Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 1, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Reforming unemployment insurance Brace White stone. Canadian syndicated commentator The call for a reconsideration of the unemployment insurance program has amounted to a chorus. Yet the change in thinking has not been swift. A decade ago, public policy reluctantly endorsed the need for changes here, but the directions-to be taken were never' spelled out. The appropriateness or efficiency of a program cannot be judged without knowing the assumptions on which they are based. This of course, carries one deep into political waters and assessments of public will. The government and people are tending away from what is loosely called universal social welfare programs. Medicare and the guaranteed income supplements were the last major legislative bricks in the welfare edifice for some time and increasing concern has been voiced in the . seeming wastage of these programs. There is a great deal of evidence of a trend in Canada away from the broad type of welfare program that perhaps finds its ultimate expression in the guaranteed annual income. Neither major party has been able to muster more than a corporal's guard for this kind of proposal and the critics of social welfare legislation have fastened on the Unemployment Insurance Act as their first target for change of direction. It is surely untenable to state that the present act should be changed because we have not had time to look at its basis. Parliament and the press have repeatedly drawn attention to the many reports to which government has not responded, though it must be admitted that the reports themselves have not been searching enough. Supporters of unemployment insurance reiterate that the abuses were much exaggerated. Even if this were true, the public believes that the legislation Is much abused. The public does not regard it as an insurance policy, but as a sort of cooperative saving society with a large amount of government largess. The public seems to believe, not only that everyone else is trying to cheat, but that one has an absolute right to returns on one's "investment" af- ter one has made some contributions. This perhaps superficial crti-cism of unemployment insurance thus is reinforced by the widespread conviction that it has become far more a welfare reserve and a transfer fund than an insurance scheme. Government money invested in it is not being used for the purposes originally designed and, to a considerable extent, may be wasted. Too, the farther the Book Reviews unemployment fund departs from the insurance fund, the more constitutionally illegal is the whole federal role within it. While a long succession of committees has examined unemployment insurance, what would be more helpful is an examination of the principles of unemployment insurance and more effective alternatives for alleviating the effects of unemployment, particularly serious unemployment in given industries and during "off-season." Further tampering with the ceilings, benefits and waiting time before receiving benefits would set back the kind of radical alternatives which should now be proposed. In order to return to the insurance concept and reward virtue, it would be helpful if employees were exempted from contributing to the unemployment insurance fund if they had Did the murderer miss the noose? "They Got To Find Mee Guiltv Yet" bv T. P. Slattery (Doubleday Publishers, $10, 353 pages). In the early morning hours of April 7. 1868, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, member of Parliament, made his way home from a late sitting of the house. Under a full moon, he bent over to unlock the front door of his boarding house when the assassin struck. A single bullet through his head instantly took the life of one of Canada's best known statesmen. MoGee was an outspoken rival of Fenianism. and his murder was immediately denounced as a Fenian plot. The investigation quickly led to Patrick James Whelan, an Ottawa tailor. He was arrested, tried and convicted of the slaying and later hanged. But, was Whelan guilty? T. P. Slattery doesn't think so. Or at least lie believes the evidence against Whelan was so flimsy that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice. In this book, Slattery - a senior partner in a Montreal law firm - looks back on the trial and the evidence. From his detailed research into the case, it becomes clear that only circumstantial evidence led to Whelan's conviction. Firstly, the only so-called eyewitness to the crime was discounted as unreliable. Then, the gun owned by Whelan, which supposedly he used to slay McGee, was a common weapon. There is other similarly inconclusive evidence which, when put together, was enough for tho jury to hang the accused. Slattery's account of the crime and trial is impressive in its detail. However, on occasion, the story suffers slightly from an overabundance of fact. The tendency of the book to drag in parts is the only thing that detracts from the over-all story. Highlights of the book are the closing speeches of the lawyers, along with Whelan's final words to the court. The entire book is summed up in these- pa�es. Slattery set out to cast \nibt on Whelan's guilt and he did this superbly. It leaves the resder with the nagging doubt that there is a possibility the man who gunned down D'Arcy McGee on that moonlit April morning never had to account for his crime. RON CALDWELL Collected speeches "Pierre Elliott Trudeau: Conversations with Canadians" edited by Ivan Head (University of Toronto Press, 214 pages, $1.95, paperback). The federal election that dropped the Liberals from a strong majority to a slim minority has cast a shadow over this collection of Trudeau speeches. The philosopher - king has been brought down to the level of human frailty. Talks collected between 1968 and 1972 - the years of his first term as prime minister - reveal a thoughtful, intelligent man, but perhaps too much enchanted with talk for talk's sake. In 1970 he told a meeting of the Canadian Press "Canadians are not inhibited or directed by pressures of manifest destiny. Our destiny is what we choose to make of it. And if we surprise ourselves from time to time by our own accomplishments, so what? If we find that thei-e is fun in being Canadian, why not?" Why not indeed. But really, who cares? Mr. Trudeau spends a great amount of time defining the limits to issues and putting tilings in perspective. Canadians in the last election might have been saying the country needs more than just generalities: it needs some firm policies, values and guidelines. There is a wealth of discussion on a variety of subjects, sure to please any student of Trudeau, the thinker. In five loosely organized chapters, the prime minister fills in his definition of the ideal "just society." The collection was compiled by Ivan Head, a special assistant to Mr. Trudeau and a former professor of law at the University of Alberta. In the introduction he says that Mr. Trudeau."is as quoted - and as cruely misquoted - as any figure in recent Canadian history." Enhanced with 18 candid photographs, the book is an opportunity for the reader to hear the prime minister in his own words. GREG McINTYRE The Lethbridge Herald see& think Pvtfiam PART IV - PICTURE QUIZ 5 POINTS This boxer defeated Joe Frazier for the heavyweight championship of the world. What's hiB name? HOW DO YOU RATE? 71 la SO point* - Good. SI to 100 point! - TOP SCOREI 61 to 70 point! - Fair. �1 to 90 point! - Eictllwtt. CO or Undtrt f r - H'mm) FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTION How do you think a sizable tax cut would affect the Canadian economy? YOUR NEWS QUIZ PART I - NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL Give yourself 10 point* for each correct answer. 1 Manpower and Immigration Minister . . ? . introduced legislation that would bar those who quit their job without good reason from collecting unemployment insurance benefits. 2 The Liberals' iirst commons defeat, which was considered something of an embarrassment but �not very serious, came on the passage of a Conservative motion to . . ? . . a-have parliamentary proceedings televised b-cut off the Throne Speech debate c-remove senators from a proposed Joint parliamentary committee 8 A walkout by Toronto postal workers affected mail delivery in other parts of Canada since nearly . . ? . . per cent of all Canadian mail passes through Toronto. a-25 b-50 e-75 4 In his first Commons speech as a minister, Agriculture Minister Eugene Whelan urged farmers to grow .. ? .. a-as much grain as they can produce b-no more grain than they did in 1972 c-10 per cent less grain than they didin 1972 5 The death of former President Lyndon Johnson left the United States without a living ex-President. True or False? PART II - WORDS IN THE NEWS Take 4 points for each word that you can match with its correct meaning. a-set money apart for particular use 1.....fiscal 2.....impound . . b-flnanclal aid 3.....appropriate c-relating to finances 4.....subsidy 6.....deficit d-shortage of money e-hold Oack funds, not Spend PART III - NAMES IN THE NEWS Take 5 points for names that you can correctly match with the clues. 1.....Hungary 2.....Australia a-OAS nation b-Warsaw Pact nation i.....Norway c-non-aliKned 4.....Nicaragua d-SEATO nation 1 STUDENTS Save Tnis Practice Examination! Valuable Reference Material for Exams. 6.....India e-NATO nation � 2973_________ VEC, Inc ANSWERS ON REVERSE PAGE not made any claims on the fund for, say, five years. Therefore, doctors, lawyers and many others would not be making payments to the fund indefinitely. Also, many would be tempted to sesk employment promptly, foregoing UTC bane-fits, in order to maintain their exempt status. It is unfair to make a "big thing" out of those who claim seasonal unemployment insurance benefits in certain industries until alternatives are offered. The sad part is that no one has come forward with a plan that would meet the nation's need for a sound answer to seasonal workers' concern about secure year-round income. Just such a plan could be proposed and this would take away a great deal of the complaint about those who claim unemployment insurance when they are not employed during the winter months. In the construction industry, for example, regular workers could be guaranteed at least forty weeks of employment a year. If normal contracts did not provide enough work to fulfill that guarantee, workers could be assigned to. public works projects paid out of a special fund 'financed by the government, employers and employees alike. Each of these three could contribute perhaps 10 cents an hour which would go into a stabilization fund to underwrite a pledge of year-round earnings. Spreading the v/ork would save millions of dollars in unemployment insurance payments and would be an effective substitute for the winter works program. All the arguments that should have brought introduction of a year-round employment years ago are more compelling today. Rapidly rising wage rates in the construction industry could be moderated when workers there were assured that seasonal wage patterns and bad weather would not keep these workers off the job. The federal government could encourage stabilization in certain industries by planning now certain needed projects such as public libraries, clearing up forests and in the transportation industry. The wole seasonal pattern of unemployment in Canada is antiquated. In the Scandinavian countries, no matter how cold it gets, weather costs only four or five days work a year. However, even in British Columbia construction is rained out for several weeks a year. A system on which workers could count on a decent annual income would remove many of the roadblocks that combine astronomic hourly rates with high incidence of unemployment insurance payments during certain seasons. Although the principle is simple enough, obviously it will take some time to develop the necessary refinement. This would offer a comparatively secure base for rethinking and for maintaining the country's welfare positions. Ordinary workers are not desperately greedy or even all that lazy. What they need is a system in which their living standards are not a part time state of affairs. To guarantee their incomes offers some hope of changing the basis for unemployment insurance payments. If workers >�'ve a genuine contributory ; theme to which employers and the government also contribute and from which benefits are paid to even out fluctuations, this would provide a clear-cut and satisfactory arrangement for many workers. No complete solution to changes in the Unemployment Insurance Act would be provided by these proposals. But they would take account of a sizable pait of the problems, the seasonal workers. If these changes were combined with an exemption for those employees who are unlikely to need any insurance benefits, it. could provide a breathing space so that a backlash resentment against all welfare does not take hold. 'Crazy Capers* -r r\r &CBS-L? It.....l-i,... A nation in a hurry By Louis Burke, free-lance writer PALMA, Majorca - Spain, one of Eur-opa's larger countries, has over 31 million people and upwards of five million students in schools from pre-primary to university and beyond. Education is centralized and administered from the capital, Madrid, nearly 500 miles to the west of Palma, Majorca. The education and science departments aim to provide Spain with free compulsory primary schooling, a unified system of compulsory secondary education involving academic, commercial and technical aspects, and a co-ordinated technical, scientific and university form of education. It also has hot irons in pre-primary and continuous adult education with a view to a system from the cradle to the grave. Added to these, there is a drive to extend facilities for an extra million students by 1975 and a campaign to wipe out illiteracy altogether. The components of Spanish education are - pre-primary from two to five years; primary from-rSi�' to 12 years; primary ,and pri?vocational from 12 to 14 years; secondary, private and public, from 14 to 38 years; higher education, technical, commercial and university; the pyramid is tipp-ped with continuous adult education. The big push is to update all branches of the system as quickly as possible to ease the integration between the nation and Europe. A full 18 per cent of its budget is being used to ensure this end. Great emphasis is being placed on languages, English, French and German with the related communication sciences and skills as typing, business machines and computers. But Spain, like Canada, does have a language problem. Not everyone is in favor of Spanish - in Catalonia, they prefer Catalon; in Galacia, it is Gallego. and in mountainous Basque country, bordering France, the Spaniards have a real handful in the Basques, a Celtic people, where the problem may be language, bombs or bullets. Catalon is the language of Majorca, however, Spanish is universally taught, known and spoken. In rural education, the bus is common for transporting students to larger centres. Parents are changing from religious-staffed and oriented schools to schools more public, but religious personnel are re-examining their roles in society and opting more for social work, it seems. In a decade, education has gene from last on the financial ladder to first rung. Spain educates over 30,000 Spanish-speaking students from various points on the globe, but mostly from South America. There are no special schools for so-called aristocrats as are to be found in the British Isles - even to this day! A shortage of teachers exists at all levels, and it is no wonder! Before one can obtain a full certificate after two years of training, he or she must produce - a birth certificate; a certificate to prove no penal record; a good conduct certificate; a certificate to state he or she has has two years of teaching practice. Only then is one allowed to sit for a competitive examination for a full teaching certificate. Most primary teachers are women: at the secondary level, there are more men than women: in higher education, nearly all teachers are men. Salaries vary greatly from primary through secondary to higher ed-ucation in a rough ratio of 1:2:3. Spain is a nation in an educational hurry. To obtain a comprehensive picture of education on the American continent faro iliarity with the Spanish scene is essential More people in the Americas have a Spanish orientation than an Anglo-Saxon one.' New energy sources The Spokane Review Recognition of the approaching exhaustion of the world's familiar sources of energy - coal, oil, gas, hydroelectric sites - has spurred the development of new energy sources. Atomic reactors already are being employed in some areas to produce needed power, and their further development seems assured to meet some of the anticipated future needs. Developments hi two other areas were reported recently which seem likely prospects in the future for supplying needed energy. A United Nations official predicted that by 1975 the United States will produce more electricity from geothermal sources than any other nation, with California becoming the world's "geothermal capital." Private industry already is putting up some of the capital and exploration effort required, with both oil and electricity companies taking the lead. Production of electrical power is only one of many possible applications of the heat energy stored beneath the earth's crust in such places as Imperial Valley and Sonoma County. Such energy can also be used for the desalting of brackish and salt water and for the extraction of minerals from deep well water and ocean water. The Atomic Energy Commission has announced a major advance toward controlling the energy process of the sun and the H-bomb to make electricity. Results achieved at the AEC's Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory were described as further brightening the prospects of realizing commercial fusion power. AEC officials said, "We are presently aiming at demonstrating fusion's scientific feasibility in the period 1980-82, and we feel we ought to have commercial fusion reactors around the turn of the century." Fusion reactors would burn plentiful forms of hydrogen with what is promised as minimal environmental impact. The Soviet Union also has been active in similar developments in the thermonuclear and geothermal fields, and plans for international co-operation and in the work have been made. Individual and joint scientific effort in the development of new energy sources could help to provide solutions to the world's looming energy crisis. On the use of words -By Theodore Bernstein Success headaches. Recently the Xerox Corporation sent to stockholders a little pamphlet pointing out that aspirin was once a brand name but people used it as if it were synonymous with headache pills and soon it became part of the language. The point of the pamphlet was that the same sort of tln'ng could happen to Xerox if people used the word as if it were a synonym for copy or copier. The situation is not at all unusual. Other brand names that either have become or are in danger of becoming generic words are Nylon, Band-Aid, Scotch Tape, Frigidaire, Levi's and Linotype. The irony of the whole thing is that companies spend huge sums building up their products and brand names to the point where the names sometimes become so well known and so widely used that the companies then have to spend huge sums to protect them. They run ads in trade and media publications, send letters to editors and broadcasters at the mere drop of a Levi and issue pamphlets to stockholders. They have to do this because if a company sues a competitor for using its brand name, it must prove in court that it has energetically done whatever it could to protect the brand name. And so the company pleads. "Copy things, don't 'Xerox' them." Sometimes the effort is even successful. Archaic oaths. You're not likely to see them anywhere these days except perhaps in comic strips, but two reasonably familiar interjections are zounds and gadzooks^ Regarding the first, there is general agreement about its origin: it comes from (God)'s (w)ounds. As to gadzooks, there is agreement that the first syllable refers to God, but there is no agreement concerning the zooks. One authority says it, too, refers to the wounds; another says it comes from hooks, the nails of the cross, and a third simply says its origin is unknown. Both zounds and gadzooks are euphemisms, or soft, indirect ways of expressing something that people are reluctant to express directly - in these instances, God. Another euphemistic form of God is od, and it crops up in such apparently meaningless forms as odsbodikins. JUon'l yon ever ?u>p buying new dresses? Insure, ensure. There are those who try to find a distinction between these two words in the sense of make certain, but there is none. The only real distinction between them is when the meaning is to indemnify against loss. In that sense only insure will serve. In other senses the spelling that is preferred - on this side of the ocean, at any rate - is insure. Of a word called "of". T. Chalmbers of Oakville, Ontario, writes in about the overuse of the word of in such sentences as, "He ate all of his food," and "She lost all of her money." He is right in observing that the word is unnecessary in such sen-tences, but that is not to say that it is incorrect, as some authorities would have us believe. Those authorities argue that if it is all that we are speaking of, it cannot be of, which suggests a part. But you could not apply the same "logic' to' equivalents of all; you could not say, "the whole his dinner," or "l per cent his dinner." Moreover, you could not omit the of when all is followed by a pronoun; you could not say "all us" or "all them." As a postscript it may be said that when it comes to the both of construction, all the foregoing applies to it, too.