Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 17, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBBIDGE HERAID Friday, November 17, 1971 Restraint avoids many world conflicts By Carl T. Rowan, U.S. syndicated corarucntalor A curious judgment In a Manitoba courtroom, a magis- trate has given what is termed an 'absolute discharge' to a man who pleaded guilty to having refused to answer certain questions which were part of the 1971 census. The Statis- tics Act prescribes a fine of up to ancj three months imprisonment for such refusal. The accused said he would not ans- wer because he considered the ques- tions infringed his right to privacy, and went on to say that if it was thought a term in prison would change his mind, the court had better go ahead and try it. The magistrate's award of ab- solute discharge means it is deemed no offence was committed. Two aspects of this case are quite remarkable: first, the ability of the accused to defy both the law and the court and get away with it; and sec end, the (fortunately) rare situation of a magistrate apparently concern- ing himself not wilh whether a law was broken, but with whether it need be observed. That the law was flagrantly defied Is hardly open to question. There was adequate public warning that failure or refusal to complete the census forms was an offence, punish- able by fine or imprisonment or both. Yet the accused, knowing this, flatly refused to answer the questions being asked of all Canadians, and when taxed with that refusal, challenged the court to do anything about it. In ef- fect, he said "I don't agree with this law, so I won't obey it. .And you can't make (There are .a few judges, one sus- pects, who might make a pretty fair The other point is more disturbing. It would seem the magistrate simply agreed that this' law need not be obeyed. The accused had formally pleaded guilty as charged, agreed without argument that he had know- ingly and deliberately broken the law, and moreover had declared he was not going to obey it, now or in the future. It is quite astonishing, then, that a magistrate, no matter how fully he might sympathize with a particular point of- view, would condone a clear breach of a law, dis- regard a plea of guilty, ignore a dir- ect challenge to the court to do its worst, and meekly rule that no of- fence was committed. Invasion of privacy is a serious con- sideration, and while few Canadians regard the census in that light, it is conceivable that an individual might in good conscience see it that way. Also, a seat upon the Bench does not make a man any less a human being, so an individual with this odd view of the census might well encounter a judge in whole hearted agreement. Obviously, that is what occurred in this instance, and no one says that either party is not entitled to his pri- vate views. But in the case of the magistrate, there is another and far more impor- tant question: To what extent has a magistrate, whatever his views, the right to decide which laws must be obeyed and which can be disregard- ed? It will be interesting to see whether a higher court, in Manitoba or else- where, intervenes in this case. Sanctions will continue There was a storm in the British House of Commons the other day when the debate on whether to con- tinue sanctions against Rhodesia took place. Sir Alec Douglas-Home has said that sanctions should con- tinue until it became clear that they have failed in their purpose, that pur- pose being of course to give black Rhodesians a fair share in running the country. These opposed to contin- uing sanctions say that the embargo has indeed failed in its purpose. They point out further that the debacle in Uganda has shown the futility of the African attempt to govern fairly and decently. Further, they claim that sanctions impose unfair hardships on blacks as well as whites. Those who upheld sanctions got their way. The restrictions will con- tinue for another year. Signs are beginning to turn up to show that they are having an effect, after all, and that Prime Minister Ian Smith is not quite as sure of his political stability as he has been in recent years. He has been making overtures to the African National Council in an attempt to reach an agreement on the basis of last No- vember's settlement proposals. Mr. Smith is worried. Neighboring Portuguese Mozambique reports in- creasing terrorist activity, which al- ready threatens to spill over into Rhodesia, and there is fear that the vital supply road from Salisbury to the Mozambique port of Beira will be disrupted by guerrilla activity. There have also been a few small, but significant signs, that Rhodesia can expect Zambian based terrorists to cause trouble on her northern border. As for Rhodesia's Africans. The Pearce commission reported last year that most of them indicated their willingness to pat up with the privations caused by tiieir refusal to accept the agreement proffered by Mr. Smith if it meant a better deal in the long run. They meant it. They show no signs whatever of backing down. As was expected, Genera! Idi Amin's outrageous behavior in ex- pelling Ugandan Asians, has given white supremacists a forceful talk- ing point, but insanity at the helm in Uganda does not indicate that there will necessarily be insanity at the helm in all African nations. The British government is com- mitted to the elimination of discrim- ination in Rhodesia. It should stick to that policy, Amin notwithstanding. The sound of music Poetry, said Wordsworth, Is emotion re- collected in tranquility. Bill was very high on tranqulity. As arr. I, though I recollect emotion by a more modern method o[ fil- lers, settling ponds and processing as ac- tivated sludge. The point is, quiet is essential lo us poets that work at home. For this reason I experienced deep emotion, too raw lo be recollected lor some time when my young son told me that he wanlcd to play trumpet in the school band. I said, seeing the great Ca- nadian novel blown away, hundreds of pages fluttering, in a single blast ol fate. "Did you say "You just have lo sign this said my son. He handed me a mimeographed document of parental consent, and as I stared at it my viscera twisted into a con- figuration of tubing and valves that blew A-flat up my gullet. The boy had reached nine years of age without showing any tendency towards wanting to play a musical instrument. Oh, he whistled a bit, in the bathroom, but it never occurred to me that he would move on to the hard stuff. My eyes filled with tears. "A I said. "You want to grow up to look like Al "I Just want to play in the school hand." After all the soccer balls and footballs I'd bought the boy, find hockey slicks, goals, pucks, puds, booLs, all Ihis sacrifice lo direcl NIC lad towards ,'i worthwhile career, hn shrills mo wilh a hwrn. 'Go I sniveled, "why not go the whole way? Tell me you want to play the violin." "I want to play a said my son. "The band teacher says you can rent one for five dollars a month." Five bucks a month. Cheap admission lo the funny farm, comparecmio some other forms of entertainment. But I fought off any feeling of elation. "You won't be allowed lo practice at I told my son. "You must do all your practising at school. Ask for the key to the staff room." "Okay said my son. "Can I bring my trumpet home I said. Then, in the spirit ot compromise, I added: "You may bring it home three days after your father has been certified dead." I signed the form, with Ihe codicil of small print regarding my burning down the school, and drove my son to a place that rented musical instruments. "I don't I said lo the clerk, winking furiously "that you have any trum- pets left. Nothing but a harp "Sure, we have some snid Benedict Arnold. We brought the trumpet home, along with tho valve oil, the insurance, lire sup- plementary charms to soothe the savage) breast. Now I know what happened lo Ihe walla of -Jericho: (labriel was nine years old nt the lime. They never had a chance. (Vancouver Province WASHfNGTON-Out of Bonn comes Ihe almost incredible an- nouncement that West and East Germany will Ireat each other civilly, and as two separate, re- spectful states. This is especially astonishing to anyone aware of the many times during the last quarter century when rivalry between the two Germanys threatened to plunge the world into nuclear war. I remember a badly-shaken John F. Kennedy returning from a Vienna meeting with Soviet Premier' Nikita Klu-u- shchev, rushing desperately to beef up U.S. conventional mili- tary forces after the Russian jolted him wilh an ullimalum about Berlin. Kennedy was all but convinced that the U.S. and Russia would fight over Ger- many, and he wanlcd to re- strict it to conventional weap- ons if possible. Kennedy would not have be- lieved Lhat passage of another decade could bring the kind of detente we now see. Then there are the K o r e a s. talking lo each other for a change. Making noises suggest- ing that, despite the obstacles of willful, power-loving men at the top of each government, the same kind of thaw Is in the cards for them. After the inveslment scores of thousands of U.S., Chi- nese and Korean lives and many billions of dollars in that fratricidal conflict, the pas- sions now wane somewhat. The passage of a quarter-century permits Korean cousin to speak to cousin with something other than murderous contempt. Then there is the People's Republic of China. In the first years of this last quarter cen- tury even a word or gesture of civility by an American was political suicide. The United States was caught up in mean recriminations over "who lost China" lo the Communists. Emotionalizing over China's in- volvement in the Korean war replaced any logical thinking about what must be the ulti- mate place in world society of a country inhabited by more than a fifth of the world's peo- ple. Only after more than two de- cades, when only rabid Ameri- can conservatives were still spleenful in their view of Pe- king, was' it possible for a Re- publican president to open a new dialogue and set about nor- malizing relations wilh China. We look back at the hours wasted in angry rhetoric hurled at China in the United Nations, in Congress, in U.S. political campaigning, and recall how the bitter insults were dupli- cated in Peking, and we shake our heads in sardonic laughter. Now there is Indochina. Another of those quarter-cen- tury-long abominations. Peace may not be nearly as close at hand as the American people have been led lo believe, but it seems clear lhat "reconciliation and concord" among the people of Vietnam is under way. As t h e United States moves Six months freeze favored By Dave Humphreys, London commentator for FP Publications LONDON Will it work? This will be the acid test for what the British government chooses to call "a standstill" for possibly nearly six months on prices, wages, dividends and rents. It could not be styled a freeze, which it is, tecause lhal was what the previous Labor government introduced. Any reminiscent of Labor rule is shunned like the plague. cial estimates that il will take nearly a month to put legisla- tion through Parliament did not dampen enthusiasm for at- tempting to enforce the stand- still immedialely. Yet it will run for 90 days from the time of royal assent, making about 120 days: then the draft legisla- tion includes a clause for a fur- ther 60-day extension. Britain could be freezing until April. Certainly present talk about it missing the inflationary claims due from the miners and Ford workers in Februay is optimistic. The attitude of the major un- ions is one of the key factors in the standstill's success. The others are the efficacy of ma- chinery for controlling and here the initial omens are not good and the effect of the thaw. Prime Minister Ed- ward Heath's oft-staled opposi- tion to a statutory policy was that after it ended pent-up de- mand would wipe out gains. Former Labor chancellor of the exchequer Roy Jenkins, now a backbencher, delivered a stinging reference to this in the Commons. "Does the prime minister regard the short-term situation that he has produced as so disastrous that he cannot bear to think about the long Mr. Heath's answer Is that the British economy is entering a period of expan- sion, unlike the deflationary period of Labor's freeze He is gambling that a higher standard of living and lower levels of taxation will somehow induce the unions to be more reasonable when this freeze ends. This is some gamble. Much will depend on the promised phase two to follow the standstill, carefully de- scribed as, "a program for controlling inflation: the first stage." The second stage will cover roughly the ground of. the collapsed talks Mr. Heath htld with unions and in- dustry. There will be a flat- rate ceiling for wage in- creases of upward of 10 pounds applied equally to all as a means of improving relatively the lot of the lower- paid. More than two million workers in Britain earn less than a week on straight time. Also in the second phase the government expects to estab- lish sophisticated machinery for controlling prices and wages. It is uncertain now what the balance will be between the voluntary and statutory ele- ments of this stage. Mr. Heath stressed, however, that the, wholly voluntary deal had fall- en through and that the second, phase would include legisla- tion. Whether the long feared flood of demands emerges will depend to some degree on whether the standstill can be converted into a permanent compact of co-operation. Mr. Heath's relations with the un- ions give absolutely no reason for optimism on this score. The unions are really the ones to watch not only in the long run but immediately. It is not just a question of whether they will unleash high "Thank goodness the election is OVf R. Now we can get back to not caring about OTHCR The UtWnridge Herald 50-1 7Ui St. S., Lclhbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publisherl Published by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second .v.all Registration No. 0013 Member of Tho CflnAllan Press nnd Inn Cnnfldlnn Dally NewspftDtr Publishers' Association and Ihe Audi? Bureau of Circulation! CLEO W. MOWERS, Edl'nr Publhhcr THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manftpcr DON PiLl ING WILLIAM HAY W.flnrtgmg Lclitor Associate Editor ROY I. MILEb DOUGLAi K. WALKEH MvirMMno Mananer Bdllorliil Page Editor "THE HERAtD SERVES THE SOUTH" demands when It becomes legal lo do so. It is also a question of whether they will respect provisions of the proposed stand- still legislation curbing their right to strike, as they have not respected the government's In- dustrial Relations Act. Mr. Heath deliberately made a strong appeal for respect for the law. Officials I r a n k 1 y admitted tbat while they drew widely on U.S. experience in framing this legislation, they were obliged to diverge in order to have re- gard for the power of British trade unions. Only a small percentage of U.S. labor is unionized com- pared to Britain. As an insti- tution the office of the British prime minister does not com- mand the same respect as the office of the president doss among the respective populations, particularly the unions. To add the personali- ties of present incumbents, Mr. Heath is loathed by union leaders because ol liis reform legislation. A strong militant clement in Britain is dedicated to obstructing the Conservative government on principle, using industrial ac- tion as its weapon. The con- trol mechanism most imme- diate test of first stage success off to a confused and un- certain start. Officials didn't help by suggesting the legisla- tion itself would nol make ille- gal changes in prices because there is no machinery for po- licing such a bill. When the draft was published it did in- deed prohibit increases, lo wit: "Prices, or charges to which this section applies, and which are for transactions effected at a time when this section applied to the prices or charges, shall not exceed the prices or charges for transac- tions of the same description effected by the same person in the couree of business before November 6." The policing It seems, Is being left to the housewife. Slro is encouraged to complain by telephoning special numbers at a prices control unit. "Mum'3 army" one paper dubbed it. Tory ministers who likely never bought a pound of bacon in their lives never lire of ad- vising the housewife to "shop around." And she does make shopping around in the count- little stores much mo-e of an occupation lhat any- thing Canadian housewives would contemplate. If a complaint is justified Ihe responsible minister will in- slruct the offender lo revert lo Ihe former price. Only if that injunction is disobeyed will posecufion proceed. The draft provides maximum penally of of on summary conviclion, unlimited fines for Indiclmcnt. This is what Jack Jones, militant boss of Ibc Iransport union, calls a mockery. flealh rejects his suggeslion dial weights and measures inspcclors enforce prices. Ex- emplions arc for meal, fish, f.'uit, vegetables based whol- ly on seasonal or external Jorces. Fairly clearly Ihe govern- ment's faith is in Hie good- will and co-opcralion of Iho vast majority in business and industry. Fortunately there is a consensus that they will get il. At lensl that retailers and wholesalers will give the sys- tem a good try. No such op- limislic jitdginenl dare Ira mndc nbout Iho unions on tho wages side. Stressing Iho Icmporary nnlurc of Ibis rough .justice ilie government hns Ihcrcforc every reason to pro- ceed lo more sophislicntpd and, hopefully, morn permanent wilh nil speed. out of the picture, not only will there be a "coalition govern- ment" embracing all major po- litical interests in the South, but we shall see close co-opera- tion and eventual unity with North Vietnam. And once again we shall shake our heads in wonderment that we sacrificed so many Am- erican lives, helped snuff out so many Asian Uves, dropped so many bombs and destroyed so many people and things, only to see the principals to the con- flict shake hands and take the more rational route of negotia- tions. Maybe there is a lesson in all this. Perhaps, just as nature es- tablishes a nine-month gesta- tion period for humans and a 045-day period for elephants, a 25-year-period is required to convert international madness lo sanity. The lesson, then, would be that utter restraml is called for by the rest of mankind while combatants are given time to come back to their senses. You think of the many times when the U.S. and Russia could have gone to war over the Ger- shudder. You think how inviting It was for the United Slates to take rash action after the seizure ot the U.S.S. Pueblo, or North Ko- rea's shooting down of our EC- 121 aircraft, or the many pe. riodic outbursts of violence in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. And you sigh in relief. This is not to suggest that tliere will not be more killing in Indochina or more crises in Europe. An observation of the current state of mankind sug- gests that it is folly to expect lasting peace or even a gen- eration of il. But it may be that if the great powers keep their cool, these regional and internal squabbles need not blow up into massive conflagrations. And who knows but what man might cut the pe- riod of transition from mad- ness lo sanity from 25 years to 20, or even to 10?