The CP is already in the pipeline business and I gather from the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, that the CN is also going into pipelines. They are into every form of transport in this country. So, who are they competing with except There was an interruption from Arnold Peters: "And when necessary, they join hands." "One thing my NDP friends forget is the fact that there are two major nationalized transportation companies in this country which do absolutely no better and in many cases worse than those involved in the private sector. If nationalized transportation is the most desirable thing, the CN should be a model of railway transportation services in this country. I ask hon. members opposite and their colleagues to the left if, for example, the CNR does any better than the CPR in the movement of grain, in the movement of lumber, or in the movement of fruits and vegetables either east or west, or does CNR maintain its trackage and its equipment in a more-desirable fashion than the CPR? The NDP know this very well and yet they say we should nationalize everything. The point I wish to make very emphatically and here I point out that the CNR is as guilty as the CPR is that the railways have failed to fulfil their mandate to the Canadian people." The more the debate is stud- ied, the more obvious it becomes that what is reprehensible in the behaviour of the private company is also reprehensible in the behaviour of the public company. A troublesome Conservative critic. Don Mazankowski, made the point effectively. LETT In that case there has also been a failure on the part of the Canadian Transport Commission and the Government (which Mr. Marchand partially But why should the country be burdened with another huge debt in order to effect a change of title which in itself will not add a single railway car, improve a single mile of track, reduce a single rate or avert a tie-up resulting from a wage dispute? As for passenger service, Mr. Lewis himself offered the House this significant finding. "TheCPis just as bad as the CN and the CN is just as good as the CP. Each is doing everything it can to discourage travellers." This scarcely sounds like a compelling case for socialism although it is not improbable that with two nationalized railways we would enjoy the privilege of picking up two annual deficits instead of one. Even the gloomiest of debates in the House of Commons has its moments of inspiration. In Mr. Marchand's words: "If we compare, which is perhaps a normal and a very tempting thing to do for a government in power, if we compare our system with that of other countries, the United States, France, Germany or Italy, I am sure that we have to conclude that ours is the best." Things are in a mess but elsewhere they are messier. Whatever would Ottawa do without the erring and incompetent world? Letters City council secrecy Mayor A. C. Anderson did not help the cause of municipal democracy on Monday when he denied 20 citizens the opportunity to attend a council committee meeting to hear representations on the day care issue from local groups. The goal of municipal democracy is to involve citizens in decision making which influences their lives. This goal can not be served if the people are kept out of the critical decision making centres, as the budget committee of council surely is. This exclusion could not be justified by the Mayor beyond a statement that it was the rules, that this was not a public meeting and that one should raise one's questions elsewhere at other council meetings. Rules should not be constructed to exclude the people from hearing how their local representatives receive briefs from other citizens. We will have to pay for what council decides. We can only make up our mind that council reached good decisions when we know what information they utilized. Keeping the people cooling their heels in the corridors of city hall is not the way to accomplish this objective. We asked not to make our own representations but only "to hear what was being said. The budget committee of council is a public activity and therefore it is a public meeting. Under national security demands or public interest questions involving land acquisition, there are grounds for secret sessions. There is no grounds for a secret meeting of the budget committee on day care. We would be prepared to let the council committee decide its decision in private but we are not prepared to let it take evidence as it was on Monday in secret session. All meetings of council should be public and all committees as well. Only under extreme circumstances should the public be excluded. Mayor Anderson would like us to raise our questions elsewhere or take our interest to other council meetings. Unfortunately, many of us, for work reasons cannot attend council meetings. We can only intervene selectively as we can find the time. We found the time on Monday but the door was barred. We believe that as citizens we should have the right to observe the entire council process in every stage, especially the most important one of budget committee. Budget committee is not a special committee requiring public exclusion. If it is, the Mayor has not provided the answer Furthermore, we cannot ,even find out from the press what goes on in specific detail in the budget committee as the press is barred from reporting who said what. The days of secrecy should be over at city hall and the days of open government ushered in. ROGER R. RICKWOOD Lethbridge Need for halfway house I quote from the editorial, The Herald March 21: "The troubles encountered in the attempts to establish a Halfway House in Lethbridge prove, if nothing else, the absolute necessity for such a" place." This is the way I look at it: How do we ever expect to rid ourselves of this dispicable 'habit if we continue as we are doing to build more and bigger distilleries to make alcohol; place it in every hotel, eating establishment, club etc., buy it and take it to our homes for us and our children to consume to make them potential alcoholics. On the front page of The Herald, March 20, there was in glaring headlines: proceeds from liquor up 15 per cent, as though we took great pride in announcing this great feat. It is a known fact that alcohol is No. 1 on the list of dangerous drugs, with its many ways of causing problems and yes, even death to those who use it and also those who do not. If we want to indulge in something that may eventually lead to our being alcoholics then I suppose that is the thing to do. If not then do not use it. It is just that simple. Having been at one time a user of alcohol and tobacco I think I know something of what-1 am talking about. I knew it wasn't doing anything for me so I dropped them. We wouldn't need and have Halfway Houses and the other many expensive things which alcohol and tobacco cause in our lives if we could see beyond the end of our nose. Yes we wouldn't need the revenue which the government receives at the expense of the poor fools who use them. Cardston TED WILLIAMS Cheating the taxpayer I have read a lot recently of how the cattlemen have been losing money ever since September on finished cattle. I put my yearlings in a feed lot for the first time in August and sold them in November. I paid about twice the income taxes as before so I don't see how I could have lost money on them. Of course they were Aberdeen Angus and not those wonderful exotics I have read so much about. Other cattlemen have cried and carried on until the government so generously agreed to pay a subsidy with the honest taxpayer's money. In The Herald, March 16, it was reported that two of these honest cattlemen are importing head of American beef so they can make a killing at the expense of their neighbours and the honest taxpayers. I hope their grandmothers don't have gold filling in their teeth. Anyone who would shaft their neighbours like this would be capable of stooping to anything. It remains to be seen if the cattle industry will have the intestinal fortitude to make known anyone and everyone who has cheated the honest taxpayers. GORDON ELGIN Fort Macleod Local news important An ounce of prevention Regarding the abortion issue and the controversy surrounding the continued funding of the Birth Control Information Centre: I hope that those people who are disturbed at the high incidence of both legal and illegal abortion in this area will strongly support the continued operation of the Birth Control Centre. It should be? quite obvious that UK only way to eliminate the demand for abortion is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It should be equally obvious that people will be unable to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy without responsible programs of sex education and easy access to reliable contraceptive techniques. The Birth Control Centre, through its workshops on sexuality and its medical referral service, is providing these services