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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 10, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE April Practical political truths by the drop English common law In discussions about recent, alleged investigations, there seems to be misunderstanding about a basic precept ot English common law It does NOT read Guiltv until proven but the reverse And centuries of justice have been based upon it The point is raised here because a letter-writer to this paper has asked the question How can the police be sure that a person is reputable' until a check is made of the person s activities9 The question is astounding in its implications and it invites a certain line ot speculation Assuming, for the moment, that innocence has to be proved and assuming that proven innocence is therefore the goal ot most ot the population it can readily seen that a large number ot Canadians would have to be at work full-time investigating the rest ot the population The number ot man-hours necessary tor interviewing tnends, relatives, neighbors teachers, business associates and for investigating courthouse records credit records bank accounts and other accepted indicators ot reputation would be astronomical The task would require a vastly expanded RCMP a sizeable diversion of the nation s resources from customary expenditures in social welfare, education investment, resource development highways beef and dairy subsidies foreign aid research rmironmentdl control and others and all the computers in Canada The task carries with it the subordinate problem of certifying the investigators Who tor instance will guarantee the reputableness of the RCMP before the start of the investigation7 Someone has to be assumed to be innocent in order to begin this chain of certifying A good start might be to round up all Canadians named Adam and proceed from there Then there is the problem of providing a suitable certificate for all those proven innocent, something that would be ever present constantly dispelling doubts about reputableness Perhaps a maple leaf could be stamped on their foreheads Then, in any given crowd, the guilty would be readily discernible, under their hat brims And what about children9 Should it be assumed that those born of stamped parents would be birthright innocents or should they all be investigated at the age 01 189 And then stamped Before the question of who is innocent can be settled and this is merely a problem of logistics, although of gigantic question must first be answered, "What is innocence9 To anyone who accepts the "guilty until proven innocent" perversion of law, innocence is probably everything to the right of the NDP This emphasizes one of the most fallacious assumptions of the times that democracy is threatened only from the left It is unfortunately common to assume that those who violate democratic processes and principles while planted at the far right of the political spectrum are simply overzealous patriots and not inherently a danger to democracy It the political spectrum were laid out as a circle instead of a straight line it would be noticeable that communism and fascism meet under the arc of totalitarianism and both are inimical to those individual freedoms which democracy cherishes and which it needs What it needs right now is a good reminder of English common law Any hope for Ulster? British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Irish Premier Liam Cosgrave met a few days ago and agreed to move quickly to set up a Council of Ireland Why they think this is a propitious time to pursue this objective is a mysterv Opposition to the proposed council, part ot the Sunmngdale agreement produced late last year resulted in hard-line Protestants sweeping 11 out of 12 Northern Ireland constituencies in the recent British general election The Protestants see the formation of the council as a stepping-stone to a united Ireland Pushing for the council thus seems to be a mistake A tormer prime minister of Northern Ireland Terence 0 INeil writing in Ihe Observer says that it an election were held in Ulster today the pro-Assembley Unionists those supporting the Sunmngdale have the greatest difficulty in holding their seats That is another measure of the opposition to the council and to anything the British prime minister and the Irish premier are likely to agree upon Meanwhile the sectarian butchery goes on in Ulster and little hope of peace is evident If the proposals of the Sunmngdale agreement are not the route to ending the strife, what is the way9 Lord O'Neill notes that attempts by both Catholic and Protestant moderates to change the face of Ulster have failed because the working classes have not been persuaded He wonders if the Protestant and Catholic extremists who have in common this working-class background might be able to work together They do have one thing in common besides their working-class anti-British tendency Nothing unites like having a common enemy Should the Catholic and Protestant extremists ever get together on such a basis it would likely mean that Ulster would be taken out of the United Kingdom Such a result would be contrary to what Lord O'Neill has worked for but if it would bring peace he would be agreeable Lord 0 Neill does not advocate such a policy He is not sure the people would want to separate in the face of a real possibility of a subsequent reduction in the standard of living He has doubts about the success of such a policy but he thinks it is something to seriously consider ERIC NICOL What's in a number? The now-celebrated case of the man in Dundas Ontario, who was told by the federal manpower department that it would be easier for him to change his name than for them to issue him a new social insurance number Er, Social Insurance Number Let him who is without SIN cast the first stone I have just checked my wallet, and am much relieved to find that rny Social Insurance card is not lost The Dundas man had his wallet stolen, and since then the thief has been using the victim's S I N to get jobs and engage in criminal pursuits If I have a criticism of the federal manpower department and God knows I haven't it is that it was remiss in issuing my Social Insurance Number on a bit of paper that is scarcely commensurate with the dreadful import of the document A number that is, by official decree, a more permanent part of me than my name, should, I suggest, be tattooed on my wrist Possibly this method of registration was considered and rejected because it might cause confusion among former inmates of Nazi concentration camps now living in Canada Well, what about stamping our Social Insurance Number on dog-tags (one that won't sink, the other that won't to be worn around the neck till we have been certified as defunct' Then a thief will have to cut off our head in order to steal that part of us that is more precious than our good name Meantime I hold, fingers a-tremble, this flimSv card whose instructions include KRKP THIS PART IN YOUR WALLET They have got to be kidding Here is the Number that controls, forever, major functions of my existence employment, income tax, pension and that is irreplaceable, yet I am instructed to place it in the company of a motley clutch of credit cards, notes on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, photos of the kids and a chit for a drink at a bar that has gone belly up No way For the first time I gaze upon those nine digits and two hyphens with a fitting degree of awe Until I tound out that they were an imperishable part of my being I couldn't even remember m> Social Insurance Number When I introduced myself to someone, I gave him my name, rubbishy appelation though it plainly was Now however my Social Insurance Number is seared into my memory like the brand on a steer I note that the Number, like my name, is made up of three parts two Christian numbers and a sur-number My first Christian number is 706 I would have preferred something more distinctive, like 007, or 999 Something with a little pizzaz "What's in a number9" asks Juliet (301-559- 482) To which a man in Dundas, Ontario, bitterly replies "Don't talk to me about smelling as sweet, baby Wherefore have I placed my Social Insurance card, carefully and with a solemn bow, into the desk drawer that contains the Holy Bible The Book of Numbers and the All- new Testament No, I am not saying that God is a computer I m not saying that He isn't, either I'm just trying to keep voy nose clean By numbers By Bruce Hutchison, Heraid special commentator Even in practical politics the truth occasionally leaks out, like tiny droplets of pure alcohol from a moonshiner's still Thus we hear from the Chancellor of Germany that the democratic process is unlikely to last in Europe beyond the end of this century, and from the chancellor of the British ex- chequer that in the Mother of Parliaments the free parlia- mentary system cannot long survive the strains of inflation at its current droplets worth considering In Canada, to be sure, we don't have the dark legacy of war and revolution, the old ghosts that still haunt Europe We don't face Britain's shortage of natural resources, either Yet rich as we are for the moment, we do have, as in Europe and elsewhere, an obviously dwindling public confidence in our political institutions, the working tools and executors of democracy We also have a rate of inflation not much less than that of Britain and still accelerating Unfortunately, however, we don't have in government any politicians like Willy Brandt and Denis Healey who are pre- pared to tell us the truth about basic things, as distinguished from the superficial, even if they know it Some Canadian politicians undoubtedly know it A man as intellectually brilliant as Pierre Trudeau must know it A man as honest and sensible as Robert Stanfield certainly believes that the present economic system, if not the political system, cannot long survive the ongoing destiuction of the currency which is the state's solemn contract with the citizen But even men of their quality have not dared to tell us the full and ultimate truth Nor have their left-wing opponents The socialists, indeed are less truthful than the so-called capitalists because they promise larger impossibilities The ultimate truth, of course, is that no economic or political system, whatever its name and ideology, can add two and two together and make a total of more than four Nevertheless, that is precisely what all systems, everywhere, have been pretending to do and thereby winning elections, or imposing dictatorships, on a proposition mathematically absurd In the planetary equation the figures are larger than such simple arithmetic but in essence pro- duce the same that a limited planet cannot forever support man's unlimited demands upon it The Club of Rome schedules the grand crunch of population versus resources for the end of the century, just 26 years off Other authorities expect it later, or sooner You can pick your own date, but allowing for all the mistakes of the computers, for human ingenuity and invention, even "More government interference in sport it will change all the time out rules of football Appropriate penalties for lawbreakers By Tom Wicker, New York Times commentator NEW YORK Richard Nixon's former appointments secretary, Dwight Chapin, has been found guilty of lying to a Grand Jury and on May 16 he will be sentenced to what could be 10 years in prison and a 000 fine Judge Gerhard A Gesell, a humane and sensible man, probably will not impose a penalty as severe as that but if he were another judge, he could What is the point of such dracoman provisions in the law9 Chapin's offense that he lied to a Grand Jury about the kind of instructions and direction he gave Donald H Segretti in Segretti's 1972 dirty tricks" campaign is of course a serious one, the more so in that Chapin was a high and privileged government official at the time he committed it But does locking him up in a prison, for whatever period, really make any sense9 Chapin is not dangerous or violent He is not a habitual lawbreaker or a chattel of organized crime Putting him behind bars would chasten, humiliate and severely punish him, but what other purpose would it serve9 Isn't there something more useful to be done in his and thousands of other cases9 Since United Airlines has said it would ask Chapin to resign his executive position if he were convicted, probably the imposition of a heavy fine also would be a severe penalty for Chapin In general, the fine as appropriate punishment is not often enough used in the United States, In Britain, the installment payment of heavy fines has been instituted, enabling offenders to remain at their jobs and several prisons to be closed This is not intended as an argument that a white collar lawbreaker or an affluent offender with good political connections ought to be let off more lightly than, say, a ghetto street mugger Rather, it is to raise the question whether incarceration makes sense for either kind of offender unless he or she is known to be so violent or so habitually criminal that society can be protected only by physical separation It is a singular circumstance that the United States has the most severe criminal sentences of any western nation, imposes the most prison terms, and still has more crime and more violence than any other In startling contrast is the fact that since the early 1960s, the prison population of The Netherlands has been cut in half while the crime rate rose only 10 per cent In the same period in this country, the annual rate of violent crime more than doubled, from less than 200 to about 400 per population Serious property crime almost tripled m the same years There is little logic, therefore, in the automatic assumption of American society that people convicted of crimes should be sent to prison, or in the nearly automatic workings of the criminal justice system save in the case of white collar offenders to see that those convicted go to prison Parole, moreover, while aimed at getting people out of prison is so fearfully and punitively administered as to keep many inmates behind the walls far longer than necessary, and to send many others back for the slightest offense A system that worked the other way around would make far more sense The assumption should be that people go to prison only as a final resort when there appears no alternative for the protection of society, and the system should be so designed as to give judges great latitude in deciding upon an appropriate penalty, and sufficient resources to aid him in reaching a decision useful to the offender and to society al'ke A letter writer to the New York Times proposed, for a somewhat analogous example, that the state of Maryland should not disbar Spiro T Agnew from the practice of law, rather is should require him to devote a certain portion of his practice, for a considerable length of time, to community service legal work that his penalty should be the devotion of part of his talents and profession to the good of society Would something of that kind not make moie sense in the case if Dwight Chapin9 In addition to a severe fine, Judge Gesell might require him to use his undoubted abilities and knowledge of government in some public service capacity until he made adequate restitution to society for having broken its trust For that matter, a young street mugger could well be treated in the same way, if work and training were provided so that he might repay his victims and find a useful place for himself, there would be a reasonable chance that he would not revert to a criminal life In some instances, the criminal justice system does seem to be moving slowly away from automatic imprisonment, but the case of Dwight Chapin suggests how heavily the law leans toward locking up offenders, whether or not it makes sense BERRY'S WORLD for a downturn in the birth rate and an upturn in the intelligence rate, the basic fact is still a species we cannot go on indefinitely as we are going now This is clear enough already because we are not merely de- stroying currencies, which could be replaced, economic systems which could be changed or political systems which could be reformed, but the planet itself, the essential substance of all living systems from the ant hill to the multinational corporation (which have much in common) If these are platitudes they happen to be true, unlike the platitudes of politics Only on rare occasions, as in the lapses of Messrs Brandt and Healey, does a politician risk naked veracity, almost indecent exposure We should not blame the politicians too much however, because we seldom reward veracity in the democratic process and in the anti-democratic process veracity is forbidden by law and machine guns Imagine if your imagination can stretch so far a Canadian politician who told the voters that he would not guarantee perpetual prosperity and economic growth at a minimum rate of tive per cent annually or that he proposed to destroy savings at the current rate of about 12 per cent, or that Canada could not isolate itself hermetically from the world's anguish Such a candidate would lose his deposit probably his shirt Or so the politicians believe and act accordingly, with promises of impossible dreams in every shape an'' size Only some irresponsible fel- low like a journalist who has no votes to consider will raise the opposite a politician telling the truth and admitting that he had been all wrong in the past would find himself rewarded by a people who know in the back of their minds that they have been all wrong, too That man if you can imagine him, would doubtless be defeated in the next Canadian election The winning party the journalists cartoonists and other public entertainers would have great fun with him But a little later on when the truth became undeniable, even in politics, the people would turn to him for leadership and rescue Or if this wild surmise is un- sound if we don t believe in democracy which is only ourselves then current debate doesn t matter anyhow We have written off free government itself in advance and Dr Goebbels Big Lie is the truth after all THE CASSEROLE 1974 by NEA Inc "You can't believe what you read The idea that men's hair styles are getting shorter is establishment pro- paganda'" The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St S Lethbridge Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second C'ass Mail Registration No 0012 CLEO MOWERS Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager During a recent divorce hearing a woman testified that her husband hadn't spoken a word to her in several while admitting she'd swatted him across the face with a dead fish occasionally No wonder they ve liberalized the divorce laws After all the oratory about the vital importance of industrializing the west, wouldn't you expect Edmonton to have shown a little more enthusiasm for the development of a multi-million dollar fertilizer industry here in Southern Alberta9 ROY F MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH" ;