Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 31, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tntirtdny, October 31, 1974 nomxrs The Crowsnest rates These are critical days for western agriculture. Rail line abandonment is under serious consideration. Getting the grain physically from farm to seaboard is be- ing drastically re thought. And respon- sible public figures are talking of aban- doning the Crowsnest freight rate on ex- port grain and letting the railways charge closer to actual cost! If Henry Wise Wood were alive today he would turn ovar in his grave! There is much that is archaic about the grain marketing system, and not least on the list is the Crowsnest rate, sometimes called "agreement." First, it persists hardly as an agreement. It was legislated by the Parliament of Canada. Second, u- stick to any fixed freight figure in perpetuity is less than reasonable. What was right in 1900 is not necessarily right in 1920 or 1974. Even if there was a contract in 1896, it cannot be enforced forever. Third, in all of the prairie complaints about discriminatory freight rates, it is usually overlooked that these rates for export grain are highly discriminatory in favor of the farmers. To make the fanners pay closer to the actual cost of moving the grain may be politically unwise, perhaps even economically unsound. It has been suggested that the rates be normalized and the farmers given a direct subsidy to make up for part of the increased cost. Again that might be political dynamite but it would be better accounting and more honest. City counciVs duty If the fluoridation plebiscite failed, City Council cannot, under existing legislation, order the fluoridation of the city's water supply. If the plebiscite passed, there is an equally compelling burden on City Coun- cil to proceed immediately with fluoridation. There is no option. If there is doubt whether the plebiscite passed, even though the city clerk has declared that it did, and if those who refuse to accept his declaration are will- ing to stand the cost of a recount, then the final action ought to be delayed. But this much is clear: Under existing legislation many Alberta communities now fluoridate their water. Under ex- isting legislation, assuming the plebiscite passed, Lethbridge must now do the same, the people having spoken. And anyone who feels the legislation is an intrusion on his personal rights and freedoms may challenge it in the courts. That is beyond the jurisdiction of City Council. Proceeding with the bylaw is City Council's right and obligation. Letters ART BUCHWALD The ultimate breakthrough WASHINGTON Several weeks ago I wrote about how the supermarkets raise the prices on their cans and boxes so fast that sometimes there are two of three changes in the cost of an item before you get to the park- ing lot. I pointed out that some supermarkets actually have stock boys chasing your cart down the aisles stamping your packages before you get to the counter, while other stores have their clerks hidden in ambush behind the stacks of Ritz crackers. But my friend Joe Krell revealed the latest in grocery price warfare the other day. He called me up and asked me to come over, ex- plaining he couldn't talk on the phone. When he opened the door he looked like a nervous wreck. "Let's walk he said, "the house could be bugged." We down the street. "Something's he said. "The other day I bought a can of tuna. It was marked 55 cents. I carried it home and put it in the food closet. When I took it out the next day it was marked 63 cents. I thought I had made a mistake in the original price, but to be certain I put it back In the closet. The next day the price on can read 70 cents." Now I must say Krell is a very sober fellow and is my knowledge would not make something like this up. He obviously had gotten several cans of tuna mixed up. I suggested this but he shook his head. "No way. This morning I took out the can and it said I'm telling you something's fishy about this." Krell told me at first he thought it was just the tuna can, but to make.sure he started checking other grocery items on his shelves. Sure enough they increased by two or three cents a day. "Even the stuff I put in the freezer changed price overnight. I bought some steak for a pound the next night, when I took it out to thaw it, it was marked I thought about it. Krell probably was suf- fering from some sort of a hallucination Parade of homes A visit to the Parade of homes left me with three nagging questions. (1) Who could afford to pay the inflated prices asked for the show homes? The prices ranged from and up, which must be an impossible sum for any ordinary person to pay. (2) What has happened to quality construction? Some of the finishing was so poor that I wonder what sort of shoddy work is hidden behind the flashy exteriors. The Herald recently carried a story about buildings liable to collapse because of faulty beams used in the construction. For the sake of those moving into West Lethbridge I hope building inspectors will be more vigilant than they have been in the past. (3) Why is it local building constructors have been able to buy up the choicest lots in West Lethbridge and are ap- parently holding on to them in the hopes that land prices will go up? I thought the city was trying to stamp out specula- tion in city land yet local citizens who wish to build are frozen out by contractors who can hold on to vacant lots as long as they like. City Hall ad- ministrators have some ex- plaining to do. LOCAL CITIZEN Lethbridge Editor's Note: Our informa- tion does not support Item No. 3 above. Anyone, including contractors, was initially per- mited a maximum of five lots, with a down payment and a building com- mitment. The tight money situation hit both individuals and contractors and both ask- ed the city for relief. The city extended the building commit- ment period for'all concerned, on payment of another down. 'About these new uniforms, Andy, we really appreciate the thought, however Pragmatic relationship By Paul Hellyer, Toronto Sun commentator brought about by exorbitant food prices, but at the same time the situation was worth investigating. We sought out Thurston Craven, a friend who works as a chemist for the government on top-secret work When we told him the story he whistled. "It sounds like they've made a breakthrough on the APPS." I queried. "Auto-Progressive Price Stamping. It's the ultimate weapon in price-marking techni- Craven said. "We knew the super- markets have been doing research in this field for some time. There has been so much human error in marking cans and boxes and packages that they've had a crash program to find ways for the prices to change themselves. But we didn't expect them to develop anything like it until 1979." Craven asked Krell to bring over the can of tuna. By the time Krell returned and gave it to Craven, the can was marked "Special Craven put it under his microscope. "Hmmnn." he said, "just as I thought. It's on a laser-beam cycle. You see the prices are marked with a high ultraviolet ink which dis- appears and reappears according to the inten- sity of light. "All the supermarket has to do is set the laser on a cycle and the price will go up progressively any amount the store wants. "The only mystery for me is that the prices should only change in the store. They shouldn't keep changing in Krell's closet and freezer. Let me ask you this, Krell. Do you have a television set in the "Yes. of said Kreil. "Well, that explains said Craven. "The cathode tube is having the same effect on the marked prices as a laser beam. I would suggest you take the TV out of the kitchen." Craven added. "And one more thing, Krell. I wouldn't talk to anyone about this. If the supermarkets find out you know about Auto- Progressive Price Stamping, your life won't be worth a one-cent ham-hock sale." OTTAWA To err is human but forgive divine. And so France and Canada have agreed to kiss and make up. The bitter words and hurt feelings of the last eight years are forgiven if not forgotten. The prime minister's trip to Paris was the dawn of a new day of co-operation and under- standing. The new relationship has pragmatic overtones. France needs energy and needs it badly. More specifically it needs a safe and reliable alternate source of uranium. It is also interested in coal and oil. Energy planning has been part of the problem of Franco- Canadian relations for years. In the early days of the de Gaulle dynasty, a long range energy requirement was drawn up. France negotiated a large contract for the supply of uranium from Dennison Mines Limited. For reasons which were never too clear, the Canadian government said no. We asked for safeguards which were not part of earlier sales to the U.S. and Britain. France was willing to give an assurance that the metal would not be used for military purposes but balked at the specifics. To agree, it was suggested, would be second- class citizenship rather than provide equality with Britain and the U.S. It was in this atmosphere that de Gaulle came to Canada in 1967. His incendiary "Vive le Quebec libre" ignited a fire that has taken years to extinguish. Now the French have decid- ed to take a second shot at Canadian co-operation. The chances are better this time. Nearly all the old actors have left the stage. The prime minister is a French Canadian with an affection for France and limited concern for American sensibilities. He suggests that there is a lot of catching up to do if France is to enjoy equality with the U.S. and Britain. Furthermore, he and his colleagues have the political will to move in this direction. This is good news for France. She needs Canadian co-operation because the Quebec only option is too limited. James Bay power could supply the energy for a joint venture in uranium enrichment. But most of the uranium is in Ontario. And Alberta has the best ex- ploitable deposits of coal plus the massive tar sands with their huge potential reserves of heavy oil. The federal government has jurisdiction Books in brief "Stories from Quebec" by Philip Stratford (Van Nostrand Reinhold Ltd., 176 Here is a book that will most probably satisfy the ma- jority of its readers. The 28 stories, from 18 different authors, which depict the lives of the Quebecois in an unusual colorful variation, deal with the prostitute in as familiar a manner as with the devoted chaplain, the amiable fool, the pitiful drunk or the can- tankerous antagonist. There are also stories giving a surrealistic, in a certain sense nonsensical, im- pression. It's like a steam engine asking for a whiskey, paying with a bill and com- plaining to the bartender for short-changing it Quebec, especially the rural one, really comes to life in this volume and one can only hope for more publications of this sort. HANS SCHAUFL in inter-provincial affairs and the export of energy so all Canada is the French oyster. But there are problems to be solved. Canada is increasingly reluctant to sell raw materials in exchange for manufactured goods. The big benefits lie in processing. That is true in money terms but even more so in terms of creative and rewarding oppor- tunities. Canadians, too, want to build planes and trains and nuclear reactors. It matters little if we become hewers of wood and drawers of water for France as an alternative to Britain, the U.S. or Japan any preference is purely subjec- tive. We are no longer a colony and do not wish to be treated as one. We hold the high cards to use as leverage. There is no reason why we should not sell primary materials in excess of our own requirements if we want to. There is equally no reason why those sales should not be conditional on the sale of high technology products. Uranium sales could be tied to the sale of reactors. Here, Canadians should be open minded. If our own Canadian Candu reactor is best, it should be saleable. If the French or other potential customers cannot be convinc- ed and insist on a different design, we have the capability of providing it. It will be good for Canada and good for national unity if relations with France can be normalized. But do not assume that efforts to shift a large volume of trade in this direction will be easier than previous attempts at diver- sification. The French are shrewd, tough businessmen and are primarily interested in buying raw materials and selling manufactures. We must learn to be just as tough. World-wide inflation may affect democratic processes By C. L. Sulzberger, New York Times commentator PARIS Forty-five years ago the great depression began with a crash on Wall Street and by the time it staggered to its halt the whole world had been shaken out of fat-dripping illusions. Now we appear to oe on cr over tire brink of a similar collapse although as in 1929 few leaders are willing to admit it and even the pnssy word "recession" is disliked. After the 1929 Stock Ex- change break, respected Pollyannas like Herbert Hoover and J. P. Morgan for months saw silver linings ob- scuring every cknnl We now seem in a shtttW perwvi leadership with respect to the facts is Uitmderous. From Tokyo to Washington via Paris and London one bears again those coos from political pigeon cotes that nothing drastic need be done. And. indeed, securities regulations and social insurance have eas- ed the shock. Nevertheless. let us regard. France, traditionally Europe's most prosperous land, has more unemployed than any time since Se- cond World War and work stoppages ripple across the country. England is flat broke, floundering econom- ically and caught in an endless Irish conflict last battle of the 17th century religious wars. Italy is mired in chaos Por- tugal hovers on the edge of tumult and Spain may soon approach a similar border when Franco dies. Japan's dynamism shows signs of dis- solving like a wet South Asia is disintegrating much of Africa starves and the richest oil sheikhs have accumulated so much money that they don't know even how to budget at As for the United States, a somnolent acceptance "f platitudes has succeeded the hope for vigorous leadership that followed Nixon's resignation. Amid this placidi- ty we seem to be shedding the old-fashioned Calvinistic ideology that argued a rich man can indeed enter heaven. Nelson Rockefeller can't become vice-president. No capitalistic society can escape unscathed from the cumulative effects of rampant inflation and industrial stagnation. It is small comfort to acknowledge that the poor underdeveloped nations are in even worse shape And it is considered axiomatic by many so-called experts thai no democracy can for long survive an inflation rate ex- ceeding 20 per cent Look at today's roster Chile, with an annual rate of 745 per cent is not, of coarse, a democracy and inflation was already we'll over 20 per cent when Salvador Allende's regime collapsed. South Viet- nam, never democratic, such system being unfamiliar to cast Asia's mainland, is at 68 per cent and President Tbieu totters. Iceland, a nobly free litUe land, has attained 438 per cent Pakistan is at 32.1 Argentina at 30.2 Brazil at 28 7 and Ecuador at 28.4. India is at 28 per cent. Portugal and Turkey are rivals at 25.9 and Japan is at 25.2. Greece's posi- tion is probably equivalent to Turkey's Reviewing this list politically. Chile, South Viet- nam and Brazil are not democracies and Pakistan. In- dia. Portugal and maybe Turkey could easily be diverted from that course. What ugly shadows lie in wait elsewhere? Even in staid, law-abiding old England there is a small but growing off- stage chorus of voices calling for quasi-Fascist law-and- order organizations. Todays great inflation stems from many things not just oil prices. Recent years have accustomed public opinion to rising desires for comfort that can no longer be financed. The world is filled witii gobs of fake money or equivalent on an ex- aggerated scale to margin- buying of securities two generations ago: special drawing rights, Eurocurren- cies, various theoretical worths of gold. There is no valid international monetary system and excessive public expenditure is commonplace. Vietnam military costs accelerated economic weaknesses in the United States which cleverly ex- ported its inflation abroad (as de Gaulle, no economist himself, brilliantly And although "Don'f blame unions I read with interest Mr. Lloyd Weightman's letter Labor union influence, (The Herald, Oct. In his letter he talks about the risk of investment. I wonder if he is referring to the risk Mr. Ginter took when he built his brewery in Red Deer with a half million dollars gift of the taxpayer's money from the provincial government. I wonder what he thinks of the Canada statistics prepared by the federal government October Review showing that profits rose 65 per cent over and above wages, and then there is the Husky Oil profit which rose at a rate of 250 per cent. I wonder what he thinks of the composite food index rais- ing 18.3 per cent 'from May 1973 to May 1974 while the wages in that industry rose an average of nine per cent for the same period. What does he think about guys like Robert Helman, president of American Brands who recently got per hour added to his salary, or John DeButts, chairman of who was rewarded a per hour raise, or Chrysler's Lynn Townsend who received an increase of per hour and Rockwell International's Willard who received an additional per hour and then there is poor Harold Geneen of who only got per hour, which- left him at an hourly rate of per hour for a yearly wage of I wonder why I haven't read any letters to The Herald ac- cusing these poor fellows of being greedy and un- reasonable with their wage demands. But they are not in a union, so I guess that releases them from any blame for inflation. And, yes, inflation does bother me. I look at union members who have retired and cannot live on their pen- sions. Union pensions, that when they were negotiated, were accused of being greedy. It bothers me to see old people not eating properly because of the low pensions. It bothers me to see people who, in Mr. Weightman's words, are tak- ing a risk making a profit on our old people in some of the nursing homes. It bothers me that a large number of workers on this continent are working for wages in the poverty level while the people who he says are taking the risk are show- ing enormous profit. And, let's not blame the un- ion for the establishments who have gone into liquidation because they were unable to compete isn't that what it is all about? IAN DOWNIE Lethbridge U.S. owes apology In my opinion United States owes our country an apology for allowing the publication of the contents of a tape in which very undiplomatic language described our prime minister. This part of tape had no relevence to the Watergate trial whatever and should have been officially squelched. One can conclude from this that perhaps they wanted it published to show the general contempt they ap- parently have for us. With the touchy Middle East situation just now or some other spots in this old world, would the government of United States allow something like this to be published? They certainly wouldn't dare. My personal opinion of our prime minister has never allowed me to vote for him, but he represents my country and I don't feel we should be insulted by our neighbors. A READER Magrath Excellent comments enough food is grown to feed the world, no one has yet devised a system to distribute it. Atop all this the Arabs quadrupled oil prices and the pit fell in. Tire only way democratic chiefs can extricate their nations from this mess is by firm, imaginative, audacious leadership: high taxes on gas- oline and big cars en- couragement of energy saving on such things as air- conditioning rigid penalties for violations shifts to new energy sources. We are not getting that kind of talk anywhere: only cosmetics and blabber- mouthing. Let us not forget that the great depression of the produced in Roosevelt's New Deal radical social reform that saved American democracy and also Killer's Nazism which wrecked the world. I have a particular interest iD Alberta's sunshine belt. I had the good fortune of being born and growing up there. When I graduated from law school I accepted my present position in government relations work. It has been a most happy experience for me because one of my major responsibilities has been to follow political developments in Canada. l recently read with par- ticular interest an address given by toe Honorable Ken Hurlburt. MP for the Lethbridge riding. This address can be found on page 463 of the Wed.. Oct. 16, of- ficial report of the House of Commons debates. His comments were ex- cellent, and I believe most timely when one considers the present trend in government. It was particularly refreshing to read a political address with which one could identify philosophically. Point by point Mr. Hurlburt has expressed the deep rooted love of freedom and individuality that is so characteristic of the great spirit of Southern Al- berta. Dunng a recent trip home I became impressed with the growing concern among my friends and relatives with regard to the spread of socialism in Canada. It is gratifying to know that my borne town is represented by a concerned and articulate fre--Jojn fighter of Mr. Hurlburt's stature. RONALD WOLSEY New York atv The Letkbridge Herald SMrthSt S HERALD CO tTD Proprietors Second Cms Man RegWraton No 0012 aeo MOWERS. DON H P1UJWG Managing Editor rf OONAIOR OORAM M11ES Manager DOUGLAS K WALKEfl Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FEKTON OtroflatW Manager KEWWETH 8ASNETT Bwsmess Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"