Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 21, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, 21, 1972 THE LETHBRIDGE HKA18 _ S Gordon Robertson The growing leak of secret documents Mr. Ilobcrfson is clerk of the Privy Council and secre- tary to the Cabinet. Following are excerpts from an address to the annual meeting ol the Royal Society of Canada in St. John's, Nfld. TN 1971 and 1972, there have been a great many leaks of Cabinet documents, something that was almost un- known in Canada until then. The leaks and the documents provided headlines for the press, ammunition for the parl- iamentary opposition and em- barrassment for the Govern- ment. It would be easy to dis- miss the leaks as simply in- teresting or amusing if one be- lieved there was little likeli- hood of their recurring or con- tinuing. I find it hard to be fiat hopeful. While one cannot be com- pletely sure of the circum- stances or the motivations that produced them, there is rea- son to believe that many are the result of attitudes and val- ues held by people with access to classified information who reject any sense of obligation, let alone any over-riding duly, to maintain the confidentiality of Government information in their charge. If that is so, I tliink the implications may in- deed be serious, however well- meaning individual intentions maybe. The leaks really began in VK9 and started with work being done for royal commissions. A. research study prepared for the Royal Commission on Bilingu- alism and Biculturalism was provided to La Presse well in advance of the report of which it formed a part. Also in that year, Time magazine publish- ed sections of the study of the Housing Task Force prior to ils being tabled in the House of Commons. In June, 1970, the same mag- azine, claiming it was quoting from the not yet published re- port of the LeDain Commis- sion on the non-Medical use of Drugs, revealed one of its al- leged recommendations about legalization of the possession of marijuana. In 1S71, four staff members of the Special Senate Commit- tee on Poverty left the staff and, using in part information gathered during their official tenure, published a conflicting report of their own: The Real Poverty Report. Then began the leaks of Cabinet material. In quick succession, In 1971, a draft of a portion of the Gray Hepoct on foreign ownership in Canada and a record of a Cabinet decision with respect to it appeared without authority. Next was a Cabinet decision relating to the provision of federal funds for the construc- tion of Indian educational cen- tres in Alberta. On Dec. 23, 1971, The Globe and Mail published details of two 1970 Cabinet documents re- lating to law and order and pos- sible use of the War Measures Act, with the suggestion that the use of that act to meet civil disturbances had been contem- plated long before the FL.Q troubles of October, 1970. The same paper, on Dec. 30, 1971 published excerpts from two 1971 Cabinet documents relat- ing to the Government's north- ern development policy for the next 10 years. The flow continued- in 1972. On Feb. 2, a Cabinet document on aid to the publishing indus- try in Canada appeared. Next were a report on low income housing, followed by the so- called Anton Sobptka File on an abortive espionage case. Then came a report on collec- tive bargaining in the Public Service, and after it a confid- ential evaluation of summer work programs in 1971. These four items were not Cabinet documents, but all were official and all were classified is marked with some designation of confidential or secret status. In late Febru- ary, 1972, another Cabinet docu- ment more on foreign ownership in Canada. In none of these cases ex- cept that relating to the Senate Committee on Poverty has it been possible to determine with complete certainty the person or persons responsible for the leaks. However, in virtually all of them, inquiries have narrow- ed the possibilities down to a few people engaged in the ser- vice of the Government, in some cases full-time public ser- vants, in others people working temporarily for the Govern- ment, or engaged for a specific project. Many demands were made on the Government to tighten sec- urity, including a motion to ad- journ the House of Commons to debate the inadequacy of secur- ity, but (here was no sugges- tion that the individuals In- volved had or might have been quilty of conduct that was in any way reprehensible. It was the security system that was inadequate. No member of Par- liament except the Prime Min- ister suggested that there was a moral issue involved, or con- sidered the implications of the disclosures for the operation of government. It is pretty generally agreed there are certain classes of in- formation which should and must be withheld from public ac- cess, at least for a time. The first of these is information or records that might preju- dice the security of the state. The second group includes mat- ters that might be damaging to a country's relations with other countries. Further, thera exists a num- ber of classes of information that most countries accept should be secret, although ex- ceptions might occur in any of them: eases where an individ- ual's right to privacy must pre- vail; records or information, such as that on which statistical series are compiled, that are specifically exempted by stat- ute from disclosure; documents that are not normally subject to production in a court; rec- ords or information that con- cern trade secrets; commer- cial and financial matters of a privileged or confidential na- ture obtained from private per- sons. There are other special and definable classes of this kind. Professor Donald C. Rowat of Carleton University, long a stu- dent of the subject of adminis- trative secrecy, in one of his several perceptive articles says: "There will always be the problem of drawing the line be- tween the government's need lo deliberate confidentially and the public's need of informa- tion. It is simply a question of emphasis." The need to deliberate con- fidentially is especially neces- sary with a collective executive such as we have under our parliamentary system. Cabinet decisions must be by consen- sus, and reaching consensus re- quires discussion. In the course of such discussion, there must be room for exploring and prob- ing possible lines of action without knowing whether they will, in the end, stand up to examination. Ministers must be able to test ideas without any fear that they are going to be held to them or be thought lo espouse them if the ideas turn out to be ridiculous or. impractical. The complexity of modern government has imposed on Cabinets the need to have a staff, to have minutes and also to have documents that present the issues for consideration as well as the possible lines of policy or courses of action. The cabinet documents if they are to help the intellectual process of policy-making and are to set forth, for ministerial decision, the full range of possibilities, must present alternatives and they, like the discussion in Dogs by any name NBA Service WTHAT do they call frank- furfers in Frankfurt? "Wiener Wurstchen" Vienna (little) sausages. O.K. What do they call wien- ers in Vienna? naturally. This intelligence comes from, gourmet Joseph Wechsberg, writing in the Saturday Re- view. He personally believes that the pre-World War II "parky" hi Prague were the best hot dogs of all. I f that doesn't give you enough to chew on, be ad- vised that in Hamburg, ham- burgers are called "cJeutsches Beefsteak." Which leads to the question, what do they call beefsteak in the United States. Outasighl. So They Say 1 could end the Vietnam war and get our troops and pris- oners home within 90 days. George McGovem. Because we have principles we sometimes find it difficult to be united. But disunity in thought does not mean disunity in action. Jonathan Guiness, new Chairman., on the Monday Club. the Cabinet itself, must probe and test courses and solutions that may well be faulty, or in the end, unwise. It Is obvious that what a min- ister may have recommended in a confidential Cabinet docu- ment must be as fully protect- ed as his comments in tba council chamber, for it may or may not be what emerged as the decision. To disclose the document would be to disclose a personal and thus pierce the veil of privacy on which collective responsibility de- pends. In short, the collective executive that is the heart of our parliamentary system must have secrecy: it cannot work without it. And that secre- cy is not just the secrecy of oral discussion around the table: it includes the secrecy of the documents that provide much of the argument and ba- sis for the discussion. Cabinet documents, whatever their content and whatever their nature, cannot he regard- ed as "public" simply because a decision has been reached. They must be considered, and I would submit that all must he considered confidential until the expiry of whatever period is now set at 30 years- will ensure that their publica- tion can have no significant ef- fect on the relations between and the reputations of public men who have worked together in Cabinet and who may have to do so again. There is a further considera- tion that relates to Cabinet doc- uments. The document will have been prepared by officials. The sponsoring minister may have made a personal contri- bution to the paper as it em- erges for transmission to the Cabinet. It has always been recog- nized as fundamental to the principle of ministerial respon- sibility for policy that confiden- tiality be maintained about art- vice received from officials. It is the ministers who decide: the policy is theirs. It does not matter whether it was devised by officials, or whether they argued for it or against It. The principle would not last long, nor would the anonymity of the public service, if Cabinet docu- ments became publlshahle with- out some prescribed and sub- stantial delay. FOREIGN CAR atTHBRiDGE) LTD, SIX ways to go in a 1600 These three Datsuns come Complete with whltewalls, front disc brakes, flow- through ventilation, textured vinyl upholstery and much more. Add the automatic option taeach, andyou'vesixsmartways togoinaDatsun1600. DATSUN IS ALL YOU REALLY NEED Soon we'll all be experts PRODUCT OF NISSAN We have several demonstrators available at reduced prices. On the spot financing available. Inspect the Datum No. 1 at Foreign Car (leth.) ltd. Test drive the Danun No. 1 at Foreign Car (lefh.) Ltd. and you'll want to buy the Datum No. 1 at Foreign Car (Leth.) lid, YOUR NUMBER 1 DATSUN DEALER FOR SOUTHERN ALBERTA AND SOUTHEASTERN BRITISH COLUMBIA FOREIGN CAR (Lethbridge) LTD. 1102 3rd Ave. S. Phone 328-9651 ONTARIO DRUGGIST declares that only pharmacists can properly regu- late production and sale of prescription drugs. A Maritime fishing-boat owner claims that fisheries regulations must be made by fishermen. A B.C. logger main- tains that rules governing the forests pro- ducts industry are the sole business of lumbermen. A wheat grower insists that gram distribution must be regulated by farmers. And so on and so on "Boy, and am I glad to be home! What "Why, what happened, "Aw, it's those firemen and all their dumb rules. No fires during the noon-hour, or alter five o'clock, and that sort of stuff. They're going to ruin the garage busi- ness." "How's that, "Well, you know we only sell gas in five gallon units now, and some of those dumb motorists never know whether they need two units or three or what. All that spilled gas is a real fire hazard. But you can't tell those firemen anything." "Gee, that's too bad." "Oh, we'll work it out. And what have you been doing with "Well, we had to go down town for a while. That guard at the swimming pool won't let Billy in with his old trunks. Says they don't fit right, or something. Then the One cannot stale with cer- tainty why we have recently had so many more leaks of of- ficial, classified material than In the past. To some degree, it may be simply because the Government is more active and there is more material to leak. Much more is in document form; and among the docu- ments, there are more studies of depth that are of obvious and legitimate Interest to the press and public. Moreover, there is, to make it all easy, that versatile friend of pro- fessor and student, of bureau- crat and spy, the copying ma- chine. Its omni-presence has made H vary much harder to identify Ihe source of leaks and to catch any culprits. At the human level, there un- doubtedly are a number of qualities and failings that lead to leaks. Carelessness and stu- pidity by those charged with responsibility play the role they have always had in war or in peace. A new factor of impor- tance may, however, be a change in standards and at- titudes on the part of some of those who now produce or have access to the classified ma- terial with which government works. The rejeclion of authority and structure and the emphasis on the individual right to be in- volved in all policy and de- cision have led to insistent de- mands for more participation. Indeed, any argument that there is a place for confiden- tiality in government lends to he seen as an attempt by the establishment to protect its po- sition of power in order to per- petuate a wrongful, tradition- encrusted and possibly oppres- sive monopoly of the processes of government and the decis- ions that affect the lives of all. If the argument is right as J am deeply convinced it is that (here must be areas of privacy, or secrecy, in govern- ment, wo must do two things. One is to ensure that those areas are, in practice, kept to the minimum that is really necessary for national security and good government. This will involve some change both in our laws and regulations and also in our practice. The second thing we must do is equally important. It is lo establish acceptance that resulting situation is reasonable and is necessary for effective government in a free society. If that is so, and U the limits are understood and observed, the community should con- demn, and not admire, people who violate an oath and a trust in revealing things that are classified. girl at the shopping centre wouldn't sell us a new pair, because she thought the old ones were plenty good enough for a while. So we went down town. Luckily, there was a new girl at the down town store, and we got a new pair with hardly any trouble at all." "That's good." "Oh, and I should tell you. While were in the store, I thought I'd ]ust have a peek at the sweaters, and I was so lucky! The regular girl you know the one I mean, that big crabby one that'll never sell me a blue sweater because she thinks I should wear pinks or yellows well, she'd just gone to lunch, and there was this other girl from dresses, I think. She doesn't know a thing about sweaters, and honestly I don't think she cares, either. Anyway, I just picked up this lovely blue sweater, told her the regular girl thought it was just fine for me, and she let mo buy it! Just like that! Wasn't that a piece of "Sure was. Well, what's for supper? Hope- it's steak or chops or something. Tried to get cutlets for lunch, but the waitress brought me fish and. chips. Said she'd been serving meals for twenty years, and ought to know what to serve." "Oh, I'm sorry, honey. We're having fish tonight, too. The butcher says we've been eating too much meat lately." On the use of words Theodora Bernstein Right on "right Whence comest the Black Panther phrase "right Ira Allen of United Press International says that he recalls it in black literature some years ago and that the phrase in full was right on lime, referring to a train, or perhaps "A train." Quite possibly he is right, but one cannot help wondering whe- ther the origin is not much simpler. Why couldn't the phrase be a contraction of "Go right on" or "Go right on no matter That sounds more like the call to action that the phrase Is. But the origins of slang terms are so often obscure that one rarely knows. Not only but. The proper placement of the correlative conjunctions not only but (also) should be as simple as putting on a pair of shoes that match. But, strange- ly enough, four times out of five the con- junctions are misplaced. That is explain- able and excusable in spoken language be- cause the speaker cannot always look ahead and see how his sentence is going to be composed. But Uiere is little excuse for the error in written language. Still the kind of thing one often sees in print is, "He loved not oiily his parents, but also was a good husband." Logic cries out for plac- ing the not only ahead of loved or alter- natively making the second part of the sentence read, "but also his wife." Why? Because correlative conjunctions should connect two of the same thing, they should link parallel grammatical elements. If the sentence starts out "He loved not only his the logical question that follows is, whom or what else did be love? There are, "but also his wife." Here is a slight paraphrase of a real- life erroneous sentence: "Some old-time Democratic politicians think McGovern will lose not only the Presidential election, but also hurt the Democratic party." After reading that he "will lose not only the Presidential .anyone would be justified in thinking, what else will he lose? The remainder of the sentence doesn't answer that question. However, if the first part is changed to read "mil not only then the natural question is, what else will he do? And the rest of the sen- tence properly answers that one. There's nothing tricky about It. If a noun follows the not only, a noun should follow the but also; If a verb follows the not only, a verb should follow the but also. Never put on one black shoe and one brown shoe. Word oddities. When Greeks first caught sight in Africa of a beast with a tremendous head that spent a lot of time in water, all they could think of to call it was a river horse. The Greek for horse is hippos and for river is potamos. Put them together and you've got a hippopot- amus. And you can have it. Fad word. Lend an ear lo Ihe Chief Justice of Uie United Stales: "While I would not undertake to make a definitive statement as to the parameters ol the court's ruling A good guess Is that what the Chief Justice had in mind was the limits, perhaps the perimeter, of the court's ruling. Had he gone to a dic- tionary he would have found that para- meter is a mathematical term meaning a constant, the value of wliieh can vary ac- cording io how it is applied. And for Pete's sake don't ask what that means. Clearly the Chief Justice did not go to a dictionary, but rather tossed in a word that sounded as if it should mean some- thing like perimeter and that many peoplo are using correction: misusing to sound technical and impressive.. Among those present. The Pentagon Papers disclosed that those who were present at meetings of the National Secur- ity Council were designated in the minutes as attendees. Like many other newly mint- ed words ending in -ce, that one is not good. The -suffix -tc, when properly used, indicates a person or thing lo which some- thing is done: A trainee is one who Is train- ed, an employee is one who is employed. There are, to be sure, a few standard ex- ceptions such as refugee and standee, bufc by and large an -cc person is a passive recipient. That casts a cloud over attendee. What is the alter native? Charles A. Malon- ey of Stratford, Pa., cites attendant, but thinks tlrat word is a misuse, loo. In a way he is right because in Its primary and most common use attendant means a com- panion or one who serves. What to do in this dilemma? Unless we can coin and then popularize a word Eke allendcr (a difficult we had heller stay with ittendant as the lesser of two evils. Dirty pool By Dong Walker WHEN Margaret Luckhurst left work running the risk of having him haul It all one day recently she said she was tack in again." going to go home and slart throwing out moTe tT V "He's away for a few she said, "and I can throw the stuff out without agai j know al, about ,ha[ saiti Fishboume who happened to be in my at the time, "I've had to rescue the shirt I'm wearing four times." A good name carft be spoiled By Dong Walker WERE recenUy visiterl by some friends who have a grandson named Paul. "Our daughter says she has always liked that said the grandmother. "I have always liked it said Els- pcth. "I still like it despite the fact that our son bears il."