Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 25, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Widnejdoy, Augutl 25, 1971 THE IETHBRIDGE HERAID 5 Anthony WesleU A great future is predicted for OFY The Opportuni- tics for Youth experiment iv.-j.s alu-ays intended to be more than a make-work pro- gram. If all the government had wanted to do was to keep the kids busy during a slow, hot summer, there were plenty oi tried and tested ways to do that. There are in fact a va- riety of federal youth pro- grams this year lhat together are bigger and more expensive than OFY. The Public Service Commis- sion has taken more than 20.- 000 students into the summer civil service. National Defence has recruited G.OOO into the special mililia course and more who are being instructed in first aid, bush survival, lead- erehip and other civilian vir- tues. Another university students are receiving each to sludy a second lan- guage. More than Young Voya- geurs are on exchange pro- grams between Ihe provinces, and a fortunate 136 are in Eu- rope under the new Contact Canada program. Manpower is helping young Canadians find work in Europe, and has hired M7 students (o operalc 110 employment offices for youngsters seeking work in Canada. National Health and Welfare has 700 students surveying (he youth ciillurc, and its fitness branch has made training grants to 600 young cthletes. If it had been merely a mat- ter of keeping idle hands busy, some of these schemes couid have been expanded withoi'l running political risks al- 1 hough Secretary of Slale Ge- rard Pelletier doubts the wis- rlom, after last year's Quebec crisis of taking too many kids (he militia and teaching them to handle small arms and explosives. But the fact s that Op- portunities for Youth was con- ceived and organized as an ex- periment on several levels. Some o' the younger bureau- crats who are concerned with community development and participatory democracy, push- ed for it as an opportunity to make government more rele- vant and responsive to the youlh culdire. Pelletier, who used to be in- volved with the Roman Cath- olic youth movement in Que- bec and was arbitrarily assign- ed by Prime Minister Pierre Ti-udcau to evolve a federal youth policy, believes: "One of the major causes of social dis- satisfaction and alienation is the lack of any means for the individual or any group of in- dividuals to affect the environ- ment in which they live. "The theme o[ alicnalion has particular relevance when we think of today's youth. Modern society has, in effect, prolong- ed the stage of adoles- cence. For him, OFY is an experi- ment in combatting alienation and indifference toward gov- ernment by making it possible for young people to work effec- tively to improve the society in which they live. The concept of a program in which Ihc government would mvile students la conceive and plan their own work projects, instead of offering them ready- made jobs, evolved in the in- ter departmental committee of officials which met through last fall to plan the summer 3'outh program. Jl was first pro- moted as a million scheme, cut back to a ?5 million pilot project, upgraded to mil- lion in cabinet committee, and finally expanded to S25 million on demand from Liberal MPs flooded with appeals from ea- ger youngsters. The outline plan w-as ready for cabinet by the end of last year. But the October crisis arising from the kidnapping of a British diplomat and the kid- nap murder of a Quebec cabi- net minister had set the cabi- net machine about six weeks behind schedule, and it saw February before OFY was ap- proved, without much argu- ment as far as I can deter- mine. Pelletier and his associ- ate minister, Robert Slanbury, then had to contact all the provinces and invite them to send officials to Ottawa, or be consulted by phone if they wished, to help select projects within their borders. Early in March, Cam (for Campbell) Mackie, 33-year-old consultant on community de- velopment to the health and welfare department, was ap- pointed to set up OFY just two weeks before Trudeau an- nounced that Ihe program was open for business and when nobody had any real idea how well the invitation lo submit projects would be received by students about to take year- end exams. Few departments wanted to lend senior administrators lo such a doubtful experiment, and some were so sure it would fail that they put in bids for surplus funds. Mackie had to set up virtual- ly an amateur organization, with friends from the bureau- cracy, officials on loan from the universities, youth workers who came in off the street lo see what was happening and, finally, about 60 kids looking for summer jobs. It was and is the strangest civil service office you'll ever sec, with staff mostly in the early 20s, dressed in jeans and hot panls, with flowing hair, casual manners and, above all, enormous enthusiasm. They thought they might re- ceive lo project ideas and set up lo process 100 a day. There was, for exam- ple, considerable concern that Quebec students might not par- ticipate in a federal program, and a couple of goodwill am- bassadors went down to stir up inlerest on the campuses. Then, applications poured in from across Can- ada, many from Quebec, and piled up in a hi'ge backlog. For example, so many ideas began to pop out of the students at the CEGEP (junior college) du Vieux Montreal that the kids themselves set up the ma- chinery to screen and evaluate the proposals, boiled 97 down to 63, assembled supporting document, hound Lhe whole mass of papers into two mas- sive books, and arrived in Ot- tawa explaining thai all they needed now was the go-ahead and the money. Of course, there wasn't enough money for (hem or for thousands of othcis, and the CEGEP was fortunate to get 38 projects approved. The amateur staff worked long days and weeks to process Ihe flood of paper and assess the projects according to a set of criteria. First, the mil- lion available had to be spread across the provinces roughly in proportion to the youth un- employment. Within the prov- inces, Ihe cash had lo he shared between city and country, re- gion and region. Then (he thou- sands of projects had lo be ex- amined to ascertain (li the degree of youlh involvement in development, management and administration; CD potential Ijencfit lo the community; (3) degree of innovation; M) prac- tical rxissibilily of achieving ob- jective in time available; (n) cost icr job to be provided. Finally, and sometimes very late, the applications were win- nowed out to approved. By rough count, the Atlantic provinces have 280 projects employing about 3.150; the Prairies and the Territories have 343 projects and about 340 jobs; British Columbia, 291 and 3.575; Ontario. 533 and 000 jobs; Quebec, 802 projects and about 10.880 jobs. There are a few national projects. Everyone involved has his own horror story about admin- istrative confusion in the early days of OFY. Suzanne Johnson was re- gional co-ordinator for Cana- dian University Service Over- seas in Metro Toronto, on request from ed up 100 students to submit a summer project. No more was heard from Ottawa be- cause il was, apparently, losl. Bui Mrs. Johnson says gener- ously that she finds no fault with the OFY people because she knows the enormous pres- sures they suffered. Later, there was bureaucra- tic bungling over pay cheques, and thousands of students wilh- oul resources and scores o[ projects needing funds loiter- ed on the edge of bankruptcy. But even lhat had its educa- tional benefils. Some project co-ordinalors negoliatcd bank loans, for the firsl time, on Ihc strength of a telegram from Pelletier saying their project was approved. Anne Scollon, running a day camp in Ottawa, went down to OFY headquarters lo cut through the red (ape and dis- covered, as she told me. Ihal young bureaucrats are as bail as old bureaucrats. In the oiiti, none of this mat- ters much. The conclusion is not that the administration broke doivn, hut that given the OF OUR NEWLY REMODELLED PREMISES CONTINUES WITH TERRIFIC MONEY SAVING VALUES! 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Req. 69.95 GRAND OPENING SAtE GRAND OPENING SPECIAL DELUXE PORTABLE TYPEWRITER WITH CASE Reg. 99.95 mm m GRAND OPENING SAtE........ I ft GRAND OPENING SPECIAL BAR.B.QUE STARTER FLUID GRAND OPENING SALE .32 FREE COFFEE and COOKIES MARSHALL WELLS 6lh Si, 5 Phono 327-6727 LE1HBRIDGE OPEN THURSPAY AND FRIDAY UNTIt 9 P.M. QUEEN ANNE BONE CHINA CUPS and SAUCERS Reg. l.IO difficulties, it pcrfomi- astonishingly well. The lesson is not that the adults in the government and in llic bureaucracy were slow to make up Llieir minds and to ael on OFV, but that thousands of kids all across the country were creative ant! determined enough to make the experi- ment work. If you don't believe that, let me call a few witnesses. Dr. John Archer, principal of the Rcgina campus of the Uni- versily of Saskatchewan: "The idea (of OFY I was magnifi- cent It's a marvelous re- lease for the energies of young people. I'm very happy with our crew here." "1 think it's pretty wonderful for a counliy to put money into the hands of the young people. I Hunk it's dangerous Pclleticr. The critics are wait- ing for one tiling to go said Suzanne Michaud, student of graphics at the CEGEP du Vieux Montreal and a co- ordinator of several college projects. Peter Harrington, presi- dent of the Ontario Housing Tenants' Association, who has working on recreation and community development pro- jects: "Opportunities for Youth is very effective. They've done a remarkable job. The political cnlidsm Ijas been very unfair and people in the media are cynical bastards." There are criticisms also. McGill students complain En- glish-speaking students in Que- bec have not had a fair share of Lhe grants and we'll know more about that when detailed figures are available. The average pay cheque for students working through the summer on a project will bo about or less for high school graduUes. This is not enough to pay for the coming year in university, so OFY ap- peals mainly to middle-class kids who can supplement sum- mer earnings with private money. It excludes poorer youths who need maximum summer earnirgs. A surprising number of OFY grants went to projects already in existence and the money was used to enlarge the work. These projects will revert to their former size in the fall and continue, often wilh volunteer part-time help from kids who have been involved by OFY and now don't want to Jet go completely. But there will still be hun- dreds of summer-only schemes which will result in eager rec- ommendations to governments. If there is no follow-through, I here may be a surge of dis- illusion and frustration. Although OFY projects were supposed to lie conceived, de- veloped and administered by young people, the fact is that many were dreamed up by adults, teachers aJid otters, and then handed to the kids to develop and operate under supervision Marlene Webber, a social work graduate who operates a Help Line in Halifax referring people wilh problems lo ap- propriate sen-ices, got S.I.'IOO from OFY to hire student as- sistants. The red tape she had to go throrrh made the money hardly worth while, she says, and she speaks for many oth- ers when she says that if the government lias S25 million to spend: "There are people who need jobs more desperately than privileged sludcnts." It's not that simple. One of Hie ideas percolating from OFY through Ihe goveiTment is I hat when Hie economy is Mack and regular jobs scarce, people can perhaps invent their own, socially useful work, if Ot- lawa irill pay a modest sal- ary. live in an increasingly automated economy which may never again be able to provide jobs for all. Self-di- rected work on social improve- ment projects, financed by gov- ernment, may be of growing importance in Ihc future. The Secretary of State's de- partment is conducting, with private consultants, a study of the experiment, which should be published later this year. Only Ihcn will Uie cabinet de- cide whether to continue the program. Hut my judgment is that the main problem will bo how to willi silccess. Great ex- pectations have been aroused. There are projects that de- serve to continue because they are meeting community needs. Next summer, given a chance, Ihe kids will propose closer lo so.ooo I him l.i.noo projects. Gerard Pcllctier already kno-.vs, 1 Iliink, that OFY lias a great future and that's why, when visiting a Montreal pro- ject, he wrote in the visitors' book. "Donne route d'ici Scp- tcmbre et "Good (ravelling from here to R epic in b r r and after- (Toronto vSl A lesson for nationalists Ily Christopher Young, do our red-hoi nationalists, wheth- er oi the all-Canadians or Qiicbecois variety, have to say about the grim sce- nario now being played out in Northern Ireland? Or about the far more dreadful tragedy of bloodshed, terror, flight and despair lhat we glimpse so distantly on the front- iers of Pakistan? This is where it all leads, my well- meaning and superpatriolic friends, This is what happens when you begin lo believe that your country, your race, langugage, color, religion or cultural views are more importanl lhan anyone else's. Something worth fighting for becomes somelhing worth killing for. The degeneration of nationalism into Ihe holy war mentality is caused in each case by discrimination and injustice. Whether it is a majority, as in Ulster, or a minority, as in Pakistan, which occupies the seals in Till1, Otlawa Citizen of power, the rage of tin; repressed springs from bilier grievance. To the cxlenl Ihal French-Canadians have fell inlhc past or feel now lhat they are repressed, the causes oi Quebec na- tionalism are similar. To the extent thiil Canadians at large may feel oppressed by Hie American gianl, pan-Canadian nation- alism springs from a parallel emotion. But to allow- such frictions as exirt here lo ignite Ihe fires of haired and violence is the utmost folly. Canadians have it well within Ihcir pow- er lo accommodate Iheir cultural and lin- guistic differences. They also have UK power (o build up their own economic in- stitutions, at a certain cost, if they feel foreign control is excessive. The key is the federal form of govern- ment, designed precisely for the purpose of allowing a variety of cultural traditions and practical goals lo be encouraged with- in a viable community. Less university pressure The Victoria.Daily Colonist rpHE Economic Council of Canada in its seventh annual review published a year ago noted that to keep increasing ex- penditures on health care and higher edu- cation at the current rate was impossible. "Looking ahead to Ihe council re- ported, "about out of every 56 or of the increase in the total income in thu economy could be taken up by health care and higher education. But such a rale of expansion in expenditures in these fields is simply not sustainable for the long run it the rale of increase of the past five years were to continue unabated, these two areas of activity alone would absorb the whole potential national product before the year It may bo some comfort now to lax- payers lhat there appears to be a slacken- ing in higher-education enrolmenl, i! not necessarily in the climb of operational costs, since the Economic Council also ob- served that, "In general, university oper- ating expenditures have been growing at almost twice the rale of enrolment and degrees." Bui wilh reduced pressure, if Ihe reduction is sustained, the rate of increase of costs also may be reasonably expected to ease off. The University of Victoria provides one example. When the university takes census on Dec. 1, lie admissions officer expects students will be registered in under- graduale studies, compared with at the similar date last year. Graduate stu- dents are expected to number the same as last year, 285. By the standards of recent years, this will be very small growth. 11 is part, according lo the admissions officer, of a levelling-off trend noted at universities across North America. In part, the slackening can be attributed to tire opening of more and more low-tui- tion community colleges. In the United States, three of every five students in higher education this year will attend com- munity colleges, compared with one in three a decade ago. Bui there can be little doubt dial Ihe value of a college degree is being ques- tioned by masses of young people in days when it no longer promises a superior job, or any, for that matter, because employers lend to shun the "over-qualified" who may be discontent with or disinterested in run- mill work. "Wlu'le it is too early to conclude that the days of heedless degree-chasing are com- ing lo an end, a U.S. researcher concludes, "a fundamental shift of atlitude seems to Ire taking place. Young people no longer arc willing lo let their adolescence be de- liberately and foolishly prolonged by sta- tus-conscious employers, parents and teachers. The search will intensify for a higher education that has meaning in the changed economic and social climate of lie 1970s.'' It seems entirely possible lhat the trend increasingly will be lo early work (and travel) experience and later upgrading of knowledge and skills as found to be useful and desirable, and not necessarily in the universities. Hastening slowly The Toronto Daily Star TIE'S a deliberative rnan, your Mari- times leader; he rarely moves with reckless haste. For 103 years he's been mulling over a project called Maritime Union, which would bring Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island into one big province. He was distraclcd for a few years by the intrusion, in 18H of an Upper Canadian politican named John A. Jlacdonald, promoting a rival fed- eration. But the Maritimes leader did not forgel. He conlinued lo mull it over and now the scheme is lumbering towards a climax. Recently a joint committee of three pro- vincial legislatures look a small, tangible step toward union. They asked the council of Maritimes premiers and the three leg- islatures to appoint draftsmen who will frame uniform legislation for the three provinces in non-controversial areas. Good luck to them. The idea makes sense. And so does union: one province, one capital, one legislature, one civil ser- vice, one set of laws for the peo- ple who have to run hard to sland still in their beautiful but chronically hard-up cor- ner of Canada. Massive federal spending has helped recent bad times narrowed the gap be- tween unemployment rales in the Man-, tunes and the rest of Canada but the bright young people from Cape Breton and Richibucto keep on goin' down the road to the west, sensing perhaps that the political set-up at home makes no sense. Why should Crown corporations iu Nova Scotia and New Brunswick battle to attract the same new industry? Why should a New Brunswick truck firm pay double taxation if it can't prove its drivers bought enough gas in Nova Scotia to cover their trip to Halifax? Why should people be overgoverned by three lieutenant-governors, three premiers, 40 cabinet ministers and civil servants, when the national av- erage ratio of civil servants (one bureau- crat per 106 people, as against one (o every 62 in the Atlantic provinces) would save the area ifsa million a year? Let live., and live The Grcal Falls Tribune animals of the earth arc a single says author Jack Olsen in a new book, "Slaughter [he Animals, Poison the Earth." Death of one only hurries Ihc others toward the final patch of darkness, he suggests. Olsen's comment is in connection wilh the wave of wildlife extermination pro- grams in full swing throughout the west- ern half of the United Stales. The pro- grams already have brought whole animal species to the brink of extinction and Uirealcn still others. "They also threaten homo sapiens, thai poor creature who lately has tegiin driving six miles out of his way lo buy pbosphalc- frcc laundry soap, all the while turning his back on a practice lhat is directly and specifically contaminating millions of acres of his the author contends. The West no longer is proleeled by ils limillcssness. The question Olsen raises is whether predator control actually does control predators. The poisoners say il does, but there arc indications it does not. In two northwest Colorado counties where likely more predators have been put lo death than in any area of similar size in the world, there is strong evidence live- stock loss to predators is greater than ever. Tlw coyote, target of Ihis intensive con- trol program, has been transformed into a different animal desperate, itinerant, a sheep killer. "If he had been left undis- says naturalist Alfred Eltcr, "we would probably never have heard froi. him." The same Ihmg, Etlcr believes, applies to nlher predators, implying the answer seems to be to "let live and live." Perhaps, concludes author Olsen. there is a way lo retain bolh domestic life and wildlife. "Unless there are massive lie warns, "Ihe day musl come wlicn tlw last sickened coyote will lift his voice lo the skies and Iherc will be no answer lo his call." No good time By Dons Wnlkcr TJURING one of Ihe infrequent showers in I-etlibridgo Iliis summer, Cleo Mowers remarked Uiat his lawn sprinklers were gelling an assist. He said llxrc a measure of elficiency involved because lliej'c would be no loss Ilirough "When it is raining il is a good time to water he said. And tlien he added, "lull it is not a very good time for build- ing fences." In my judgment, there is no good time for building fences.