Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE November 8, 1974 Canada must co-operate Some further thoughts on the question of exporting Canadian gas or partially processed gas to the United States for the manufacture of fertilizer: The three major elements required for plant growth are nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. Incessant grain production is a heavy consumer of phosphorous. Western Cana- dian agriculture is also increasingly dependent on nitrogen. Potash is not greatly deficient in these parts. Other parts of the world need it more. Saskatchewan has become a major world producer of potash. It is nearly all exported. Natural gas is one of the major sources of nitrogen. Phosphorous is made from phosphate rock, of which none is produced commer- cially in Canada, although there are said to be some potential deposits in the Rocky Mountains. Almost all of Canada's needs are imported from the United States. So Western Canadian agriculture is more dependent on fertilizer ingredients from the U.S. than American agriculture is on imports from Canada. If Canada adopts a "none for export" policy toward nitrogen, what would happen if the U.S. said the same about phosphate? Most of the world's nations are now in conference in Rome discussing the global food shortage. Greater fertilizer use is essential in any program. Nations such as Canada and the U.S. must export either more food or more fertilizer, or both. The far side of fifty One of the fallacies of modern thought is the still commonplace conviction that 40 is the most difficult age to pass. This may have been true at one time but today most people are in such good health and so busy with their myriad activities that the age of 40 passes with surprisingly lit- tle effect. The only lasting emotion it arouses is amazement that this should be so. The real age of confrontation is 50. At this point in life it is too late to ac- complish all one had dreamed of ac- complishing or to be all one had hoped to be but it is still too soon to forget those dreams. This is the age when the finiteness of individual life is dramatized by the deaths of parents or of peers struck down by heart attacks. At 50, in the face of this realization of the frailty of existence, one is confronted with self, with the need to reassess am- bitions and realign plans. One major compensation comes with half a century of living. Fifty is the last of the difficult birthdays. At some point in the year it will occur to the introspec- tive person that to be the master of his fate, in the words of Henley's passionate declaration, does not mean that he must change the world or face failure on Henley's terms. It means only that he is responsible for his own behavior within that world. With this sudden sense of release from too great a burden the far side of 50 becomes wonderful country, where age is no longer measured by the calendar and one has a singular freedom to be himself. ART BUCHWALD A doctor in the house WASHINGTON Uncle Sam was wheeled into the emergency room on a stretcher. "What seems to be the the nurse asked. "I don't his nephew, John Q. Public, replied. "He's sick. His rate of inflation is twice as fast as it used to be and he can't move his gross national product. He keeps complaining that his economy is sluggish." "I'll call Dr. the nurse said. Dr. Ford came into the emergency room and took Uncle Sam's pulse. he said. Then he listened to his heart with a stethoscope. he said again. He looked into Uncle Sam's mouth and said, "I don't like it." "What's John Q. Public asked. "How do I Dr. Ford replied. "I'm new at all this. Now if he needed a pardon operation, I could help him." "Please, John Q. Public cried, "do something." "I'm going to need a consultation with other doctors. I'll call a summit for next week." They left Uncle Sam in the emergency room and a week later specialists who had flown in from every part of the country gathered around the patient. One doctor said, "He's suffering from an acute recession." "I beg to differ with another doctor said. "It's a clear case of swollen stagflation I think we should inject more money into his body." "Are you a third specialist yelled. "His inflation rate is already at two digits. The only way to save him is to cut off his leg." said another specialist. "We have to lower his prime rate and increase his productivity. Give him an immediate shot in the arm." "No, no, another doctor shouted. "We should put him in traction and put controls on every part of his body." "I say we should ration his blood." "Tax his heart." "Transplant his liver." "Let him bleed some more until it hurts." "Cut his defenses." "Take him off Medicare." "Reduce his consumption." Uncle Sam was groaning in pain but no one seemed to notice him. John Q. Public was nervously looking from one doctor to another. Finally Dr. Ford said, "Thank you, gentleman, you've all been a big help. I don't know what I'd have done without you." He gave each of the experts a set of cuff links as they filed out of the emergency room. When they were gone, John Q. Public said anxiously to Dr. Ford, "What are you going to do to "He's going to have to bite the Dr. Ford replied grimly. He went over to Uncle Sam and said, "I don't know how to tell you this." "It's okay. Uncle Sam croaked. "I can take it." "Now this is what I want you to Dr. Ford said, writing out a prescription. "When you sit down at the dinner table, take all that you want but eat all that you take. I hope you'll be better in a few months." ON THE HILL lly llerl Margrave, Ml'fur MftlU'ine lint "See, I told you you wouldn't notice if I cut down the sugarin your coffee..." Premiers solve nothing By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator OTTAWA Do you remember what it feels like standing close to someone blowing up a balloon and ex- pecting it to burst momen- tarily? An increasing number of concerned people are getting that uneasy feeling. The meeting of first ministers (the Prime Minister of Canada and the premiers of the provinces) at 24 Sussex Drive last Wednesday was designed for frank discussion of the causes of inflation and possible remedies. Reports after the meeting suggested that little had been ac- complished other than more gas in the old balloon. Premier Davis, of Ontario, was concerned about interest rates. He wanted more federal money made available to the province for housing. This is a reasonable request but, once again, is symptom treating. If inflation were checked, interest rates would come down and house sales increase. You can't solve the problems of the cities with ex- pensive (10 per cent to 12 per cent) money and expensive money is a product of inflation. Premier Blakeney, of Saskatchewan, suggested a two hundred million dollar food bank to preserve food that might otherwise be wasted for use in un- derdeveloped countries where protein is at a premium. A no- ble suggestion and one that is worthy of consideration on its merit. But the object of that exercise would be aid to developing countries rather than an attempt to arrest inflation in Canada. The Atlantic premiers ex- pressed concern that the federal government's restric- tive monetary policy might create excessive unemploy- ment in their region. Others thought non-essential construction should be curtail- ed and resources presently employed in heavy construc- tion diverted to house building. None of these suggestions raised any fun- damental disagreement. The only exception being the federal government's ap- parent determination to con- tinue to disallow provincial royalties on oil and minerals as deductions in computing federal tax. While these issues are all important in their own right, they skirt the fundamentals of inflation, i.e. the relationship between wages, profits, productivity and prices. The first ministers, it appears, had the same difficulty in concentrating on the main issue that economists do. They talked about many things but refused to "face the music" because the music, like much contemporary com- position, lacks both melody and harmony and grates on the nerves. The cardinal issue avoided was the relationship between salaries and wages on the one hand and productivity on the other. It is a matter of record that each of us in the labor force produce, on average, three per cent more each year than we did the year before. Some of us who use big machines may produce six per cent more each year. Others such as journalists, politicians, teachers and public servants may not increase their output at all. But the average for all of us is three per cent approximately. Consequently we can each have an increase in real in- come of three per cent a year and no more except at the expense of someone else. Unfortunately particular- ly in the last decade the pecking order has been dis- torted. Some groups in society have been left behind. Conse- quently some "catch-up" must take place if we are to enjoy a "just society." But by definition, must be at the expense of those of us who have forged ahead in recent years. Often you hear people say that oil producers have been selling their oil a wasting resource too cheaply and that they are entitled to more. They also say, and with justification, that the farmers have been getting the short end of the stick and that they should be adequately and fair- ly compensated. Similarly, it is claimed, poverty is a national disgrace and something must be done about it. The same people, often, want all these things ac- complished without the necessity of personal restraint or sacrifice. It is a classic case of wanting one's cake and eating it too. Meanwhile, the attempt to index wages to the cost of liv- ing is a guarantee that the problem will never be solved. This year's settlement based on last year's inflation becomes, automatically, the most important cost factor in next year's inflation. Because wages and salaries collective- ly represent the largest proportion, by far, of our Gross National Product, this practice of indexing means that the cycle will never end. Until these cardinal prin- ciples are accepted by experts and politicians alike with the backing of an informed electorate there is no real hope of avoiding the paradox of i.e. high un- employment and high infla- tion at the same time. The attitude of our first ministers is depressing. At almost the same moment they were indulging themselves in mutual back-slapping, Dr. Herbert Stein, former chairman of the U.S. president's Council of Economic Advisers, told a Winnipeg audience that "the prospects for the survival of the free market are shadowed and the outcome is by no means certain." In this context, the pollyanna approach of Canada's eleven top political figures is frightening. Whether the "we are generally satisfied with the policies pursued by the federal government" attitude reflects the political fear of telling the Canadian people the truth or the liberal death wish of Western civilization is unclear. The question remains as to how much worse the situation will have to get before politicians and citizens alike say "enough." Will it be before or after the balloon bursts? THE CASSEROLE "Voilal We've finallv come up with a completely Remember how world price levels i.e the- price established by the London commodi- ty market f orr ed c offee up7 Now there's a surplus of coffee and. with a much better crop than expected, the wholesale price quoted on the London market is described by traders as "an unheard-of Retail prices, which shot up immediately when the linden market rose, seem unaffected by its fail At least somoonr west of Ottawa thinks the mctnc system coming School children in erades one to six in British Columbia are be- ing taught mf tnc measurements Elsewhere people seem to have totally forgotten that J980 is th" target date for a completely metric system in Canada Apropos that recent advance of the atomic doomsday clock Senator Stuart Symington noted the other day that the current American nuclear stockpile is equal to more than Hiroshima-type bombs, and that this store and its Russian equivalent are both increasing daily. If Dr J. Brinkworth, a top flight British mechanical engineer is right, solar energy is the power source the world should be trying lo develop It is inexhaustible, available everywhere, and not subject to anyone's rontrol or pricing policies. As to power, his calculations indicate the roof of an average barn could trap enough solar energy to run the pumps that irrigate 10 acres of land. The current interest on all fronts in our Canadian cattle industry prompts me to make a few remarks on this subject. Almost every sitting day in the House there has been questions and comments on this topic starting on the opening day of questions. As our Conservative caucus critic on livestock and es- pecially cattle, I have been much more involved than usual in this specific issue. The cow-calf and grass yearling side of the industry is in deep trouble all over the continent and indeed over most of the world. This is due primarily to a current over- supply of cattle on this conti- nent together with the uncer- tainty and lack of confidence now evident in the feed-lot end of the industry following disastrous feeding ex- periences in late 1973 and the first three-quarters of 74. Four provincial gov- ernments Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, have announced interest free loans for cow- calf operators in recognition of this serious situation. Mr. Whelan has not yet indicated what position the federal government intends to take, except to comment on the very wide and sometimes op- posing views he has received from provincial governments and from various cattle organizations across Canada. It seems fair to suggest that both provincial and federal governments have some responsibility here if only because of the considerable encouragement they provided over the last few years for farmers to diversify and switch to cattle. The opinions I am receiving from cattlemen across Canada fall into two distinct categories. The well established cattle producer who has been involv- ed for a number of years are saying leave us alone, we've taken our bumps and hopeful- ly we're on the upturn there has been far too much govern- ment involvement already. The younger cattlemen who made the move into cattle in a major way over the last two to three years are in a desperate way many with loan repayments to make this fall based on calf sales which are at present only about half of last year's values. Some within this second group have already been forced to give it up and seek employment in other industries. Mr. Whelan is also now hedging on the question of a beef cattle investigation that he seemed to favor in his throne speech. I can only add that regardless of whether the federal government holds an investigation or institutes some form of cash advances, our cow-calf operators are in for a rough time for perhaps IVz to two years or until we eat our way out of this present surplus and until there is a substantial increase in North American feed grain supplies. This pessimistic view was certainly not changed as a result of my attendance at the Washington Trade Informa- tion Committee held on Oc- tober 25th. At this hearing our Canadian cattle industry with unjustified government protection, was held responsi- ble for a good part of their depressed markets. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association presented a very well researched brief and I was very pleased to support them personally in their presentation. A more detailed report of this hearing is included as a separate state- ment below. This hearing, initiated by White House action was called on very short notice to assess the implications of the possible imposition of quotas on imports from Canada such quotas, if imposed, would be for the purpose of obtaining the removal of import quotas imposed by Canada on beef, veal and live cattle for slaughter, and to provide access for these items to the Canadian market on an equitable basis." The general tone of all the U.S. briefs was highly critical of recent Canadian govern- ment actions involving our tariffs, surcharge, global quotas and DES policies respecting our cattle industry. Most U.S. witnesses demanded not just counter quotas but immediate em- bargoes against all Canadian cattle, beef and hog imports, unless Canada withdraws its recent quota and DES cattle regulations. Canada's new grading system (since September 72) was alleged to have caused the heavy exports by the U.S. to Canada of slaughter cattle in 1973. They suggested we could not supply our own needs especially of hotel, restaurant and institution wholesale cuts. The facts are that it was the U.S. price control program and its after- math that caused massive holdbacks of overfat cattle and a six per cent reduction in U.S. cattle marketings, that precipitated the heaviest ex- ports to Canada in history in 1973 slaughter It is interesting to note that the U.S. is now moving to new beef grade standards that are somewhat similar to our new grades, in an effort to save on feed grains by reducing ex- cess fat. It was very evident that our Canadian DES policy was most unpopular. We were reminded again and again of the coincidence of our unof- ficial DES ban ending on the exact date of the start of our new quotas. Both of these developments have worked to restrict the northward flow of fat cattle. Our Canadian Cattlemen's Association brief was very well researched and presented; admittedly to a less than enthusiastic audience! It stressed the very abnormal trade year of 1973 and the resulting conse- quences to both countries, and the 10 1 ratio of our cattle and human populations with the resulting overpowering influence of the U.S. market forces on Canadian markets. Both U.S. and Canadian witnesses stressed the long term advantages of reciproc- ity but there was no ap- parent agreement that such reciprocity should recognize the ratio of our cattle numbers a fact of life that our CCA feels must be reckon- ed with to prevent a flood of cattle into Canada as in 73 and early 74. The trade information com- mittee will now make recommendations based on this hearing to higher policy people. I attach some significance to one of the chairman's closing remarks. He stated that section 252 of the Trade Expansion Act (the authority for the hearing) re- quires that President Ford shall take necessary retaliatory action, unless Canada withdraws its recent action. In my view immediate em- bargoes or quotas by the U.S. would have very little effect on our markets because of our higher market levels. However, there are very serious implications for our cow and calf markets because of the expected very heavy deliveries for the balance of this year. These deliveries could be more than enough for our Canadian demand and may have to go south to the U.S. at prices below their markets. It is clearly evident, at least to me, that Canada's recent federal election and the November U.S. elections, have had a distinct influence on the present state of uncer- tainty and distrust in these cattle issues between our two countries Again, jn my opinion, we should get back to the negotiating table, at two levels First, by cattlemen themselves through their own organizations who should then make their views known to eovemmonts Secondly. Mr. andMr But'.and their should begin The Lethbridge Herald S6t 7th a S LMtibrlOfp LETHBWDGE HERALD CO LTD Prop'wton and PuMMVt OMB MMI No 001? CLEO MOWERS. Editor DON H PILLING DONALD <4 DOHAM f MILES M FFNTOW DOUGLAS K WALKER I Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"