Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 23, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD Wednesday, May 23, 1973 Far away places luring Canadians Probing petial policy Normally it would be assumed that prison break-outs are the re- sult of failures in security arrange- ments. In Canada today, however, there are suggestions that the es- capes can be traced directly to the government's penal policy which cri- tics say is too lax. Perhaps there are links between an emphasis upon rehabilitation and the rash of outbreaks. Advantage may be taken of less stringent rules and more humane attitudes in pri- sons. Investigation will doubtless es- tablish if this is so. No clear-cut case against the gov- ernment is likely to be found, how- ever, unless it is for being too timid. It has been argued, for instance, that the break-outs are the conse- quence of the government retreating in the field of penal reform. A large reduction in the number of paroles granted, as a result of public out- crv, has meant a higher prison pop- ulation resultant crowding and the transfer of some prisoners to in- stitutions for which they are not suited. If the current studies of the penal system produced recommendations for a more repressive approach this would be surprising. Previous studies have urged the different attack cau- tiously undertaken by the govern- ment. All indications are that a strictly punitive system is a failure. A report that did not generally take the direction of its predecessors of recent times cannot seriously be ex- pected. Students of penal systems and of reform measures see things some- what differently to those who rely only on news reports. Parole, for instance, is much more successful than is popularly supposed. One of the reasons for a distorted picture is that only the failures are publi- cized. The success stories cannot al- ways be told because of the need to protect identities. Their developmen- tal nature "also means they are not as newsworthy as the dramatic fail- ures. But investigators examine the statistics and not the news stories. Another study of the penal situa- tion is not necessarily a waste of time even though it will not likely result in conclusions at variance to the Ouimet report, which has not yet been fully implemented. The se- curity failures do require explanation and Validation of the general direc- tion of pe-nal policy now in force would be a good thing. Soviet view of Watergate Soviet desire for detente with the United States may best be gauged by reaction to the Watergate scan- dal. A favorite line is that there is a "conspiracy" in the U.S. to discredit President Richard Nixon. Mr. Nixon is admired in the U.S.S.R. and throughout Eastern Europe for his efforts to tone down ideological debate between East and West. The suspicion is therefore entertained that reactionary elements in the U.S. which are opposed to rapproche- ment with the Communists are de- termined to embarrass the president. This theory doesn't stand close scru- tiny for a number of reasons. The chief reason for its rejection is that all the evidence to date places the responsibility for the scandal on those close to the president. Another reason is that exposure of the mess was the work of newspapers which supported East-West rapprochement before Mr. Nixon did. There is irony in the Soviet notion of a reactionary plot to undermine the U.S. president. Suspicion of Com- munist conspiracies has plagued the U.S. for many years and was even characteristic of Mr. Nixon at one stage in his career. Almost all sus- picions of conspiracy prove to be groundless; this one will be no ex- ception. The Soviet concern about the under- mining of President Nixon's prestige is significant. It is a concern which ought to be widely shared- No mat- ter how people feel about Mr. Nixon or the way he chooses to function, he is bent in a direction which in the long inn should be beneficial to the It Mould be tragic to disrupt tiie trend to improved relations among the great powers now. Some might see the Soviet concern in cynical terms. They would inter- pret it as a fear that a military ad- vantage could be slipping away. But maybe Soviet leaders are genuinely concerned about trying to establish better relations. They know the price war would exact and they are being hard pressed by the toll military preparedness is taking on their economy. The aim may not be to take advantage of American softness but simply to gain respite from an increasingly intolerable bur- den. However badly hurt Mr. Nixon may be by the Watergate affair it is to be hoped he will not be crippled to the point where a shift to healthier world relationships will be halted. ERIC NICOL Cowboys and Indians Actor Marlon Brando rejected his Oscar in protest against the way America has treated the Indian. He cited the film indus- try as one of the main culprits in creating the stereotype of the Redskin as some- tiling less than noble. As a .person whose formative years in- cluded my staring raptiy at a movie screen on which Hopalong Cassidy was Shooting it out with several hundred Apache warriors, I am trying to assess to what degree the western film lessened my esteem for our native people. Did the Hollywood western make me think of the Indian as the Bad Guy? No. The Bad Guy wore a black hat and a gold chain across his vest which he fingered with evil intent. In fact the Bad Guy in Tombstone was usually the banker. If Brando had spunred his Oscar because of what movies have done to the blood broth- er of the Rothschilds, and had stomped off to a Wounded Knee held by a handful of resentful branch managers of America's chartered banks, I'd see the point. But the Hollywood Indian, as I saw him, was not malevolent or stupid, or even guilty of bad breath. A little sneaky, maybe, yes. The Injun often attacked from ambush, in contrast to the U.S. cavalry, which never had sense enough to take advantage of lo- cal cover but charged, banners flying and two abreast, across whatever open country afforded the best archery range for the in- digenes. The Hollywood Indians also ambushed wsgon trains, which quickly formed a cir- cle when the Indians rode around, getting shot off I heir horses in spectacular fashion but otherwise enjoying limited benefits. Although the script invariably loaded sympathy in favor of HIP whites, T felt no real hostility towards the Indians. They were a hazardous natural phenomenon, like a blizzard, or a chasm on the mountain trail. Their characteristic that impressed me most, I think, was their remarkable fertil- ity. No matter how many Indians were shot off their horses, the same number showed up for battle in the next reel, often in less time than it took to go to the lobby for a bag of peanuts. I would have liked to see more of what went on inside the tepees. Admittedly my view of the Hollywood Indian was colored by the fact that he was always a Sioux or a Commanche or an Apache, in short an American Indian. When I saw his tribe thundering down the road in a hot and howling pursuit of Ran- dolph Scott, I couldn't relate to the experi- ence because in Canada we didn't have roads that good. The dirt street past our house m Van- couver, in 1932, was such that no self-re- specting Cheyenne would commit his horse to it. If the Hollywood western had really in- stilled in ma racial prejudice, the only species I should trust today is the horse. I don't. Nor do I trust the more recent, mock- authentic type of western that casts the Indian in the role of ethnic superiority and would have us believe that the only good white man is a dead white man and The Lone Ranger probably had a bizarre re- lationship with Silver. One of the first things that the Holly- wood Indian said, after the advent of the talking picture, was: "White man speak with forked tongue." The white man still spsaks with a cloven accent, but I somehow pre- ferred Cochise to the spokesmen for AIM (the American Indian Too bad they can't give Brando's Oscar to Chief Dan George. He'd know how to accept it like a gentleman. By Bruce Hutchison, Herald special commentator Sometimes Allan Fothering- ham, the gadfly and frumious Bandersmatch of Pacific Coast journalism, treats serious things too lighly and ill-advis- edly. Thus he tells us that the federal government solemnly urged all patriotic Canadians to spend their (holidays in Can- ada this year and save foreign exchange. At that precise mo- ment, however, Prime Minister Trudeau and all his colleagues but one or two were holidaying in distant lands, from the beaches of Hawaii to the boule- vards of Paris. This is indeed a serious mat- ter, not because the natibn suf- fered from the government's absence when the reverse may well have been true, but be- cause Canada has nothing of interest to keep its people at home. Like the cabinet minis- ters, they flee the country out of sheer boredom. If anyone doubts that all other countries are more inter- esting than Canada let them read the travel advertisements in any foreign magazine. With- out spending a dollor or fight- ing your way through a single airport, you can see the world spread before you and it makes the true north look hardly worth standing on guard for. In sober truth what have we got here? Only a few lakes and mountains, an extremely gross national product and the abandoned scaffolding of a Just Society that bores even its .architects. Then observe what they have in foreign countries, what a gay and fascinating life their natives lead while all we do is work and pay taxes. In France, for example, the advertisements prove that no one actually works. The entire population at any given hour is sitting in a sidewalk cafe ogling girls, drinking wine, eat- ing snails and crepes suzette aflame with Napoleon brandy. (Napoleon distilled a lot of brandy in his tune, enough to set the whole country on fire one of these days.) Or else the people are lying on the sands of the Riviera, drinking absinthe, between their love affairs, and planning the next revolution. The only Frenchmen who work at all are the chefs and waiters and they work only when posing for tra- vel advertisements. There is no industry .in France, except the kitchen, and no human activity except love. Why stay in Can- ada where the food is pretty bad and love unkown? In England things are a little different but just as easy. The English don't work, either. They spend all their waking "All this talk of guaranteed annual income can only serve to destroy Repression behind African strikes By Richard Wagner, London Observer commentator JOHANNESBURG South African minister of labor, Mar- ais Viljoen, says the wave of strikes that paralyzed large sections of industry in Natal province this year was the work of agitators. He says the gov- ernment knows that "students and other outsiders" were be- hind the unrest. But the police say he is wrong. Prominent members of his own ruling Na- tionalist party Say he is wrong. They, and an increasing num- ber of people throughout the land, have come to realize that the only "agitator" involved in the strikes was the empty stom- ach of the black worker. Harriet Bolton, Durban sec- retary of the Garments Work- ers' Union and widow of a pion- eer of white trade unionism in South Africa, said recently: "Employers keep talking about agitators, but who are they? If they mean people who want better wages and conditions of employment, then most work- ers in this country black or white are agitators." At Durban's docks, the big- gest in the country, there were allegations about "agitators" when black stevedores went on strike in October. They said their basic wage of 8.40 Rand a week was not enough, that they worked 12% hours a day; that they did not know why money was deduct- ed from their pay because they received no written pay slips; that their holiday pay averag- ed 6 Rand a year, and that they faced dismissal if they took unpaid leave. The employing company took a strong line. It offered noth- ing. Fourteen of the staff chose to be repatriated to their "homelands" and a further 15 were sent home by the com- pany. The men say the 15 were victimized because they gave evidence to a government-con- 1973 bj NEA, Inc. "Hans, everyone knows there's a new wove of interest in Hitler, but vened wage determination board. The company denied this, and says the 15 were agi- tators. The remainder of the 000 strikers went back to work simply to keep themselves and their families alive. Since then there has been industrial unrest. Many more employers have won these sporadic encounters with their black employees. A minority of firms are try- ing to improve conditions for their staff. Far too many managements limit their channel of commun- ication with black staff to a White Worker who happens to speak several native languages. These men are often without any training in personnel work and are judged by their effi- ciency in keeping black work- ers quiet, with no questions asked. Organized business can, and does, set the lead in this unen- lightened approach. The Natal employers' association has on many occasions appeared be- fore wage determination boards to argue against wage rises that would bring black workers up to somewhere near the poverty datum line the wage esti- mated to be the minimum for a family to exist in modern health without even the simp- lest luxury. It was not until this month that the association accepted that the poverty datum line of was the acceptable mini- mum for black breadwinners, and urged its members to move their staff up to this subsist- ence style of Me. The associa- tion said that in March the best- paid adult black laborers em- ployed by its members were earning a basic wage of a week. It gave no figures for the average wage paid, or for the minimum. The problem facing black workers who wish to organize themselves into groups for col- lective bargaining is that the law specifically states that blacks (Bantu) are not work- ers. The Industrial Conciliation Act No. 28 of 1956 as amended says: "employee means any person other than a Bantu em- ployed by or working for any employer and receiving or being entitled to receive any remuneration, and any other person whomsoever, other than a Bantu who in any manner assists in the carrying on or conducting of the business of an employer." Only people defin- ed in this act are allowed fo form unions. Influx control laws restrict and control the movements of blacks from rural areas to ur- ban areas, and also between ur- ban areas. The effect is to pre- vent workers from selling their skills to the highest bidder. Mi- gratory labor laws mean that tens of thousands of black work- ers recruited from, thdr "home- bureaiu" are forbidden to bring their families with them while they work in the cities. These men and women are housed in compounds and hostels, with the sexes strictly segregated. Prostitution, homosexuality and lesbianism are rife in these hos- tels. Black domestic servants and farm laborers are bound to their employers by the Master and Servants' Act, which makes it a criminal offence for these workers to "desert" their em- ployment. The practical effect is that the workers cannot give notice and cannot leave a job without the complete co-opera- tion of the employer. Finally, job reservation bars blacks from holding jobs that require particular skills or the use of tools that are, in the eyes of the lawmakers peculiarly for the use of white workers. Faced with these repressive laws, plus other obstacles to progress such as expensive edu- cation, inadequate transport, and high food prices at the limited number of trading stores in the black townships, it is little wonder that blacks have resorted to strikes to bring home to whites the way in which the odds are stacked against them. hours in old ivy-covered pubs drinking beer, eating rare roast beef in extraordinary quanti- ties despite the current price, throwing darts and planning the next general strike. Or else they gape through the fence of Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard while they guzzle fish and chips and drop their h's all over the sidewalk to the amusement of the good-natured Bobbies with false walrush mustaches. No one works except some aged watchmen around the ruins of Henry VH's castles and the barmaids in the pubs between democratic flirtations with the local squire, whom they always address as "luv" and a charming cus- tom. Even the prime minister does no work. In any news pic- ture you can see him, with a glass of champagne and a hearty British grin, welcoming some diplomatic spy from Mos- cow. Small wonder that the hard-working Canadian states- men go to England in the spring with light hearts and ample ex- pense accounts. After the hell of Ottawa London must be very heaven. Still better, David Lewis isn't there. Or, if you prefer a more exotic holiday, go to Japan, where all the hurry and scurry of modern life is left behind and the industrial rat race is never allowed to interfere with the stately ritual of the geisha houses, the tea ceremony and the view of Mount Fugi in the moonlight through the cherry blossoms, pollution permitting. The only workers in Japan are the geishas and the air- line hostesses who bathe your face, without extra charge, in steaming towels and feed you on homegrown suMaW, kabuM fresh from the garden, pungent sarauri cooked to a turn on a habachi and garnished with sweet-and-sour banzai. The Ja- panese know how to live. So do the South Africans in a lovely, virginal land untouch- ed by our crude Western civil- ization. A few happy blackmen dig gold and diamonds from the earth but they don't really work. They laugh and dance and sing throughout the week and, on Sundays, worship a na- tive Christian religion called Apartheid. The white people are all lying on the beaches, taking snapshots of lazy lions or feeding peanuts to friendly elephants. In fact, all peoples know how to live, except Canadians. Still, they are gradually learning, and even advertising their own queer life to foreigners. As pictured in any good American magazine, most Ca- nadians are jolly fishing guides who cook speckled trout over a camp fire, cowboys who strum guitars and flirt inno- cently with dude girls from Seattle or red-blooded Mounted Policemen in blood-red uni- forms who pose for the tour- ists' cameras on Parliament Hill, and wear spurs for self- protection in case they meet a horse. But the most typical Canadi- an is a quaint Quebec peasant woman, carved out of wood, who bakes bread in an outdoor oven, hooks rugs and sings the ancient ballads of Normandy. Until recent times maple syrup was the only important Canadian product but now the government's latest industrial strategy has broadened the eco- nomic base. Hotels, restaurants and floor shows are the main industries, eating and drinking the main occupation of the labor force. All the more intelligent stu- dents in the universities are training to be gourmet chefs who form the nation's elite. Al- most every Canadian pictured in the advertisements is a chef holding a boiled Shediac lobster or a dessert flambee that seems likely to burn down the pre- mises. The only other Canadi- ans with steady employment are shapely girls dancing the can-can in the better Montreal night clubs, dressed entirely in imported Parisian garters. Yes, are learning but have a long way to go yet. As legend recounts, some Spanish sailors first saw our coast and cried "Aca nada" there is nothing of value here. So Can- ada was named, and no mat- ter what the advertisements may pretend, there is still noth- ing of value here to keep cabi- net ministers or anyone else at home. The Lcthbridgc Herald 904 7th St. S., LethbrWge, Alberta LETHBREDGE HERALD 00. LTD., Proprietors and Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Mall Registration No. 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Publishers' Atwclatlon and Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEO W MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROY F. MILES DOUGLAb K. WALKER Advertising Editorial Page Editor THE HERALD StRVES THE SOUTH"