Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 3, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
3, 1974 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD S The sick game of cheating the nation By Bruce Whitestone, syndicated commentator One of toe urgent tasks of the government is to order a full outsize inquiry into the un- employment statistics. They are the subject of so mucluin- necessary confusion, propaganda and misunder- standing that sometimes it appears they would best be discontinued. Yet, they should be a quite vital social and' economic indicator.' We have seen too often how the unemployment statistics can be misused. Politicians can make the most outrageous extrapolations to produce either alarmist or hopeful predictions, depending on which side of the House of Commons they sit. As long as the unemploy- ment statistics are so mis- understood, an opposition can generate a considerable amount of emotional an- tagonism to a government, and political capital for itself out of trumpetings on "unemployment." Similarly, the government can project from an improving trend (as occurred in October) a state- ment that all is well in our economy, when that state- ment was not justified. The unemployment statistics we have at the mo- ment are compiled by Statistics Canada. In view of the changed Unemployment Insurance Act provisions, there is little doubt that the amount of "unemployment" is on the rise, even if real joblessness does not increase. Hence, the quality of the un- employment must be analysed. The federal government, presumably in its reformist zeal has made unemployment a very attractive proposition for many. In Ontario, for ex- ample, a working man can get unemployment benefits up to per week. Unemploy- ment, is going to be a marvelous way of having a holiday for awhile, of opting out of our rat race, especially for those who get a kick out of fooling stupid officialdom. The news about this has been around a long time, so naturally, there is a steady increase in the number of un- employed. It is all rather like the widespread abuse of Prohibi- tion in the United States in the 1920s, when violation of the law against drinking became socially acceptable, even "sophisticated." The collu- sion between government and law breakers that took place in that era did irreparable damage to the U.S. law abiding tradition and enforce- ment of the law. This same pattern is evolving in Canada now, with everyone fully aware of the widespread abuse of the spirit, if not the actual provisions, of the Unemployment Insurance Act. Quite understandably, no one wants to cut off those in geniune need of help, but we cannot accept the cost of un- employment payments at current levels; they have become a great national scan- dal, a terrible social tragedy for those involved in abusing the public, and a gross economic waste. Very simply, the govern- ment now is seeing an economic law at work. If one wants to produce more of any particular product, higher prices will ensure greater production. Now, with higher and more easily available un- employment insurance payments, it is quite logical that higher unemployment (at least statistically) is being produced. The unemploy- ment inducing effects of the insurance plan are obvious. It is part of current mythology that one should be allowed to "do one's own thing." Formerly, people took work where it was available even if it was not the ideal job. How many of today's successful businessmen began work as messenger clerks in the 1930s? Does anyone hear about this routine being followed today? The matching of skills and objectives with personal preferences is cer- tainly an ideal state; we all wish for freedom of choice within reasonable limits, but this is not possible now as we enter a period of business depression. People who turn down "unsatisfactory" jobs should not be able to claim un- employment insurance without adequate ex- planatidns. It will be really necessary now for an inquiry into un- employment to try to clarify many issues here, among them the seasonal adjustment issue. Economic analysis relies heavily on the seasonal- ly adjusted unemployment rate as a measure of the slack in the economy. We assume the number and kind of job openings, the number of geographically or technologically unemployed, or the method of seasonal ad- justment of unemployed data are infallible and immovable statistics. The present official method of accepting these factors at face value looks thoroughly foolish. It is not regarded with much respect by the un- employed themselves, so the tedious debate on the subject is quite often play acting by the participants, a kind of charade meant to impress someone. Refinement of labor force information is a necessity. An inquiry into the situation should help to resolve the issue to a con- siderable degree. If we do nothing here, respect for the law will suffer. Even more serious victims, however, will be the un- employed who know that they are cheating themselves and the taxpayers. Being jobless malingerers will probably hurt them more than they realize. It is a striking paradox that the more this kind of "welfare" continues, the more corrupting become the effects. Books in Brief "The Cook Not Mad or Rational Cookery" edited by Ray Abrahamson, (George McLeod Limited, 127 A re issue of the first cookbook published in Canada, in 1831. As the recipes are not usable, except for the few that have been adapted for present day use, the book is only a curiosity piece. JOANNE GROVER we've got down. A pin-up board with job postings will soon be a new and vital part of every Canada Manpower Centre. If you're looking for a job, our new Job Information Centres will help you choose the one you really want. If you're an employer look- ing for someone to fill a job, it will help you find the person you need faster and easier than ever before. Let's say you're an em- ployee. When you come into your Canada Manpower Centre, you'll see the jobs available dis- played according to occupa- tional categories. Here you can look over all job opportunities registered by employers in your area. From these, you personally pick the ones you feel qualified to fill After a brief interview, your Canada Manpower counsellor can arrange for you to see the employer. Now what if you're an employer? Canada Manpower staff will have more time to assist directly in your manpower plan- ning, and to solve your par- ticular employment problems. This could be anything from finding part-time seasonal help to developing manpower adjustment programs that help your employees cope better with technological and indus- trial change. As you can see some real changes are going on at over 400 Canada Manpower Centres, all designed to pro- vide the right person for the job, and vice-versa. Whether you're looking for a job, or looking for someone to fill a job, our pin-up board will do the Canada Manpower Centre Manpower and Immigration Robert Andras Minister Centre de Mam-d'oeuvre du Canada Maln-d'oauvre et Immigration Robert Andrat Miniatre Canada Manpower. Let's work together. Can individuals help our world? By Eva Brewster, freelance writer COUTTS "Do individuals and nations are saying to each other. Yet, there are few idealists left who insist "we CAN do something." Because more and more causes require attention and the need for help is so overwhelming all over the world, we are confused not only over issues but also about our ability to help ai all. The result, un- fortunately, is usually the easiest way out to sit back and do nothing. The best recent ex- ample is the disappointing outcome of the World Food Conference in Rome and Dr. Philip Handler's subsequent comment that the developed nations may simply decide to "forget" starving countries and "give them up as hopeless." I never did and never will accept this grim possibility. Few sections of our society are in a position to offer more constructive ideas than our news media but are they coping with that responsibility and privilege? Since criticism, like charity, should begin at home, let me start with a statement few may support: In our wealthy province, involvement with stocks, bonds, investments, interest rates and how to make more money has replaced the ancient prayer "Give us this day our daily bread." In line with that attitude, there are too many media people who will present the public with what they think the public wants to hear. And why not? While we have the best, most liberal, editorial policies in the world, the rat race for power, influence, more money and for the other fellow's job is as great in the media world as it is anywhere else. Any TV network, radio station or news- paper can only be as good as its people permit it to be. In addition, writing is often influenc- ed by politics and since to quote Hillier "there are always three sides to every story: My side, your side, and the the latter, more often than not, gets swept under the carpet. The unpalatable truth is that the world is in such a mess that dividing politics should be temporarily forgotten. By the same token, exaggerated nationalism, isolationism and all the other "isms" that split humanity should be buried until such time as we can again afford the luxury Governments are beginning to realize that only co-operation can save us all. The fact that both provincial and federal governments listen to, and act upon, citizens' suggestions should strengthen our confidence in Canada's future. What is more, the approachability of our leaders should encourage individual Canadians to participate in and take up a challenge so great, there has never been an equal opportunity to "do something." And if there is any one particular message the news media should convey, it is this: "If you think you have a solution to a problem, pass it on. Don't get discouraged by lack of local support. Good ideas have a habit of rising to the top." I found that out a year after researching into, and reporting on, co operative 'farming methods and rural development, spelling out possibilities that could keep family farms and rural towns alive. Alberta Agriculture adapted my proposals to our provincial needs. The setting up of a department of industries and com- merce regional office in Lethbridge is one of several such developments. Several departments are in the process of setting up a rural development council to improve com- munication and distribution of material similar to my report and to co-operate in the implementation of rural development proposals. In the meantime, the report has attracted attention in Ottawa and Quebec not only for its possible application in other provinces but because it is felt that Canada has the potential to lead poor countries to eventual independence and that a different approach to the problems of starvation is needed. The economic advantages of co-operative farm- ing and rural industries may well provide an answer. In view of this recognition, I asked agricultural correspondents across Alberta why they neglected its basic ideas when they were presented with the report a year ago. they said among other mind- boggling reasons, "the last thing we want in Alberta is a collection of hippie communes." Since I had not recommended communal farming in our society, one can only presume that prejudice prevented newsmen from reading far enough to find out about the many forms of co-operation that could be profitable to our towns and individually owned farms. Few people could be expected to stand up against such formidable opposition. To make so determined an effort to improve life and fight hunger, you must perhaps have known starvation and belonged to a handful of sur- vivors who were themselves once written off by the rest of the world. But each of us has a different area of concern we feel strongly enough about to get involved in. Whatever it may be, the fact is that individuals can and must do something, at home or abroad, to make our world a better place to live in. Joy returns to Greece By Marian Virtue MEDICINE HAT To say that the Greeks now breathe freely, after seven years of military persecution, would be putting it mildly. They are rejoicing1 When a Greek can't openly argue politics, he's literally smothered and inwardly dies. And that's exactly what had happened. When I returned to Greece after the coup, changes were unbelievable! The gay hospitality had disappeared; gatherings of black suited business men, drinking coffee and noisily arguing in a city square, were over; the women in white kerchiefs and long black dresses, too, had disappeared from the sunny nooks in the villages, where they gathered to chat and wind colorful wool. One sensed a change in spirit and attitude Here, now was tension and'irritability. The singing, dancing spirit of the Greek was dead In 1969, two years after the coup, it was not unusual to be wakened in the night by a bomb going off in Constitution Square, or, by day, to encounter military police at every street corner. The parliament buildings, needing paint and repair, stood empty. King Constan- tine, and his lovely young wife Anne Marie, so beloved'by the Greek people, had gone. Cathedrals and Byzantine Chapels were never empty as these Greek Orthodox- Christians went in daily to meditate and pray. On Good Friday evening, sidewalks were still crowded_with people carrying tall, glowing candles watching the annual religious procession, headed now by the Greek colonels, their heels clicking on the pavement and their rows of medals glittering in. the flickering candlelight. In May 1973, the Athens News, in English, came as usual on my early morning breakfast tray. The headline, "Paris state- ment says 'Call back the King' startled me and I quickly read on "Constantine Karamanlis, a former prime minister, who gave modern Greece stable and democratic government from 1955 to 1963, longer than any other person, in his first statement from Paris in 3Vz years, urges the government in Athens "to call back the King who is the sym- bol of legitimacy, and hand over power to an experienced strong government, one that will create conditions permitting democracy to function again in Greece." Accompanying this were statements of support for the return of Karamanlis from former parliamentarians. "If this voice is not they unitedly said, "the country will eventually enter into a dramatic phase of developments which will render the Greek nation's future even darker." Leaving my breakfast, I rushed to Constitution Square. It was crowded. Since the press had been blackmailed into silence by Papadopoulos, with the people living under legal restrictions and threats, this kind of news was astonishing. In the first hour after the paper hit the stands, it was impossible to get a copy. Copies were passed from hand to hand while the police confiscated as many as they could find anywhere in the kiosks or stands. To these Greeks who were not allowed to congregate for discussion, this news seeded the last opportunity for a peaceful exit from the adventures of the last six years In Karamanlis' statement was a warning that "time was running out." However, in spite of all the persecution, democracy never truly died. It remained smouldering in the souls of these people. With the return of Karamanlis in 1974, followed by his outstanding victory in the democratic polling booths recently, I believe they will regain their proper place in the vanguard of future nations. ON THE USE OF WORDS By Theodore M. Bernstein Costly comma. Back in 1893 a publication called The Journalist relayed a tale of something that had happened in Congress some 20 years earlier. A tariff bill was enacted providing, among other things, for articles that were tj be admitted duty-free, including "all foreign etc., meaning plants imported for transplanting propagation or experiment. In copying the bill, an absent-minded clerk changed the hyphen to a comma, making it read, "all foreign fruit, etc. As a result, for a year until Congress could remedy the blunder oranges, lemons, bananas, grapes and other foreign fruits were admitted duty- free. The normally innocuous little comma cost the U.S. government more than And the moral is, don't go into a coma when it comes to a comma. Or something like that. tion of degree is already answered in the word best, which is superlative that is, it indicates the highest degree. The sentence is as erroneous as, "They are as thickest as thieves." Just as you can properly say, "as thick as so you can properly say, "as well as he but not "as best as he could." Inflammable as-best-as. It is perfectly proper to say, "He did the job as best he could." The as in that sentence means in the manner. However, it is not proper to say, "He did the job as best as he could." There the as as indicates degree, but the ques- For "whom" the bell tolls. One situation that seems to puzzle many writers, especially newspapermen, is exemplified by this sentence: "The police arrested a man whom they said was a junkie." Nope, make it who. A simple test is to turn the clause around and substitute another pronoun for the whom, thus. "They said he was a junkie." You wouldn't dream of writing, "They said him was a and similarly you shouldn't dream of using the objective whom. On the other hand, suppose the original sentence had read, "The police arrested a nun whom they called a junkie." Try the same test again: "They called him a junkie." There the pro- noun is the object of called and him is proper; therefore, so is the objective whom in the original sentence. No problem, is there?