Wednesday, April 30, 1997
Labor theory

Conspiracy theorist and Canadian Labor Congress leader Jean Claude Parrot is spouting ideological invective that undermines his own movement.

Speaking at the NWT Confederation of Labour convention this past weekend, Parrot says it is a case of the workers and poor being put out of work by big business in cahoots with big government.

Tell us something we don't know Jean Claude. We do know while Canadians don't like big business much and government less, they definitely don't want a fatter, lazier workforce with jobs at any cost.

What Canadians do want is fairness in the workplace, training opportunities when jobs end, and union expertise to help negotiate their wages.

Ideological rhetoric doesn't put food on the table.

Prisoners expect too much

If the question is: do criminals serving time in correctional institutions deserve more rights than the basic three square meals and a roof over their heads, then the answer must be no.

In this era of unprecedented whining from some of those in the convict sector, society has swung too far to the left.

Through our lawmakers and legislation, we give convicted, imprisoned lawbreakers rights and privileges no grounded teenager would ever be allowed to have.

Television time, conjugal visits, telephone access, carving classes -- where does it end?

Yellowknife Correctional Centre has been the scene in recent weeks of a number of hunger strikes that have been staged in the name of prisoners' rights.

Two of the three strikers, Michael and Hank Lafferty, have since been shipped off to a southern correctional institution.

According to Lafferty's wife, their fellow inmates signed a petition to have the pair booted out of the North because they were bad apples and making life difficult for everyone else on the inside.

Obviously there are some criminals in YCC who have enough common sense to realize that jail is a place in which rehabilitation is hoped for and punishment for wronging society is expected. And if that means doing without some of the rights and privileges afforded those on the outside, then so be it.

If society is not prepared to use jails as a place to punish and rehabilitate rather than just a place of exile, then perhaps we should put prisoners on some deserted island, and give them all the rights and freedoms in the world by leaving them there to fend for themselves.

YCC administration did the right thing in removing the Lafferty brothers. We wonder what kind of rights and privileges the pair will be afforded while doing what is generally referred to as "hard time" down south.

Earth Day blues

Spring came eight days earlier in the Arctic this year. The average temperature of Northern Canada has risen 1.5 C this century. And then there's what's happening to southern Manitoba.

Even if no single item is proof that Planet Earth is in trouble, surely it's time we stopped to consider the possibility that we are to blame for changes. Which is what last week's Earth Day was all about.

To those who did engage in at least a few minutes of celebration, contemplation and appreciation, congratulations. To those who didn't, perhaps you should think again.