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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta WednoiJoy, SeptemtMr 13, 197Z TW UTHMUDOf Chief electoral officer becomes national troubleshooter By TOM MITCHELL OTTAWA (CP) "When you open places of business on the same morning, you're >ound to have some problems." Those problems, finding 'a structure to replace a burned- out polling station or getting police to rouse a late-sleeping returning officer, land in the lap of Jean-Marc Hamel. His formal title is chief elec- toral officer. But when federal election day arrives, pinnacle point of a job that keeps the 47- year-old career public servant busy year-round, he becomes a national troubleshooter, making swift decisions aimed at ensur ing that democracy's mos basic exercise runs off without a hitch. On past experience, the slim sandy-haired six-fooler wil spend part of this next election day turning aside telephon charges on behalf of some can didate that an opponent is act Ing illegally. "I have some 'police powers during an election but I can' step in Mr lamel said in an interview. For example, if a candidate Breaks the Canada Elections Act by electioneering with a oudspeoker vehicle on voting day, it is up to some citizen to mt tlie matter before the courts. iXES MANY FOlimPS But there will be plenty of other calls from the polling stations across the coun- ty on which Mr. Hamel must make decisions. What do you do when a re- turning officer in the Northwest Territories arrives with his bal- lot box at (he polling slalion and finds it burned down over- night? Or when a candidate says he tried get into a poll and found it unopened, the re- turning officer nowhere in sight? In the first case, Mr. Hamel arranged for the poll .to be housed in a borrowed tent be- cause no other building was suitable. In the second, he got police to break into the home ot the re- turning effieer, sound asleep after an apparent pre-election parly. The ballot box was re- moved, a new officer appointed and-the poll opened, only a bit late. There has been one bomb scare in a federal election, in Montreal in 19G3 when a polling place had to be closed while po- lice searched the building. And the Canada Elections Act as It then read set opening and clos- ing times for polls, not allowing any leeway. HAS LEEWAY NOW So in the act as revised in 1970, Mr. Hamel recommended a set opening time for polls anti a stipulation they can not be open for more than 11 hours. Now if a poll is closed for some reason during regular voting hours it can remain open .ater to make up the lost time. One of the few Canadians in- eligible to vote, Mr. Hamel is dedicated to facilitating the process for others. A native of Lotbinlere, Que., he joined the public service after majoring in adminis- tration at Quebec's Laval Uni- versity, taking time out for a master's degree at the Univer- sity of Syracuse in 1966. He was Guarantee system for repairs OAKVILLE, Ont. (CP) j Ford Motor Co. of Detroit has announced a guarantee system for r e p a i r s on new and used cars, but the system is not being adopted by Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd., a spokes- man said here. The guarantee in the United Slates will provide all owners cf Ford products with free re- peat repair work, including parts and service, if a repair fails in normal service within 90 days or miles, which- ever comes first. The spokesman said Ford of Canada already guarantees parts for 90 days and believes its dealers offer a service guar- antee for the same period. He said Ford faces different problems in the U.S., where it has many more dealerships. He said the level of service in Can ada is better on average than at U.S, dealerships. October census BROOKS A town census will be taken in October. In a regular meeting, council approved the motion, put for- ward by councillor C. Stark- Dunsmore. Population figures in Brooks for the past four censuses show a definite trend. The figures have been Increasing yearly by about 100: in 1988, in 1969, in 1970, and in 1971, appointed chief electoral offktr In 19M. Mr. Htnwl me eamltcd continually u UK Act was before PuiUmeat for mi- si OB. Among Its many faBwratioBS are a new rimpttfied ballot form designed to reduce apcikd ballots, listing to aroM ume-nune coBfudon and wider oppoctunltitt for those who win be xwvj en rot- ing day to pertkipete ta ad- vance SEEKS EXIT CASH JERUSALEM -r The first cable from a Soviet Jew requesting money to pay for the new tax hapoead by the Soviet iutherltiet with academic qutBficatlons has been received here. The cable from Mara Katrov ot Moscow to a friend, Vakry Le- vin, who emigrated here a short while ago, said: "The price for me is fixed at roubles (about Please buy me out." READY FOR THE WORST A South Vietnamese ranger, loaded with hand grenades, walks down the bat- tered streets of the district town of Que Son, southwest of DaNang. The town foil to the enemy several weeks ago, was bitterly contested, and then was recaptured by tho Saigon forces. Prison guards contemplating strike action By CY FOX LONDON (CP) Britain's prison system Is in the throes of a policy crisis which has left guards in a bitter mood and some convicts militantly insist- ent on improved conditions. The Prison Officers' Association, which represents guards, wants its members to conduct a work-to- rule campaign to counter sit-down demonstrations by prisoners and protest alleged appeasement of the con- victs by the government. The wortto-rulo campaign was designed to toko effect this week and would face its first test whenever the prisoners launch further acts ot what tho guards consider to be organized indiscipline. The guards, some of whom are contemplating strike action, contend that indiscipline in the prisons has reached a crisis point. As an instance of this, convicts went on a one- day strike earlier this month through the intiative of an organization called of the Rights ot Prisoners. This self-described union group, organized from Hull by an ex-prisoner, says its methods of achieving better prison conditions are non-violent. But it is re- ported to be planning a walkout of convicts from open prisons, where security is minimal. At one prison, PROP alleges that a diabetic convict died because of an inadequate diet. At another institu- tion Brixton prison, London has been chronic unrest, primarily among dozens cf prisoners who are on remand awaiting trial under Britain's overloaded court system. In the face of the prisoner unrest, guards have bsen told by the government's home office [o ignore anything but exceptional breaches of discipline. It was at Albany prison on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast, that the cry of "appeasement" was first raised by guards indignant about the home office approach. Albany houses some of the country's most notorious criminals and guards complain of facing danger and overwork in efforts to contend with prisoner disturb- ances. Tiie guards say they do not want to go on strike. But they are asking for an urgent meeting with Home Secretary Robert Carr over their complaints. In addition, they have discussed Hie work-to-rule campaign which includes refusing to prepare or serve food to demonstrating prisoners have missed nor- mal meal limes and an avoidance of overtime for supervising such activities as television viewing by prisoners of the Olympic Games. The Guardian, a liberal newspaper, quotes one offi- cial of the Prison Officers' Association as saying that the prison system, in order to work at all, "may havo to be more repressive.1' "Management El all levels is in a state of said Peter Rushworth, a former warden of Wandsworlh prison who now is the PDA's assistant secretary. However, the conservative Ixmdon Evening News argues in an editorial that public sympathy is not with the prisoners but with the guards. "And the home secretary must see that they the guards are backed The News adds. The POA says it supports liberal policies of training and rehabilitation for prisoners. But considerations of discipline come first, In tho guards' estimation. And they argue that prisoners who have taken advantage of protest disturbances to defy authority inside jails should be punished as prison rules provide. Never offered before! Price on our very best stretch-to-fit coloured briefs, T- shirts, and socks. To stretch your dollars stock up now. 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