Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 7, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, November 7, 1974 Famine can be averted by proper action Grant should help Critics of the federal government's tax-free cash grants to first-time house buyers are forgetting the most im- portant part of the program. The inten- tion of the grant is to help provide "moderately priced" housing. In Lethbridge the ceiling for the grant's application is There are duplex units, condominiums, row houses and sectional or mobile homes available tor under that price, or could be if the de- mand was high enough. The cash grant may make several months' difference in saving for a down payment and allow some renters to buy the lower cost type of housing im- mediately. That is what the government has intended. North Americans in general hold the mistaken idea that each family must live in a rambling home with separate rooms for each living function and each member of the family. That is a pleasant idea but for many only a dream. In many countries of the world anything more than a one-room hovel would be welcome. The suggestion that local builders can- not build homes for less than is ridiculous. If they economized on both square footage and decoration it could be done. Perhaps Canadians should consider themselves fortunate to have a govern- ment that still considers the individual home a right, and be thankful for small boosts along the way. Choosing the comfortable view How is it that the world finds itself in the grave predicament, of having insuf- ficient food for the needs of the people? Is it because political leaders lacked foresight and fortitude during the years when this situation was fomenting? Dr. F. Kenneth Hare, professor of geography at the University of Toronto, speaking" last week at the Winnipeg Centennial Symposium on dilemmas of modern man referred to a column by James Reston of the New York Times in which he reported on an interview with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Reston reported Kissinger as saying "that when he came to Washington in 1969 it did not seem conceivable that there could be a world shortage of energy, and that until 1972 it was assum- ed that there were inexhaustible food supplies in the world." That Dr. Kissinger could be so blind to reality seemed to surprise Dr. Hare. He said he (Dr. Hare) was lecturing on the impending food crisis in 1961 and in 1969 was telling his students that Arab action to upset the world's oil markets was quite certain. ''Mr. Kissinger, and Canada's leaders, get some queer ad- he concluded. There have been many besides Dr. Hare of course, who have tried to warn about the shape of things to come. They have not been heeded because the grounds for gloom have been denied by other persons of apparent authority. Even yet there are those who oppose birth control programs, affirming that it is possible to feed much larger numbers of people than now exist in the face of overwhelming evidence that the crunch has arrived. In the presence of conflicting opinion the leaders of the nations chose to accept the more benign point of view and were complacent as the storm clouds gathered. The majority of people prefer not to be harassed by unpleasant pictures and grim prospects. Those who speak "smooth in the apt phrase of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, have always got the best hearing. There is a notion that entertaining im- pressions of impending disaster produces an immobilizing anxiety. Yet now that the gloomy outlook is beginning to prevail there are indications of people galvanizing into action. This seems to suggest that it is the optimistic point of view rather than the pessimistic one that is responsible for the drift of inactivity a reversal of popular assumption. Democratic ban Does Alderman Bill Kergan not know the difference between dictatorship and democracy? The ban on smoking in the council chambers during sittings of the council was not imposed by a dictator; it was a decision reached by a majority vote after discussion. That is the democratic way. It is regrettable that it should have become necessary to legislate against smoking in public places. Elemental con- sideration should keep smokers from im- posing something that is offensive upon others. Propriety ought to be the prevail- ing concern, not "rights." An argument might be made that non- smokers should be sympathetic to the need of the smoker for his or her "soother.'" Those who have such a need. which appears to be compelling for the are perhaps to be pitied and allowed to do as they please. Yet even the most indulgent in their habit find it possible in certain circum- stances to refrain from smoking. People do not normally smoke in church or while on military parade, for instance. If they can manage without a smoke in such situations why not in all places where propriety prevails, namely, wherever there are people who are bothered by it? Since voluntary inhibition has not been practised there has been a trend to resort to legal restraint of smoking in public places. Alderman Kergan has been on the losing end at city council; he should anticipate losing in more situations in the future. The ban is sure to spread. ERIC NICOL The food bill "We face a future in which a larger propor- tion of the family income will be spent on food (Economic The future caught up with our family last week I locked at the tally from the super- market the slip that used to be a streamer long enough to festoon a gangplank and I said to the loved ones at dinner: "I regret to report that already this month we have eaten the new record player. At the present rate of increase in the price of food, by the end of next week we shall also have consumed skis for you lot and my new bad- minton racket. "What about our winter holiday in Hawaii''" asked a daughter. 'We ate that last June." 1 snapped "Your mother served it with roast potatoes and mint sauce, if you recall "Does that mean we forget about getting a TV" asked a son i consulted my notes and said "With regard to purchase of a color you can look forward to solid-state hamburger, with ,t tuning to meat loaf But they don't understand It is tough to get it across to today's generation, steeped in affluence as it has been, that the dis- cretionary dollar has been shredded with thf beet tops My son skips off from the dinner table living on his plate my knit slacks The entire familv raids the fridge, never reahfing that thpi have pillaged is the 'if own ing a summer cottage Thev rhmb into bed wilh bits of shingle in th'-ir teeth tvlr-hing our Bide-A-Wee and 'he wiser how 3 must indoctrinate them with r. telling us naroch -A-P in for return to the when h'iJ no choice but to Dlow the VjivJl' f'T> for-d and shelter For the peasant Ah i had known nothing more- elaborate- in the way of material possessions, it was not too difficult to make the dependants clap hands with delight on being given a bone with meat on it. It is not realistic to expect the same response from a child whose life has been so full that he yawns when presented with anything less than the key to a Playboy Club. Bunny in the form of rabbit stew does not turn him on Nor is it going to be a piece of cake to per- suade other members of the family to adopt the French tradition of dinner as the day's piece de resistance, a three-hour celebration of gastronomy that starts late and ends in time for bed. eliminating the need for other prime-time spending. The working mother wants a dinner that is zip1 ready to serve and quick to dispose of Who can relish trying to sell her thf idea that we no longer eat to live, but live to eat. because the budget won't stretch to ac- quisitions that are not edible'' In a world going, going, gone short of vic- tuals. La Dolce Vita shrinks to a small wedge of piz7.a. and ketchup is king an awful lot of people will cling trnaciouslv to the vision of luxurv as -.omelhinp more than an egg roll We don't rvrn the phenomenon of the desert her- mits -A ho helped to bridge the transition from the Roman empire to the monasticism of ihf 1 Ages If we go into the desert we expert to find an oasis with fulh -modern trailer .imp and Ift-hole golf to be more progressive and get away from the old. obsolete, wasteful methods of cooking that he learned in the armed forces. In this day and age we have a moral obligation to help our fellow man and not waste food. Thousands of pounds of inedible gunk called cake are slathered with gallons of colored icing to tempt people to buy food that isn't even good for them No wonder our students rebel when they know the conditions in the world and when they see the greed and waste practised in our supposed institutions of learning I believe all people who are truly concerned about tiie food situation in the world should boycott such affairs as the food show at the college this vear MRS. J. CAMPBELL Lelhbndge Animals more valuable to the item in The Or! 2fl. on doctors. plumbers, vrt s remuneration the reason vets make more money than doctors is that animals are more valuable. A CYNIC provided them with a support structure of officials, headed by Hans Dahln. a Dane who works for the food and agricultural organization of the United Nations, and Angus Archer, a Canadian who was formerly executive director of the Canadian Council for International Co operation and now is at the UN in New York. The NGOs. as they are known, get their own briefings from World Food Conference officials every morning and have a series of workshops for them to attend. They hold press conferences, buttonhole delegates, and in their frenetic manner generally try to influence conference pro- cedings. Among the NGOs. the Cana- dian group is already conced- ed first place as the best organized. They have a Team Canada and a Team Rome, something no other country is able to mount. All told, the group in Rome totals 14 members, only six fewer than the official list of the Canadian government's delegation. Among them are a bishop of the Anglican Church. T. D. Ragg of the Huron Diocese: a trustee of the Canadian Hunger Foundation. Kalmen Kaplansky. and a United Churchman. Robert Lindsay. Their two chief spokesmen arc Bernard Daly of the Cana- dian Catholic Conference and Russel Halton of Gall's Fly. an inter-church group that has been working on development problems and Canada's role in the Third World. Their reports on the Cana- dian position, the progress of the conference and recommended reaction are passed on to volunteers strategically located across Canada. They listen to the taped messages of Team Rome and swing into action if needed A number of Canadian volunteers are lined up to telegraph the Canadian delegation with commenda- tion or criticism of their position, write their prime minister or their MP with the same, and generally react from Canada to a position taken in Rome within hours, or a day at most. Although the Canadian gov- ernment delegation has as- signed Margaret Meagher of the external affairs depart- ment, a former ambassador, to the job of working with the NGOs from Canada during the conference, they want a much closer link with the Canadian delegation. The NGOs are not going to be content with anything less than direct meetings with Canadian officials, many of whom they feel are less sym- pathetic to the poor of the Third World than the Cana- dian ministers at the meeting. Mr. MacEachen and Agriculture Minister Eugene Whelan. The other main project they have been involved in is the preparation of a statement to be made to the conference by Food for Life, an international group of concerned citizens. The Canadians came to Rome with about 2.300 Canadian sig- natures on a pledge that urged them to resist social pressures to increase con- sumption and pollution, prac- tise a simpler lifestyle and share "time, talent and treasure" with others. Symbolic of the relationship between the conference secre- tariat and the NGOs is the fact that the final form of the statement the Food for Life group will make to the conference is being drafted by Mr Archer, a UN official. billion in emergency aid have been sluggish, to put it mildly, partly because oil-consuming countries feel that more responsibility lies on the petroleum exporters than they are accepting. One of CIDA's vice-presi- dents, Earl Drake, put the general Canadian view of the immediate problem forward in a speech a few days ago. "What must happen next is a massive and continuing emergency operation. The world used to have about a 90- day food reserve on hand. At the end of the last crop year this had fallen to a 27-day supply, the lowest reserve in more than a generation. Disappointing crops this year make it unlikely that any rebuilding of food stocks can take place and more likely that the situation will grow more precarious. Action must begin now if it is to help the poorest 25 countries and the poorest 800 million people sur- vive a crisis not of their mak- ing. Now, as we have all been amply warned, the world is only one crop failure away from famine on a scale none of us has famine that would pursue us via television even into our homes and would change us forever." Canada has already taken some action, pledging million to the International Monetary Fund account to finance oil purchases by countries with balance of payments problems and ex- tending a general prefer- ential tariff to make various Third World exports more competitive here. None- theless, Canada's increased trade earnings from under- developed countries are still greater than our increased aid to them. There is no doubt that the world's food situation is gen- uinely serious and on a scale that is beyond solution through normal trade. The Canadian people would willingly support token aid programs this year will probably absorb about .5 per cent of our gross national product and it does not seem likely that there would be much outcry if this fraction were raised to the .7 per cent recommended by the Pearson commission. There is not much sign, however, of the political leadership that would be essential if Canada were to go beyond tokenism. No matter what emergency aid is arranged, no matter what assistance programs are undertaken in future, the Third World's food production must go up dramatically or before long people will begin to starve to death in very large numbers. Canada is shifting the emphasis of its aid programs, seeking to come to grips with this problem, and some Canadian money and ex- pertize will be spread around, probably rather thinly and quite widely. We do not seem likely, so far as a judgment can be formed on the basis of any of the official or ministerial statements that have come forward this year, to do anything very dramatic or to provide much leadership internationally. Some of the problems of Bangladesh, for instance, pro- vide an example of the sort of action that will have to be taken internationally if the world's food deficiencies are to be met before, rather than after, massive famines. Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries. Yet. with a smaller pop- ulation, that same area was once known as "Golden Bengal." One of the great problems to be dealt with if it is to raise its food production on the scale that is necessary is a great expansion of its flood control works, a project that would be extremely costly With the floods of its rivers and Us coastline brought under control, Bangladesh would no longer be one of the world's poorest countries chronically on the verge of famine. But it is whether the world has the will to undertake programs on this scale that is so much in doubt. The letkbridge Herald 5M7thS1 S Lethbridge Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mall Registration No 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor DONALD fl DORAM Oenprsl Manager ROY F MILES Adwrlismg Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FENTON C'r'.ulstion Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"