Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 3, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Wednesday, October 3, 1973 Doomsday reprieve This year has seen a massive conver- sion to the point of view of the doomsday spokesmen who anticipate wholesale starvation before the end of the century. The world-wide food shortage, which some at first suspected was merely propaganda put out by those interested in jacking up prices, now is recognized by nearly everyone to be real. Flood and drought have played havoc with crops in several parts of the world. Affluence in the industrialized nations has brought a steadily increasing de- mand for meat with the result that less grain is available for export animals require a great deal more cereal to yield the protein people could get by merely eating grain. The most serious pressure, of course, is the population explosion. Almost everyone who is knowledgeable in the food picture has stopped making even cautiously optimistic statements about being able to stave off mass star- vation. The complacency that set in with the Green Revolution has gone. In the midst of this gloom an announce- ment of 3 discovery by a Purdue Univer- sity team comes almost as a blinding light. The team has learned to upgrade the protein content of sorghum a basic food of 300 million of the world's poorest, most protein-deficient people. Within three to five years it is expected that the new super sorghum can be put into production. That would mean that the crisis expected in the 1980s might be averted. Purdue spokesmen are right in describing this discovery as "a scientific achievement of the lirst magnitude." No complacency is likely to follow this announcement, however. Unless the growth of population is arrested the new grain will only spell a temporary reprieve from doomsday. The future of man on this planet remains precarious. But still the announcement of the new grain is momentous and should be greeted with rejoicing. Any relief from the encircling gloom is welcome these days. Hushed-up disaster The London Sunday Times reports that thousands in Iraq have been killed by poist.ned seed grain. The newspaper says that Jie Iraq government has hushed up the affair. According to investigations and private estimates of experts on the scene as many as 6.000 may have died and perhaps 100.000 maimed, blinded or deafened by brain damage. Although Iraqi police had issued strict warnings not to use the grain for human consumption it had failed to halt pilfer- ing or to inspect remote villages where the seed had been distributed. Each bag of Mexipak wheat had the Spanish words "No Usarla Para Alimenta" printed on it while the bags of barley carried the words Treated" and a skull with cross bones but none was marked in the grain was to prevent country's idiom. The sprayed with fungicide rotting. Mexipak wheat, a strain developed by Nobel prize-winner Norman Borlaug at the Rockefeller Foundation Wheat Improvement Station in Mexico has made Mexico into a self-sufficient wheat nation and exporter of wheat. The barley came from the United States. The imports had been ordered by the Iraqi government to prevent a grain crisis. As the grain arrived too late for autumn sowing and amid a poor harvest it was within a week baked into bread or fed to animals in perhaps one-fourth of all the peasant villages in Iraq. It is two years since the mercury poisoning reach- ed epidemic proportions but not a word has been heard about this calamity. A little morality play By Jeanne Beaty, Herald staff writer It's time someone said a kind word for the federal government, which took an apparent- ly lonely step when it intervened to prevent an instance of exploitation of Canada's resources. Hence this morality play. In the first act, to recapitulate events as first acts usually do. oil companies, as a matter of routine, apply to the federal government through the National Energy Board for a permit to export x numbers of barrels of crude oil in October. They are turn- ed down because the selling price is too low. The curtain descends. At this early point it is hard to see how the federal government can become the villain, when it is the oil companies who want to sell Canada cheap, but most of the audience isn't in the theatre yet and audiences are known to be fickle. Suspense builds up during the intermission. Will the oil companies reapply at a higher selling price, as common sense would dic- tate? Since they were already prepared to dispose of their oil at a lower price the difference will be sheer profit. And as any Canadian audience knows, the oil industry is not home-owned, so that money will go directly to the box office, across the border. As the curtain rises on the second act, Mc- donald. the knight in shining armor, steps centre stage to put a 40% export tax on oil, which naturally raises the price on the export market to a suitable level and also raises a storm from the oil companies, who have been out manoeuvered in the wings (o rare A storm of emotion sweeps the stage. Crowd mutters of "Who does the federal government think it can be heard, along with one small child's voice saying. "But, mother, won't the money be all ours This role is played by the child actor whose previous role included the line. "But, mother, the emperor has no clothes." The curtain descends. At this point, audience sympathy flows strangely toward the provincial government, stuck with the lame excuse that the export tax will harm the oil industry, presumably by hampering sales. The audience appreciates that this is a difficult and unconvincing role because of the energy crisis and the well- known, impending shortage of fuel oil to heat the box office next winter. This feeling is heightened by a small entr'acte off to the east side of the stage in front of the closed curtain, where characters representing Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq. Kuwait. Libya. Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are discussing price increases for oil. Their conversation in- dicates they have recently had an increase of 11.9 per cent and they seem eager for more. The only stage prop is a sign reading, "Vien- na. Oct. 8." The bell sounds and the curtain rises on the third act of the main play. At centre stage, confronting each other, are the knight in shin- ing armor and the knight whose armor doesn't squeak, while off in the background are various supporting characters hopefully humming an old northarnerican folksong whose lyrics go, "Whatever oyul wants, oyul gets." And the audience waits breathlessly to hiss the villain and cheer the hero. But which is which? ART BUCHWALD The tennis ball shortage WASHINGTON Everyone in the govern- ment refuses to talk about it. but the United States faces the most severe tennis ball shor- tage in its history. The reason for the official silence is the people in power realize that while Americans can do without beef, wheat, gasoline and oil. they cannot survive without tennis balls. I confronted an official of the office of emergency planning and asked him, "What are you doing about the tennis ball shor- tage'.'" His lace went white and he said "How did you find out about "I went into 21 stores and they had no ten- nis balls." I said. can't keep any secrets in this lie said disgustedly. "Then you admit there is a tennis ball shor- lage." "I'll be very honest with you, but I must warn you if the story gets out you could throw the country into chaos. At the rate Americans .ire using tennis balls, we will be out of them In 1974." lli.w did it I asked. 'Fue vears ago there were 5 million people ing tennis in the United States. Today there are million. In another year there could be 50 million. There just aren't enough tennis halls to go around." "Does the president know about lie's been kept informed. The trouble isi not only that the United States is using tennis balls up at a phenomenal rate, but there is a worldwide demand for them. The Japanese and the Germans are buying up all the tennis balls they can. The Soviet Union has been negotiating for tennis ball futures. If the Chinese ever start playing tennis, that's the end of the game as we know it was advised that the best hedge against inflation was to purchase art, Persian rugs or wine...." Stalling may be costly Bv Anthonv Westell, Toronto Star commentator The great events which shape our world often pass un- noticed or at least un- remarked, because they are too complicated to explain in simple terms or because their significance becomes clear only to historians. How many people, for ex- ample, are aware that finance ministers and bankers from lUti countries came close last week to taking a giant step toward international government? And what will historians make of the fact that they hesitated at the last moment and postponed a decision? Ministers from 20 leading countries, including Canada, have been trying to write a new set of rules to govern international monetary dealings. They came close to agreement that the inter- national community, rather than national governments, should be able to decide the sort of trade and financial policies countries should follow to avoid beggaring their neighbors. The idea was that when a country is earning a surplus in its dealings with the rest of the world and piling up a sur- plus of foreign currencies, it should be asked to raise the value of its currency, lower tariff barriers to allow other countries a chance to com- plete, or take other economic steps to correct its balance of payments. If a country refus- ed to take such corrective ac- tion, the international com- munity would have the right to raise trade barriers against it and force a correction. But the committee of 20 countries could not quite reach an agreement on such a far-reaching plan. So the 126 countries comprising the International Monetary Fund, meeting in Nairobi, had to put off a decision on any new scheme for a year or two. But perhaps we do not have a year or two. World money markets have been swept by recurring crises and observers have begun to draw gloomy comparisons with the unstable years before the collapse into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Historians may look back on the Nairobi meeting as op- portunity lost. As Finance Minister John Turner has complained, the failure resulted not from basic disagreement, but from lack of political will. Given the op- portunity to make a major ad- vance toward a more co- operative, less cutthroat, better organized world, we is. the human for a year or two to think it over. We may get a second chance. All we know for now is that out there in Nairobi, the international community was wrestling with issues which have far more bearing on Canadian economic independence than foreign ownership of industry, but few- people in Canada were paying attention. Who creates the issues in a democratic society? Is it the people who express their con- cerns to the politicians and the press? Or is it the critics in the House of Commons and the media who persuade the people that they ought to be upset by some particular problem? In August. 1971. there were 140.000 people unemployed in Ontario. Unemployment was the burning issue of the day, headlined in the press, dis- cussed by politicians and by every learned authority. When Peter Regenstreif went out to poll opinion in the province, before the election that October, unemployment was the problem in most minds. No less than 44 per cent mentioned it as the leading problem of the day. In August this year, there were people un- employed in Ontario. Not a great difference, you might think, in a big province. But unemployment is no longer a fashionable issue. It is hardly mentioned in Parlia- ment and has disappeared from the front pages of the papers. So people no longer perceive it as a problem. When Regenstreif measured public concerns in Ontario recently, only 6 per cent said unemployment was the major issue of the day, and only 13 per cent mentioned it at all. Rising prices now are the worry on everybody's probably because the politicians keep talking about them and the media keeps advertising them. In a few months, we'll all probably be bored with the subject of inflation, and some other issue will dominate public dis- cussion. It looks as though people don't know what to worry about until the politicians and the press tell them. America no longer land of plenty By Joyce Egginton, London Observer commentator "We are turning out tennis balls as fast as we can make them. But people arc using them faster. We've already had reports of riots from several tennis clubs because peo- ple have refused to return tennis balls to the next court after the balls were hit onto their courts. Also there have been cases of people stealing balls from unguarded lockers. "When the situation gets desparate in the spring of next year, this country could have tennis players in the streets "That's your big "It certainly is. If you know anything about tennis players you know they can be really mean people. That's why they play tennis in the first place. You take their tennis balls away from them and heaven knows what will happen. We're not talking about poor people nnw. We're talking about the establishment in this country. They're not used to doing without. When they get their backs up there is no telling what they'll do with their rackets." "Do you have any contingency plans for the tennis ball "The president is considering rationing ten- nis balls one can to a person per week He is also going to ask Congress to pass a law making lobbing illegal." "More balls are lost on lobbing than on any other shot. If the situation deteriorates lurther, the president will order refineries to slop making fuel oil and devote their entire production to synthetic tennis balls." "Those arc drastic measures." "We are also asking countries to pay us for our exports in tennis balls instead of gold." "Well, at least you're on top of the crisis." I said "We've got to be. President Nixon has promised the nation a generation of tennis. NEW YORK The United States, for so long the land of plenty, is beset by sporadic and worsening shortages. In scattered parts of the country, gasoline has been unofficially rationed for months. Soap is in short supply. A familv may have to wait a year for delivery of a new deep freeze. Plumbers cannot get toilets. And there have been no raisins in the supermarkets since the beginning of summer. Americans have been warn- ed that the summer's gasoline shortage will develop into a winter crisis over fuel oil for heating homes and offices. Most have yet to discover that they may nave difficulty buy- ing anti-freeze solution for their car radiators when the temperature drops. And most are unaware of the extent of the shortages since the ma- jority of these occur in specialized items like babies' diapers, candles, tennis balls, wood furniture, copper wire and aspirin. It .vas. for example, only when I planned to do some transplanting in the garden recently that I discovered it has become almost impossible to buy chemical fertilizer, a fact which has been only too obvious to farmers for weeks. And though I was vaguely aware that building materials wore in short supply, it was only when I recently sought to have some renovations to the kitchen and was warned that there would be a wait of at least three months for the construction boarding that the problem hit home. Most shortages are the result of a scomingy endless chain reaction. Before beef price controls were lifted earlier last month, farmers held back the steers they would normally have sent for slaughter in the hope of getting higher prices later. So there was not only a shortage of beef, but also a shortage of anima! fat for tallow which has led to shortages of soap and candles. The beef shor- tage is also soon expected to lead to a shortage of shoe leather. The drug and cosmetics in- dustry is now feeling effects of the meat crisis. Tallow is used to make shampoos, ointments, creams and lotions so that some brands of these items are now hard to find, more expensive or both. The petroleum shortage a case, which can only worsen, of national demand exceeding production means that chemicals derived from petroleum are also in short supply. So it is not only a problem for cosmetics manufacturers to get enough animal fat to make shampoo, but also enough plastic to shape the bottles in which it is packaged. And it is no use sub- stituting glass bottles, because there is also a shor- tage of soda ash which is used in the manufacture of glass. Almost all plastics derived from petroleum are expected to become scarcer and more expensive, from milk cartons to raincoats. A national shortage of lumber again because there isn't enough to meet the grow- ing need has not only affected the building and fur- niture industries; it has caus- ed a shortage of newsprint and Letters Garish misuse of paper As a newcomer to Lethbridge I am naturally interested in the opinions, at- titudes, prejudices and preferences of the people here. I also look to the city's newspaper, The Lethbridge Herald, for clues to the make- up of the great southland and find I am kept well informed. The Herald has mirrored my own impression of the people's general character... It is not surprising then that I was shocked on Tuesday, September 25th, to see the tasteless photograph on page 12 of a car-motorcycle acci- dent showing an injured man (obviously in pain, since he had a broken foot and wrist) lying face down on the pavement. Attending him was a policeman and the usual crowd of gawking fools. I real- ly believed a paper of the calibre of The Herald wouldn't stoop to sen- sationalism let alone crudeness. There is no excuse for such garish misuse of the printed medium. My feeling of disgust is only superseded by my curiosity. Where was the editor at lay-out time? And how much was the photographer paid for the big scoop? JAMES POWLESLAND Lethbridge Misses district news I have noted a recent change in the format of The Lethbridge Herald. 1 realize tnat change is synonymous with progress, but it also seems to me that there has been a decrease in the amount of space allotted to district news. I know many people are interested in world news but many people are also interested in news close to home. World news is available to us through television and radio, but we must rely on the newspaper for district news items. Since a large portion of Southern Alberta's economy is agriculturally oriented there is a large percentage of Southern Albertans to whom rural or district news is of vital interest. I am sure that the rural population of Southern Alberta would be every bit as interested as I am in seeing more space devoted to district news. F. N. THOMPSON Shaughnessy Superstar a primer A theatre is like a whore house. You never know what you're going to see until you get inside. "Jesus Christ, Superstar" is a must for anyone who doesn't like the Bible. Take the an- nointing scene where Mary Magdalen croons, "Sleep and I shall soothe and Jesus responds with a sensual scream, "That feels so nice A reviewer in Newsweek was right on when he said, "if Christ was a 'superstar' then Mary was his 'groupie' (a rock culture term referring to prostitutes who engage in sex- ual promiscuity with rock "Superstar" is just a primer. Pornographers are now working on a movie for adults called the "Love Life of Jesus." Local theatre owners have seemingly not exercised much moral discretion in the past and there's no reason to think they'll bypass any future opportunity. The attitude of local businessmen was best put by a spokesman for cablevision who said he'd cancel plans for adult movies on television only if he was forced to do so by the courts. JOHN DOWLING Coaldale Refutes statement I am writing regarding The Herald's report of September 25th on the oilman rancher situation in Manyberries particularly regarding the statement. "It is a hotel in name only." made by an anonymous oil man (we all know who he is. incidentally i about the accommodation in Manyberries. This seems to me rather damaging to the hotel in question. I and all of the rig men working for Sarcee Drilling leel we couldn't be treated better. The hotel owners have gone out of their way to see that we're all satisfied. The meals are good as well as reasonable and the rooms are clean. Some of us stay in a trailer but the hotel owners still let us bathe at the hotel for free and even invite us in to watch TV in their private suite. As for going to Havre or Foremost when we're thirsty that's practically a lie. I don't know of one of our crew who has had to or desires to go to Havre to do his drinking. There's a good bar right in Manyberries. I feel The herald should have at least attempted to view the accommodation mentioned before printing this report. If this letter is not printed as a rebuttal I think a letter of apology is in order. DENNIS DYCK Manvberries Why the protest? of all kinds of cartons and packaging. Soda ash is one of an increasing number of chemicals whose supply is inadequate, mainly because price controls in the U.S. have caused chemical manufac- turers to produce more for ex- port, bringing them higher profits, than for sale at home. A consequent shortage of the chemical phenol, used in mak- ing aspirin and nylon, means it now costs more to relieve a headache or buy a pair of tights. U.S. demand is outstripping supplies in other natural products as well as petroleum and wood. This year's cotton harvest has not met the national need, hence sporadic shortages of diapers, tennis balls, blue jeans, school un- iforms and towels. A wool shortage has added some to the price of a man's suit, and may soon make lanoline- bastd cosmetics scarce. The construction and plumbing industries are short of almost all essentials, from bricks to bathtubs. "If I had a thousand toilets to sell. I'd be king of Denver." one Colorado plumber remarked. Among the non-essential food items that have dis- appeared (including corn syrup, sauerkraut and shrimps) the most missed have been raisins. Not only has there been a poor season's crop: California vineyard owners now find it more profitable to use all available land for wine production. We arc promised a supply in November, at two or three times the former price. It was very touching to see the picture of the child carry- ing the placard "Supertankers are an accident waiting to happen" at the Peace park at Douglas. B.C. but it seems rather odd that this child's parents didn't tell him that for 20 years Canada has been shipping at least a million barrels of oil a day from Venezuela along the east coast of the rnitt-d States. I have vet to hear any American complaints that Canadian oil users are a danger to American beaches. That same oil travels over 500 miles up the St Lawrence bordered by Canada with no uproar from those protesters who object to the Americans being supplied with oil. Certainly there are dangers of oil spills wherever tankers or oil burning ships travel but this onesided and unfair attempt to prevent a neighbor from doling what we are doing and have done for years borders on the ridiculous. RAY KEITGES Lethbridge. Appreciates article I am sure I am speaking for many farmers, both past and present, when 1 say I have never read such a well written article as that submitted by Norma Shologan. (Herald. Sept. It presents both sides of the situation in a most tactful and understanding manner. I hope that all concerned will read it well and digest it thoroughly. It could prevent no only hostility but bloodshed as well As a one-time farmer's wife. I used to resent hunters crossing my yard (without permission. I 'might add) with loaded guns, because 1 had young children playing outside. Anyone ig- norant enough to act this way is also dumb enough to cause a serious accident. I hope The Herald will preserve this gem ol an arti- cle and print it each year before the hunting season gets underway. It is a real classic, and I thank Norma Shologan lor writing it. F A R M K R B R 0 W N S WIFE" Lethbridge. The Letltbrulge Herald S Lethbridge. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Propnetors and Publishers Published 1905-1954 by Hon WA BUCHANAN Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association and the Audit Bureau ol Circulations Cl EQ W MOWERS Editor and Publisher THOMAS H ADAMS General Manaqer DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managme Associate Edilor ROYM'lLES DOUGLAS K WALKER Advortismg Manager Editorial Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"