Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 17, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 tm tETHBRIDCE HERAID Tucielciy, October 17, 1972 The grand unmentionable in election By Bruce Hutchison, FP Publications special commentator New energy sources needed The nuclear age was to have been that in which man's energy needs would be permanently and abundant- ly satisfied. It began', in characteris- tically lethal fashion, some twenty- seven years ago. Yet we are slill gen- erating most of our power by burning gas, oil and coal, and the collective shortage of energy, lias now reached the stage at which the term "energy crisis" is frequently heard in the United States. Allowance must be made, oi course, for the Nixon administration's remarkable fondness for the extra vagant phrase, but it is nevertheless a fact that the U.S. lias stopped using natural gas as a fuel in thermal gen- erating plants. It will soon stop the use of oil for this purpose also, be- cause of dwindling reserves of both these cominmodilies. There is coal enough for a decade or two, perhaps, but coal is an unfortunately visiible cause of air pollution, and all recent attempts even to discuss coal-fired generators have encountered massive public and political resistance. But even if all opposition to the use of fossil fuels were to be with- drawn, supplies of gas. oil and coal are still finite, ami moreover irre- placable. Restricting their use or not restricting it may change the lime factors, hut cannot alter the fact that this continent is in a race between the exhaustion of fuel supplies and the discovery or development of new and effective sources of. energy. Uranium, the key element ,in the production of nuclear power, is a type of fuel, and estimates are that there is enough to power the world's nuc- lear reactor breeders for 200 years or more. But adverse public reaction to nuclear plants or anything to do with nuclear energy, for that matter is even stronger than to coal- fired generators. This reaction is tied lo certain objectionable byproducts of nuclear action, particularly ther- mal and radiant wastes. It is con- slantly being played upon by scien- tists, politicians ami conservation- ists, until public feavs of damage lo the environment, peing poisoned by radioactive wastes, or accidental em- sion of lethal radiation, have made) the future of modern development un- certain. The year 2000 has somehow become fixed iii the public, mind as the dead- line by which new energy sources must be found. Perhaps because the lime seems short, some truly astonish- ing possibilities are being explored, several of which would have been dismissed as the purest fantasy only a few years ago. Among these schemes are monster wind-mills on towers tall enough to catch the high-altitude winds that blow almost constantly above this continent; 25-square mile satellite contraptions to absorb direct solar energy and relay it to earth; systems of immense dams and sluices to capture the power of tidal waters; million-acre solar farms to pick up and convert the sun's heat. Clearly, unlimited imagination is being applied to this problem. It is odd. then, that no serious thought is being given to one comparatively sim- ple possibility, that may well prove to be the only practical one. That is that the world, which seemed to man- age quite well for a few million years without this enormous outpouring of energy, might just be able to get increasing it dramati- cally every year. Canadians seem to agree that their national election campaign is a pretty poor show. They Ihink that the politicians of all parties have no answers to the real problems before the coun- try unemployment, inflation, poverty, Quebec, the approacli- ing trade crunch with the Unit- ed Stales and many other seri- ous concerns. This is quite true Canada but it is equally true in all na- tions, No man on earth knows Hie answers, though most politi- cians must pretend to know them at election time. If the visible problems im- mediately facing us were the only problems we could work them out somehow under one East Kootenays change Population growth in the east Koot- enays has influenced the survey team of the E.G. Hospital Insurance Ser- vice to recommend not one hospital but two for this rapidly developing area. With Sparwood expected to exceed Fernie in size, within a few short years, the BCHIS which had pre- viously recommended a hospital for Fenu'e now recommends the comple- tion of 60 beds at Fernie and a 27- bed hospital for Spanvood. The re- port, accepted recently by the East Kootenay Regional Hospital District, also justifies the erection of a diag- nostic centre at Elkford, 25 miles from Spanvood. This demonstrates how the once rather remote area of the east Koote- nays, somewhat separated from the rest of B.C. by the Selkirk and Mon- ashee mountains, has suddenly come alive and is now the aclive centre of a multi-million dollar strip-mining industry and lumber interests. High on the list" of east Kootenay industries also is the tourist industry as any- one who has recenly driven through this mountainous region can attest. Thriving motels have sprung up in Fernie and Cranbrook. Tourist interest in the area will be heightened by the announcement that the B.C. government has re-classi- fied Premier Lake Provincial Park, near Natal, from class C to class A with the intent of developing this ideal family camping spot, with its sandy beaches and upper recreational area into one of the finest boating, fishing and camping areas in the Kootenays. Anyone who has previously thought of the east Kootenays as a rather re- laxed, sleepy area, is in for a rude awakening. EVA BREWSTER A healthy pot plant COUTTS "Could you do us a great a couple of kids asked politely last summer at the beginning of the long holidays. It never occurred to me to ask their names or even where they came from when they handed me a tiny, sickly look- ing plant they had been tenderly shelter- ing from the nre hitchhiking to B.C. next week and won't be back till the end of August. Would you look after our I said magnanimously. "Come in." "A biology they ex- plained. "We grew it from seed and if it lives we want to identify the plant and take it back to school after the holidays. We were told you have green fingers and if anybody can raise it you can." Flatter- ed by their confidence, 1 was nevertheless doubtful Seldom had I seen a weaker, more mis- erable looking specimen. Sprouting from a slender stem were a few sliivering, narrow leaves, the green color of which was al- most obscured by an unhealthy greyish hue, comparable only to the grey lips of a dying African. What is more, the kids had obviously over-watered the poor little thing; if it wasn't going to die a natural death, it was bound to succumb lo root rot. However, touched by their deep concern, I was willing to try. The kids, camping somewhere in the neighborhood, visited their plant every day before going on the road again, carried it out into the fiun and back into thr; house, [he moment a sprang up or clouds appeared in the sky. Knowing teenagers to have a knack for always getting into trouble for the silliest causes, it was all the more heartwarming to watch their love and tenderness for a bit of plant life and I was determined it should live. Live it ditl and near the end of the holidays, it two transplanted, it had turned K healthy green. Curious my- ed! now, I had asked a few people to ident- ify the plant. Nobody seemed quite sure. Like me, they thought it might be a little Mountain Ash by the looks of its narrow, serrated leaves. At last, one of our visitors was a botanist. "You have a healthy little pot-plant he observed. "They are difficult to grow." "I know that, but what kind of He grinned: "Sorry, you inno- cent, I didn't mean that kind of pot. I am talking about marijuana." "The five finger-like he said, "can't be mistaken, their formation re- sembling perhaps the maple and so on. He lost me somewhere along his lec- ture. All I could think of was: "These kids knew, of course, what they were grow- ing." Much as I would love to give them the benefit of the doubt, 1 have no illu- sions. Kids know a lot more these days about things I'd rather not know at all. What about legal implications? It is a punishable offence lo grow marijuana and, whatever the rights or wrongs about the danger of "pot" to physical and mental health, it? use or possession is still illegal and ignorance is no protection against the law. At the same time, I could not deny these teenagers good psychologists. They realized I would not let their plant die, even less destory it. While I would make sure none of them got a smoke from it, it is absolutely against my nature to kill a living thing, be it an unwanted kitten nr m fitiltawirl plant The probably not ignorant of th? identify of thoir "biol- ogy I would defend it v.ith my life. To cby I ,-jrn torn between indigna- tion for my own gullibility and a bad con- science for turning my back when my hus- band, concerned for my moral dilemma, the pUmt. Mad llie police knocked at my door and f been pros- ecuted, would these kids have suffered a pang of conscience though? I wonder. The past in the present On the Bert Heath farm, south of Fort Macleod, More pictures and sto ry in today's Chinook. by Elwood Ferguson governing system or another. Unfortunately they are minor, and almost irrelevant, compar- ed to tlic sovereign planetary problem now looming behind Ihe temporary passions and brief candles ot politics. Three obscure news items in the paper a few nights ago serve well enough to indicate the ac- tual prospects before the human creatureliood. In British Columbia the new- ly elected Premier Barrett asked the public to curtail its excessive use of electricity in British Columbia, mind you, whore the hydro power of the great rivers was supposed lo be imlimited. In New York the major Am- erican oil companies agreed that the majority of Ihei- stock in operations along the Persian Gulf would be turned over to the local Arab governments, which doubtless intend lo sell a diminishing supply at the liichest possible price. In Washington the prestigi- ous National Research Council reported lhat Ihe United States was running out of minerals, among other things, and must plan tor a non-growth economy or face a ruinous shortage ot re- sources not long from now. (A non-growth economy! Give those words a second nm over your private sound track Iwfore you buy lhat third family-car or take that winter holiday in Hawaii.) The three news items, gener- ally overlooked in the excite- ment, or boredon', of the elec- tion, are more significant than all Ihe political speeches com- bined. They tell us, in a rough fashion, that the human crea- turehood is moving loward a crisis of some sort literally uni- que in all its past history and far more likely than the risk of nuclear war. You won't hear about this from most electoral candidates. Instead, they are promising us increased wealth, consumption and ease without end which, for physical reasons, is just imDOS- sible. As always, politics limp a long way behind events. To he sure, a few politicians seem to understand the obvi- ous facts but must ignore or blur them if they hope to be. elected. Already elected, Mr. Barrett can afford a little can- dor but his non-elected federal leader, Mr. Lewis, cannot. He is still holding out the hope of ever-rising standards of con- sumption, provided that we elect a socialist government Mr. Trudeau began some time ago, in a disregarded Van- couver speech, to get bis super- ior mind around the facts but he, too, is playing them down until the polls close and talk- ing vaguely of a mysterious non- work ethic that makes no sense to ordinary minds lest he fright- en the voters. To judge from Ms public speeches, Mr. Stanfield has not grasped the tacts or, as a man of sterling honesty, does not pretend to have the long run answers. Whether he has any practical answers, even in the short run, is a debatable ques- tion. But the deepening human dil- emma is no longer a debatable question. Despite the contrary opinions of men like the famous Alaskan, Walter nickel, as re- ported here recently, our pint- si'icd planet simply cannot sup- port the population and con- sumption rates that we demand ot it, nor the pollution resulting from them. Canadians, however, are in- clined to think that they have a exemption from man- kind's future poverty because their nation is incomparably rich in per capita resources. Ot course it is, but (he per cap- ita figures deceive us. For we shall be very foolish to ima- gine that Canadians alone can forever enjoy this treasure as they please. Already the United States wants a big chunk of it in the lorm of oil and gas to te pump- ed out of our Arctic and to em- .ploy only a handful of workers aflev the pipes are built. Later on, as its Research Council says, the United States will need all the Canadian minerals (and possibly clean water, too) that it can get. Meantime the Japanese, and other peoples without their own supplies, are eager for ours. The grand seller's market and modern version of the gold rush is clearly in view, but how much of our permanent capi- tal, as distinguished from our current production, can we af- ford to sell without depleting our children's estate? While that, in ils many differ- ent aspects, is the central ques- tion behind all the non-answers of politics, it is only part of a still'larger question which no candidate, so far as I know, has dared to discuss. In a can human beings adjust their minds, expecta- tions and habits to the fact that nearly all their assumptions about the future, all their hopes of unlimited living standards, all their plans for perpetual economic growth, all the bud- gets, policies and promises of their governments are mathe- matically absurd? Or, failing to adjust, must they plunge into the final catastrophe wlu'ch can be avoided, if they change their ways soon enough? The reader who has reached middle age will hardly live to hear the answer and certainly will hear only faint echoes of it in the election. But his chil- dren will hear it for sure, per- haps too iate. Concocted myth of the unemployed welfare bum By Peter Desba.-afs, Toronto Star commcniolor OTTAWA The two major parties in this election cam- paign have conspired for their own reasons to promote the idea that ordinary Canadians have been transformed in the space of a few years from hard workers to freeloading_ idlers. The accusation that "the Tni- deau government has destroyed the "worV ethic" in Canada since 1968 has provided one of the few consistent national themes of the 1972 campaign. It is a claim that has almost no foundation in reality. The new unemployment insur- ance scheme has neither cre- ated new vices nor destroyed old virtues in the Canadian peo- ple. It has simply provided many Canadians with an unpre- cedented opportunity to employ ttieir inherent and all-too-human talents for deriving as much benefit as possible from "the system." There is no 1972 Canadian patent on this universal ten- dency. There is no philosophical case to he made against the Tru- deau government that it has de- liberately undermined the Cana- dian desire to work. The accu- sation that the government has to face is much less spectacu- lar: that it hrts come danger- ously close to discrediting one Letter to ths editor of its most enlightened social programs through inadequate planning and inefficient admin- istration. There is what amounts to a guilty plea to this accuasation at the heart of the govern- ment's current defence of its record on unemployment insur- ance. The background paper cir- culated by Manpower Minister Bryce Mackasey among jour- nalists and members of his own party in recent weeks is not only a good defence of the gov- ernment charge but a clear de- scription of somewhat desper- ate efforts hy the Unemploy- ment Insurance Commission to remedy administrative weak- nesses. The commission can hardly claim that it had no time to prepare for the new scheme. Preceded by a white paper in June, the new Unemploy- ment Insurance Act was intro- duced in the House of Com- mons by Mr Mackasey in March, 1970, and became ef- fective in June, 1971. The final phases of the new act were im- plemented last January. The background paper distri- buted by Mr, Mackasey during the current campaign reveals that the Unemployment Insur- ance Commission, despite this long period of preparation, has Open meetings desired Kngrirding cnnlrol of sulphur pollution, there arc ni.'ifiy con- structive ideas nvailnblc that are being ignored or nnt. used. Among others, I suggest the follov.ing: 1. There is no need lo provide two, or four, or even forty trail- ers to monitor pollution. T h e people nho operate, the plants know (or .should what is being emitted and when. This' information surely must be available to the authorities awl should bo available (n the pub- lic as well. 2. Stacks do iiltle if any Ui reduce pollution. They merely spread it over a larger area. 3. People must pay to prevent pollution. Costs of research ami equipment must eventually paid by the consumer, HENRY D. LOUEY Lethbndgo been slow to cope with prob- lems created by the scheme, Part of the responsibility for this evidently has been traced to the highest levels in the com- mission. In the convoluted lan- guage of Mr. Mackasey's back- ground paper: "Experience to date has indicated the need for changes in the structure of re- sources of Ihe UTC staff within head office and the field." Details which follow indicate that there has been an execu- tive shake-up of considerable dimensions within the commis- sion. Four regional directors have been changed at Van- couver, Winnipeg, Belleville and Montreal, and a change is currenty being made at Monc- ton. New executive directors of operations and planning have been appointed at head office, and recruitment of seven senior executive officers for the com- mission is "nearly completed." The background paper re- veals crash programs In vari- ous administrative sectors of the commission. In the past three months, for instance, co- operation between UIC and the department of manpower has been "vastly vital step In identifying UfC claim- ants who have refused jobs of- ferer! by Manpower. The results of this crash pro- gram have been spectacular. In the entire 1970-71 fiscal year, only 2.438 notifications of job refusal were referred to UIC by Manpower. In a recent thrcc- month period. UIC received K.- 500 such notifications from Man- power. The background papo- rnn- lains equally spcclacnbtr infor- mation about increases in the nurnlwr of claimants who have been refuser! unemploy- ment insurance benefits, and a fi2 per cent increase so far this year, as compared with in Iho total of overpayments claim- rd from recipients by the UIC, penalties Imposed by tha com- mission and fines imposed by Ihe courts. Encouraging as these now de- velopments appear to be, they raise a basic question which is neither stated nor answered in the background paper: Why wasn't the UIC prepared be- forehand to implement the new scheme efficiently? Somewhere along the line there was either a failure of planning within the commission or a failure by the government to provide the com- mission with .the resources in- dicated by the new legislation. In either case, the government has to bear the responsibility. But this is not the case that Is being pressed by the Conser- vatives. Instead of accusing Mr. Trudeau of administrative in- competence, Mr. Stanfield has implied that the generov'is bene- fits of the new scheme have dis- couraged Canadians from work- ing. He has marie one specific proposal to tighten up the scheme by extending Ihe quali- fying period of employment from eight to 12 weeks. This attack on the scheme, in the context of the current wel- fare encourages the illusion among Cana- dian taxpayers that social as- sistance schemes in Canada today arc so generous that they have not only eliminated pov- erty but created luxury for idle members of the working class. This notion is highly danger- New to the job, aren't uus in a society that has really done very little to remedy the economic and social problems that were such fashionable top- ics of discussion in the sixties. The "work ethic" issue has also suited the Liberals because H has dislracted public tion from their failure to follow tlirough administratively on an unemployment insurance scheme that Is sound in prin- ciple. But it has been a phoney Issue in this campaign. Neither party has gained credit from its atlempL to gain political ad- vantage by debating the alleged weakening of ttw desire to work among Canadians at the lower economic levels of our society where people have to work the hardest for the least gain. 'Crazy Capers' S-'LM The Uthlnitlgc Herald 71h St. S., IxDlhbndgc, Alberta LETHBRIIXiK HERALD HO. LTD., Proprietors and Publishers Published isrs by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN second Claw Mall No. 0012 Member ot The Or.adlnn Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Publishers' Assoclfllicn and the Audi! Bureau of CLEO II. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher K. ADAMS, General Manaqtr DON PILLING Wll.l 1AM HAY Manflqing Editor Editor ROY'F. MILES DOUGl.A'j K. WALKED Advertising Manaclf Hdiforral Pagi Editor "THE HERAID 1ERVES THE SOUTH"