Red Deer Advocate from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada on February 6, 1993 · 24
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Red Deer Advocate from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada · 24

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Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, February 6, 1993
Page:
24
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C8 RED DEER ADVOCATE, Saturday, February 6, 1 993 The truth about immigrants and crime By WARREN CARAGATA Canadian Press OTTAWA When Reform Leader Preston Manning recently told a crowd his government would deport immigrants convicted of serious crimes, the cheers were nearly deafening. Mannings proposal, part of a law-and-order package for the election campaign, leaves the impression of immigrant communities teeming with criminals the justice system doesnt confront. But the numbers tell a different story. Immigrants actually seem a more peaceable lot than those born and bred in Canada. We have blamed immigrants for crime for years, says University of Toronto crime expert Anthony Doob. "Theyre a convenient group. Its always easier to say its somebody else, not us. There are no statistics in Canada that measure crime rates by citizenship, so theres no way to prove or disprove the argument. But studies by the federal government of the inmate population in federal prisons suggests that immigrants get a bum rap when blamed for a crime wave. Virtually every empirical study to examine the question has found that immigrants are under-represented in the criminal population, says the latest study, written by Derrick Thomas, senior policy analyst at the Employment and Immigration Department. Foreign-born prisoners made up 12.2 per cent of the federal prison population in 1991. That figure is lower than the percentage of foreign-born in Canada, which stood at 16.1 per cent in the 1991 census. For violent crimes like murder, assault and sex offences, foreign-born prisoners make up 10 per cent of the inmate population. Narcotics offences are the only widespread crimes where the foreign-born numbers are higher than their level in the general Canadian population. Of the 2,205 inmates on narcotics charges in 1991, one-third were born outside the country. Stephen Harper, the partys policy chief, bristles when asked if the party is singling out immigrants, saying the proposal is not a coded attack on immigrants. But Harper says Canadians are more irritated when crimes are committed by immigrants. Robert Head is a retired assistant commissioner of the RCMP who heads Reforms law-and-order task force. He's a Reform candidate in Saskatoon-Hum-boldt. He says he doesnt know whether immigrants are more likely to turn to a life of crime. I do know that police forces generally across the country have been very concerned about immigrant gangs. . . , Theyre very concerned about the importation of gang wars from other countries into Canada. Photo by The CANADIAN PRESS Whether youre waiting for a bus in Halifax or shovelling snow In Vancouver, February is the month for winter blues Old winter blues have you down? By SHERYL UBELACKER Canadian Press Feeling down and blah? Lack energy and enthusiasm? Wonder if those feelings will ever end? Welcome to the winter blues. And welcome to February, the month many Canadians identify as the absolute low point of the seemingly interminable winter season. I think February seems for most people the depths of winter, the most unexciting and flat and colorless time of the year, says Vivian Macdonald of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Toronto. It has no holidays either, no long weekends. It seems like its going to be forever until spring. The coldness of mid-winter is also distressing, Macdonald says. It drives us into our homes. We dont get out, we dont socialize as much. All of those conditions create a situation in which its easier to become mildly depressed. Dr. Anthony Levitt, head of the mood disorders program at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, says its normal for people to experience the winter blues, especially in January and February. About 92 per cent of the population reports some change in mood or behavior according to the seasons . . . and most commonly its the wintertime, says Levitt. Macdonald says phone calls to distress lines at local branches of the mental health association rise dramatically in winter. While most people get a bit down in winter, there are others who are already dealing with troubles unemployment or a death for instance who get themselves into really serious trouble and climb down into the pits of depression at this time. That kind of depression, called clinical depression, is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and lack of interest in life. Sleep and appetite may be affected. Severely depressed people may have thoughts of death or contemplate suicide. You feel absolutely helpless and hopeless, theres no spark, nothing there, explains Macdonald. And you dont believe thats ever going to change, that any kind of help will do any good. For an estimated five to seven per cent of Canadians their feelings of depression are directly linked to the onset of winter. Known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, the condition begins in the fall and usually goes away in the spring. Although commonly reported to be caused by lack of light, Levitt says scientists dont know what actually causes SAD. Most likely it is connected not to how much light a person is exposed to, but the fact that days are shorter in the winter months, he says. During the winter, the bodys internal timekeeping mechanism alters and there is a dramatic change in brain chemicals and hormones. Levels of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to depression, drop. The thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism, decreases in size and secretes less hormone. For most people, there are normal changes in the body timekeeper and in hormone levels, Levitt says. But there is a small proportion of people who dont just feel bad in the winter, they actually get ill. The illness is not just feeling down and low, it's feeling persistently and consistently depressed over a period longer than a couple of weeks, he says. Since 1984, the standard treatment for SAD has been light therapy spending a set period each day in front of boxes or Battling the blues Tips from mental health experts on beating the winter bines: o Increase exposure to light. Go for walks or do other outdoor activities. Even overcast days provide some light. o Open blinds or curtains In the house to let in natural light. o Brighten interior decor with lights and vibrant colors. If winter weather keeps you indoors, stay active with exercise and hobbies. Avoid overeating, especially carbohydrate-rich Junk foods. Plan a holiday, to sunny, southern climes if possible, or a winter vacation with lots of outdoor activities. other devices that give off light. Levitt says the treatment works in just over 50 per cent of people, and researchers are trying to determine the validity of the treatment. The big question here is whether light therapy is an active treatment or simply (the power of) suggestion. That is yet to be resolved. One thing Levitt knows is that the Clarke Institute is exceedingly busy this winter treating people for depression. While that may partly be tied to the recession and high unemployment, for people afflicted by SAD it may also have something to do with last summers eather. In most of Canada, long stretches of cool temperatures and overcast days offered no relief to the seasonally sensitive. For the first time, people didnt get rid of their depression in the spring and summer, says Levitt. "So people came earlier (for treatment) than they would normally have come. UFO just so much hot air (balloon)? OTTAWA (CP) If you ask Adrian Brooks, reports of a UFO in the nearby West Carleton area are full of hot air. The Ottawa man says UFO experts who saw a videotape of an unidentified object landing near Almonte, Ont., on Aug. 18, 1991, were probably fooled by footage of a hot-air balloon much like his own. The dramatic video was the lead item on the television program Unsolved Mysteries this week. The tape of the unknown object became part of the program after it was sent anonymously to UFO investigator Bob Oechsler of Maryland Included with it were documents alleging the Defence Department was involved. There was also a crude map, which led Oechsler to the farm of William and Diane Labenek Diane, 38, told Unsolved Mysteries she spotted flames in a field near her farm I saw a ship coming down close to the flames. Right on top of the ship, I saw a blue flash of light and another light was on the bottom . . . very bright. UFO witness Diane Labenek, whose experience is now being questioned. home. I saw a ship coming down close to the flames," she recounted. "Right on top of the ship, I saw a blue flash of light and another light was on the bottom . . . very bright. Labenek said she watched the craft for about 10 minutes. Then all its lights went out. A number of experts who examined the video said it was too realistic to be a hoax. Oechsler, a former NASA mission specialist, told program interviewers: This is either an extraordinary, top-secret flying vehicle of somebodys government, or it is of non-human origin. Brooks said he watched the TV program and was astounded when the video showed what he thinks was a balloon, rigged like his own, making a night landing. Brooks places flashing strobe lights on the top and bottom of his balloon for night flights. He also hangs light sticks, which cast a bright green or yellow fluorescent light, in the basket to read instrument dials. Before landing, he fires a magnesium parachute flare to illuminate the ground below. Brooks does his night ballooning in the West Carleton area, and says his log book shows he made a night flight there Aug. 18, 1991. i I 1

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