The Western Socialist
Vol. 25 - No. 204
No. 6, 1958
Often enough, the "rehabilitation of criminals" theme is wrapped up in impressively altruistic terms. But sometimes more weighty considerations come to the fore.
It costs the taxpayers about $12,000,000 a year to keep some 6000 offenders of federal laws. There are 13,000 to 15,000 patrons of the provinces, the cost of whose upkeep is not stated. Besides, the federal government during the next few years is expected to need at least five new "institutions" costing about four or five million each.
This isn't hay and it develops that the central idea emerging from a recent conference between provincial "justice ministers" and federal "justice minister" Fulton is that "reforming the law offender is preferable to mere punishment."
Why? Because it's cheaper. For example, if a prisoner can be taught in prison to become a law-abiding citizen when he is released, "then the Canadian taxpayer won't have to foot the bill for his keep a second time."
The details are all gravely recorded in the Winnipeg Free Press, Nov. 3. There is nothing original about them, although it is likely that they will warm the hearts of the taxpayers. But they overlook, as do all such conferences, the fact that the world into which the "reformed. criminal" is released is still the same capitalist world that made him into a criminal in the first place.
President of the Canadian Council of Churches, Rev. E. Davies, thinks strikes and lockouts should be abolished. He prefers compulsory arbitration.
"The strike", he says, "is an antisocial weapon. I can compare it only to war — which I think is sub--Christian and evil. A strike or a lockout is a resort to violence against people who are only innocent bystanders."
Mr. Davies professes abhorrence of violence, yet would employ violence against those who do things he thinks they ought not to do. Or does he mean something else when he speaks of compulsory arbitration?
And war, as he says, is evil. But when did it become "sub-Christian"?
In spite of assurances from any number of impressive sources that we have struggled our way out of the recession, unemployment figures, in Winnipeg at least, are less impressive.
Figures released by the unemployment insurance commission for the last two weeks of October show that the number of unemployed in the Winnipeg area was 10,961 on Oct. 30 compared with 8,904 on the same date a year ago, and 10,146 on Oct. 23 compared with 8,247 a year ago.
It appears too that the "Do it now" campaign that was carried on last winter is to be repeated this winter—on an intensified scale.
CHARITY AND MR. DIEFENBAKER
At this moment Prime Minister Diefenbaker is on world tour. Accompanying him are a doctor, a security officer, two administration officers, three secretaries and other aids, two newspapermen, a news photographer and fourteen air force crew men.
Shortly before leaving, Mr. Diefenbaker took time off to wring his hands and voice in tears on TV over the current needs of the United Charities.
Somehow it appears not to have occurred to him that the cost of the above extravagance could have done much to lessen his need for tears.
More recently it has been announced that the government intends to spend $156,000,000 on destroyer escorts. Does Mr. Diefenbaker know about this?
Other thoughts occur to us momentarily. If Mr. Diefenbaker would like to consult us we will be only too happy to do what we can to banish his sadness.