Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Monday, 21, 1tT4 EDITORIALS France and Canada General deGaulle's famous "Vive le Quebec libre" remark added greatly to the strains on Canadian federalism. It, and France's stance over the years, en- couraged Quebec separatists in the no- tion that they had important friends. Prime Minister Trudeau may not have 'been wholly responsible for the change, but at least it was made clear as a result of his visit last week to France. The current French alliance is with Canada, not Quebec. Its faith is in a strong and united Canada. And of course France knows full well, much better indeed than many Canadians, that a strong and united Canada means a bilingual and bicultural Canada. The French fact within Canadian soci- ety is indeed a fact. It won't go away. Those who would suppress the French fact must be prepared to see the Cana- dian confederation fall apart. If first Quebec leaves, then the pressure on the Atlantic provinces to leave will be well nigh unbearable. How long, then, until the West would feel its prospects better without Ontario? Majority favor equality Leaders of the various feminist movements often must question whether they are accomplishing anything concrete. In fact they must ask, even yet, if the majority of women want the tights being sought after on their behalf. Now a nationwide poll conducted in the United States shows that 57 per cent of the women polled favor efforts to improve their status in society. Only four years ago 42 per cent of jhose polled opposed equal rights movements compared to only 25 per cent in the latest poll. The poll was conducted by the Roper Organization, Inc. and was the third Virginia Slims American Women's Opinion Poll. As Burns Roper said, this does not mean that most American women are full-fledged feminists, but it demonstrates" a majority movement toward sexual equality. Almost half of the women polled (46 per cent) preferred an egalitarian marriage where husband and wife shared responsibilities while more than half (52 per cent) wanted to combine a career with marriage and raising children. Thirty eight per cent said they preferred marriage and motherhood without a career. Whatever the motive for this last percentage of women disagreeing with the majority it is a significant proportion and should lead liberationists away from the stubborn insistence that all women must work outside their home to be com- pletely equal and "fulfilled." At present many radical feminists could be accused of being equally as reactionary on that point as males were accused of being on the general issue of equality. Speaking of males, it is interesting to see that out of men polled women in the study) 63 per cent sup- ported efforts to strengthen women's status- in society. Contrary to popular belief men have shown greater enthusiasm for the cause of equality than women. If these statistics can be taken at face value then perhaps it's time for women to reshape some of their stereotyped male images and concentrate more on_their personal growth than on fighting the "male chauvinist pig" as they are doing now. ON THE HILL By Joe Clark, Rocky Mountain ERIC NICOL A classic example Should the public officials disclosure act, which requires government officials to bare their assets, be extended to include employees of the news media? This grotesque idea is finding advocates. As a potential victim of the bare asset movement, I'm asking for equal time. The argument for disclosure cites the power of us journalists to influence public opinion, possibly to our private financial gain. For example, suppose I own shares of mining stock. May I not be more disposed to resist the temptation to write articles criticizing the environmental damage caused by digs? Or if I have a piece of the supermarket in- dustry, will I not be inspired to find, and ad- mire in print, the beauty that lies in a well laid out parking lot? With my investments open for inspection, if I wrote a column built around a recipe for cranberry sauce, the reader could check it against my part interest in a turkey farm. If I pan the railways, I am into CP Air. The screed is pr6 Arab? Look for an honorary membership in the Kuwait Petroleum Club. Those who refer to us as "the kept, capitalist press" see the financial interests of us media minions as less directive than those of our boss. Among socialists it.is well known that the editor summons the entire editorial room into his office each morning, for a brief- ing session that instructs the aid of a marine chart, as to exactly where we may make waves. Nobody rocks the financial boat of the publisher. This rationale for disclosure ignores some contrary facts. The first is that, in order to be employed as a member of the working press a person must take an IQ test that proves that he is not bright enough to write an article and think about his own financial interest at the same time. I am a classic example. I can turn out a column, or I can sit at my desk trying to remember where my investments went. But if I try to do both at once I get a headache, adult size. The concentration required by creative writing is, like liberty, indivisible. It may be splintered slightly by a passing pair of legs, but that's it. The reason why you never hear of a newsman being accused of conflict of interest is that he has tunnel vision, and pushed with single minded purpose to get his copy in before the pubs close. The second reason why disclosure would be silly is that there is no evidence whatever that we of the media play a role in forming public opinion. Many politicians dread being endorsed editorially by a newspaper, because it is the kiss of death on their chance of being elected. In the nearly 25 years that I have been writing a syndicated column this tower of proselytizing strength not once have I been asked to lend my support to any particular party or candidate, or to any campaign more significant than the Girl Guides' cookie drive. Remarkable testament, I think, to the power of the press. This power to influence public opinion was perhaps best personified by an acetose play reviewer, the late Nathan Cohen. Of those who were persuaded to see a show because of a Cohen review, 50 per cent went because he said he liked it, 50 per cent because he said he hated it Play producers never hesitated to send Cohen his free tickets. Finally, and most damning, the revelation of financial interests would do mischief to my profession. Publication of the pitiful holdings would effectively kill the ambition of anyone contemplating making a career of jour- nalism. We would, lose a lot of good people to beachcombing. Gentlemen, spare us our modesty. Ain't nothin' in this here carpetbag except a few hubcaps. "I need a car that will last me 10 to 15 years while they complete their discussions on public transit routes." Belt-tightening time By Bruce Whitestone, syndicated commentator High oil prices, the bane of consumers everywhere, and a disastrous problem for many of the poor nations of the world, are undermining the international financial system. In spite of some construc- tive developments, the fact that the oil producing countries at their meeting in Ecuador did not push for another increase in oil prices, the real dangers persist. The ending of the oil supply crisis cannot mask for" long the potentially catastrophic finan- cial consequences that lie ahead as a result of the sudden and explosive rise in the cost of petroleum during the final quarter of 1973. It appears that the oil ex-' porting countries will earn about billion more this year from their exports than they will import from the remainder of the world. This is equal to a huge tax levied upon the rest of the world. Such a tax increase, as modern economic theory teaches us, will have a contractionary effect on the various national economies. If the major share of oil taxes collected by foreign governments is not re spent or reinvested in production, it will choke off output and increase trade deficits in the oil importing countries. Every industrial nation in the world, except Canada, and West Ger- many, will trade or current account deficits while the oil producers build up their huge surpluses. Some nations, those that are most stable or prosperous, will receive major snares of the oil money back. Others, less credit worthy, will suf- fer huge deficits. The problem is that none of the world's private financial institutions will be able to ab- sorb so much money so fast from these few depositors, (the oil Some of the Arab oil money has been invested in U.S. Treasury notes, but for all kinds of reasons, the Arab nations do not wish to place the revenue that they derive from selling product, oil, into a deteriorating piece of paper, the U.S. dollar, or almost any paper currency for that matter. In general, it is doubt- ful that this trade can be ex- panded until the world's trading arrangements are straightened out. The world's financial system could not handle indefinitely, inflows of tens of billions of dollars from a few depositors. No individual bank can allow an individual depositor to hold more than a small proportion of'its total liabilities, nor can an in- dividual bank lend more than a certain amount to a par- ticular borrower, even a country. For those nations caught with the worst deficits, there will be severe risks of defaults on their foreign obligations. The immediate problem is that many of the oil produc- ing nations are now building up surplus funds but have made no decision about how they plan to invest these huge sums. Right now, they are offering the funds for very short term investment. The International Monetary Fund hopes to have a special facility set up soon to. handle these transactions, under which the countries with sur- pluses would lend the money to the IMF at prevailing interest rates. The fund, which would not have the potential problem of loans be- ing called, would then relend the money to those countries who can afford to repay their trade deficit. What will happen to the poorer countries is yet to be determined. Many -parts of the world would like to get a crack at ob- taining some of the "recycled" oil revenue. The sheer volume is such that new international financial settlements will have to be made. The present system will run into insurmountable difficulties if it tries to handle these transactions. So far the private financial system has operated without visible strain. However, there is no doubt that a major crisis will be difficult to avoid. Soon the Arabs will not have to use oil as a weapon; they will be able to use their holdings of foreign currency. It is going to take a large dose of international co, operation and belt tightening among oil consuming countries and between the consuming and producing nations to keep the world's financial system on a drastic program of energy austerity. The oil producers will have to realize the dangers in their ef- forts to hold oil prices high, and oil importers will have to recognize the interests and aspirations of the oil producers. In this whole effort, one would have to hope that Canada, which almost unique- ly is well regarded in most parts of the world, can play a pivotal role. The world cannot afford to bear the tragic consequences that it faces if some steps are not taken soon to counter the staggering possibilities in this problem. There are not many federal programs to help small business. However, that is the stated purpose of the Small Business Loans Act, introduced by the Diefenbaker government and amended, most recently, this spring. That act provides both a government guarantee, and a lower interest rate, on loans issued by chartered banks and Treasury Branches. However, there is a hitch. Many banks don't like the act. They prefer to make their own loans because the paperwork is easier and because they can charge higher interest rates. MPs told the finance minister about his problem, when the legislation was being amended this year. Some of us asked for some guar- antee that banks would honor the act. The fi- nance minister wouldn't give a guarantee. Instead, he asked that he be advised -pf particular cases where banks have balked and suggested he would talk to the head of- fices of offending banks. That isn't much protection. Many people won't bother to complain to their MP, let alone a finance minister. Some people don't particular- ly want their MP to know their business. More often, they might be concerned that run- ning to Ottawa won't help their relations with their banker. However, twice already this month, in different parts of Rocky Mountain, individuals have admitted to me that their local bank won't proceed with small business loans. Other MPs report similar ex- periences. So, as a practical matter, the Small Business Loans Act isn't much use to Rocky Mountain. What can we do about that? There is no point talking about an amendment. That failed this spring..Answering a question in Parliament Oct. 8, the minister indicated he is not prepared to tighten ad- ministration. However, he repeated his offer to investigate specific offences. I think we should take him on that, and I would ask that you let me know of any cases in which banks or Treasury Branches refused to proceed with the Small Business Loans Act or with the Farm Improvement Loans Act or any other program where co operation is withheld. I will bring those cases personally to the minister's attention. I expect that, with any real pressure, the banks will co operate. They are anxious to retain a good reputation with Parliament, and are un- doubtedly a little worried about their reputation. For ex- ample, the Canadian Federa- tion of Independent Businesses recently published a survey report indicating many small businesses are un- happy about banking prac- tices. But the pressure must start with people who have problems. I hope you will con- tact my office. In praise of sprawl By William Satire, New York Times commentator Voice of the oil states By Leslie Colett, London Observer commentator "What a sale at the supermarket everything was marked down to yesterday's prices." BERLIN Amid -phrases such as "abandoned hope" for the world's poor and "night- mare of declining perspec- tives" for the under privileg- ed 80 per cent of the world's population, the international group of industrialists and scientists known as the Club of Rome last week listened respectfully to a slim, un- assuming looking man who might have been taken for an agronomist from one of the developing countries. The man modestly told the Club's annual meeting in West Berlin that he had come to "listen and learn" from the many "illustrious Would they permit him to make a few reflections which "may not be extremely The man who spoke so humbly, at times self deprecatingly, was Dr. Abderrabman Khene, secretary general of an organization that at times seems more powerful than the super powers themselves, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. A few years ago the Club of Rome might have been excus- ed for overlooking the ex- istence of OPEC. Today it counts itself lucky to get its bead to attend one of tbeir an- nual meetings. One thing, however, that Dr. Kbenc was not talking about in Berlin was the problems of the Third World or "Fourth as it is now fashionable to call it since toe oil countries have jumped a whole category in the past year. Rather he devoted himself exclusively to the "destructive effects of in- dustrial society" on the world order. He explained, however, that he was ever so slightly en- couraged by the development models presented to the Club of Rome in its latest study Mankind at the Crossroads: "I have the pleasure of confirm- ing that my attitude has he noted, "to that of a doctor attending a sick person with an incurable illness." He now felt that the patient could recover if there was a miracle. Again Dt.Kbene deferred to the superior knowledge of the scientists and once so power- ful industrialists of the West as be explained the views of the oil producing nations. He urged conservation of the "modest quantities" of oil left, calling this recipe a "product of intuition, perhaps too facile and simple for you. I did say I know very little of this be added with characteristic humility as delegates hung on his every word and news agency reporters scattered to their telephones This was on the same day that Washington called for a drop in the price of oil while the major industrial countries continued to red under the burden of unpayable oil bills. OPECs leader said: "We are glad to welcome any sober policies to reduce imports of the oil consumers. That way we can conserve reserves of Rome, elevating its study The Limits to Growth to the status of minor dogma. Before the oil crisis the book had aroused interest only among the narrowest circle of specialists. Last week's Berlin meeting, however, saw a wholesale debunking of the theory that all economic growth is necessarily bad. In its stead was placed a new model for differentiated growth, that is organic growth instead of ex- pansion per se. It took Professor Karl Deutsch of Harvard University to put things in some perspective It was the dramatic oil price rises last year that jolted Western public opinion to need the dire warnings of the Club with his crack that "Americans have seen what zero growth now looks like and they don't care much for it." If ever one man was able to bring a note of common sense into a conference that threatened to bog down in competing mathematical models to aid the poor it was the German born professor. He recalled previous club debates on the wisdom of growth which were reminis- cent of "those eariy 19th-cen- tury arguments about there being too many poor people around." It was unlikely the wealthy nations would halt the arms race to devote two or three per cent of their income to the poor countries as urged, be said, until America and the Soviet Union "agreed to scare each other for one third less than they spend now." And what, he wondered out loud, Is the sense of a "vast military establishment in an energy WASHINGTON An agglomeration of federal bureaucrats, foundation of- ficials, social planners and nobly motivated land use freaks have taken advantage of the energy faddism and the depression in the home- building industry to launch an attack on -the single family house. The Urban Land Institute, which prefers to see people clustered together hi apart- ment houses, issued a report last week blasting "energy inefficient patterns of "sprawl" which is foun- dationese for a development of single family homes in the suburbs. If the sloganeers of the homewrecking lobby force us to choose between the equally pejorative terms of sprawl and crowding, I'm for sprawl. Not out of a romantic hearkening back to the good old days, but because the future of well planned com- munities of single family dwellings affects the kind of economy we will have and the kind of nation we will be. The dramatic rise in home ownership has done more for economic stability than any other single fact of the past generation. The revolution that started in Levittown, Long Island after the Second World War introduced equity into the estates of over 30 million families; urban planners may sniff at the "dreariness" of the tract house, but it is a lot less dreary to the people who have raised families there and sold to new families at a con- siderable profit. In fact, home buyers of a decade ago are considerably better off then renters or stock buyers. The single family home is a conservatiz- ing force, as candidates in suburbia will attest, and res- pond to a human need of privacy or castiehood that even planners acknowledge has phychic-value. But in this day and age, we are told, the average man can- not afford such privacy; if inefficient use of energy doesn't discourage him, the high cost of building will. That need not be so. The cost of construction labor is maintained at an artificially high level by the Davis Bacon Act, a sop to the most inflationary unions, and local building codes make it dif- ficult to introduce modern techniques, and materials. One day this interference with the free market will end. And when our current reces- sion finally puts a crimp in the rate of inflation, a potential homebuyer will have less interest to pay and will find banks demanding less of a down payment. A single family residential building recovery will take place early in the normal turn of the business cycle, as long as our well intentioned urban planners do not succeed in changing public policy toward the individual home. But the people who helped bring us the energy shortage are using a shortage of energy as an excuse to apply their notions of land use to what should be the free choice in the purchase of shelter. Apartment bouses are fine, as are quadruplex con- dominiums, townhouse clusters and menage a trois mobile homes, if- that is what the customer prefers. But diversity and individuals are the hallmarks of democracy, and the affordable single family house should continue to be encouraged as an available choice to the coming generation. I'm going to cut this lark out for a LethbridgettaaU LETHBRrDOE HERALD CO. LTD. Pioprtglort OHM MM nagmncan No 0012 CUEO MOWERS. Editor and PUWMhw OONH PULING DONALD ROORAM Mwwgw ROYF MH.ES DOUGLAS K WALKER EMorWI GCMor ROBERT M FENTON CftrdMOOA MWQW KENNETH 8ARMETT THE HEftALO SERVES THE SOUTH"