Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THt IHHBRIDGE HERAID Mondav, Morth 13, 1972 Maurice, Western. Suicide thinking change Among the latest proposed amend- ments to the Criminal Code is the abolition of attempted suicide as a punishable offence. Whatever may be the reasons behind tins proposal the justice minister lias not yet stated them before the House of Commons it is certain that law enforcement people will be relieved not to have lo press charges in cases of attempted suicide. The fact is that this provision of law lias been an embarrassment, with the police gen- erally being happy to be able t o place people in psychiatric care away from the cells as soon as possible. Condemnation of (lie person who lias attempted suicide luis largely given way to sympathy as more people understand that a des- perate stale of need is present in the individual who tries to end liis life. That need still exists following failure to bring about death; the need is probably even intensified in- asmuch as a sense of shame, induced by the imagined attitudes of others, may be added to the burden being borne. Today attempted suicide tends to be interpreted as a cry for help and people are anxious to respond positively rather than negatively in terms of punishment and incarcera- tion. Nevertheless, there may be some people who will be vmeasy about the change, seeing it as further evidence of the erosion of. religiously rooted moralih in Canadian society. It is realized, of course, that some reli- gions tend to see suicide as virtuous rather than as sinful. The roots of our morality are Judaco Christian with its high estimation of life as God-given. God the bestower of life alone has the right to dispose and hence, it lias been held, it is wrong for the individual to take his life or attempt to take his life, Dietrich Bonlioeffer, the German theologian who died at the hands of the Nazis and has subsequently had a great influence over Christian thinking, in his book on ethics said, that even if suicide is declared wrongful, "it is to be arrainged not before the forum of. morality or of men but solely before the forum of Lack of faith, which may be the cause of attempted suicide, is not a moral issue for which men must mete out punishments. Even without the help of theologi- ans such as Bonhoeffer issues such as suicide are almost bound to be removed from the context of the Cri- minal Code. A profound shift, unad- mitted if not unrecognized, has oc- curred in the very basis of the social order all over the world. The as- sumptions by which most individuals today live are secularist rather than religions and the sheer weight of that shift will continue lo force change. Something new will be added 'Hie latest safety device lo be added to American cars is one adapted from the submarine. The- periscope is going to replace the rear-view mirror. A report from the United States national highway traffic safety ad- ministration stated that in four years time the "look-around com- ers" instrument will be standard equipment on all cars. The installa- tion of the periscope will remove blind spots encountered now with conventional interior and outside mirrors. It will more than double tha field of vision behind the car. Anything that cuts automobile acci- dents will be welcomed by the public and it's a wonder the manufacturers didn't pick up tin's suggestion years ago when it was first proposed. But at that time automobile de- signers were convinced that the pub- lic was interested more in style than in safety. They devised "fast backs" with tiny horizontal back windows which allowed little more than a bird's eye view to the driver. Now however, safer built cars have be- come mandatory, thanks to Ralph Nader who awakened the public to all the unnecessary defects in the fancy cars they have been driving. So it will be "up-periscopes" in the future. This gadget won't eliminate accidents entirely for there are al- ways the incompetent idiots behind wheels who are bent on destroying themselves and others. But the per- iscope has been well tested and the reports on its efficiency are encour- aging for drivers who respect high- way hazards and look to safer cars in helping prevent accidents. E Sophisticated madness are, is we both know, losing our minds. It is my private opinion that rou are going round the bend faster than I am. I can hear the rubber squeal as you take the corner on two wheels, But I am pedaling bard, and may yet beat you home to Metropolitan Bedlam. (Next met- aphor, What is fascinating is to watch each day's batch of fruit cake come out of the oven with a larger proportion of nuts. To- day's goody, for example, I find in a news- paper article by Anthony Burgess justify- ing the raw violence o( the film version of his novel A Clockwork Orange. (The Orange is squeezing them in at the Says Mr. Burgess: "The depiction of violence was intended us both an set of catharsis and an act of charity." The other evening I scuttled in lo see a film that is very large in the catharsis- charity department Carnal Knowledge. This one is cathartic about sex. It goes through you b'kc a dose of salts through a tall Swede. I emerged from the theatre ready to join the Greek monks whose is- land is oft limits to anything female in- cluding a wind called Maria. The act of charity in Carnal Knowledge Involved a great deal of simulated sex- ual activity that a well-adjusted rat might judge to be gratuitous pandering to voy- eurism and vicarious games of the same grubby ilk. In retrospect, the refreshing thing about the gladiotorial games of rotten old Home was that the spectators wallowed in sadism without having to concern themselves with a moral message. The lions crunched the Christians, the crowd cheered, and the management of the Colosseum was under no obligation to interpret the violence as a purgative, good for you and Baby too. Today, when we wallow, we wallow in depth. To quote Mr. Burgess on his Orange again: "What my parable tries to state is that it is preferable to have a world of violence undertaken in full awareness violence chosen as an act of will than a world conditioned to be good or harm- less." it has taken 200 years for us to hand Rousseau's happy savage his spear and in- vite him to ram it through a missionary. In the name of free will. But the time is ripe. Ripe, hell, it's over-ripe. We approach the apotheosis of the per- missive. From playschool freedom it is an easy step to fingerpainting in blood. (Hi, there, Sharon Tale and Take it from the bloody Orange: it's okay to rape the missionary's wife because it shows that you haven't lost your will lo the state. It's the message that was first rat-tat- tatted by Bonnie and Clyde. Violence can he lovable. Live a full life: kill. Do others before they do you. This is very sophisticated madness In- deed. The rats, going bonkers in their over- populated, urbanized cage, envy us our apologia, which comes in several dclicious- Jy gory flavors. But I see that the Dormouse has dozed off again. Just when I started lo fancy a bit of cheese. Join me, if you dare, and you've tired of eating your young. (Vancouver Province features) The By Dong FALKENBERG apparently feelj that when she goes cruising in the family stationwagon she should hoist a mast. She sailed past our place recently with her purse perched on top. On Mayor Magrath Drive a gentleman In a following car waved wildly; Marg waved back. He hooked Hs horn; no dirt she. Conflict of interest, Canadian problem? ryiTAWA: If the new scs- sion lias n tliemc, other than the matrimonial adven- tures of Yves Gcoffroy, it is ap- parently conflict, of interest. The torin is not very precise, since it can be applied to o var- iety of situations, but, it has been used of late with enough fI'equency to suggest that the Opposition lins hopes of uncov- ering a considerable issue. But the wonder is not that we are, rather belatedly, hear- ing so much about it; it is rath- er that attention seems to he directed exclusively to cases, with little regard to causes and less to the search for safe- guards. The problem, is not pe- culiarly Canadian (it has caused" much worry in what seems to he Canadian is our comparative indifference to it. Conflict of interest does not necessarily involve w r o ti g- doing; that indeed, may be a rather rare outcome, it involves is the possibility ol wrong-doing and also of clouds of suspicion where none should exist. We have developed a system, it seems to me, which is almost bound to generate conflicts of interest. Parliament has been less than vigilant in assuring it- self that the public is properly protected. The expansion of the bu- reaucracy in recent years has been phenomenal. It is some- times suggested that govern- ment is an essentially passive agent in this; merely respond- ing as best it can to public de- mands. In certain fields this is true; in others it is false. To a degree, bureaucracy is a vested interest like others, but working within the system io extend its empire. Bui, more importantly, government is often a most active agent, de- veloping new programs, re- cruiting self-perpetuating bu- reaucracies to run them, and selling the services to a half- receptive, half-resistant public. A major task of the bw'cau- cracies is to administer pro- grams. This consists in many cases of doling out subsidies, open or camouflaged. (The more government runs deficits and inflates the currency, the more subsidies naturally, i t must devise anil aiiminister.) Another group of officials con- cern themselves with contracts, such as that awarded by the post office to ITT Canada Lim- ited, which provoked questions in the House. According 10 the mellow theory of our times, govern- ment and business should work in partnership, each dedicated to the same noble ends. Minis- ters talk of the automobile past, for example, in the tones of re- verence that others reserve for church. In this spirit govern- ments, when ri'LTiHting for the new miracle services and agen- cies especially when science and technology are Involved- look naturally to the ranks o! business. 'Hie temptation is all the greater when business is reiwried lo be alienated or to harbor suspicions, as it did, notably in tlw case of the Can- ada Development Corporation. Thus we have, on the one hand, a stream of businessmen into the public service, Mr. X was a successful executive with Y corporation and a well-known patron of worthy causes. The mere fact of his presence in a public agency is an assurance that it will not end up in the mess that' would otherwise be expected. But as government looks to business, so does business look to government. That, after all, is where most of the business is to he found nowadays. What corporation Y wants is someone who knows his way around in Ottawa; whose understanding of the workings of government mast Walker speeded up; so did he. When he finally persuaded her to stop, she was em- barrassed to have him hand her the purse from Uie top of the car. I don't why she should have been embarrassed to have him hoist her purse was obvious that to have stayed on wliilc traversing our rough icy side streets U had to be heavily loaded TIONAL RESEARCH "Eureka! We've discovered a way of getting blood out of n turnip! Quick notify the taxation is not gleaned from a crystal ball: who can greet many pro- minent public servants by their first names; who is fully con- versant with the thought of tho subsidy dispensers; and under- stands the methods ot contracts on which tenders must be based. Thus it is not altogether sur- prising to observe that there is another stream in the opposite direction: ex-public servants moving into the field of busi- ness. There is nothing basically reprehensible in either type of recruiting, Government in some cases may have no choice; it makes virture out of necessity and probably discerns virtue all the more easily in other areas. But in such a situation, while abuse may be rare (and prob- ably the possibility ol abuse certainly exists. There are bound (o he cases giving rise to suspicion; not easily dispell- ed because influence can be exerted in many ways. To prescribe a remedy, as tho British have found, is not easy. There is not the slightest evidence that government is be- coming less ambitious or that anything will be done except perhaps temporarily in auster- ity periods to check the growth of bureaucracy or the wooing of executives to govern- ment service. As noted, the cri- ticism of the Opposition is di- rected to eases. But it is im- probable that the Conservatives have anything against the re- cruitment of businessmen. If the NDP have an anti-business bias, they are also desirous o( widening the sphere of govern- ment activity, and so in prac- tice would in all likelihood seek to attract more talented admin- istrators from the business world. Tile government mean- while lives with a system to which it has so notably contri- buted. There is no doubt as lo the disposition of opposition parties in a pre-election session to make what political capital they can out of apparent cases of conflict of interest. But no one at the moment seems to be interested in constructive proposals for minimizing the risks inherent in the existing system and the current philoso- phy of government-business re- lationships. It may be unrealis- tic to expect them until such time as the subject is seriously studied hy a parliamentary committee assuming that the matter of public safeguards is one likely to interest a future parliament. (Herald Ottawa Bureau) Maurice Western Voting behavior of public difficult to forecast The politicians are back in the Centre Block, most of them ready, w illing and eager to share their Iatest political caleula- tions with the workin g press. This obsession with voter mathematics will certainly color much that happens in w-hat remains of the 28th Par- liament. Among the first to expose his paper work to public view is Real Caouette, the Social Credit leader. Mr. Caouette's method, as it appears from a newspaper interview, is to count Quebec seats by adding to SC totals in the various constituencies interesting percenta ges of Conservativ e strength at Bobert Stanfield's expense. Research by MPs of other parties has yielded utterly d if ferent resu! ts; this bein g the normal experience in e lection years. What is in- tercsLing, h o w e v e r, is the shared mythology of the cal- culators. At quadrennial in- lert-als four-year old statistics suddenly assume a mysterious significance which has quite Letter to fhe editor plainly been lacking for most of the intervening period. Every party attaches impor- tance fo the gallup and other surveys, especially when the indicated trend is favorable. In other words, it is generally con- ceded that the popularity of the government and of the opposi- tion parties moves up and down in the country as a whole, in the various regions and where it counts most for mem- bers in the individual con- stituencies. Thus, everything is In con- stant change until, with an election imminent, the political calculators go to work. Where do they start? Most of them head for the Canadian parlia- mentary guide and the basis for all their pencil work be- comes the situation as it crystallized nearly four years ago, on the night of June 25, 1M. Given this basic material, the forecaster may go about his work on a constituency by constituency basis or he may adopt some over-all ap- proach, inquiring, for example, as to what a shift of, say, 10 Clouded judgment Correspondent Gregory Hales must have been feeling parti- cularly sour wrhen he wrote that petty letter the other day. Nothing else could have so clouded his judgment and sense of fjtncss. The first two paragraphs o( his letter arc simply statements of opinion, with some obvious emotional bias behind his quiv- ering pen. The third paragraph quibbles over the phases a "body of knowledge" and "a number of as though no-one ever uses such general- ization without specifying, in a short article, the precise know- ledge and skills to be cult- ivated. In the next few para- graphs Mr, Hales reveals poor comprehetuioD of Mr. Burke'z thesis: namely, that a good deal of psychological quackery and shallow sociology flour- ishes to the detriment of sound learning in schools. He distorts this into an 'Aunt Sally" of !iia own fevered imagination; tha supposed inconsistency of Mr. Burke. Perhaps, his reaction showed that the shaft found ita true target. Other faults arp charged but not substantiated, and so wo are left with a closing para- graph which is pure diatribe, In all, then, more than half Mr. Hales" letter is either personal opinion or mere emotive ex- pression. PETER HUNT. Lethfaridge per cent from party to party in a particular region would mean in terms of scats. The trouble is in the basic material. In an Important sense, the constituencies of June, IMS no longer exist. Mobility has become an important charac- teristic of the Canadian popula- tion. Where are one's neigh- bors of yester-year? In addi- tion, every month produces new voters, while subtracting EOme of the old. A second difficulty is that the cast changes from election lo election. This will matter less if the campaign is dominated by a leader's personality, as happened with John Diefenba- ker in 1957 and Pierre Elliott Tnideau in 1968. But even in such cases a good candidate may win for an opposing party where a weak candidate- wovitd lose. Mr. A may have been less (or more) successful against Mr. C., his prospective oppo- nent this year. It is part of the mythology that a losing party lends to re- gard its 10G8 vote in a par- ticular constituency as the ir- reducible minimum, a rock on which to build. A party in government takes the same view of its starting strength in seats it failed to win. Seats held tend to be rated, of course, in terms of past majorities. An MP who won by 500 votes may be regarded, without justifica- tion, as a poor insurance risk while another, with a ''cush- ion" of several thousand, is considered safe in the tabula- tion. There is quite general agree- ment, however, that voters have "grown far less reliable" with the passing years. Not many members nowadays ara elected with party votes. They are elected by great numbers of "loose fish and shaky fol- lows" co-axed to tbo polls by political organizations. Thcro is, by definition, nothing de- pendable about a loose fish. The politicians, until gripped by election fever, know this better than anyone. Ones tha pencils come out, however, tbe loose fish qualify as landed fish for inexplicable rea- sons, tliey rose to Uie wrong parly's bait four years ago. Past majorities are decep- tive for another reason. Even if Uie cast is the same and the constituency changed rela- tively little, they mean much less than they seem to mean. In theory, a change of mind on the part of people would wipe out a lead of al- though this assumes a party fight which is rare now- adays in most parts cf Can- ada. Voting behavior depends on many factors, some quite un- predictable at the outset is- sues, hopes, anxieties, griev- ances, local conditions, the ap- peal of this candidate or that, leadership, organization and so on, Few people nowadays in- clude the moon and the stars, but it might be unsafe to ex- clude oilier natural phenomena, such as rain and snow. None of these difficulties have served in the past to dis- couraged political calculators and it is obvious that they are not effective deterrents this year. Party support depends considerably on hope and the amount of hope that can he scratched up with a pencil is one of Uie wonders of Ottawa. It is (lie season, then, for tho forecasters. The equipment is minimal. All that anyone needs is pencil and paper, the parlia- mentary guide and, of course, the conviction that there is some basis in 1972 for calcula- tions based on patterns of po- litical preferences as revealed in a fleeting moment of time four years and many issues ago. (Hornlcl Ottawa Bureau) Looking backward THROUGH THE HERALD 1522 The Del Eonita Women's Institute has decided to hold a baby clinic during the fair. The competition in open to all babies under two years of age. 1932 The management o( the Capitol Theatre announces that on Monday two of tha screen's foremost stars, Greta Garbo and Roman Novarro will appear in the film "Mata 1912 Gasoline ration books have arrived in the city at tho office of the A1TA and govern- ment licence office, but theso will not be distributed until authorization from the govern- ment. 1952 An obstacle race (it approximately Hi miles dis- tance will be staged in tho city during recreation week. T9C2 Two members of Ilia fanatic Sons of Freedom Douk- hobor sect were to be ar- raigned in court here today on charges of selling the dynamite which blew a huge power pylon apart on Kootenay Lake last week. The UtlUnridge Herald 5M 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETH71RTDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publishers Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No 0012 Member of The Canadfan Press end ihe Canadian Daily Newspaper Publish ers" Association and lha Audit Bureau of Circuit ions CLEO MOWERS, Edifor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, Central Manager DON PILLING WiLLIAiV HAY Managing Associate Editor ROY F- WILES DOUGLAS K, WALKER Advertising Manager fcdiforiel Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"