Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 10, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4-THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD-Thuraday, October I'lHTOKIUS A supranational agency Without doubt, Canada, a net exporter of oil, is a special case among the 12 oil consuming nations which recently agreed in Brussels to set up an inter- national energy agency to cope with the OPEC countries and with energy problems in general. The federal govern- ment has been quick to point out publicly that the agreement does not mean that Canada will lose sovereignty over its domestic production and that in any shortage or emergency Canadians will have to sacrifice less than inhabitants of the other countries. If these assurances are valid it is hard to understand why Norway, about to become a net exporter of oil, is suspicious of the agreement. Be that as it may, it is disappointing to realize that the government felt it politically expedient to place major emphasis on assuring Canadians that they won't have to give up much, if anything, instead of assuming that they would be willing to share the burdens of the 12 countries equally if it was for the collective good in the long run. It is only wjien nations learn to relin- quish sovereignty in certain areas that solutions will be found to the grave problems besetting the world today. Most national leaders understand this but fear that their constituencies do not. In the light of this idea, the new energy group is a welcome addition to the conglomerate of world agencies because it is more aptly termed supranational than international. According to a New York Times analysis of the draft agreement, a majority vote will be binding in more than a score of specified areas, including aspects, of stockpiling, oil sharing contingency plans and relations with oil companies. This should make it considerably more effective than the Organization for Economic Co operation and Development to which it is attached. The Paris based OECD can only recommend and then only on un- animous vote. Although the initial .purpose of the agency will be to conserve petroleum and cut down dependence on Middle East production, the long range effort will be directed at alternative sources of energy and mutual development in 11 agreed fields, five of which are nuclear. And the major impact of the agree- ment may come more from the long term pooling of sovereignty than from the pooling of oil. Letters Making a start Federal Health Minister Marc Lalonde's criticism of beer ads for not showing real people in real life situations evoked a predictable response. It was treated as a joke. Mr. Lalonde is legitimately concerned. There is too much drinking being done in Canada with too high a price being paid in damage to individuals and society as consequence. The glamorizing of drink- ing gives a false picture and thereby contributes to the worsening problem. A change in the content of advertising might be a useful start in producing a more realistic and responsible attitude toward alcohol. The example of a politician sticking his neck out, even if not very far, on the matter of alcohol is refreshing. Mostly politicians are given to avoiding this problem, probably because it would not be very popular to propose tough measures to try to curb drinking. That would smack too much of puritanism. Harold Greer, a Toronto columnist, recently noted that the Ontario Addiction Research Foundation has calculated that doubling prices of alcohol in Ontario would reduce consumption by about 40 per cent. This is based on research ing that the amount of alcohol a society consumes is closely related to that society's disposable income, and the price of alcohol relative to other con- sumer products. Politicians, says Mr. Greer, cannot countenance hefty price increases for alcoholic beverages because they are afraid of political repercussions. Conse- quently the price is not even kept in line with the cost'of living, with the result that alcohol becomes relatively cheaper and consumption goes up even more. One of these days the appalling dimen- sions of the alcohol problem will force politicians to do more about prevention. It is to Mr. Lalonde's credit that he recognizes this to be true and wants to make a start. Nigeria not ready Major General Yakubu Gowon has withdrawn his pledge to return Nigeria to civilian rule in 1976. The cynical will say this was to be expected from the beginning when the pledge was first made since power is something few sur- render readily. In the case of General Gowon the cynical reaction may not be justified. Few national leaders anywhere have demonstrated less love of power than Nigeria's chief of state. He has ruled responsibly in the difficult years since his country was torn by civil war. There are no indications that this will change as he retains his position indefinitely into the future. The reason for the decision not to return the country to civilian rule is his assessment of the likely effect of con- tinuing tribal jealousies. A state of crisis, even of chaos, could easily result from the "cutthroat politics" that would be almost certain to follow the return of civilian rule. This is undoubtedly a assessment of the situation in Nigeria. Desirable as it generally is to have civilian government, the decision of General Gowon to continue in office is probably the right one. The stability that exists in Nigeria is a welcome contrast to what exists in many other parts of Africa and to what might be the condi- tion of Nigeria if the return to civilian rule came too soon. ERIC NICOL A miracle is needed Inflation the triumph in man's ceaseless struggle to improve on The Black Plague. Everywhere, in the air inflation. The other evening I turned on the TV to watch The Six Million Dollar Man. Before I could get the picture adjusted the man had gone up to Seven Million Five. Also on TV, President Ford's summit conference on inflation. To show that he wasn't panicking, Ford sat smoking a pipe. I would have felt better if he'd had the small end in his mouth. What impressed me most about the conference of 2000 economic experts was that it began with a prayer intoned by Dr. Edward Latch, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. "Oh be said, in part, .grant that inflation may not only be met but mastered.'" This was the first official acknowledge- ment that we need a miracle to defeat inflation There are no atheists in the foxholes of the New York Stock Exchange. In fact there are damn few foxholes, period. SU11. it seems a little unfair, tossing infla- tion into God's lap. The problem is too com- plex for the kind of solution usually provided by the Creator. I mean, there's no real guidance in a commandment like Thou shall not inflate. Human greed and selfishness have been blamed for aggravating inflation, but the proof is no more conclusive than the clinical tests that attempt to prove that smoking is harmful to health. Even those who abjure wonlly goods are hit by the rising cost of sackcloth. The saint picks up his halo at a gar- age sale. In this respect Canadians are exempt from divine wrath aimed at inflation We have it on the authority of Ottawa that the reason we can do nothing against inflation is that other countries are harboring it It is a great pity that Canada must be part of the world. If we could somehow divorce ourselves from all. those greedy Germans, Frenchmen, Britons and Yanks, we could go to work on inflation and reduce it to a manageable bubble gum. Finance minister John Turner recently visited some of these foreign countries to try to convince them, as tactfully as possible, that if they pull up their socks and stop con- sorting with inflation, Canada will be happy to lend her natural resistance to selfishness. Apparently this generous offer has gone un- answered. There are none so blind as those that will not see. Worse, while Mr. Turner was preoccupied with his crusade against inflation in other people's countries, someone in his depart- ment authorized a federal bond issue that promises to pay 9% per cent over nine years. Such a bond issue assumes that inflation will continue at the rate of at least 10 per cent for some distance beyond the near future. Toe finance minister must have been furious when he found out what happened. But the damage is done. Hopefully, no other nations noticed. In the midst of this confusion about infla- tion comes the news story that many Cana- dian couples with a combined income of more than a year are suffering from acute anxiety. They fear that they will be unable to make both ends meet without rupturing their self-indulgence. I can't understand this. My wife and I are both working, and when the bills arrive I no longer twitch violently. My wife works as a nurse and has learned how to use restraining straps. Maybe you'd better ask Him again. Dr. Latch. "I take it the chef makes over Ford tackles crisis By James Reston, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON President Ford has now defined the economic crisis of the nation and proposed a catalogue of remedies. The question now is whether 'the solutions he proposed are equal to the crisis he defined, and the fear here is that he didn't bite the bullet but nibbled it. In these abnormal times, and especially a month before the off-year congressional elections, he put forward some unpopular and political- ly bold proposals, but the whole thrust of his speech to the Congress was that the na- tion was in mortal danger, and he asked that we mutually pledge to each other, not "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred but our com- fort, our support, and five per cent of our gas and oil. It would be hard to over- emphasize the relief in Washington to find a president stating, with the utmost sincerity, his belief about what had to be done in the interests of the Republic. And for the first time in years, to see a Congress that accepts him at his -word, without doubting his motives. Still, his proposals, honest and sensible as they were, scarcely measure up to the spectacular menace and danger he put before the Congress. Inflation was as bad as war, he suggested, while refusing to call for a declara- tion of war. "We have had enough early he said. The time to intercept (the enemy inflation) is almost gone." But he didn't intercept it. "I say to you with all Ford remarked in the peroration of his speech "that inflation, our present public enemy, will unless it is whipped destroy our country, our homes, our liber- ties, our property, and finally our national pride as surely as any well-armed wartime enemy." Maybe it was wrong to define the question in military terms, and even to regret the' absence of a Pearl Harbor to wake us up, but when he got down to his 10-point program of remedies, he was bold in his own framework as a conser- vative Republican leader, but scarcely bold in the framework of the world problem he now has to handle. The inflation-recession problem is moving faster than he thought, and the outlook now is that he is going to have to face seven per cent un- employment by mid-year of 1975. He made concessions, which must seem to him as almost radical, in offering public jobs to the unemployed and other breaks to the poor, but again his estimate is probably far short of the need. Even most liberal economists agree that we don't need mandatory wage and price controls, but we do need much tougher controls over pattern-setting unions and businesses. Apparently, the president is convinced that he should start with appeals to patriotism, and voluntary controls that bark but don't bite. At least he has made a beginning. In his speech to the Congress, he has told his colleagues in the executive branch, bis old friends on Capitol Hill, and the American people what he wants them to do. It is early for him but late for the Congress, which is yearning to campaign for next -month's election. If nothing else, he has clarified the problem for the average responsible family. Standing reproach to Canada By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA In his review of our constitutional problem, Prime Minister Trudeau adhered to well-established tradition, linking the matter of patriation with that of an amending formula. Hie argument for patriation does not arise from any grave practical considerations. If there is agreement on a desired amendment, a procedure exists for obtaining it. Following a joint address by the two houses, formal ac- tion at Westminster is re- quired but this has long since become automatic. The dif- ficulties are entirely within' this country. But there is an argument of national self-respect to which Mr. Trudeau repeatedly alluded. Noting that we did not become fully independent in 1867, he said: "Among other things, the tutelage of the mother of parliaments was reflected in the fact that we were provided with no way to amend our constitution." Then, after a summary of SO years of effort, the prime minister addressed himself particularly to Quebec members because, as be said, Quebec has often been the stumbling block to agreement. "'Some will possibly find unthinkable that we should explain to peopie in Quebec that all we want is to bring back in Canada our own constitution. But I think it will be fairly easy to convince them that they no longer need to seek the help of Great Britain; that they no longer need to tride behind Great Britain's skirts when we dis- cuss among ourselves political issues affecting us all." This, in my view, is an odd- of describing our peculiar difficulty in 1974 although it would have sounded much less odd in the era when Quebec did in fact look to London for protection, strongly resisting such changes as the abolition of appeals to the judicial com- mittee of the Privy Council. The fact is that no politician in his right mind would dream of arguing today against the principle of bringing the con- stitution home to Canada. No one in recent years, inside Quebec or outside Quebec, has indicated any public interest in Britain's political skirts. Patriation of itself is a motherhood issue. Why then has the constitu- tion not been brought home? The reason is simple but politicians are too polite to mention it For all the lip- service to the cause, whenever there has been a prospect of success, one or more provinces have drawn back because they did not wish to give up a weapon useful for coercing tne federal authority. Mr. Trudeau spoke hopeful- ly of s "better aoding if none could be found, be would propose the adoption of the Victoria charier. It remains the position, therefore, tbat palliation is dependent on an amending formula (although the two things are While tbat is the case, a Fluoridation categories He has finally told them what he thinks they should do. We are in trouble, he has said. Whatever the president or the Congress decide, we can't make it unless you save gas, oil, and money, and nelp the country in an awkward time. This is typical of Gerald Ford. He sees the world crisis and suggests laws to deal with it, but basically he believes that appealing to the American people for volun- tary sacrifices will work or at least must be tried before introducing compulsory legislation, and he may be right. He is still in that transition period between being a par- tisan leader and "a national leader, and the world economic crisis has come down on him before he has had time to -figure out the difference. In his address to the Congress, he proposed policies which he would ob- viously have opposed in his 25 years in the House of Representatives, but he has still not caught up with the radical national and world economic problem his ad- visers' in the cabinet are putting before him. His instinct, and it is the centre of bis life, is that first you must go to the people appeal to' them, organize them. Give them a chance and only then, if they don't come through, pass laws to compel what the country needs. Washington admires but doubts that this will meet the national crisis he defined in such dramatic terms, but it likes him and believes hi bis sincerity, and his caution. At least he nibbled the bullet and this is probably about as much as the country is now prepared to swallow. province will always be able to object to a formula without appearing to oppose patriation. In the course of his review, the prime minister permitted himself this cryptic obser- vation. "In the end, the Vic- toria charter failed to receive acceptance from Quebec, not because of disagreement with the amending formula but for quite another reason." Whether the other reason has lost any of its force now that Bill 22 is law (which may have been implied in certain other passages of the speech) is not clear. Failing the charter or a "better it seems to me that there is another road open to the federal government. It might propose palliation without change in the existing arrangements. This would leave us with our peculiar difficulty but it would satisfy UK argument of sdf- respect It .would be difficult, in the face of such a challenge, for a provincial government to camouflage its opposition with arguments of detail about what should or should not go into an amending for- mula. Provincial apprehensions are, in any case, suspect. We can argue endlessly about for- mulas and theoretical threats. Bat the reality is that federal governments are extremely reluctant to confront powerful provinces even when federal jurisdiction seems well es- tablished. I suppose if no one bothers to answer the question raised by Lynne Van Luven in The Herald (Sat. Oct. 5) entitled The Floozy Fluoridea, she would feel somewhat slighted so I shall try and answer her questions. Where are the 53 per cent of tne voters that voted down the last plebiscite held on fluoridation of our water the answer is very much the same as for the 4? per cent that wanted to add the drug sodium fluoride to our water supply and thereby use the water supply as a conduit for this particular drug. They are all still around and probably will turn up on election day. I have asked people on both sides of this question why they hold the opinion they do and their answers fall into three main categories. Those who favor the idea think first, that it's free; second that it relieves the parent respon- sibility; third that it might help save tnqney on dentist bills. Those that oppose the idea have a somewhat larger varie- ty of reasons for their belief. First, Lethbridge consumed over two billion, five hundred million gallons of water in 1973 and the total for 1974 will be even higher so this is the amount of water that would have to be treated. It would require in excess of pounds of sodium fluoride, whereas the amount of fluoride actually required by Lethbridge's some children, in the age bracket under 12 years at 1 mg. per day per child, or 10 grains in total per day, equals around eight pounds for the entire year So putting pounds in a community water supply in order to get eight pounds to the children just doesn't make much sense. This is the major reason for opposition to fluoridation. Second would come the group that simply resents the idea of being force fed anything. They reason that it is a basic human right for a person of the Jewish faith to refuse to eat pork or a person of the Mormon faith to refuse to drink tea, coffee, or alcoholic beverages or a person of the Roman Catholic faith not to eat meat on Friday, or the members of Jehovahs Witness not to have to do or eat anything against their beliefs and on and on; simply a case of freedom of choice, that's all. Then there is the third group which actually believes that the drinking, of fluoridated water will be of harm to their health. According to the arti- cle in The Herald (Oct. 5) there are some 60 to 80 people who make their daily trek, in Edmonton, to the water pumping station to obtain un- fluoridated water. They must have, very strong personal reasons to suffer this in- convenience and I sympathize with them and .admire their courage and strength in their beliefs whether founded or un- founded. These people are obviously sincere, and that is all that really matters, which is more than can be said for many of the supporters of fluoridation who simply want something for nothing from the public treasury and a' reduction of their responsibilities to their children HARVEY V. DAVIES Lethbridge USC information Editor's Note: A Herald reader, who farms southeast of Lethbridge, recently sent a cheque and a letter to the Unitarian Service Committee. His letter elicited a reply from Or. Lotta Kitsch- manova, executive director of the USC. Copies of both were sent to us and are reprinted below. Enclosed please find a cheque for for your recent appeal for a hungry world. Now I have an appeal to you. The day after I received your letter of appeal I was talking to a friend and somehow the discussion came to food the world over. I saidto him that we are very fortunate to have all the best of food available and it is very sad to hear that people in some countries are hungry'and starving to death. Without hesitation he told me he would help too if he knew his money was going to the hungry people. I told him about your organization and what you are trying to do but unless more people are willing to share their good fortune it will never improve much. I told him about my small contribution and he laughed at me and told me all I'm 'doing is helping those that have plenty and he said he was sure that from every dollar I donate only a very few cents will get to the hungry people. It bothers me very much to even think something like that should happen. I would be ever so grateful to hear from you personally so I can set this man straight and perhaps get him and some others to share their good fortune I was very touched by your letter. I thank you very hearti- ly for your lovely contribution and enclose our official receipt. You know how many children, the ill and tne old we can serve with your offering. You were generous enough to share with me an unjust remark made by your friend and naturally I would like to explain our USC position im- mediately, in the hope you will snare it with the gentleman in question.'It has been discuss- ed in the Lethbridge Herald many times, and also in editorials, but they may have escaped the attention of your friend. First of all, allow me -to enclose our audited report, covering the period ending April He will see that our overhead was 9.67 per cent, reckoned on our total in- come of funds and gifts in' .kind. This, according to ex- perts, is one of the lowest overheads of any agency across Canada and we are humbly proud of it. The reasons for being able to hold it at that low level in spite of frighteningly rising infla- tion from coast to coast is simply this: only at USC head- quarters do we have paid staff, 17 in all, including myself. The 33 .branches, workgroups and collection centres across Canada are completely manned by volunteers, representing an enormous labor force which work for the USC with enthusiasm completely free of charge. Some of my own tran- sportation across Canada and overseas is contributed; in hotels and motels there is either free accommodation or significantly reduced rates practically everywhere I stay; we have never paid a nickel for advertising and last year, according to an official statement from the CBC, we received one and one half million dollars worth of free advertising on the CBC network. The private stations, both radio and television, probably even exceeded this amount in free publicity for the USC. I could go on at length to enumerate other services as well reduced costs of food which is shipped overseas, reduced freight rates but perhaps the above will suffice. The lethbridge Herald SMTIhSLS LWMwKlge. Alberta LETHBRIDQE HERALD OO LTD Proprietors and PUtWhw Second CXm RegWwBon No 0012 CL6O MOWERS. Editor and PUMWner OONH PILLING Managing Cdttor ROYF MR.ES DONALD R OORAM General Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER WtorWl Page fatten ROBERT M. FENTON KENNETH E. BMWETT Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"