Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, April 6, 1973 More misleading signs Travellers on Highway 3 last Fri- day afternoon may have noticed a typical cluster of construction signs along the west-bound lane, a cou- ple of miles west of Kipp. They were the usual ones, "Caution Men and Equipment "Single Lane "Reduce Speed 25 "Watch for the signs that warn motorists that some tem- porary repairs are going on, and that there are likely to be men and machines scattered about on the roadway just around the next bend, or beyond the next rise. About a half mile further along, there was the first and only sign of anything in the way of "men and and it wasn't work- ing. It consisted of a single truck, the kind that sprays goo on the road- way, and it was standing unattended at the side of the opposite, east- bound lane. No men, working or otherwise. There was no other indication of highway work in progress or being contemplated for the next 30 miles. No wonder people take highway signs rather lightly, and sometimes ignore them altogether. The sorry list is growing President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam is visiting the United States this week; he has spent two days in San Clemente, arranging his country's future with President Nix- on, and now is in Washington to press his case with the U.S. Congress. President Thieu does more than preside over the government of South Vietnam; he is the government of South Vietnam, as much a dictator as ever Hitler, Mussolini or Batista were. He directs the civil authorities that regulate day-to-day life in South Vietnam, the military forces deploy- ed throughout the country, and the ubiquitous security forces that con- trol the population and keep him in power. That means he knows of and em- ploys one of the world's most grisly instruments of oppression and tor- ture, the off-shore prison complex of Con Son, the infamous tiger cages. Those who read Time scarcely a radical, anti-Amencan publication may recognize this de- scription of a few of the very rare survivors of Con Son: "It is not really proper to call them men any more. 'Shapes' is a better word grotesque sculptures of scarred flesh and gnarled limbs years of being shackled in the tiger cages have forced them into a per- manent pretzel like crouch. They move like crabs, skittering across the floor on buttocks and palms-" The U.S. must deal with someone in South Vietnam, and there isn't anyone else but Thieu. He has sur- vived as president for six years, which demonstrates not only his cap- ability and personal toughness, but also the stability without which any such dealings would be nonsense. But while no one questions the ne- cessity of dealing with Thieu, surely there is something almost bizarre about inviting a man implicated in the Con Son obscenity to visit with the president of the United States then to Washington to "discuss with administration and Congressional leaders" matters of American aid and the general future of Vietnam, all as an honored head of state. One would have thought that the list of intangible costs of the Viet- namese involvement was long enough already, without adding a distorted protocol. Advance, not retreat The threatened return to charging drunks rather than simply keeping them in custody until sober can only be viewed with regret. Keeping out of jail those people who have an alcohol problem is an enlightened ap- proach on which there should be an advance rather than a retreat. Confinement in jail is surely not the best solution to a nuisance prob- lem. A society willing to shoulder the expense of custodial care of that kind could perhaps be persuaded to invest the same money in a more creative approach. What is really required? Is it more intensive counselling? Is it a half- way house? There are people close to this problem; let them meet with the downtown merchants and use their combined weight to persuade the government to redesignate funds for an alternative. Penology studies all seem to point to the conclusion that keeping peo- ple out of jail is a desirable objec- tive. Indications are that confinement is mostly counterproductive; it tends to make people worse rather than better. Therefore it makes sense to be searching for alternatives. If ifs sauce for the goose "The hijacker, the kidnapper, the man who throws a firebomb (President Richard Nixon, detailing crimes for which his planned legislation will restore the death penalty.) Scene: the prisoners'-visitor room of a criminal court building, Washington, D.C. Lawyer Melvin Bello paces before his client, whose prison shirt bears a distinc- tive number: l. BELLO: If only you had consulted me, Jfr. President before you included the man who throws a firebomb in your list of crimes to be punished by death. NIXON: How was I to know that there was an American killed by one of our na- palm raids on North Vietnam? I thought we were just crisping the gooks. BELLO: I admit that it was bad luck, and I think it was extremely poor taste of the POW's family to charge you with mur- der. McGovern supporters, obviously. But the fact remains that we have to persuade the court that this is a case of justifiable homicide. NIXON: But I was talking about peace- time crimes. That American soldier was killed by a military bomb. BELLO: True. But officiaJly -we were not at war with North Vietnam. If you had declared war you couM have thrown fire- bombs at anybody you liked. Or ntber, didn't like. NIXON: I'll declare war retroactively. BELLO: I thought of thai Mr. President, but I doubt that got the support of Congress Tho'e damned Democrats of fancy the idea of jour being hoist by your own petard. NIXON: Then what are we going to do? BELLO: I suggest that we plead tem- pwary insanity NIXON: Temjy.ran insanih'' But I'm the one -who's sponsoring the legisla- to restrict the use of the insanity de- fence. BELLO. True, but you are the president of the United States. I believe that I can prove, to the satisfaction of the jury, that you have a special status as a dangerous nut NIXON: Are you out of your tree? If I admit I'm psycho they'll take away my hot-line phone. BELLO: You can always communicate with the Washington Redskins by messen- ger, Mr. President. Let me work on an air- tight case for your defence as a man who ordered the throwing of firebombs while under the influence of Henry Kissinger. NIXON: You're going to blame Kissin- ger? BELLO: You were high on Henry. You freaked out during a party with the chiefs of staff. You don't even remember signing the piece of paper that turned out to be a contract to fire-bomb Vietnam. NIXON: No, Melvin, I don't like it If the American people find out I'm bananas, there goes my secret plan for a third term. Why don't I plead guilty to murder and hope for a small fine? BELLO: Because you're the one who has said that monetary fines should be replaced by lone jail terms. MXON: So I did. Melvin, do you think the judge may sentence me to be hanged? BELLO: Thanks to you. Mr. President, be wifl bp under considerable pressure to do so But ]ook on the bnght side: if joa da hang, il bo a tremendous tribute 1o .your campaign to restore law and order to the United States. XIXON: By gosh, you're BELLO: You haic the chance to die for a less permissive America N7XOV an onportumly the pre.yd'-nr Or his dtpuh' Im. for Spiro, will jou, please, counsellor'' On the Hill JOE CLARK, MP for Rocky Mountain 'Governments against soaring prices we can But this is dirty pool." Western warning for Ottawa By Peter Desbarats, Toronto Star commentator When one of the provincial Liberal leaders in western Can- ada was asked recently to sug- gest a site for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's July meeting with the four western premiers, his response was immediate and instinctive. he said, "any- where but in my province. "They're going to eat him he told party officials in Ottawa. "They're going to have Mm on their own ground. They're going to be supported by a re- gional press that is hostile to Ottawa. It's going to be a mas- sacre." His pessimistic scenario seemed to be justified this past weekend when the four pre- miers held their first confer- ence to discuss the July meet- ing. Facing the press in a com- mittee room of the Manitoba Legislature, with British Colum- bia sitting among them for the first time, they were clearly the most formidable group of west- ern provincial leaders ever to prepare for battle with the fed- eral government. The political acumen and self- confidence of this group's mem- bers were evident in the first steps they took toward the his- toric meeting with the Prime Minister. On a superficial level, they broke precedent by naming the dates and selecting the place for the meeting, July 25 and 26 in Calgary. Normally, the sen- ior government would choose the venue. The premiers tact- fully disguised their announce- ment as a "proposal" to the Prime Minister, but it had the effect of appearing to summon him to Calgary at a date con- venient to them. They also announced, without having discussed the question in detail with Ottawa, that part of the July meeting should be open to the media, unlike recent fed- eral-provincial conferences or meetings of the premiers them- selves. Evidently, the four pre- miers already are confident enough of the outcome of the meeting to want to give it max- imum exposure. This feeling was strengthened by decisions taken here last Friday. Accepting the economic agenda proposed by the federal government, the four premiers began to prepare detailed re- quests to Ottawa on such mat- ters as freight rate inequities, port facilities, rail-line abandon- ment, ah- transportation, pro- vincial and regional financial institutions, regional economic development and agriculture. The premiers' recommenda. tions will be handed to Ottawa about a month before the July meeting. Barrett, the newest and most aggressive of the four premiers, summed up the strategy in typi- cally blunt fashion. "It's not a question of having committee after he said. "We're going to spell out ex- actly what our problems are. We're going to let the federal government know ahead of time. And we expect them to come to the meeting with yes and no answers, and it's just as simple as that." Despite the strength of their tactical position this year in re- lation to the minority Trudeau government, the four premiers were well aware of its weak pouits. After Ontario, three of their four provinces rank as the wealthiest in the country in terms of average personal in- come. Even in Saskatchewan, personal income is considerably higher than in the wealthiest of the Atlantic provinces. "We're not suggesting that there be any historic change in the question of Lougheed said. "But we are suggesting that a greater de- gree of emphasis be given in national policies to make prog- ress in the growth-potential areas of Canada." In other words, Canada should build on strength rather than trying to shore up areas of economic weakness. "If there is perchance some transfer of incomes into west- ern Blakeney said, "absolutely none' of it would come from the Atlantic area. Anything we suggest is in no sense to the detriment of the four Atlantic provinces or Que- bec." Blakeney pointedly failed to mention Ontario, the province which would stand to lose sub- stantially if the demands of the western provinces are pressed home effectively in July. Before they left Winnipeg on Saturday, the four premiers agreed to meet again in Vic- toria on June 18, when they will effectively upstage the western conference that the Liberals will hold in Vancouver only four days later. Harshness won't reduce crime By Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator LONDON One of the great mistakes of Richard Nixon's critics over the years has been to regard him as a man with- out basic beliefs., moved only by opportunism. The President's recent words on the subject of crime are a particularly powerful example. The authenticity of Nixon's statements on crime makes them even sadder to read. Their large rhetoric has such small relation to the realities of preventing crime. They pro- mise so much and can deliver so little. And they bespeak an atavism that one simply re- grels to see expressed by the president of the United States. Deterrence is his theme: the argument that harsher penal- ties will discourage people from committing crimes. If that so, the problem of crime prevention would be simplified indeed. But alas, it is not The most respected Ameri- can crinunologists. including men just as hard-nosed as Nixon could wish, arc in broad agreement that it is so irTuch the amount as the cer- tainly of punishment that de- The 'rouble in AmTira, the desperate trouble, is that a man who commits a crime rss si small a ctiartcc of trans rr- rcslH for if. much less being to srntbin.C. Ore cMiimt: ic tlu rVn a burglar does a job, the td, vilh 11 ic problem of mental cjndi.Jon beang treated instead as a matter for the jix3gc m passing sentence. That shift does have some expert support. But it could have no STCTiificaut deterrent effect. defendants in fact prefer jmsnn to confinement in a men- tail i No one has a magic cure for crime, but some specifics are available. Gun control would save many more innocent lives than threatening capital punishment However complex the social origins of crime, it would be worth trying to help the most susceptible group, un- employed teen-agers. Political leaders could set an example by not condoning lawlessness in their own entourage. The inescapable conclusion is that Nixon js less interested in specifics than in mood. He wants America to be tougher, to attack crime "without pity." That attitude will have its ef- fect, for there is a strain in all of us that would substitute ven- geance for justice. But a civil- ized society does not mimic the savagery of those who attack it "The mood and temper of the public in regard to the beat- meat of crime and criminals is one of Hie most un- failing tests of the civilization of any country- A calm and dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused and even of convicted criminals against the state ,an un- faltering faith that there is treasure, if only you can find il. in the heart of every man these arc the symbols which measure the stored-uji .Crcnpth of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue in it." The words are not those of a soft-headed judge or a permis- sive professor. They were said on July 20, an the Hrase of Commons. bj the Erifch Home Secrelarji ChurchiU. OTTAWA There are really two governments in Ottawa first, the elected government, which elections can change, and second, the senior civil-service, who run departments day-to- day, and usually stay on even when a new party is elected. The influence of senior civil- servants is impossible to define precisely. Legally, their job is just to "advise" the poM- cal Ministers. In fact, when- ever a question is complicated (and most questions are) their advice is biased in favor of one kind of solution. Unless a cabinet minister is very strong, or very well informed indepen- dently, he won't detect the bias, and will accept the solution his deputy suggests. We have been aware of the influence of the senior civil-service for a long time. But experience in Parlia- ment drives the lesson home. I am a member of the Stand- ing Committee on Indian and Northern Affairs. Recently the minister, Jean Chretien, came before that committee wit- ness, to answer questions about policy. He brought with him a parade of advisors who, inci- dentally outnumbered the Op- positon members on the com- mittee. Throughout the pro- ceedings, the advisors kept passing notes to the minister. They were busier than tods in a kindergarten. Naturally, they passed notes when the minister was asked a technical question, whose de- tails he couldn't be expected to know offhand. What was alarm- ing was that the notes were passed on policy questions and, often, they were passed well before the minister indi- cated whether he was willing to try to answer on his own. In effect, the senior-civil-servants were taking care to prevent the rsnister from answering on his own. Even in the House, during question period, when a min- ister is asked a policy ques- tion he very often replies that he will "have to look into that." Translated, that means he will have to ask officials what the policy is. That isn't a fault just of this government. More and more, as tie scope of government grows, elected ministers are- ceding real power to their dep- uties. Since public servants gen- erally have the protection of being able to keep their Jobs even when parties change, that means that many fundamental questions are being decided by people whom the voters can't reach. In a, country like Canada, that can be particularly dangerous. We have obvious regional dif- ferences, which national poBcy has to respond to: if politicians get out of touch with the West, or Quebec, they lose votes, and seats, and power. But there is no such incentive to keep a senior civil-servant, in touch. In addition, Canada is in a ttne of change. The European Common Market vastly changes our trading picture. There is a demand in the West for new transportation policy, and in other regions for other changes. Yet the senior public-service is directed by the very people who established the policies so many Canadians want changed. They are not likely to abandon what they created. The American system allows a president to change his key public-servants when he is el- ected. The danger with that system is that it allows politi- cal patronage. The danger with our system is that it allows an established group to set policy without having to answer to the voters. We have to decide which sys- tem does the most damage, and what alternatives might be worth trying. If you have views on this difficult and important question, I would appreciate re- ceiving them. Please write me at the House of Commons, OU tawa, Canada. Letters Bouquets for Oklahoma May we take a little space to express some of our views that may run counter to those of your reviewer, Lynne Van Luven in The Herald (March We say "may" because we are not really sure what she, as a .reviewer, tried to tell us. Did she, or did she not like the Winston Churchill High School production of "Okla- Surely in fairness to the cast her real feelings could have been expressed. Perhaps part of our problem is that we don't understand your review- er's role. What are her rules by which a production is criti- cized? Do the same rules apply to any company's efforts? Is it a wise idea to review a pro- duction on the first night the students' night? Your reviewer's criticism of the "whoopees and yahoos" goes far beyond our under- standing. Isn't it obvious that lack of experience is compen- sated for by enthusiasm and vitality? Isn't that "gusto" a young person's attempt to do really well what he knows he can do? Can't we enjoy productions like these as pure entertain- ment realizing full well that we are watching amateurs, not professionals? K we don't ex- pect and cannot accept flaws then we are naive. If we view them as learning experiences, as exercises in co- operation with the entire com- munity (check the delightful program, printed in the Win- ston Churchill High School for the list of credits for proof of the community involvement) and as ways of building a good spirit among those involved ,then haven't we met the ex- pectations that are really the worthwhile ones? Li summary, let it be known that two people who love kids appreciate their efforts im- mensely and do not necessarily agree with the denigrating re- views that often are published during student endeavors. Let's not be phony with praise, ei- ther. Well done Churchill. We're glad we went to Oklahoma. BRIAN J. WALKER, ERNEST D. DAWSON Lcthbridge. Questions strike purpose Since the first day of the strike teachers took jobs for which they have no training and no experience. Since they can't take a job in a union shop they are getting paid less than someone else doing the same job. They are not receiv- ing fringe benefits, they are working longer hours and their university education and exper- ience does not entitle them to higher wages. Why should they be able to do this when their union forbids untrained per- taking their jobs? Since they decided to strike to protest similar conditions in their chosen fields doesn't it seem strange that they should take jobs with possibly worse conditions? Why did they take other jobs so soon anyway? Did the teach- ers know that the real reasons for the strike were not being toW and that it would be a long strike. If one has talked to teachers over the years, it is apparent that most of them (tiie ones secure in the knowledge that they are good teachers) do not like the ATA, the fact that they are forced to join it, things the ATA does with its money, and the fact that they have nothing to say in the running of it Could it be that we in South- ern Alberta have been taken? Was this actually a strike of teachers against the ATA dis- guised as a strike against the taxpayer? Is this the opportun- ity to try to break the ATA that teachers have waited for, for many years? After hearing and reading the statements made by some of the ATA leaders. I don't blame the teachers if they do want to break the union. MBS. M. THLELEN River The LethbruUjc Herald SM Jtti SL S., LethDndgc, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD 00. LTD., Proprietors and Publisbert Published 1905-1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second dm Mail RegKTraUon No 0012 The canuim Press the Wewspww ArecUHon Avdtt Bureau rf Omfliflont CLCO W MOWERS, fOttpr tmi Pift.D5.her THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager OOW PH.UMG WILLIAM MAT Menvglng Etfftgr AssocWe Cfldw f OOUGlAi K tanar -THE SCtVES SOUTH"