Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 5, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, December S, 1974 Witless commercialism Christmas brings its annual insight into the world of children's toys, providing the usual grim reminder that television is not the only source from which children learn to do violence to themselves and each other. This year's offerings include a game where players shoot pistols across the board in each other's direction and a game involving property which can end in a a Tombstone Monopoly, as it were. To put it in the kindest way possible, since Christmas is the season of generosity, this is witless commer- cialism. It does violence to the spirit of the season, it does violence to the civiliz- ed concept of rule by law, it does violence to the dignity of the individual which is the essence of being human and it does violence to the potential of children. What kind of game is it where children (ace each other across a table with pistols in hand? What are they enjoying? What are they learning? That it's fun to pull the trigger of a gun aimed at another human being? That it doesn't hurt to lose that kind of game? That people make good targets? That guns are toys? And what about the game where, as a last resort, one can win by "shooting it What does this tel'l the players about law and orderly processes? If you can't win by any other means, use a gun? It is no defence of this merchandise to say that they are only games. It is no ex- cuse to say that children will be children. They will also be adults some day. All of them will bring with them attitudes they acquired as children in their games and some of them will also bring along their toys. To all those who design such games, to all those who merchandise them, to all those who market them and to all those who buy them as gifts for children, this Christmas message is directed: The next time your plane is hijacked by a terrorist holding a gun to the head of a stewardess, the next time your store window is broken by someone who wants something from inside, the next time your car is stolen, the next time an ac- quaintance dies a violent death, the next time someone takes the law into his own hands, don't assume that you are not responsible. Unemployment insurance under fire Employers throughout the nation are frustrated and angry because they can- not satisfy their needs for help from the labor market at the very time unemploy- ment is rising..Blame for this situation is increasingly being directed at the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The president of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, Walter R. Lawson, has pointed to the sharp increases in UIC benefits as one of the causes member firms cannot get workers. He would agree with commen- tator Bruce Whitestone that the rates have an unemployment-inducing effect. If the system is being ripped off, the f.nes most likely to be guilty are the single wage earners. They can afford a net weekly loss of about based on the present maximum insurable salary of a week in order to enjoy a six month's holiday. A person with a family to support might not be similarly tempted. There are supposed to be safeguards against abuse of the system. Workers leceiving benefits are required to show that they are actively seeking employ- ment and not just having a holiday. But there are strong suspicions that the proof of job hunting doesn't amount to very much. It only consists of the individual filling out the names of firms contacted once every three weeks and the commis- sion admits reluctance to do much checking on the accuracy of the reports. A major step in correcting the abuses that do occur in the system would be to eliminate the provision about being re- quired to accept employment only in the field of one's training. There may be some sense to this provision, to be sure, but it is not sacrosanct. In a day when almost all types of jobs are in flux and when the switching of jobs is widely- practised and approved, the insistence on finding the same kind of work or not working at all seems strangely out of touch with the times. The concept of unemployment in- surance, as has been stated here before, is one to be cherished by a well ordered society. Any thought of abolishing the plan is abhorrent but all suggestions for making it work the way it was intended to should be considered. 'Mr. Trudeau, I presume..." Ottawa lacking diplomacy By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator THE CASSEROLE Ft ustration has become the fashionable ex- cuse tor questionable conduct. It was frustra- tion that led a Canadian defenceman to at- tack a Russian player after the game in this year's Canada-Russia hockey series. Kuleinakers say they daren't ban fist-fighting in sports, because the resulting frustration would lead to violence Frustration is cited to justify wanton slaughter of farm animals, and fresh examples are expected ddilv It is to be hoped this new and terrible ai ourge will spare all surgeons, airline pilots and military commanders. Investigators for the U.S. department of agriculture have produced a remarkably perceptive report. Noting that farm income has fallen sharply, while retail prices for farm produce are at an all-time high, they have concluded that middlemen must be making some profits In the first nine months of this year Alberta farmers had cash receipts of billion, nearly 50 per cent above 1973. More came from beef than wheat. Canada's farm total was billion, up about 40 per cent. The same characteristics of government that are marring federal-provincial relations today go a long way, as well, to explain the souring of relations with the United States that is demonstrated by the warnings of the American ambassador here, by resentments developing in Congress and among some members of the adminis- tration in Washington. The difficulties arising be- tween Canada and the United States are not exclusively the fault of either country. As with the troubles between the central government and the provinces, there is right and wrong on both sides. But Canadians should not ignore the fact that the difficulties are serious when a friendly ambassador is instructed by his government to draw polite but very firm attention to them in a public speech, as Ambassador William Porter did in Winnipeg a couple of months ago. Since then, American resentments have increased until they are now being noisily articulated by some members of Congress. The shouting is beginning. Not much has been done to ward off that stage. It is not wrong of Canada to insist upon having the world price for crude oil sold to the United States. That is normal enough. But when the Cana- dian government moved, a year or so ago, it moved abruptly and without warning to the American ad- ministration. This may not be "wrong" but neither is it sen- sible diplomacy. There is nothing un- reasonable about the Cana- dian decision to curtail oil ex- ports because of the limited scale of this country's known reserves. But again, the shock to American susceptibilities seems to have been ad- ministered with little effort to soften the impact and ensure the maximum degree of un- derstanding. The American embassy was advised one day in advance of what was coming and there was some explanatory brief- ing by officials of the external affairs department. The Cana- dian approach was both perfectly correct, diplomatically, and at the same time marked by minimal inter-governmental courtesy. It may be that not much could have been done to stave off congressional resentment but at the political level it does not seem that much effort was made. The problems are not one- sided. In the difficult case of beef, the worst troubles began with the Nixon ad- ministration's decision to maintain price controls on beef after they were removed from other products. Cattlemen held supplies off the market and a serious sur- plus built up, with cross- border consequences. When it became evident that this country faced the prospect of far heavier shipments from the United States than it could absorb, it first fell back on the pretext of banning imports because the Americans could not prove the beef contained none of the hormone DES. When that was worked out, a quota was imposed. Then the Americans count- ered with a quota of their own and Canadian officials re- sponded with hurt and pained surprise, a reaction that in- vited ridicule. The missing element was patient and per- sistent effort to establish a mutual recognition that neither Canada nor the United States can solve the other's problems of unexpected sur- plus. Each must exercise some self-restraint. The calamity howlers are exaggerating awkward situation By James Reston, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON The dilemma in Washington these days is that half the politicians seem to be evading the harsh economic facts while the other half are ex- aggerating the gloom and almost talking us into a depression. The reporters and editors are vaguely baffled by this Dickie They remember that it was the fatuous optimists who misled the country in the real depression of the 1930s, but as William Manchester reminds us in his magnificent narrative history of the last 40 years (The Glory and The the GNP was down to billion in 1932 and the average weekly wage of those lucky enough to find jobs was S1621. Now the situation is awkward And in the automobile towns it is alar- ming, but the calamity howlers are adding to the depression psychology and making things even worse than they need to be. For example. Many com- panies now seem to be holding back on essential purchases for fear of what might happen in 1975, and there is upward pressure on both prices and wages in the belief that Presi- dent Ford will finally be forc- ed to adopt wage- and price controls. In short, many peo- ple are beginning to act on their fears which are worse than the facts. Washington is a little jittery too. Because everybody who has a pain sooner or later comes here to complain about it the capital has a tendency to think everybody has a pain. Accordingly it is not a bad idea to assume here that nothing is ever quite as good or as bad as Washington thinks it is leaving out Nix- on, of course, who was worse. Not so long ago normally sensible people here were depressing the country with horror stories about automa- tion throwing millions of men and women out of work, about the menace of the Sino Soviet alliance, ao-jtit the missile gap, and tlte sputnik gap, the generation gap, and the racial gap, but automation seems to be working a lot better than the Sino Soviet alliance, and the Communists, far from out producing us, as Khrushchev promised, are now trying to figure out how to get the food and advanced technology of the United States. A little adjustment of the gloom therefoi may be in order. Amenct is not weak and sick, as in 1932, but ner- vous. It is stro.ig, but it has a hangover. It has been spending too much, going too fast, living too high, and the bills are now coming in from the credit card companies. This is not primarily a Gerald Ford problem, though it might help if he stayed around and struggled with it, but a national problem, involving decades of waste and illusion. It is popular now to say that "you can't indict a whole and it is obviously easier to blame the president or the Congress or the press, but our present difficulties are not merely political but philosophical. Even while they blame Ford or George Meany, most thoughtful men and women here recognize the general nature of the present American condition. Nothing in the American ex- perience has prepared our people for precisely the mix- ture of monetary inflation and economic recession, four fold increases in petroleum prices, and worldwide shor- tages of food now disrupting the life and politics of the nation. But over 100 years ago, Emerson and the other philosophers of a simpler age were defining the principles that govern people in their private and communal lives. They were saying that people had to be responsible for their acts and vvere rewarded or punished .iccordingly. "Every excess causes a defect; every defect an ex- Emerson foretold in his essay on "compensation." In the end, he added, one way or another, "every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, in silence and certainty if the good is there, so is the evil; if the affinity, so the repulsion; if the force, so the limitation And then, almost as if he had anticipated Richard Nix- on over a century_ ago, Emerson "The farmer imagines power and place are fine things but the president has paid dear for his White House. It has common- ly cost him all his peace. And the best of his manly attributes. To preserve for a short time so conspicuous an appearance before the world, he is content to eat dust before the real masters who stand erect behind the throne this law writes the law of cities and nations. It is vain to build or plot or combine against it." There is anxiety in America now because, or so it seems here, we have violated his hard simple law. Things simp- ly refuse to be mismanaged for long without trouble. Turn the world as you will, it tends to balance itself, in reward or retribution. This is what is happening in America now. It is having to adjust to a world that has taken America's own ideals of equality, profit, supply and demand quite seriously, and it is a very painful process. The oil producing nations are saying it's their turn now. They are selling what the in- dustrial world needs at the highest price they can get. The sugar producers, the coal miners, the bauxite merchants, the cigarmakers, the newsprint manufacturers, the farmers, the food processors, the supermarkets and the pro quarterbacks are all charging whatever the market will bear. So things are a little mixed up and everybody is looking for painless solutions and hop- ing to get back to where we were before, with cheap gas and 96 fancy new models to choose from. But it's not on, folks. That world has gone. We're going to have to make do and mend for a while, but this is a very strong country and it will get along if we don't talk ourselves into a mess. AARPYARK. RUTABAl KUMQUAT STOCKBROKERS Letters Union blackmail The Alberta civil servants went on strike, even though the government had awarded them an immediate interim pay increase. The postal workers struck over automation, though the government promised that there would be no lay offs and no reduction in pay. And the St. Lawrence Seaway pilots struck because the poor fellows were making only per year. I doubt that such un- reasonable strikes could have occurred under responsible union leadership, and I doubt the long-term value of a union victory that bankrupts its employer or ruins the country. The strikes which disrupted the Canadian wheat export trade have seriously impaired our country's reputation and the cost is in- calculable, yet the long-term gain by the unions involved is minimal, if not zero. Union motivation seems to be greed rather than need, and enough is only enough until they hear of someone else getting more. The Oct. 15th Herald shows that some teachers are after a 20 per cent to 40 per cent increase, allegedly to bring them up to parity with everyone else. Ac- cording to Mr. Berlando "everyone else is getting 10 to 11 per cent. I doubt that anyone but a union organizer can explain how 20 to 40 per cent can be par with 10 to 11 per cent When we consider union leaders like James Hoifa, who loaned the Mafia mobsters million from the Teamsters pension fund, for the purpose of financing the Mafia takeover of the Las Vegas gambling palaces, or the James Bay organizer who organized a million sabotage job, or Hal Banks and his lead pipe goon squads, or the union leaders murder of the Yablonski family, then it would seem that all is not well in union leadership. And let us not forget that the same Mr. Hoffa and the Teamsters Union are now bidding to represent some of our Cana- dian postal workers We are aware that not all unions are this extreme, and we are aware that unions have served a useful purpose. Nevertheless, I do not believe that greed can continue indefinitely. The attaining of a demand by the use of blackmail, or the threat of ruining the country cannot continue indefinitely. If wages continue to spiral, like the price of sugar, and with as lit- tle reason, then the ultimate result can only be total chaos. My two suggestions are: (1) that arbitration awards be final and binding upon both parties, and (2) that union organizers be removed from the immunity of their ivory towers and be made full members of their own unions, so that they too are without pay, when members are on strike, and they too are re- quired to tote the placards on the picket line. Perhaps this would give them a better appreciation of the hardship of being on strike. Expressions like "respon- sibility" or "voluntary restraint" are empty and meaningless when dealing with unions of essential workers. Like the kidnappers they can gouge their victims of any sum they choose to name. N. E. KLOPPENBORG What are they doing? A great teacher once asked his disciples "What do you do more than It is a question that could well be asked of all people in authori- ty in these troubled times. What are they doing beyond letting things drift along? I am thinking in particular about sending local concerns and recommendations to senior governments. We see that Calgary is forwarding a recommendation to both the provincial and federal governments asking a quick settlement of the oil dispute since this is having an adverse effect on Calgary. It is dif- ficult to understand why a member of Parliament, or an ML A, or an alderman would not protest the rising price of sugar and demand an investigation. This price increase is an insidious inflationary thing that affects everyone from infants to the eldest senior citizen. Also what about problems like the foreign ownership of land, the selling off of our declining resources, the drug and alcohol control questions? Should we not be speaking out about these things. Perhaps equally important would be a project that would get us away from thinking only of ourselves. Some ex- penditure that comes before city council but does not ab- solutely have to be done right away could be postponed a couple of years. Then the interest saved over these years by not going ahead with the project could be given to some international relief and development agency such as Oxfam. It would increase our awareness of world conditions by sacrificing something on the home front. JIM BURNESS Lethbridge Satire on military? I read with trepidation The Herald article (Dec 2) about the "games major." The arti- cle appears to be a lampoon on the military. The whole ar- ticle rings out with the sound of military parade ground bashing. The major is said to speak briskly, his voice is crisp and resonant with authority. He sits behind an efficiently bare desk, twirl- ing a pencil with drill precision. The major has charts and battle plans for every foreseeable and un- foreseeable winter disaster sub-zero temperatures, gale force winds, three feet of snow, cars slipping and sliding all this and more is mere grist to the logistic mill of the games major. So the problem of carrying a mattress which or an entire bed which doesn't, is crisp potato chips for the games major's brisk mind. Having worked it out in -theory he says, "There's only one way to find out and that's to carry both up some stairs." The major is quoted as saying, "Run a normal day through and you'll encounter the normal sort of problem." It is hard to believe anyone would say that. The article implies that what the games major is saying is that the simple becomes complicated and the complicated becomes a disaster. So simply plan for a disaster. If the article is not a lampoon and if the sign behind the games major's desk which says, "Either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the testifies to his assurance and command of the situation then I'm inclined to fall-in smartly with the ones who are scrambling to get the hell out of the way. B. KASPERSKI Lethbridge The Lethbridge Herald 604 7th St. S. Lethbridge. Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and PuMMwrs Second Claw Mall Registration No 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager 'Is that gloom or just air "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"