Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, September 28, 19.4 Intense commercialism in nuclear sales By W.A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator Nuclear dangers The chances of mass destruction by a nuclear accident are about the same as the chances of destruction of an urban area by a meteor once in a million years. This was the finding of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study and on the basis of this study the director general of the International Atomic Energy Association has assured the 18th general conference of the IAEA in Vienna that risks associated with operation of a nuclear reactor are so small that it is hard to interpret them meaningfully. The principal point of his address was that nuclear power is the only alternative to oil in meeting a world demand for energy. It is difficult to argue with this point, but his assurances on safety received something of a setback when the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission ordered 21 of the 50 commercial reactors in the U.S. to close down to check for flaws because cracks had been dis- covered in three of them within six days. Even accepting the MIT report and accepting the possibility that inter- national regulatory criteria will be es- tablished for absolutely safe operation of all reactors throughout the world, it is not accidental dangers that has made the world uneasy lately. It is the possibility of deliberate misuse of nuclear energy that gives a night marish aspect to the deliberate use of the plutonium byproduct for atomic bombs. the deliberate theft of atomic weapons or parts from which such weapons can be assembled. The proliferation of nuclear technology has expanded the possibilities of nuclear blackmail by belligerents, whether they arf individuals, terrorist groups or nations, and not just in the minds of television writers. Thus far there are few assurances that what happens on the television screen cannot also happen in real life. Within a decade it is probable that more than pounds of plutonium will be produced annually. It takes less than 20 to make a bomb that can destroy a city. The Economist pointed out recently that the nuclear non proliferation treaty which came into effect in 1970 "forbids any provision of nuclear materials, or equipment for processing them, to countries that have not placed all their nuclear activities under the safeguards required by the treaty." And yet in their eagerness to sell reactors and fuel, the London weekly noted, countries with nuclear technology are not abiding by this restriction and are providing materials, equipment and facilities to nations which have not ratified the treaty. The U.S. has just agreed to send a ship- ment of enriched uranium to India, hav- ing received assurances from Mrs. Gandhi's government that none of this fuel will be used for conducting atomic explosions. This seems contrary to trea- ty stipulations since India has not signed the treaty and "assurances" are hardly enough. As a country with nuclear reactors to sell. Canada has a special responsibility in this matter. In Vienna and again at the United Nations, this country has called for adequate international safeguards. At the opening of the UN General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Allan MacEachen urged that all countries place their stock of nuclear f issil material under international super- vision. This suggestion should be re- emphasized at every opportunity. Meanwhile, is this country practicing what it preaches? Canada has stated that the reactor sale agreement with Argen- tina makes explicit the Canadian position that nuclear explosives are not to be manufactured from the Canadian reac- tor. But what kind of assurance is this? Are there to be no inspections to verify use of the reactor? South Korea has agreed to abide by IAEA and additional Canadian safeguards in buying a Candu reactor. Given the nature of that govern- ment and the absence of detailed infor- mation about those safeguards, this also sounds too much like a gentlemen's agreement. It's time for a tough, hard-headed interest in this spreading of nuclear equipment and technology. The grass roots is a good place to start because everyone has a stake in the matter his life. THE CASSEROLE The director of the University of Montreal Institute for Experimental Medicine and Surgery recently announced the development oi yet another new drug, this one called prenenolone carbonitril, or PCN tor short. that will neutralize the effect of stress on the human constitution The week before that the lederal health department announced a 100 per cent increase between 1969 and 1972 in the number of poisonings of humans by drugs attecting the central nervous system. that federal auto-emission standards may or may not be too stringent. Senator Edmund Muskie. who authored the standards, frustrated with scientists who can only say "On the one hand but on the other hand." told the academy president. "What we want are some one-armed scientists." The U.S. National Academy of Sciences .--pent S550.000 and devoted a year producing a report on Air Quality and Automobile Emis- Mon Control in which the conclusion is stated WEEKEND MEDITATION Among signs of the timas. a recent headline in one of Canada's largest daily papers read. "'Orderly crowd at city concert." Surely it says something for the kind of society this is, when orderly conduct at a concert or anvwhere else warrants headlines. Quest for the good life The modem novel is sick with the contempt "or life. It is eloquent testimony that debauchery born of the emptiness of life eaves a weary boredom and spiritual wasteland. But all the saints have known this. Buddha to Francis of Assist the quest of the great spirits has been for the good life, -low hard it is to awaken in men the world within themselves, to bring them to exercise their powers of reflection and imagination on Keats" "magic casements, opening on the "oam of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn." vlost men are shallow, busy with things of no account, with movie minds and jazz emotions. A man remarked the other day. "I lave tiling. Doc. and I have nothing. I iave a house, furnished with every lux- iry. a yacht, an apartment in the city, and a jnvate plane, but I feel dead inside and just lon't care about anything." He sounded like he writer of Ecclesiastes who "looked on all he works that my hands had wrought and jehold. all was vanity." But man's very condition creates a source of hope Man alone has this sense of futility, melancholy and world-weariness which will lot leave the prodigal content with the far and the swine troughs. Cows are not -exed this way. Man alone comes to the con- .-iction that unless he learns the art of unless he reaches out toward "eahty. he has no hope for joy or peace Animal hungers are four, the hunger for food ind dnnk, the hunger for rest, the hunger for ilay. and the hanger for sex But man has a for meaning, for iove. for seli- and for moral competence St Thomas Aquinas speaks of' 'the sour sorrow if the world Every human being knows H. ew indeed find the way to overcome it or -lire il All my hfe 1 have been haunted by God KmloH. a character in Dostoevski's lovel. The Possessed This hunger, this fstlessnesis. this impassioned longing. is Ihe fJrsire of the soul for God. but it is also the earning to truly human, to become what naturally is Not until man finds God ran ie discover who he is Who would desire a >etter destiny than to reach the sublime teights of the voting Andre- Gide who wrote in us journal. May the time come when my "ul. at last liberated, will be concerned onlv with God? "Life is fragmented, sensual, and. however one tries to concentrate, vexed with wandering thoughts. One should not leave the life of meditation to impulse. Sometimes when one least feels like it. orip is rnnst in need of prayer. Nor is it well to ramble in prayer. Some kind of dis- cipline is necessary. Read devotional literature or a life of one of the saints. Without listening to some great music. reading some fine poetry, or living with some great paintings, life is sordid indeed. Of course reading the Bible and meditating upon it is the best of all preparations for prayer. Despite what some modern schools of prayer contend, spontaneous prayer rarely comes easily or naturally at the beginning Nevertheless reading prayers and saying prayers may become a habit until one never prays It is important to pass into the stage of conversation with God. Prayer is the affirmation of a definite kind of life. It is a rigorous discipline of the per- sonality. The actor. David Garrick. once replied to a compliment paid his genius. "1 do not confide myself, not I. in that inspiration for which idle mediocrity waits Make your meditation an affirmation of faith, a creed Make it comprehensive so that amendment of life, vocation, thanksgiving, and concern for others are among the paragraphs. If your prayer does not express the Great Com- mandment. there is something wrong with it "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with ail thy soul and with all Ihy mind and all thv strength, and tm neighbor as thys' If Human life is rich in values, hut not so rich that one is justified in passing by any one of complacently Grcedih and appreciate them, every moment lime every opportunity to above ih( dim level oi mere consciousness great on life with correspondingly great demands on yourself Sidney Lamer wrote oi the Ovil generation in the South With us prettv much the whole oi life has been merely nol So it is with moM of mankind What a PRAYKR Thine O is the powr and the glory, forever. K S M OTTAWA-The Canadian speech in the UN Assembly's general debate, delivered by External Affairs Minister MacEachen rather than the prime minister, is a talented effort to reconcile intense commercialism with an equal- ly fervent desire to be forever on the side of the angels. Canada has every intention of introducing its particular line of nuclear technology into any part of the world where it can squeeze through the door, regardless of any con- siderations of political in- stability. Even where the opening move may be only the gift of an experimental reac- tor on a foreign aid basis, the ultimate aim is commer- pave the way for sales some day in the future. At the same time, the government quite genuinely wishes this were a safer enterprise. There is no need to doubt the sincerity of the minister's call for better nuclear controls to feel some cynicism about the total approach. It is merely necessary to view in jux- taposition our statements of piety and the instability of the areas where we are prepared to introduce this technology. After that, eyebrows rise automatically. The basic, hard-headed Canadian position is summed up in these words from the MacEachen speech in New York: "We have developed a valu- able system of nuclear power generation and we believe that nuclear power should not be withheld from those whose energy needs can best be met by this method." The related problem is recognized frankly: "'To devise a system which will allow th 2 dissemination of the benefits of nuclear energy without at the same time contributing to the spread of nuclear weapons." Admitting the imperfection of existing safeguards, the ex- ternal affairs minister then put forward the Canadian solution so far as this country's own activities are concerned: we want to make our nuclear power generating sys- tem available to other coun- tries. Until more adequate internationally agreed measures are instituted, Canada intends to satisfy itself that any country using Canadian supplied nuclear technology or material will be "I'm sorry, Mr. Lalonde is NOT interviewing talent for more realistic beer commercials Rockefeller deductions reprehensible By William Safire, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON Nelson Rockefeller told the Senate this week that he paid not one shiny dime of federal income taxes for the year 1970. How could a man who had an income of million in 1970 find a way not to pay any federal income taxes for that year? Answer: he deducted a million and a quarter given to charity, deducted another half-million paid in non- income taxes, and went on to deduct another three quar- ters of a million dollars in "of- fice expenses." What happens when a media favorite like Rockefeller reveals publicly that he signed his name to a federal tax return declaring he owed nothing on an income of S2.443.703? The admission creeps into paragraph seven of a New York Times account of the LETTER confirmation hearings: The Washington Post buries it at the end of its 15th paragraph on page 8. swaddled in a qual- ifying clause about how he paid lots of state and local tax- es that year; the television news from studios in Rockefeller centre mentions it not at all: editorial writers shyly avert their gazes. Of course, when it had been revealed some years ago that Gov. Ronald Reagan, acting within the tax laws, had paid no California taxes, there was a big story and much em- barrassment; a similar story brought down Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio. And when Richard Nixon's tax returns were first revealed, showing that he paid federal income taxes on a quarter-million income com- parable to a man earning Golfer sailor conflict During a recent visit to Lethbridge I was agreeably surprised to see the increased use of Henderson Lake com- pared to when I lived in the city There appears to be conflict between those per- wishing to use the lake for boating and the golfers at Henderson Lake Golf Club. During the Labor Day weekend a friend and 1 were harangued by a rather boorish individual from the golf club who spoke as though he had >ome authority within the '-lub Th" area of concern was indentation in Jhc vast of the Nikkd Yoko Garden and west of the tee the lake and the rluhhouvj- We were informed water area was the oi the golf club and A.I> danger to boaters from errant golf balls Two alternatives to the m are obvious 1 If this v.alei area does belong to the coif club, and is considered a it should b" marked -with signv -jnd fTo.iK jnd boaters would not imperiled 2 If the does not belong to the golf rluh ihen a relocation of the particular tee would resolve the conflict between the "hackers" and the "sailors" By the way. who was responsible for the bylaw restricting bicycles from par- ticular streets? It is absurd! BRt'CE CHAMBERS Victoria. B.C And now for five minutes of fast slick comedy over to the 000 a year, the furor shook the land at the inequity even before the legality of Nixon's deductions came into serious question. Remember how shameful and damaging it recently used to be for a public figure to use tax loopholes to avoid paying his "fair share" of income taxes? Where are the outrag- ed editorialists now. or the caustic television reporters or "appearances-count" colum- nists, who so enjoyed whipp- ing up populist resentment by shedding crocodile tears for the "little man" who didn't have those smart accoun- tants? Editorial cheeks are dry because, you see, Rockefeller gave half his income to charities of his choice rather than pay taxes that would have gone to programs of the people's choice. Because he is a Rockefeller, nobody who was incensed about tax avoidance in other politicians bats an eye at his three-quar- ter-of-a-million "office ex- pense" deduction, or asks against what part of his earn- ed income it was applied. When this double standard is called to their attention, the Rockepologists will claim that Rocky was generous and Nix- on a skinflint. deduc- tions proper and Nixon's shady, which may be very true but has nothing to do with the point public figures in these times must consider their public relations in figur- ing out their tax returns, and failing to pay any federal in- come taxes at all is hardly setting a good example. The tax avoidance that was so hateful in the riche Nixon is shown to be tolerable in the old-rich Rockefeller, obviously, what is sauce to cook Ihe goose of a Nixon is not sauce when tak- ing a gander at a Rockefeller How come'' The eastern es- tablishment conspiracy theory leaves me cold, jour- nalism is not ordinarily afflicted with rampant hypocrisy Perhaps, in liie presence of the superwealUiy, we make Ihe same assump- tions of wisdom and sensiUvi- ty we used to make in Uie presence of the superpower- ful The political power of Rockefeller wealth is not, as the vice-presidential nominee would have us believe, a it is a hard fact, as in the spending of million in a state campaign, as well as a subtle presence that makes us assume uprightness because there can be no motive for anything else. When CBS broadcast a laudatory two-hour television special on the Rockefellers, the network did not feel the need to disclose that 12 per cent of CBS stock was then in the partial control of the Chase Manhattan Bank, head- ed by a Rockefeller. No hint of pressure was brought to bear. But our modern reverence for the probity of great wealth often causes otherwise alert guardians of public morality to fail to see even the potential of conflict of interest. Equal treatment is as elusive a goal as equal jus- tice, but it is usually worth a try. Richard Nixon's un- successful attempt at tax avoidance was stupid, selfish, arrogant and technically il- legal. Nelson Rockefeller's 1970 federal income tax return was stupid, arrogant, probably technically legal, and for a billionaire in politics represensible. Press favoritism that ig- nores this blunder will not help Rockefeller to be a better vice-president. He should be confirmed: but what is being confirmed at his Senate hearings right now is the suspicion that double standard-bearers are all too ready to overlook in a man "too rich to steal" a mistake thai drove them to frenzied fury against one who had been joo powerful to care. subject to binding obligation? that the technology or material will not be used ir the fabrication of nuclear ex plosive devices for whatever purpose." This all sounds fine but the final part of this three-step ex- position is largely window dressing and it is this aspect of it, the effort to kic ourselves and everybody else, that is distasteful. The reality is somewhat different from the impression the govern- ment set out to leave in New York. Last December, this country signed a contract with the Argentine government to supply that country with a nuclear power station. This summer the necessary financ- ing agreements were settled and, to all intents and pur- poses, the deal was com- pleted. Canada, of course, in- sisted upon application of the safeguards of the Inter- national Atomic Energy Agen- cy. The difficulty with all of this, however, is the political instability of Argentina. The government of that country can, with complete sincerity, give all the assurances this country requires. It cannot, however, bind any future egime because it has no way of knowing even what system of government will be in effect in Argentina six months or six years from now. This is the great difference between areas of political sta- bility and instability. The United States sent something of a shudder through the international community when Richard Nixon announced, while he was still the president, that Egypt would be supplied with nuclear reactors. The Egyp- tian the internal political situation in that more stable than Argentina. The Mid- dle East, however, is an area of much higher risk than South America. The two situations are not precisely comparable but they do touch upon similar issues and problems. Our own those of the introducing nu- clear technology to unstable areas are largely commer- cial. That should not obscure the fact that there is. none- the less, a strong case for do- ing so: Anything that eases economic problems or prevents their development in the first place tends to contribute to ultimate political stability. Energy is vital to economic develop- ment and the case for nuclear as opposed to thermal power generation may be just as strong in some unstable regions as in the more stable ones. The Canadian nuclear deal with Argentina is not, therefore, open to automatic criticism. It can be defended, but it also needs to be recognized that for coolly commercial motives we are prepared to take considerable risks. It would be better not to be too pious in our public statements about these matters. There is really no need to be. In large part, the MacEachen speech was an ex- hortation to the world com- munity to find better solutions to the nuclear hazards than exist now. He might have been more effective in his purpose by being blunter and saying: "We and several other coun- tries intend to make just as much money as we can spreading nuclear technology and we aren't going to be slowed down for a minute by the political instability of our customers. Obviously, there are dangers in that but we are going ahead. If someone can think of some effective safeguards, we are in- terested." That blunt approach would not have satisfied any Cana- dian government, however. As a senior Indian official said wearily during the heighth of this country's quarrel with his government over their nuclear explosion: "Canada and India are the most self-righteous countries in the world The letltbridge Herald SM 7lh Si S Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO I TO Pr-oiynelors and Publishers SeocmtJ Class Mail flegtstiaticm No 001? 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