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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 30, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta Red Power Movement Watched By Penologists NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. (CP) I'cnoloKists across Canada arc watching tfic Red Power movement carelully JolJowJng a sil-Jmvj] proti'st during the summer at (he British Columbia penitentiary, blamed on '15 militant Indian convicts. The eight-hour rebellion, which involved on additional 24fl white prisoners, initi- ated by the Indians to protest Ihe death of a 27-yc'ar-old In- dian prisoner from S'nskatelic- wan. It ended in a barrage of tear gas. "It seems to be basically the Indians that are causing the said deputy warden Harry Collr. who traced the Aug. 7 revc- back- to a Red Power activist named Clarence Dennis and his followers. Mr. Collins said Dennis had previously led 27 Indians in a three-hour sit-in at the prison auditorium in June. ''He was the mouthpiece hi that one too." The statements by Mr. Col- lins were the lirst public ad- mission that Red Power has become a force to be rec- koned with in the Canadian prison system. If it's true that Red Power is strong enough to cripple temporarily an institution the size of the B.C. pen, Ihc penol- ogists are wondering how long it will take before the move- ment flexes its muscles else- where in the jail system. They loot apprehensively south of the border where the Black Power movement has evolved into an explosive force iii American federal and state prisons, capable of or- ganizing strikes, sit-ins and lull-scale riots. Statistics relating to native involvement with the law in Canada are unreliable, but the best estimates indicate that about 30 per cent of the pris- oners in federal, provincial and municipal jails at any given time are of Indian, Metis or Eskimo extraction, There arc about treaty Indians in Canada, Indians living off re- serves, about Melis and Eskimos. Together, t h e aboriginal minorities make up less than three per cent of the popuhifion. The crime rate among na- tives appears to be rising faster than among whites, though more than half the off- ences are committed against other natives. Roughly BO pel- cent of crimes by natives can be traced to liquor. Indian leaders arc con- vinced, rightly or wrongly, that natives are Ireatcd far more harshly by the and police than wliites. Again, reliable slalistics do not exist. In the words of one bitter, sardonic Indian recently re- leased Irom jail in Saskatche- wan: "My crime? Being an Indian in a public place." What is known that few of those natives who find them- selves on court dockets have any real concept of the white man's judicial process or the laws they had no hand in drawing up. DON'T UNDERSTAND The Canadian Corrections Association said in a scathing report submitted to the fed- eral government three years ago: "Most (natives) do not un- derstand the nature of the charges against them, the type o( plea they may enter, court procedures or terminol- ogy, the right to speak on then1 own behalf or to request legal counsel. "Those that do know about these things seldom do any- thing about it when they are in court." Add to this the general low- ering of law enforcement and Swedes Reluctant To Change Rulers By ROLAND IIUNTFORD (London Observer Service) STOCKHOLM Once mor the ruling Social Democrat! Party of Sweden has won u general election and is now se to complete 40 years of contra uoiis power. They first cam to office in 1932 and the man date given them at the poll on Sunday (September 20 brings another parliamentar term of three years. Outsidi Soviet Russia, only Portuga can provide an example of a regime of such permanence. But the election was no mat tar of rejoicing for the govern merit. It lost support and scrap- ed homo by the skin of its teeth saved only by Communists. The Social Democratic poll fell by 3.9 per cent Irom the last general election in to 46.2 per cent, with 166 seats oul of 350 in the new Diet (Parlia- The non-Socialist oppo- sition parties have 46.8 per cent with 167 seats. The Communists increased by 1.8 per cent to 4.8 pei- cent, with 17 seats. They hold the balance of power, which they have pledged in favor of the government. It is generally accepted that (he drop in government sup- port was a vote of no confid- ence in Mr. Olof Palme, the radical young Prime Minister who took over the reins last year. Void's defected to the Centre, or Farmers' Party, at- tracted by the father-figure of its septuagenarian leader, Dr. Gunnar Hedlund, or lo the Com- munist Party, with its radical appeal. The Socialists contain- ed their losses only through the effort of the old guard, led by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Gunnar Strang. As Mr. Palme said compla- cently on election night, the re suit has been a shift to the Left Although the three non-Social 1st parties, Conservatives, Lib erals and Centrists, marginally increased their combined pro- portion of (Jie vote, the centre of gravity within the ruling party and this is what counts moved towards llho Communists. The one factor that miehl ar- rest the apparent leflwards shift is a division within the Communist Party. Its official leadership Ihe Moscow line, but there is a powerful Stalinist faction whicli claims about half the members. Which of them has Ihc upper hand at present is a mool point. It says much for the resili- ence of the Social Democrats that they have been able to hani, to poiver under a con- troversial and untried leader. They have been faced with the sams economic difficulties that trade balance, a credit squeeze and industrial unrest. In a word, they have had all the vital issues against them. And yet they managed to olay in office. By the normal standards of constitutional government the Swedes are exceptional. It is generally accepted that the health of the democratic pro- cess demands a change of re- gime at decent intervals, and on the whole electorates else- where give the other side a proved tl undoing of (lie Labor Party in Britain. They have had to cope with rising prices, puni- tive taxes, an adverse foreign chance when difficulties ap- pear. This however is lot the way of the Swedes. A people gets the _ ment it deserves, and in the case of Sweden this means stability and continuity at the price of everything else, includ- ing constitutional health. Mr. Gunnar Helen, the Liberal lead- er, said on television on elec- tion night that he was not dis- appointed since he had "never considered this election as one in which a change of govern- ment was at issue.1' He had in- deed said publicly beforehand Jiat lie expected the Socialists :o win. His purpose was not to Tighten off supporters and he succeeded to ths extent of attracting some disaffected So- cialists and to avoid discour- iging party workers. Mr. Palme said that there vould be "no change" in either domestic or foreign policy. This means in fact more or less radi- cal changes in Swedish society wssibly accelerated by the ifiw-found Communist influence. la is now Ihe prisoner of the eft s conW be extensive na- ionalizalion, for which the auks and insurance compan- ie are possible candidates. In education there will be a trend towards a socialist variety. Plans arc afoot to make all schoolbooks a monopoly of the Stale publishing house. The Minister of Education. Mr Yngvar Carisson, has said that the pin-pose of schooling is to turn out people for a socialist society. Although Mr. Palme did not exploit anti-Americanism and the Vietnam issue as he did in Iw will almost certainly continue UK present Siredish policy of supporting Hanoi against Saigon. Since Mr. C. H. Hcrmansson, the Communist leader, has been beating dial particular drum during the election campaign, it is possi- ble that Swedish pol.icy may become a shade more partisan. Within Ihe opposition, there lias been a swing to the Centre. The Conservatives lost heavily,