Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Monday, October 21, 1974 I-IHTOISIALS Fresh air, fresh thinking Fresh approach needed to foreign aid By W.A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator Half of the new City Council is fresh, new. But whether it will be a different council remains to be seen. The first item of business before the new council is a proposal for another nine days during which the citizens may legally burn outdoors. Since no satisfactory explanation was ever advanced for the prohibition on bur- ning, a fresh council may be expected to reconsider whether the anti burning by law is necessary at all. One of the excuses for the by law is to reduce the public fire hazard. But (a) more fires are started by smoking, and it is not proposed that smoking be prohibited; (b) there are other laws to check the careless citizen who lets a fire get out of control. Another excuse is the prevention of the ash nuisance, especially when laundry is on the line. But (a) few clothes are hung outdoors these days; (b) the dust blowing around is harder on laundry; (c) a well controlled outdoor fire spreads little ash. Still another is the elimination of the odor of burning wet garbage. But (a) not one citizen in a hundred tries to dispose of wet garbage that way; (b) the nuisance, if any, can't compare with some of the other odors around Lethbridge. And another excuse is the need for cleaner air in this polluted age. But (a) locally there is no air pollution, and (b) globally this Lethbridge prohibition is utterly silly compared with some of the other pollutants under human control. One diesel city bus probably pollutes the air more than all the burning barrels the city ever had. And a final excuse: big cities prohibit outdoor burning and it is the modern thing to do and Lethbridge should be modern. But (a) Lethbridge should do its own thinking; (b) the cost of the native, to the householder in trouble and money and to the city in a bigger garbage disposal program, surely is a con- sideration. There are already nuisance and other laws to control the abuses that might arise from burning barrels. Isn't that enough? Birth control programs work Birth control programs seemed to get the back of the hand treatment at the United Nations World Population Conference in Bucharest a few weeks ago. They were denounced by Third World spokesmen as a kind of genocide practised by the rich countries upon the poor Speaker after speaker contended that advocates of birth control were merely trying to avoid having to make some sacrifices in the standard of living en- joyed in the developed world. They in- sisted that development aid is mote im- portant than family planning, that the Third World must be made prosperous so that people have an economic incentive for having fewer children. This argu- ment was based on indications that as prosperity rises, families become smaller An apparent convert to this idea was John Rockefeller 3d who conceded, after 40 years of advocacy of family planning, that a different approach was needed. But Rockefeller was not repudiating the use of birth control methods, he merely recognized that "family planning alone is not adequate" Had more of the delegates to the population conference broadened their outlook the outcome of the conference might have been more en- couraging. The crisis of increasing numbers of people in a world where there is relative- ly decreasing amounts of food needs to be faced in as many ways as possible. One of those ways continues to be the dis- semination of birth control information and provision of necessary equipment. Contrary to the notion that this approach has been a failure, it has large- ly been responsible for the declining rate of population growth throughout the world. Seventy two of 82 countries with reliable population data showed a decrease in birthrates in the 1960s since the advent of oral contraceptives and other birth control devices, according to a report by Dr. R. T. Ravenholt, the director of the Office of Population for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has cited statistics showing that countries with family planning programs during the 1960s had significant birth rate decreases while countries without these programs did not. Despite the falling birth rate there is continued growth in population 68 million will be added to the world's pop- ulation this year. There are just more people reaching reproduction age all the time. To try to deal with the problem of pop- ulation growth by seeking to improve economic status without an accompany- ing emphasis on family planning could be folly. There is no hard evidence that pop- ulation growth subsides with improve- ment in economic status. That is only a supposition. On the other hand, there is evidence that the spread of family plan- ning information and the availability of contraceptives slows the growth of the birth rate. The proven should not be re- jected in favor of supposition. The attempt to improve economic status should be made in the interests of justice and if that helps to slow the birth rate it could be considered a bonus. ART BUCHWALD Biting the bullet WASHINGTON When President Ford said we all have to bite the bullet on the economy, I immediately went down to my local sporting goods store "I would like a bullet, I said to the clerk. "You mean a box of he corrected me. "No, just one would be enough." He looked at me suspiciously. "What kind of bullet do you "I don't know. Are there different "Of course. What kind of gun do you he asked. "I don't have a I said. "Then what do you want a bullet "I want to bite I admitted sheepishly. The clerk backed away from me, trying to reach a buzzer which I assumed turned on some kind of alarm., "Don't get I said. "You see, Gerry Ford, as part of his economic message, said that every one of us has to bite the bullet or we'll never lick it." "The be asked. "No. inflation, dummy." I said. "And he didn't say what calibre of bullet he wanted Americans to "Not that I know I replied. "Does it a "I would think so." the clerk said. "I mean people have different size mouths, and what might be comfortable for you might not necessarily be comfortable for your grocer. Here, try this 22 bullet" He placed it in my mouth I bit on it "How does that he asked. "Not too bad How does it look''" "You have the shell casing sticking out Did the president indicate what part of the bullet he wanted you to bite''" "Come to think of it, he I said "The least Mr Ford could have done is td! us which end of the bullet we should get our teeth into." "Maybe he thought everyone in the United States had bitten a bullet the clerk suggested. "He shouldn't take those things for I said. "Listen, my teeth are starting to hurt. You don't have another kind, do "We have a soft nosed lead .38 dumdum, but they're illegal to shoot." "Are they illegal to "I'll have to check that out" The clerk call- ed his superior upstairs Then he hung up. "My boss said to the best of his knowledge, there is no law against biting a lead bullet as long as you don't spit it out at somebody afterward I put it in my mouth. "It's more comfortable than the I said. "And it has a nice taste to it" "Would you like to try a the clerk asked. "It's thicker than a .38 and lasts twice as long." "No. I think the .38 bullet will do nicely. How much is "Let's the clerk said. "On the box it says the bullets are four cents each. But we just got a bulletin from the manufacturer tell- ing us they now cost eight cents. Since this was mailed out last week, we have to assume the cost went up another two cents. But we don't know what mil happen next week, do I admitted we didn't "We better add another four cents on the bullet just to be safe. Therefore, it will cost you 14 cents "That's I said. The clerk shrugged his shoulders as he wrote out the sales slip. "Mayor if you bite on it long enough, the pnce will go down." OTTAWA Canada's revenue from trade with the under-developed countries of the Third World is increasing faster, as a result of soaring commodity prices, than its aid to the same nations. This was one of the facts used by Paul Gerin-Lajoie, who runs this country's foreign aid programs, in an attempt to draw attention to the need for a fresh approach to relations between the rich and poor countries. He put the growth in Canada's revenue from these nations last year at about million more than the increase in its aid to them. For the first five months of this year, trade revenues from them went up by about million and Canadian aid in the opposite direction in- creased by about million. We are, therefore, still mak- ing a very good thing out of the Third World, as are a good many other countries. Its total financial debt to the advanced nations is about billion. It costs those countries billion a year to service it. That is more than they receive, in total, in all forms of foreign aid. Gerin-Lajoie, the president of the Canadian International Development Agency, was trying to arouse Canadian attention to some of his vice- presidents' concerns. Marc Beaudoin, offered his personal view that the United Nations' Second Development Decade, launched four years ago, can already be seen as a failure. It was to have made up for the errors and shortcomings of the First Development Decade, from 1960 to 1970. "Already, after four years, it is clear that the program is not going to be a success, leading governments, par- ticularly those of the Third World, to question some fun- damental assumptions and orientations about the inter- national Beaudoin said. The great rise in oil prices during the last year has brought some of the under-de- veloped countries to the edge of desperation and has com- pounded the problems of all those which are not themselves petroleum producers. It has caused a sharp rise in the price of fer- tilizers at a time when, in the view of the Food and Agri- cultural Organization, "it is doubtful whether such a critical food situation has ever been so world-wide No escape from tormentors By Drag Walker One night when I was trying to pay heed u> the TV news I became aware that the kids out in the kitchen were giving their mother a bad time again Presently, when she could stand it no more, "You'll be glad to know... our B.C. government cutting off welfare to those 'doing their own thing' doesn't apply to Canada Council grants." Canadians fat and smug, others starve By Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star commentator There are times when the profession of journalism dis- gusts me, as it does all reporters Two weeks ago a demonstration on Parliament Hill by some 300 Indians turn- ed into a not A half dozen TV cameras covered the event reporters and photographers were everywhere. The CBC TV news gave the story two minutes, and most news- papers gave it a full page. Last Thursday another demonstration took place before the Parliament Buildings. Clergymen and a rabbi and a crowd of about 200 held a rally to dramatize the problems of world starvation and malnutrition. They read prayers, sang a short litany and passed among them a loaf of bread from which each person took a small bite. None of the newspapers I read reported the event, nor did the CBC TV news. It's a familiar and madden- ing phenomenon: only bad news is news good news is not news. The twist this time is that the bad news is happen- ing overseas, and so is out of reach of our sensibilities and our conscience. This Thanksgiving, we Ca- nadians didn't have all that much to give thanks for. Infla- tion rolls on unchecked, un- employment is on the rise, our own harvests, because of too much rain and too early frost, have been poor 480 million bushels of grain com- pared to 600 million last year. Elsewhere, 400 million peo- ple face starvation, or already are starving. About one billion people, four times the popula- tion of North America, suffer from malnutrition. A global disaster is almost un- avoidable. Cereal stocks are the lowest in two decades. To meet minimum requirements a one third increase in world food output is needed over the next 12 years, without any prospect it will happen. Inflation discomforts countries like Canada, but if we have to tighten our belts we will first cut into fat. The condition of poor countries is desperate. "For them, downward does not mean in- Robert McNamara, president of the World Bank said recently, "it means appalling deprivation." Except perhaps for the sub Sahara countries India's problems are the most terrifying The oil price increase has added million to India's import bill, an amount equal to two thirds of her entire foreign currency reserves. The ad- ditional cost of nitrogeneous fertilizers India imports is million. India simply doesn't have the money to pay, and without fertilizers her food production will drop. Very little of this had penetrated the consciousness of Canadians. Instead, since last winter's oil crisis we have become smug in our self suf- ficiency. The anger, and hatred, of the hungry may force us to pay attention. Canada's record of foreign aid is good, though not out- standing. The budget this year is million which, propor- tionately, ranks us sixth among donor countries. We give aid with few strings, partly out of principle but also because it makes aid easier to give away and frees us of responsibilty'for failures. The difference for Canada between foreign aid and the food crisis is one of scale. Our aid program is important THE CASSEROLE Anyone complaining about high pressure sales will sympathize with an Edmonton man whose sales resistance was brushed aside rather peremptorily. Having just cashed his pay cheque, he came out of a bank with in his hand and got in his car. Three men promptly got in with him, grabbed of his money and gave him seven watches which they said he should sell to get his money back Police are still looking for the "salesmen." Richard Seifert, Britain's best known architect of high rise apartment buildings, is now describing them as oppressive, inhuman, and socially evil. He believes the buildings should be converted to uses other than family living accommodation. Cispeth came into the hvingroom and plunk- ed herself on my knees seeking solace But there was no escape in that Paul an- nounced to the others that Dad was in there lifting Want to know the safest way to The Nova Scotia department of education has the answer the lowly school bus Since 1940 the .department's buses have travelled as much as half a billion passenger miles a year, with never a single fatality. Injuries of any kind are scarce and rarely serious The worst throughout 1973 was one broken tooth, the result of a sudden stop, and the victim didn't miss any school because of it So when Nova Scotian officials are importuned to buy seat belts for iheir school buses, it's not surprising that they ask "why''" Shades ol the "dirty One of the most sickening aspects of the Great Depression as it is still called, was the destruction of food to keep prices up, while people were hungry. Tons of beans, grain and coffee were burned. Trainloads of oranges were dumped into gullies and sprayed to make them inedible. In Alberta cities there were protests and near riots over dairies pouring milk down the drains while school children went short. This year millions of eggs have gone bad. There are reports that millions of pounds of chicken are in danger of rotting. Fishermen claim the same thing may happen to tons and tons of stored fish. All to maintain prices, while there is a worsening world wide food shortage. around the world, but nowhere is it decisive. The food pushes us into the front line whether we like it or not. Canada and the United States between them control proportionately more of the world's food exports than the Arab countries control of oil exports. The challenge to Canada will be felt at home and abroad. Self restraint will be demanded of us. The critical need is for cereal grains, yet we feed more grain to animals than the world's poor eat directly. (Twenty pounds of grain produces just one pound of beef.) If each Canadian ate one hamburger less a week, enough grain would be freed to feed five million people. Abroad, the issues are more complex. The developing countries are partly to blame themselves, for failing to control populations, for neglecting agriculture for the sake of glamorous, heavy in- dustries. Canada can contribute emergency supplies, and of food more is needed than sur- plus eggs. We can provide capital, equipment, expertise and fertilizers. We will have to, despite the political dif- ficulties, tie some of our aid to agricultural and land reform. We will have this is almost the hardest part of all to allow the developing countries to sell their products to us so they can build up currency reserves. One of the prayers the group on Parliament Hill recited aloud was: "How dare we give thanks unless, in the same breath, we acknowledge our responsibility to share daily bread with brothers and sisters who are hungry and The world's food reserve at the present time is sufficient for only 27 days, the FAO esti- mates. Increased fertilizer prices have added about million to the under-developed nations' payments to other countries and a short-fall of a ton of fertilizer will be reflected a little later on in a 10-ton reduction in food production The problem of the under- developed world is usually summarized in terms of the gap between its poverty and the wealth of the advanced nations That is an unfor- tunate companson because it states the problem in in- soluable terms and because the existence of a gap, in itself, is not important. What matters are actual standards of North America and Western Europe The problem is not to bring a Javanese vil- lager to the levels of a New Yorker but to see him rise a small notch up the human scale. A combination of events has left Beaudoin and others convinced that the relationship that now exists between the rich and poor nations cannot go on in- definitely Part of it is the acute nature of the payments problems facing some of those countries Part of it is the spreading recognition that the foreign aid the post-war period have failed in their have helped but they have not solv- ed the problem. Indeed, 'their success in reducing mortality rates is the underlying cause of the new population pressures. Finally, part of the reason why men like Beaudoin feel as they do is the changed at- titude of the Third World, visi- ble during last spring's special assembly of the UN, at the Law of the Sea Conference in Caracas and on other oc- casions The Beaudoin view is not exceptional but he is more than usually precise in his perception of the forms of ten- sion likely to arise in the near future between developed and under-developed nations The oil producers have given us one taste of this. The CIDA of- ficial clearly believes Presi- dent Boumedienne of Algeria, who gave notice at the UN special assembly that Third World nations will strengthen systematically their control over their resources to ensure that they are of maximum benefit to the country of origin. The implications of this for the resource- importing countries, the United States, Britain and Ja- pan, are enormous. If this ap- proach spreads, it would also have major implications for a resource-exporting country such as Canada Beaudoin also noted an in- creased conviction among Third World governments that nationalization of foreign- owned property is a means to self-development. The burden of servicing foreign debt is becoming so great that Beaudoin foresees the possibility of "continual debt defaulting and even debt repudiation." In all of this, Canadian offi- cials are seeking to increase this country's external aid programs and to redesign them so that they will be more effective. They are also very conscious of the size of the task and they do not come across as optimistic men. I don't care, get it off. The lethbridge Herald _ St. S teBVbfldge. Alberts LETHBTOOQE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Second oian Man Registration No 0012 OUEO MOWERS, Editor imd OONH PILUNQ Managing Editor ROYF MILES DONALD R DORAM General Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FENTON Orstitation Manager KENWEITH BARMETT Business Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"