Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 29, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Monday, April Impeachment at the United Nations After-care for ex-prisoners Six years ago the McGrath Alberta Penology Report was received by the provincial government. Among its many sound recommendations were two relating to the after-care of prisoners. Time has passed and nothing seems to have been done about them, certainly not in the Lethbridge area at least. One of the recommendations was that the department of youth (so designated at the time) should assume responsibility for operating hostels for young men under the age of 25 coming out of "training schools." The other was that the provincial probation and parole service should take responsibility for developing and co-ordinating after-care facilities for adult offenders released from provincial prisons. The first recommendation carried a rider that grants should be provided to private agencies operating hostels. In the case of the second recommendation it was suggested that facilities operated by private agencies or other departments be utilized where the services come up to required standards. In a number of communities in Canada The Salvation Army and The John Howard Society operate such facilities, often on a modest and struggling basis. Until recently the establishment of such a facility in Lethbridge had not got beyond the talking stage. Now The Salvation Army, as a result of persistence on the part of Captain Ron Butcher, appears to be on the verge of launching a hostel providing after-care for prisoners. This is the sort of thing the McGrath report recommended that the government support but so fa' no funds have been forthcoming. It is incredible that so little attention is paid to after- care in Alberta and elsewhere when it is of such critical importance. The whole investment made in apprehending offenders and working on their rehabilitation through imprisonment is in danger of being wasted by neglecting to assist released prisoners to make re- entry into the community. Failure to provide this assistance has to be one of the major factors behind the appalling recidivist rate. The new solicitor general in Alberta, looking for ways to improve the system under her direction, would be well advised to accept the recommendations of the McGrath report regarding after- care of prisoners. Some assistance to The Salvation Army for its project could mean much for its successful operation and might lead to the establishment of expanded or additional facilities in the future Those who might be inclined to oppose the use of public funds in this way should reflect on the fact that the cost of helping ex-prisoners get re-established in society is but a fraction of the expense of keeping them on the old merry-go-round of being continually in and out of jail. Inflation in Brazil Brazil seems to have become the economic wonder of the world Internationally-known economists are making pilgnmmages to that country in much the same way ordinary tourists travel to see the Great Pyramid, or Stonehenge, or the'Grand Canyon. Not long ago it was a country beset with runaway inflation. Now, at a period when inflation is on the increase elsewhere, Brazil has managed to reduce its rate to 15 per cent from 30 per cent a year, while at the same time maintaining a strong economic growth This has been accomplished by a complete and complicated system of cost and price indexing which is intriguing financiers around the world. The main stumbling block seems to be that, unfortunately, Brazil has a military dictatorship It is much easier to impose such a system, and much less troublesome to hide any social inequities, than in a democracy. When the rightist military revolt took place 10 years ago, more than 100 leading figures in the ousted civilian government were placed in political quarantine. Subsequently, more than public figures were added to the list and banned from all political action. Many of them left the country; others remained, to endure restrictions which prevented them from holding or running for public office, from voting, from belonging to a political party or from making any public statement about politics or government. Some of them could not even get loans from government- affiliated banks Political quarantine is considerably more merciful than death at the hands of a firing squad, which is the more usual Latin American custom Still, eliminating political opponents is not a practice that is apt to find much favor in Canada, as appealing as it might be at particular moments to hard-pressed politicians. This means that another framework for dealing with inflation will have to be found, one that is workable under democratic, procedures. RUSSELL BAKER Turn off the sports In early March I became aware that something important had changed I had stopped being a sports fan. News that the baseball teams were in spring training added no salt to life's daily routine (Nixon, taxes, bills and toil) and the approach of the basketball playoffs gave no lift to tired blood. The formation of yet another professional football league and the resulting stampede of players for more million-dollar salaries seemed drab stuff that one had to tolerate on the 11 p m. news reports to get to the weather report, and the news that one heavyweight had flattened another somewhere in the tropics for the world championship passed over me so quietly that I did not even catch the champion's name. Henry Aaron's home run that beat Babe Ruth's record was, I could still agree, a splendid thing, but my appreciation of it was purely intellectual. I was not emotionally moved, nor disputatious about it, as a true sports fan would have been. I had simply had it with sports. I think the explanation is that there was just too much of it for any of it to be very engaging any more. It had gotten so there was a new game of the century every other day It was like having a banana split with every meal. It just quit being fun The proliferation of teams was confusing, too. At one ti- ie there were 16 baseball teams and a comparable number of teams playing professional football and baseball, and if you applied yourself to it you could keep them all in your head. Not any more. Nowadays, each sport has so many leagues with so many teams that the leagues are broken down into which means there must be divisional playoffs constantly in progress Teams with names like the Pistons and the Whalers and the Bolts and the Nets and the Raccoons are forever looming into one's consciousness. What can you make of a headline that says, "Whalers swallow Bolts" or "Pistons tree Half the time you don't even know what sport is being played, or what city the teams represent. Somebody has calculated that there were 105 professional sports teams playing games as of last winter, and new football and baseball leagues now being formed will add another 20 or 30 teams to the stew in the next few years. It is easier to keep track of Middle East politics. Sports has come to seem like an industrial boom. The greed of players and owners who move themselves and their teams from city to city in quest of more and more bucks make it increasingly silly to cultivate the home- team chauvinism on which the sports fan thrives How can you give your heart to a home- team hero who may skip to Chicago next year for a million-dollar salary? Or feel affection for a team that may be shifted to El Paso next season so the owner can get a bigger cut of the peanut concession9 Sports, after all, are only games that children can play, yet how is the childish joyousness of the game to be reconciled with the knowledge that the player you yearn to idolize is a big businessman drawing salary and probably entertaining a offer to go over to the enemy9 Baseball's racism, which everybody has been willing to forego mentioning at one time, seems squalidly obvious now that the club owners with their franchise shifting have demonstrated that their contempt for the hometown fans is as solid as their distaste for black hands in the management. And then, of course, the athletes themselves make it harder and harder for fans to endow them with the stuff of heroism. Boxing has become a clown show for television, reminiscent of professional wrestling, an entertainment for TV boobs. Baseball players strike for better working conditions, like the average working stiff, and athletes of all persuasions become as huffy as presidents and withhold their wisdom from newspapermen who decline to praise them with regularity. The constant court battles are also depressing. On many days more of the sports news comes from the courtroom than the playing field. Watergate is more fun. Mostly though, it was the excess that dulled my edge. A demolition derby, a golf tournament, a motorcycle jumping contest, championship figure-skating competition, a championship boxing match, the crucial game of the N B.A divisional playoffs, the climactic game of the Stanley Cup series, the setting of a new pole-vault record, the rubber game of the Orioles-Tigers series and reruns of last Wednesday's and Friday's games of the century are too much for one afternoon. In "Death of a the unworldly Happy eagerly asks his much-traveled older brother Biff who has had a multitude of girls, what it's like having enjoyed all those women "After says Biff, "it's like bowling." In sports, as with Biff, more is less By James Reston, New York Times commentator UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. A kind of impeachment trial has been going on here at the United Nations too not of a man but of a civilization. The poor nations have drawn up the articles of impeachment every day against the rich nations Please listen, they say. Article one- Out of every three children born in most nations of the world today, one dies before the age of five. Two: For those who survive, as Dr. Mubashir Hasan, the finance minister of Pakistan, put it, "it is a life of deprivation, desperation, and degradation It is an intense but, mercifully, a short struggle, as their life expectancy is no more than 30 years." Article Three: One of the worst tragedies in human history is unfolding on the continent of Africa. The suffering caused by drought in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Upper Volta and Ethiopia seems to be beyond the imagination of the advanced nations and a rebuke to the United Nations which promised in its charter (article 55) to promote "a higher standard of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development." Article Four: You, in what used to be called the Christian West, and is now called the Industrial West or the Developed or Advanced World are cheating the poor countries by buying their products cheap and selling your products dear. This rnequal exchange between the cost of labor in the rich nations and the poor nations is the heart of the problem. Article Five: The rich countries are paying their workers between 10 and 20 "Think of it as the government that is repairing your car then think of how the government pays itself Wrong medicine for housing By Bruce Whitestone, syndicated commentator Like drifting showflakes, government subsidies to the housing industry are piling up, yet in many different ways these subsidies seem to ensure that the industry will be marooned in chaos. As a result of government policies, almost everyone, regardless of income bracket, is paying more for housing than should be necessary. The most important long-term step government ought to take to improve our housing conditions is to stop pursuing policies that inflate the cost of both land and construction. Ever since the Great Depression, our governments have regularly attempted to soften the impact of rising costs by reducing down payments and stretching the terms of mortgage loans But easy terms in any industry help mdke overpricing acceptable, and artificially increase demand, which in turn leads to even higher prices Hence, housing subsidies, when provided on a large scale, increase the demand for land, labor, and materials, and therefore, help to inflate construction costs and rents. This penalizes every house buyer and tenant in the nation who lacks a pipeline to subsidy. It has been estimated that housing subsidies alone could increase land prices by 35 per cent by 1980 The boomerang effect is painful enough but our blinkers lead us to compound errors. Because of our flawed perception of causes and effects in complicated problems, when a little of the wrong medicine fails to bring a cure, we often increase the dosage. Throughout the long history of housing subsidies, beginning with the passage of the Dominion Housing Act in 1935, that mistake has been repeated again and again. Still, urban renewal programs have made little sense for several years, a fact recognized by the federal government when suspended federal approval of new projects It now appears that there is no housing shortage in our cities If anything, there is a surplus of technically acceptable, though not necessarily attractive, accommodations in various neighborhoods, a surplus created by changes within cities for reasons other than the condition or availability of housing It is no wonder that the housing subsidies in urban areas all too often produce results opposite from those intended. Efforts to improve the living conditions in city areas frequently attract more families to that area and so become self-defeating. Instead of concentrating everything on the urban renewal program, government m Canada should change its focus of attentttm as well as its tactics. A lot of unfit housing remains, but most of it is not where people think it is: rural areas, including small, isolated towns contain more than half of the nation's housing with inadequate plumbing and heating The substandard abodes in rural areas have been ignored by our housing legislation. Has anyone ever proposed a rural housing renewal program? It is imperative that this blind spot in government attention be removed Generally speaking, government must stop tolerating waste and promoting inefficiency in housing. Governments, both provincial and federal, have done too little to end the costly restrictive practices, obsolete building codes, antiquated foreclosure laws and laggard technology that make housing cost more than it should. Governments have been too timid about using their leverage in the form of Combine Investigations and the judicial process to remove obvious obstructions to fair trade. Worse, the conflicting provisions of myriad local building codes make it impossible to standardize such items as wiring, piping and plumbing. This also inhibits cost cutting innovations, particularly here in Canada because of our lack of a big enough market and even prevents builders from realizing the economies of standardized plans and production. There is no valid technical reason for Canada to have more than one code for THE CASSEROLE Solicitor General Warren Allmand is rather amusing as he correctly, refuses to say whether the RCMP has files on journalists. Herald commentator Peter Thomson says that any journalist who has been long on Parliament Hill and who has chatted enough with Mounties, has heard enough slips of the tongue to know there are .indeed files. But it still isn't Mr. Allmand's job to say that there are. readers is that the normal sentence is a minimum of 21 days in jail plus a fine equivalent to In this case, there was no prison sentence, though the fine was doubled and the actress had to pay housing, as long as there were appropriate variations for our extreme climate differences. It would seem that our provincial governments could begin the legislative process of changing our outmoded building codes. There is little doubt that some labor unions enforce featherbed practices which mean higher costs and thus, in the longer run, fewer jobs in the housing industry. Archaic title search and title transfer requirements inflate housing costs. This is another case where provincial governments have been derelict in making changes Certainly, nearly 40 years of frustrating experience with housing "assistance" should have convinced us of one basic fact there is no such thing as inexpensive new housing, no matter how cheaply it is designed and built Housing includes'not only the cost of the structure itself, but all the conditions that go with it schools, transportation, sanitation, security and fire protection Most housing assistance ignores these other costs and hence is too narrowly conceived. Most fundamental of all, tax laws need to be changed that subsidize the misuse of land. Light taxation of vacant land rewards speculators who keep land off the market until growth pushes up the price. On the other hand, heavy property taxes on building discourage their upkeep and new construction. The obvious need for a better housing strategy must prod our policy makers to change both their beliefs and methods. A lot of legislation on the books merely increases the costs of housing for rich and poor alike Provincial governments, too, should recognize that they should assist the forces of the marketplace to function. times as much as the workers are paid in the poor countries. If the wages for labor were even roughly even, the poor countries would receive at least billion more a year for their work and products, and the danger of class war between the rich and the poor nations might be eased. The .articles of impeachment go on well beyond the space of this column, but the poor nations are not only making some fundamental changes but asking some awkward questions. Dr Hasan of Pakistan, a long, lean, highly intelligent, almost beautiful man, asked the rich nations to choose They could (1) increase and share production or (2) equalize the wages of labor and reduce consumption in the advanced nations, or (3) deal with the consequences of malnutrition, poverty, starvation and death in the poor nations "Over the last few Hasan told the delegates here at the United Nations, "the developing countries have struggled successfully for their political independence. They are now struggling for their economic emancipation. It is not natural that the struggle should continue until peace on earth and goodwill among mankind are established "What is he added, "is a vision on the part of the rich, both in the oil- consuming and the oil- producing countries In this vision lies the only chance of a peaceful solution of the current crisis. Should we fail to find a solution based on justice and equity, let us always remember that nature has its own grand design for fulfilment of the destiny of mankind The contrast between the impeachment debates in Washington and here at the United Nations is startling. In Washington, the issue is about handing over some tapes, whether they should be delivered this week or next, whether Chairman Rodino had authority to grant a postponement, and what they might tell anyway about the president's involvement in Watergate, or his "executive his language or his vindictive comments about members of the other and even his own political party. All this now dominates the political mind of Washington, and people wonder about the national political consequences, and why Teddy Kennedy is holding seminars at Moscow university and talking for four hours with Chairman Brezhnev, and why President Sadat of Egypt is telling Cy Sulzberger of the New York Times that maybe he wants to buy arms from the United States instead of from Moscow, and what Itzhak Rabin will do if he becomes the new premier of Israel These are the front page stories, the primary news of the day, while the impeachment charges of the poor nations against the rich nations, the fundamental questions of the prices and resources of the earth are ignored. In fact, Dr Mubashir Hasan's definition of the growing class war between the rich and the poor nations of the world was scarcely noticed. Yet he raised a question that will probably be troubling the world even at the end of the century, long after the question of the impeachment of President Nixon is forgotten. Can the rich and poor nations go on like this? Can the advanced nations consume and waste and charge for labor as they are, and ignore the misery of the majority of the human race in the poor countries? Will the big countries even listen? Hasan asked, and the answer obviously is "not yet The entertainment page is an odd place for it but there's an interesting point to a recent item about a movie star's prosecution for drunken driving. Datelined Oslo, Norway, the story complains that the actress wangled a suspended sentence, while another Norwegian woman, convicted of the same offence at the same time, received the prison term that is supposed to be handed out in all cases. The point that might interest local An acquaintance spent several active if not specially hours at a bachelor party the other night. You know the sort of thing; some poor chap's last night of single freedom, and his friends had gathered to make sure he enjoyedC1, or perhaps even it. Conviviality was the order of the evening and the wine jug passed and poured pretty freely, with the inevitable morning- after consequences, especially for the groom- to-be. Which makes one wonder about the real purpose of this sort of affair. Anaesthesia, perhaps7 The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St S Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDQE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second Registration No 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager 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"