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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 30, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 4-THE LETHBRIDQE October 30, 1974 Make everyone register Alderman Tobin has said that renters in Lethbridge "were not provid- ed with an opportunity to vote." That is not so. They had every oppor- tunity, but it involved extra effort. If they were alert and informed enough to deserve a vote, as almost all of them surely were, they knew that first they had to register. By neglecting to register they were not deprived of the opportuni- ty of voting. The onus was strictly, on themselves. Nevertheless it may properly be contended that the regulations were dis- criminatory. For an honest and secret election there must be some kind of a roll of qualified electors: The city already had a partial list those who were mailed tax notices: These people, by the act of buy- ing property and paying taxes, had already made the effort (involuntary, perhaps) of registering to vote. But how would the non property owners, equal- ly qualified to vote, be registered? The city's policy was to inform them of their right to come be directly registered. We see nothing wrong with this, but Aid. Tobin does. The suggestion that non property owners be permitted to swear themselves in at the polls is only a partial answer to his complaint, for dis-. crimination remains. The procedure is still different for them than for property owners. Perhaps the aldermen should consider scrapping the tax roll as a partial voters' list and make everyone register in ad- vance. The great sugar mystery One of the puzzles of the marketplace is how the sugar industry has managed to escape the scathing attacks aimed at the oil industry. The price of sugar at the retail end has increased at a far greater rate than the price of oil and in some in- stances the profit margins are so much greater that oil company profits look like schoolboy efforts. It is possibly not a popular thing to say, here in the heart of sugar beet country, but there seems little doubt that the price of sugar is artificially high. An of- ficial of Canadian Sugar Factories, Ltd. admitted as much this summer when he commented to a Herald reporter that everybody recognizes 'that sugar prices are higher than what is needed on a con- tinual basis to keep the industry healthy. Still, no public outcry exists about wind- fall profits in the sugar market. Mrs. Plumptre has noted that the Canadian sugar industry, which already has excess refining capacity, continues to expand. "It must be a very profitable she once commented. This might have been the understatement of the year and yet it passed unnoticed. An executive, of British Columbia Sugar Refining Company, the sole supplier of sugar to western Canada and .parent of Southern Alberta's.sugar in- dustry, recently told a Montreal court jthat his company sets its prices in accor- dance with prides charged by three eastern refining companies who are defending themselves against govern- ment charges of conspiracy to fix prices and lessen competition. This is at least a good example .of artificial pricing. Of equal interest was the remark to the court that wages paid by the sugar com- pany are probably the highest of any sugar refinery in the world. Last year, following the wage settlement, the com- pany chairman said, "We just gave them everything .they asked for." Public statements of this kind indicate at least one sure thing besides happy workers; they indicate high company profits. It seems unlikely that the present in the sugar industry can con- tinue, even without public pressure for a change. The court's decision in the con- spiracy case should have some bearing on sugar prices and the Food Prices Review Board's awaited report on the domestic sugar industry may finally spur public as well as government interest in the matter. A hint at what the future may be comes from the candy industry. While B.C. Sugar Refining has just announced a dollar increase in the wholesale price of Sugar, making it a hundredweight and two U.S. companies are raising prices to for 100 pounds, the American firm of Life Savers, Inc., has already bought its 1975 supply of sugar at a considerably lower figure. According to the Wall Street Journal, sugar selling for delivery late next year is bringing less than per 100 pounds. Someone out there in commodity land thinks he'can make money even at this price. Whether this is good news or bad depends on one's ideas about nutrition. Some people think high sugar prices are the best thing that has happened to the Canadian diet. RUSSELL BAKER Qlympians of American culture It was front-page news the other day when Henry Kissinger arrived in Moscow, although at the ,time he hadn't done anything but arrive, which a lot of other people do every day without getting a line in the papers. There was nothing surprising about Kissinger's Moscow arrival. The previous day's papers had said he was going to Moscow, which wasn't very surprising either, since earlier papers had said he was probably going to Moscow and since, in any case, he goes to Moscow as regularly as other people go to grandmother's for Sunday dinner. After his arrivals in Moscow, Kissinger generally has "a fruitful exchange of views" with Leonid Brezhnev. The most recent visit was no exception, and in due course arrival stories came the unsurprising stories that he had had "a fruitful exchange of views with Leonid Brezhnev. We had also been told in advance that he was going to arrange a "summit" meeting between Brezhnev and President Ford. This was not surprising either. Theoonly kind of meeting President Ford goes to anymore is a "summit" meeting. After his "summit" meetings with economists at the White House and with the president of Mexico on the border, anything in the foothills-meeting category with Brezhnev would have been un- thinkable. This did not stop the weekend papers from giving front-page display to stories that a Ford-Brezhnev meeting would indeed be held at the "summit." None of this could pass for news under a strict definition of the term News would have been a situation in which Kissinger, though headed for Moscow, had arrived at Kabul, bad a fruitless exchange of views and arranged a valley meeting between Ford and Brezhnev. Why all Uns attention to Kissinger's doing what everyone knew he was going to do? The explanation is that Kissinger, like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is a representative figure of a certain American culture. He is one of those people about whom a cer- tain group of Americans will read even when there is nothing to read about them. This is not tbe same group of Americans, obviously, who will pay good money to read that Mrs. Onassis left the yacht at Ischia to take tea one cod day last August The two cultures the Kissinger culture and the Jackie culture are quite different. Members of the Jackie culture can also tell you the present marital status of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Members of the Kissinger culture regard such wisdom as triviality, but they can tell you the names of Talleyrand's mistresses and the last five presidents of Harvard. To'members of the Kissinger culture, the most significant event of the decade would be a breakthrough in the SALT negotiations. The Jackie culture would be equally stirred only by an authenticated UFO sighting, or a message from the other side relayed through a psychic medium in indisputable contact with Rudolph Valentino. There are many other cultures among Americans, of course. There is the sports culture, to whose members all the foregoing will seem piffle. This might be called the Muhammad-Namaih culture after the two men who never exhaust the sports culturist's capacity to absorb tedium. As the Kissinger group can read about Moscow arrivals with limpid excitement every time, and as the Jackie group can ab- sorb bulletins about Fifth Avenue strolls without begging for mercy, so the Muhammad-NamaUi group has the sinister power to dilate uiitil dawn upon the distinc- tion between pulled hamstrings and shoulder separations and how they have whimsically changed the coarse of human athletic events. Sociologists could probably catalogue us ail into oar distinctive cultures by studying the people we are willing to read about on days when there is nothing worth reading about them. There are hordes of people in this country who will read about Johnny Carson's wardrobe, others who cannot slake an appetite for news of Mick Jagger's diet, and others who can sit through the night watching pictures of Hugh Hefner at the Playboy pad. It is all a question of what you think is im- portant enough to care about when there is nothing going on worth caring about. This is why, to a certain group of people, newspaper editors among them, Henry Kissinger's arrival in Moscow is big news, although it isn't news at all, at least if you are tearing the paper apart in a futile search for bulletins about the latest restatement of Eve) KmeveTs philosophy or whom Mrs. Onassis saw just before lunch yesterday. We are not one culture, bat many, and un- like Kissinger, we rarely have anything but a fruitless exchange of views. Energy and transit By Tom Wicker, New York Times commentator "Look lady... I've been cuttin' meat for 20 years and I haven't seen one bacteria around here Drastic policy changes? By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA The .Prime Minister's statement on our economic relations with Europe was notable for lofty rhetoric but not particularly helpful to an .understanding of the Government's policy or the present situation. It cannot reasonably be ex- pected that governments will reveal details of their proposals while negotiations are in progress. But dis- cussions with the Common Market have been going on for many years and Ministers on occasion (Jean-Luc Pepin, for example) have had a good deal to say about the interests we were endeavouring to safeguard. Mr. Trudeau did indicate, in. reply to Robert Stanfield, that the Government-might be pre- pared to make public proposals which have now 'gone with the wind. For there have been successive first an endeavour to reach'a trade agreement with the Com- munity; then a search for a contractual arrangement (of which we know very little) and now the new concept of which we know nothing at all. What is most puzzling, how- ever, is the contrast between the Prime Minister's guarded statement in the House of Commons and reports of his much more exciting revelations in Brussels. According to these'reports, which have not been denied, Mr. Trudeau delivered a rather blunt warning overseas that his Government is for- mulating drastic new policies in the fields of energy and natural resources. At least one story also mentioned foreign investment. "We are telling the Eu- ropeans bilaterally and as a community: you may think you are going to be able to take all our raw materials out but you aren't." "We are defining our policies and if you want to get hi there, you'd better embark on this process of negotiations." If drastic changes are in the offing, the country should cer- tainly be told about them. In the House Mr. Trudeau spoke with notably greater restraint; ignoring Mr. Stan-' field's direct reference to .these reports. "The view I took with regard to our raw materials is that we sell them toother countries but we have -various policies as conditions to such sales. I mentioned, of course, our policy' on up- grading, on control of export of energy and on seeking greater benefit for Canada from all forms of foreign investment through our Foreign. Investment Review Act. These are all ex- planations I put to the Com- mission on the one hand and bilaterally to France, Belgium and Luxembourg on the other. Nothing was said there, which is not already well known as being part of the policy of the Government of Canada." One might conclude from this that Mr. Trudeau merely briefed his hosts on what they must have known hi any event through their competent offi- cials in Ottawa. This seems unlikely. It is surely more reasonable to believe that the Government does hope to use raw materials as bargaining levers in a comprehensive negotiation. For Canada, however, such a policy would certainly in- volve practical difficulties. It is easy to disparage the resource industries but in fact we still have a rather large stake in the export of raw materials. The example of lumber is particularly instruc- tive. Last year foreign de- mand was so great that the domestic market was "prac- tically starved. Suddenly de- mand dropped, mills began to close, thousands of workers were laid off and cries of pro- test were heard from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. As demand for lumber, and many other commodities, does fluctuate in this fashion, it is rather difficult to imagine this or any other Canadian Government using the threat of interrupted supply as a means of inducing other governments to revise their policies'in our' favor. It may be interesting also to approach the question from a 'different angle. Speaking of his discussions in Europe, Mr. Trudeau said: "We also agreed that the critical elements of the present state of the world econ- slow growth, balance of payments deficits, recycling, trade negotia- tions demanded liberal and statesmanlike attitudes as dis- tinct from cautious and protectionist ones." This is admirable but how does it fit the raw materials argument. Last year when the mills were hard pressed to meet total demand, there were suggestions that the Government should use export controls to ease the domestic situation as it once did in the -case of copper. The Govern- ment very sternly rejected such urgings. The case was best put by 'Mr. Turner who explained on more than-one occasion that such controls would be protection by another name. It will seem strange if a gov- ernment, holding such strong convictions, now takes the position that an implied protectionist threat is the best means of advancing our new concept, whatever it may be. Possibly Mr. Trudeau was misunderstood in Brussels. He was certainly not well under- stood in Ottawa in his first attempt to clarify the situation. NEW YORK -S0ne year after last i winter's gasoline shortage began to be felt across most of America, the unthinkable has happened. Many of those who had to desert their automobiles'and turn to mass transit have remained as transit riders, even though gasoline is plen- tiful again (probably not for Too much can't be made of this. There weren't mass transit riders to begin with. Not all that many Americans shifted to buses and subways last winter. When gasoline reappeared last spring, many of those quickly returned to their beloved automobiles. Yet, the facts remain as reported by the American Public Transit Association that transit ridership has risen nationally for 12 consecutive months, so that in September, 1974, there- were 7.8 per cent more transit riders in 120 "cities than there had been in September, 1973. The 25-year decline in the national use of mass transit a decline unmistakeably caus- ed by the proliferation of superhighways and urban freeways has been halted and marginally reversed. Another encouraging sign for the'sensible development of mass transit facilities is to be found in a political issues poll taken for the New York Times by Yankelovitch, Skelly and White Inc. A sampling of nearly persons in New York state showed 64 per cent of them favored more state emphasis on mass transit while only 27 per cent favored improving and extending the highway system instead. The inclusion of New York Citjr, with, its heavy concentration of transit riders concerned about a possible fare increase, undoubtedly weighted the results. But even among "upstate" New Yorkers outside the city and its suburbs those sampled split almost evenly on the question; 45 per cent for mass transit, 44 for the further development of highways. To some extent, that contradicts the conven- tional wisdom that mass tran- sit is of importance only in a few major cities, notably New York City. Yet, these good signs aside, public policy everywhere still tends to favor highways and automobiles, despite the near- certainty of renewed gasoline shortages, the real possibility of higher gasoline prices (and higher gasoline con- tinuing environmental Smallwood accepts defeat By Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star commentator So. finally, the saga is over. There was a sadness in Joey Smallwood's ending, as there must be in the sight of an old man trying once too often to recapture long-ago glories. Yet the defeat was without humiliation. By grace under pressure, Hemingway's classic definition of courage, Smallwood won, if not the political power he sought, then the personal dignity be had lost by his wilful attempt to win back the liberal leadership. The convention itself, a muddled, emotional happen- ing in a basement hall beneath an Anglican church, lacked the high drama of its closest equivalent, the federal Conservatives' rejection of John Dicfcnbaker seven years ago. The delegates, most of them, hated to make the choice. They wanted to applaud Smallwood, but not to follow him. Typical of Smallwood's supporters 'was Marguerite Dunn of St. John's: "It's senti- ment when you get down to it I feel we owe him a debt." Others felt that all debts had been paid in full. On the eve of the convention, two old com- rades-in-arms, Don Jamieson, the present Newfoundland federal minister and Jack Pickersgill, whom Smallwood transplanted to a safe New- foundland set in so he also could be a minister at Ottawa, both declared for Roberts. There were moments Smallwood stood alone on UK stage, when it seemed he just might make a political come-back that would have no precedent in Canadian politics. He attacked the Tories, who had "brought Newfoundland to the trembl- ing edge of and even the Roberts' supporters cheered; be closed with an emotional invitation, "Here I am, scars and all, ready for duty." Sentiment for accom- plishments past saved Small- wood from humiliation, but could not save him from defeat O-i the first ballot he pollpj 305 to Roberts' 337; minor candidates won 81 votes. The second ballot ended (he ordeal. Smallwood will go back to being the folk-hero Newfoundlanders wanted him to be until be returned to politics. His come-back failed, yet hi a curious way it ac- complished much. Smallwood at last has exorcised himself from Newfoundland politics. Both his successor as Premier, the Conservative Frank Moores, and his successor as Liberal leader, Roberts, hare lived in his shadow. concern, and the energy conservation Americans are being urged to undertake. Every increase in transit fare, as is well-known, results in a loss of riders and therefore is usually self- defeating. On the other hand, operating subsidies to main- tain the fare can also be self- defeating. Rising costs mean the subsidies have to rise, too, absorbing money that ought to go to maintenance and capital improvements; eventually, the fare will have to go up, too, and the rider will find himself paying more for deteriorated service- another sure formula for an ultimate loss of riders to the private automobile. One key to a better strategy is in the fact that the new device of giving two subway fares for the price of one on Sundays has been a success, attracting most of the new riders the New York City sub- way gained, in the past year after many years of steady losses. Such fare devices con- sistently attract new passengers, and others ought to be fares in the non-rush hours, for ex- ample, or computerized charges calculated by the length of the ride, or a price break for buying a large number of tokens at once. Even, more important, however, is' capital im- provement, especially in old transit systems like New York's subways. The plain logic of the converging problems of energy, environ- ment and the economy is that high priority not grudging lip service ought to be given to providing new transit systems and vastly improving old ones. Such a national mass transit program might even provide a useful public service employment program, if Ford can be persuaded that rising unemployment requires something more than the limited emergency measures he has. so far been willing to support. The problem is not to get everyone out of autos and into trains and buses. The problem is to lure enough people to mass transit to ease substan- tially the impact of the automobile oh energy and the environment. Nor is it necessary to make mass tran- sit self-supporting by the fares of transit riders. It would be equitable for everyone to sup- port, through their taxes, the contribution mass transit can make to easing the energy and environmental to mention the traffic problems that plague every city. Letters A little socialism Much has already been said about Mr. Hurlburt's remarks in the House of Commons concerning John Rodriguez, MP for Nickel Belt However, there are many other statements in his speech which should be challenged. I would urge everyone to obtain a copy of Hansard and to read it for themselves. For instance he says at one point "In reply to the argu- ment that just a littie bit of socialism is good so long as it does not go too it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a littie bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right too. In reply to Mr. Hurlburt, I would like to ask if he is will- ing to forego his medicare, introduced by the socialist government in Saskatchewan whom he also condemned in his speech, or his old age pen- sion. I am sure that Mr. Hurlburt would be one of the first to complain if he had to give up this "littie bit of socialism." MARIE HOFFMAN Lethbridge 'Better to be silent' When one looks at Ken Hurlburt's remarks of last week, together with some of his previous statements, it appears that his main ac- complishment while in Ot- tawa will be to provide proof to the oW adage that "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's month and prove it? WILLIAM W. DA VIES Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald SOITfttStS s. Alberta ICTH8RIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. and PMMhers Second dan Mat) RegWtraBon No 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and PUMWwr DON H PILLING 00NALDR.OOHAM Managing Editor. General Manager ROYF. MILES AdveiDMng Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH" ROBERT M. FENTON OtroriWton Manager KENNETH E 6ARMETT ;