Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 9, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIOQE HERALD WrtnMday, October 9, 1974 President Perez to President Ford When the president of Venezuela purchases a page in the International Herald Tribune for a letter to the presi- dent of the United States, one thing is certain. It is not the White House he is really addressing. The letter from President Perez to President Ford, prompted by the letter's address to the UN, is calm and reasoned and it professes friendship and willingness to co operate. However, it makes the point, repeatedly, that the raw materials exported by the developing countries have historically been under priced and never in equilibrium with the higher priced machinery and manufac- tured goods which have been imported from the developed countries. This im- balance, says President Perez, is the source of economic marginality and growing poverty in which over half of mankind continues to live. This, of course, over simplifies the problem. Many of the impoverished countries of the world have not had com- modities to sell at any price, and in im- plying that the developed countries have been responsible for the imbalance the letter relies on the contradictory reason- ing that in the case of oil and other raw materials it is the buyer who has set the price while in the case of manfactured goods it is the seller who has set the price. Mr. Perez even attempts to lay the food crisis on the developed nations of the world. This crisis is, he wrote, "a consequence, inter alia, of the high prices at which the developed nations sell us agricultural and industrial machinery and other inputs essential to agriculture and the growth of our economies." The Latin inter alia (among other things) is the key phrase here. Among those other reasons are shortages of fertilizer, which can be tied directly to the astronomical hike in oil prices by the cartel of which Venezuela is a member; weather, for which no nation can be held accountable, and an exploding pop- ulation, which cannot be attributed to the developed nations. At another point, the Venezuelan presi- dent avers that oil prices account for only an insignificant percentage of production costs in the United States and the other developed countries. This is not an indisputable fact and it sounds almost like wishful thinking. The increase in the price of oil has not been insignificant for many of the industrialized countries which depend largely on imports and it is certainly not insignificant for many of the poor countries whose oil bills have prevented the purchase of needed fer- tilizer, although he does not mention this. The ad is no doubt a part of a public relations effort to counteract the harden- ing attitude among the oil consuming countries and to make points in advance of the UN Food Conference in Rome in November. It can also be concluded that President Perez, whose democratic country is an anomaly in South America, is in an uncomfortable position within the oil cartel. His sympathies are with the have nots of the world and he wants to put the blame for their present predicament on the shoulders of someone else. President Ford is a likely candidate. Vigilance still required Concern for the preservation of the en- vironment, only recently aroused, threatens now to-be submerged by the deepening anxiety about the present high cost of fuel and future shortages of energy supply. Comments made at the World Energy Conference in Detroit in- dicate that environmentalists will have a difficult time holding the ground gained. Secretary of the U.S. Treasury William Simon claimed that conservationists and environmentalists were impeding America's all out efforts to reduce its dependence on oil. Nuclear power could become the replacement for oil if ecologists were not so obstructionist. They will have to give way, said Mr. Simon. Another call for the abandonment of controls came from Mr. Carl Bagge of the National Coal Association. He wants restrictions on strip mining to be lifted because coal is the most promising source of energy in allowing the U.S. to become independent. A world voice was that of Lord Solly Zuckerman, former scientific adviser to the British government. He bluntly said, "Conservation groups must make way and cease to obstruct the energy hunt." Not everyone at the Detroit conference took these attacks lying down. Two Cana- dian scientists, unnamed in the news report, raised cautioning voices about a wholesale commitment to generating nuclear power when the waste materials have to be isolated from the environment for at least years. This requires that social institutions retain, from now to perpetuity, sufficient stability to guarantee the permanent care of these highly radioactive wastes. It is only a very determined optimist who would hold a feeling of confidence about the reliability of human institutions. This generation does not possess an un- challengeable right to mortgage countless future generations to its own seemingly insatiable demands for energy. Some environmentalists have probably taken extreme positions which they could to compromise somewhat but the danger of im- poverishing, if not imperilling, life on earth for those following must not be overlooked. Vigilance is still required if irrepairable damage through short range expedients is to be avoided. ART BUCHWALD Make a list WASHINGTON In his dosing speech to the economic summit, President Ford told Americans to make up a list of 10 ways you can save energy and fight inflation. Little things that have become habits, but that don't really affect your health and happiness Exchange your family's list with your neighbors and send me a Dear Mr. President, Enclosed please find my list of ways we could save energy and fight inflation. As soon as I made it, I went over to see my neighbor, Schlumberger. and asked him for his list. Schlumberger hadn't made up his yet, which didn't surprise me. It takes him three weeks to cut his lawn and he still hasn't returned the lawn chairs he borrowed in June. I said, "the president has asked us how we can save energy and fight inflation. My wife and I notice you always leave the light on in your bathroom. Now it's obvious to us that there isn't somebody in the bathroom all the time. Why couldn't you turn the light out when no one is Instead of Schlumberger accepting this in the spirit in which it was given, he said something like "We'll keep our then he said a terrible word) bathroom lights on all night long if we want to." I then went to item No. 2. "I notice you always seem to drive to work alone. Is there any reason you can't car pool Well, Mr. President, I want you to know Schlumberger started screaming and yelling and telling me to mind my own (and then there was that word again; business 1 couldn't believe someone would be so selfish during a crisis of this proportion 1 was tempted not to bring up item No. 3. but I decided the interests of the country came first so I said, -It appears the fuel truck comes around to your house every two months. The oil man told my wife you keep your thermostat at 74 degrees. Why couldn't you close off a few rooms in the winter and turn the dial down to 67 I want to tell you, Mr. President, you would have thought I asked Schlumberger to go streaking down Pennsylvania Avenue at high noon. He said he would keep the (put the word here) thermostat at any (the word again) temperature he (word) pleased. And then he said a strange thing. He said why didn't 1 worry about my own (word) thermostat? I had a good mind to just walk out but I still had a few more things on my list. I said, "that gaslight you have in front of your house it seems to me it's just a habit with you. Does it really do anything to affect your health or I guess I touched a sore nerve because Schlumberger asked me to get out of his I wish he had a larger vocabulary) house. I know it comes as a shock to you. Mr. President, that there are such thin-skinned people in this country. I went to the next item on my list which was what Schlumberger was doing about inflation. I said, "My wife and I through your garbage last night and we were shocked to see how much good food your family wastes and. Mr. President, I know you're not going to believe this, but Schlumberger grabbed me by the back of my coat and pants and pushed me nght out the front steps. I almost broke my arm. Anyway, here's the list you asked for. Maybe you can do more with Schlumberger than 1 can As you can see from my account, he's not much for jawboning. He's realty a first-class any word you Sincerely, Art Buchwald 'As you can see the recent allegations about the Indians having terrible living conditions are totally one-sided." Parliamentary reform By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator OTTAWA Wise visitors to Parliament Hill will check to find out what time the ques- tion period begins. It is like phoning a theatre to find out what time the feature starts. If you.are going to a show, you might as well see the main attraction and from the begin- ning. To characterize the House of Commons question period as show business, is not really unfair. It is a game that Members of Parliament play each day, partly for their amusement, partly to enter- tain the visitors in the gallery, but primarily for the press. Like the cinema, sometimes it is incredibly boring, while at other times it is the best show in town. Members of Parliament, usually from the Opposition benches, ask questions on a wide range of subjects using material gleaned from morn- ing newspapers and radio reports as source material. While the rule book stipulates that questions may only be asked to seek information, in the majority of cases, the aim of the game, in practice, is to embarrass the government. Ministers, in reply, try to turn the verbal missiles around, boomerang style, by diffusing the issue and using the oppor- tunity provided to tell the world what a great job the government is doing. Meanwhile, most MP's and cabinet ministers are either participants in the game or interested spectators while the legislative and ad- ministrative clocks are stopped. In his speech to the House of Commons last Wednesday, the prime minister suggested that the procedure should be changed. The Canadian House of Commons should adopt something similar to the British system where ministers are questioned one at a time in rotation; where advance notice %of questions is given; where supplementary questions on the same or a related subject may be posed; and where the prime minister is grilled on urgent matters and aspects of his own respon- sibility twice weekly. This is but one of several proposals for parliamentary reform which, as a package, should be looked at very carefully. But in respect of the question period, the prime minister's proposal is, in my opinion, on the right track. The most important reason for reform is to give cabinet ministers time to run their departments effectively. At present, they are required to sit in the House the equivalent of five half-days a week. I use the term "half-day equivalent" because a minister must review all current news items relating to his department with his of- ficials before entering the House in order to be prepared for questions. By the time he (or she) can leave the chamber an hour and a half or two hours later and run the gauntlet of backbenchers waiting in the lobby for "two minutes on an urgent sub- the afternoon is pretty well shot. This is particularly devastating in the summer when civil servants, other than those alerted in advance, have gone home at four o'clock, just about the time the minister is available to begin .serious consideration of departmental business. The same minister will be expected to attend caucus one morning and cabinet another. He will probably be a member of at least two cabinet com- mittees which meet regularly and consume a lot of time, both on the spot and in preparation. He may be re- quired to attend a delegation from the National Farmers Union, the chamber of com- merce or the Voice of Women, All of this time is committed in advance before any of the routine constituency or departmental business is scheduled. With that workload, it is quite impossi- ble for a minister to be the effective operating head of his department without working virtually around the clock. While a streamlined procedure is essential, so, too, is the maintenance of the prin- ciple involved. Opposition MPs must be able to ask which minister was using a designated government air- craft on a specific date, the purpose of the flight, the name of the blonde passenger and the reason for her presence aboard. That is the essence of responsible government of ministers being questioned directly on the floor of the House. Something similar to the British system will achieve both goals. Some of my recent colleagues in the Conservative party may not see the wisdom of this proposal at once. But they will when they form a. government. Changed House of Commons By Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star commentator This Parliament is different from the last, whether you look at it from above or from below. The MPs who look upwards now can see among the report- 'ers in the Press Gallery the familiar profile and wavy silver hair of Paul Hellyer, who until a few months ago was a Conservative front- bencher. Looking downwards into the chamber, the change is even more obvious: The Liberals fill up all the seats to the Speaker's right and indeed room has had to be found for a couple of Liberal MPs on the Opposite side of the House. The most important differ- ences between the 30th Parlia- ment and the 29th, its life cut short by the election, are all obvious. The Liberals enjoy a majority, and so enjoy also four years or so power free of the threat of unseemly interruption; the principal Op- position parties, the Conser- vatives and New Democrats, both are leaderless and until they find new men both will remain uncertain trumpets. The Liberal caucus of back- bench MPs and senators has as much to lose iti a majority Parliament as any Opposition party. Until the election, the caucus could at times pull rank on the cabinet: Petro- Canada, the national petroleum corporation, might never have become govern- ment policy but for back- bencher pressure. The ev- idence so far is conflicting: Immigration, a crucial and controversial policy issue, is being debated by a caucus committee; at the same time another key policy subject, the tax exemptions of Time and Readers' Digest, has been discussed in cabinet without reference to the party caucus. Television, rather than the political judgments of the voters.' could make the most dramatic changes in Parliament. "Once the cameras come on we'll have to stop fooling around." said one MP. Television is serious: the red eye makes and un- makes reputations. Speeches will be shorter; interruptions will be less blatantly partisan; MPs will try to remember the lessons from Marshall McLuhan and cast themselves in a cool, low-key image. Serious but casual; sincere but unstuffy. Parliament's rules and procedures will be reformed. Parliamentary reform isn't a subject that arouses Canadians from Atlantic to Pacific to a white heat of ex- citement Yet it is crucial. Out of the Throne Speech have come 68 separate pieces of legislation. Most of these date back to the last Parliament; some, such as the Citizenship Act. go back three years or more. Yet there is no chance that this backlog of leg- islation can be cleared in a single session of Parliament. Government House Leader, Mitchell Sharp, showing the training of six years as minister of external affairs, prefers to talk about parliamentary "ef- fectiveness" rather than parliamentarv "efficiency." Efficiency up an im- age of the Commons as a sausage grinder for the meat that the government decides to stuff into it. Effectiveness, in theory, works both ways, for the Opposition as well as for the government. "Parliament doesn't says Sharp, "It is the place where the government is checked, called to account." Sharp has met three times with the House leaders of the opposition parties. His plan "to give as well as to is to reach agreement on some basic reforms within this in- side group before turning the matter over to a Commons committee. The most likely concession Sharp will have to make in re- turn for a cutback in opposi- tion time-wasting will be a more liberal policy of publishing government documents, all of which at present can be classified con- fidential to await the con- venience, or whim of the cabi- net. This Parliament, finally, has robbed Canadians of a chance to watch history being made. Had Heliyer won his seat he would have been a can- didate for the party leadership when Conservative Leader Robert Stanfield steps down. Six years ago Hellyer com- peted against Trudeau; lie thus would have become the first person to contend for the leadership of both major par- ties. Instead, Hellyer will have to cover the convention looking down from the press section. That's a good vantage point, but the action goes on below. Letters Fluoridation surveys The surveys done in Ed- monton showing that cavities in children's teeth have been reduced by 46 per cent speaks well for the efforts of the three or four nutritionists working full time in Edmon- ton. Miss Elva Perdue, nutritionist with the public health department, Alberta government, spends much of her time speaking to mother's and other groups in Edmon- ton. Mrs. Margaret Rae, for at least 10 yeacs a nutritionist with the Edmonton Milk Foundation, has worked full time showing, slides and films and talking with interested groups and school children. She retired this year and is ably succeeded by Mrs. Betty Poole, dietitian of many years experience. At least one nutritionist has been with the city health department in Ed- monton since about 1966. There is no way Dr. Ball, Edmonton's officer of health, can give the credit for good teeth in six-year-olds, sur- veyed in 1973, solely to fluoridated water. One of these children is my little granddaughter, and through her I have learned something of the impact on her of being taught good nutrition habits. She doesn't touch what she calls "garbage" foods. If only the professional and businessmen in this town would look at the "garbage" foods being dispensed to their children via dispensers in schools and the YMCA they might be able to see through the gloom one of the main i reasons for poor teeth in Lethbridge children. It beats me that the city can afford thousands of dollars for fluoride by the ton but can't afford to see that every youngster in this town gets his or her three glasses of milk every day. In The Herald (Oct. an article stated that 60 to 80 peo- ple are still using the un- fluoridated tap in Edmonton. Is Lethbridge offering an un- fluoridated tap? If every town from here to Halifax were fluoridated, it wouldn't prove a need in Lethbridge. Show us the figures on needs in Lethbridge, please! BETH JOHNSON, M.Sc. Lethbridge Still miss poisoned dog It's a little over two weeks since the dog poisoner added our family pet of seven years to his growing list of victims. We thought it might add to his warped satisfaction to know that we still miss our dog very much, especially his official owner, our teenage daughter, who has suffered several other spirit shattering blows in less than a year. As a parent, it is very dis- tressing to see a loving, im- pressionable young person embittered by such a thoughtless uncaring deed... It makes me wonder what unhappy experience the dog poisoner must have endured as a youngster to have twisted his mind to its present state. We just received the official report from the provincial veteri'nary diagnostic laboratory describing the type of poison, which was a massive dose of strychnine. The report also included a description of the agonizing death our dog suffered, which could have lasted for up to two hours. Congratulations to the dog poisoner. I hope he has considered the possibility of children inadvertently pick- ing up some of the treats and is more careful in selecting his next victims. However, if he persists in his demented labors long enough I'm certain he'll make enough mistakes in his methods (he has made a few already that we are work- ing to end up getting caught. Then comes the problem of what to do with him. I for one wouldn't want that respon- sibility. I am sure, though, that someone will someday sit in judgment upon him and if the anguish of all those he has affected is considered in the retribution, I wouldn't want to be in his boots. I hope he 'sleeps well. ANONYMOUS Lethbridge Picture didn9t entertain I was neither entertained nor informed by the front page picture and comments thereunder in The Herald Oct. 2.1 suppose it was intended to represent the idyllic life of the man in the ranching business as he rounds up his "profits" in the fall, which have fed themselves on free grass all summer, and all that is left to do is pocket the money paid to him by the distressed man in the feeding business who is in a terrible squeeze. The Herald even takes into consideration the poor consumer paying such high prices in the super- market. The public has seen a lot of that screaming from headlines and every other news media for the past year or so The Herald sympathizes with "Most Consumers who find meat prices in the super- market are high enough for them.'' There are a lot of cat- tle producers in Southern Alberta who are in -the con- sumer category, if they can borrow the money to buy with at 12 per cent to 18 per annum, and everything they buy will be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled in price from a while back, except the cows and calves they produce, which are only bought by the feeder if he can buy them at a price where he can make a profit, the supermarket if they can do handsomely after paying union wages (and all that goes with union and the unfor- tunate consumer who pays far less as a percentage of income for his food than in many past years. Maybe the answer is for the cattle producer to shoot the cattle he can't eat himself, tell his banker and the other poor consumers they can go out and graze his grass themselves, take his gun and go hunting along with the other leisure equipped camp- ing fraternity that like to run over his land and leave their garbage. The price might not look so high after a diet of un- converted grass, or maybe they could take it second hand. That's what we are get- ting. B. Y. WILLIAMS Cardston Sunshine province We thought the filler in the newspaper. West Hawaii Today, would be of interest to Albertans. It noted that Alberta is nicknamed the sunshine province because of its good weather. It is always "sunshiny" and beautiful here and we love it but we do enjoy Lethbridge when we return. WAYNE ANDERSON FAMILY Kailua Kona. Hawaii The lethbridge Herald 904 Ttft St. S. Mberta IETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and PUWWhers Second Class Mafl Registration No 0012 CtEO MOWERS, Editor PuWIShci OOMH PIUJNQ Managing DONALD S DORAM General Manager ROY F MILES Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor M OrcMrtstton Manager KENNETH E 8ARNEIT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"