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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 26, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta ram By STEVE KEBSTETTER WINNIPEG (CP) As the lock-out and strike of Vancouver grain handlers enters its second month today, its total economic impact remains difficult to assess with any certainty'. The dispute, coupled with the strike of deck of- ficers and ship mechanics on the Great Lakes and St Lawrence seaway, has brought exports of grain to a virtual standstill. In all of Canada Wednesday, only two grain vessels were being at Prince Ru- pert, B.C and the other at Churchill, Man. Spokesmen for the grain industry agree that the situation could have a serious impact on Canada's credibility as a supplier of grain to nations around the world "The long-run effect is that it scares our customers off for years to one official said Wednesday. While the impact of lost export trade appears obvious, opinions differ as to the immediate effects of the two disputes on farmers. The Canadian Grain Commission reported earlier this week that deliveries of grain by farmers during the current crop year through Sept. 18 were only 32.5 million one-third the amount delivered in the same period last year. A spokesman for the Canadian Wheat Board suggests that this could be attributed to delays in harvesting or could also be an indication that farmers are in a better cash position this year scare customers away 18' and aren't particularly rushed about delivering their grain to country elevators. Storage space capable of handling 55 million to 60 million bushels of grain is still available in country elevators, the spokesman estimated. Terminal elevators in Vancouver and Thunder Bay, while well stocked, are still not completely full. However, Bob Moffat, general manager of Manitoba Pool Elevators, said Manitoba coun- try elevators are virtually full and are forcing farmers to store grain themselves. This means extra handling charges for all farmers affected and could put those in need of cash this fall into a real squeeze. Before the Vancouver strike and lock-out began Aug 26, G.N. Vogel, chief commissioner of the wheat board, made public a letter to his minister Otto Lang emphasizing the severe consequences likely from a prolonged stoppage of grain movements. Mr Vogel estimated at that time that a full- scale labor dispute could cost Prairie farmers million or more because of delays in loading vessels and million or more in lost sales. Now, with crop yields and quality lower than expected because of frost damage, the board feels its earlier estimate of lost sales was too high. Yet it is more concerned than before about Canada's inability to fulfil its export com- mitments Exports last year were limited severely by the strike of non-operating railway employees, and exports during the current crop year are even further behind Canada's reputation for living up to its grain commitments is clearly on the line But from the buyers' point of view, a far more crucial problem is being able to obtain food grains that have been in short supply in the world in recent years A continual flow of grain to importing countries is essential, says the wheat board spokesman Most nations like Japan, China and Peru have limited storage capacity of their own and could be in deep trouble if exports are not resumed in the near future The Lethbrtdge Herald VOL. LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1974 15 Cents 44 Pages Rent controls 'unworkable9 Russell claims By TERRY McDONALD Herald Staff Writer Third of a series Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Dave Russell is satisfied most landlords in the province are using the tax savings they realized this year from the Alberta Property Tax Reduction Plan Act to lower rents or hold them con- stant Mr Russell told The Herald from Edmonton he believes most rent hikes implemented since landlords received the tax saving were smaller than they would have been without the tax saving. He has received "one or two letters complaining about ma- jor apartment complexes" charging that the landlords merely pocketed the tax sav- ing then raised rents. He said he couldn't be sure without a total review which is not being contemplated by the govern- ment but "I can only guess that a few landlords have given the total industry a black eye Minister contradicted However, several top civil servants in Mr Russell's department and in the con- sumer affairs department were less complimentary to landlords They said there were a con- siderable number of landlords who pocketed the tax saving then raised rents unreasonbly But the civil servants could not provide specific infor- mation. No changes are planned in the property tax situation, Mr. Russell said. Landlords will continue be- ing free of property tax for provincial education cost pur- poses, just as home owners will be And tenants will continue to get some relief on their rent in the form of a maximum income tax benefit Mr. Russell said Alberta has no intention of bringing in any form of rent control but the government will watch the rental situation "and see that the industry acts in a responsi- ble way." "Rental controls are against the basic philosophy of this government. We don't think they he said. He said the government has no plans to get directly involv- ed in the apartment business, even in the face of vacancy rates that are going down all the time. Mr Russell said the govern- ment is aware of two factors that are affecting the rental situation besides the overall "plain fact of life" of high interest rates on money available to potential rental accommodation builders: Landlords didn't realize the total saving of the proper- ty tax reduction plan because most municipalities im- plemented split mill rates. Apartment building landlords pay a higher rate than home owners under split mill rates Doesn't apply in city This does not apply to Lethbndge landlords, who, ac- cording to deputy city assessor John Dawson. pay the same mill rate as single family home owners and therefore receive the full benefits under the tax reduc- tion plan. Some of the major apart- ment complexes borrowed Resignation accepted SAN FRANCISCO