Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 7, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
_ THE IETHBRIDGE HERAID Wednesday, Juno 7, 1972 Operators say computers not to blame By IAN PORTER Canadian 1'rcss Labor Writer OTTAWA (CP) Lost in a computer'.' No such thing, say the peo- ple who work with the ma- chines. But during last winter, sev- eral thousand out-of-work Ca- n a A i a n s blamed heartless computer brains for what they felt were unjustified delays in payment of unemployment in- surance benefits. As their larders grew bare, (heir frustrations mounted. Cold comfort to be told Hie automated system was work- ing well for the vast majority of more than claim- ants being paid twice each month. For tliis part of the jobless population, lo be overlooked by the system, or rejected with only the barest of com- puter or no explanation at all as nothing short of loomed as nothing short of machine-made economic dis- aster. It added up to a real shiner for the Unemployment Insur- ance Commission, a public re- lations calls and letters from MPs, news- paper exposes, sit-ins, a riot in Bathurst, N.B., and heated debate in Parliament. Commission officials think the buffeting was unfair. Cliicf Commissioner Jacques DesRochcs. now dep- uty minister of manpower, ab- sorbed abuse from unsatisfied claimants. ile did lash back at one point to accuse numerous crit- ics of trying to make political capital out of a difficult tran- sitional period and of grossly exaggerating their case. His standard rejoinder thrdugliout the winter was that payment was made on 88 per cent of all claims within three weeks and was made for the rest of those qualifying within five weeks. Much of the protest, he re- peated, resulted from unfa- miliarity with new unemploy- m e n t insurance legislation adopted last June. He said in- complete applications from, new claimants and tardy co- operation from many employ- ers caused many delays. 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NEW STAFF TRAINED Commission officials say now they also under-estimated the volume of claims that built up after revised legisla- tion took effect last year. New staff had to be hired and trained overnight and new methods improvised to handle that swollen load. But they absolutely clear of blame the commission's five computers at regional offices in Moncton; N.B., Montreal, Belleville, Ont., Winnipeg and Vancouver. And they say they do not see much irony in the sugges- tion that the computers Wade possible the administrative and legislative changes pre- ceding the winter of discon- tent. Tlieii- desire lo keep their version of the record straight on this matter is one shared by many people who work with computers both in the government and business. The public's mixed feelings about computers are all too evident in the concern they exhibit. At the Unemployment In- surance Commission, officials emphasize that the computers have a most narrow role. "We use computers only to was the first point raised by David Steele, direc- tor-general of planning and development, in an interview. "The main advantage is he added. "To pay by hand would cost twice as much." KEEP HEAVY FILES Mr. Steele says the impor- tant fact is that the commis- sion issues 12 million war- rants" or cheques annually and at any given time it maintains an active file on to people. The computer is the obvious tool for handling this load and "like all tools, it has to be used properly." But the computer's role will be less modest as time goes on, Mr. Steele said. He ex- pects technological develop- ment will lead to another major reorganization of the unemployment insurance sys- tem within five years Future developments will be dep.lt with later in the series. A general idea of the direc- tion of change, h o w e v e r, conies from Manpower Minis- ter Bryce Mackasey. As labor minister from 1968 to early 1972, Mr. Mackasey oversaw the introduction of computers to the Unemploy- ment Insurance Commission. The commission remained his responsibility when he moved in January. One of his first promises wras that services of- fered by the department and the commission mil be more closely co-ordinated. SOLD ON COMPUTERS Describing himself as "a great believer in Mr. Mackasey suggested in an interview that computeriza- tion will transform the unem- ployment insurance system and most aspects of man- power planning and move- ments within the lahor mar- ket. Within 10 years, he pro- posed, the job histories of all working Canadians can be on computer files. Payment of insurance bene- fits would require only a quick computer check to de- termine if an unemployed worker meets minimum quali- fications. A return to active employ- ment, meanwhile, would be speeded by feeding complete job vacancy information from computers across the country. In fact, the future is en- croaching on the present. An example is the auto- mated client information sys- tem now being developed by the manpower department. Designed to help manpower counsellors to watch job open- ings with suitable unemployed workers, the system was in- troduced in the Ottawa-Hull area in 1970 and is being tested in Vancouver in May. MEET MISS BRITAIN Linda Hooks, 20, fashion and pholo model from Bournemouth, svon the title of Miss Britain of 1972 at Tottenham Cotfrtr Londorh She defeated 14 other finalists. (AP Wirephoto) Japan worried about young set By GEOFFREY MURRAY TOKYO A stunned Japan seems certain to begin serious soul-searching about its younger generation following the bloody three-man Japanese suicide attack at Lod airport in Tel Aviv. Bomb outrages and killings in Japan, blamed on the same Uni- fied Red Army extremists said to be involved in the Israeli massacre, rocked the nation last year. Japan thought it had dealt a serious blow to the extremist group. Police originally believed the movement was confined to Japanese territory. Recent in- vestigations show, li o w e v e r, that the Red Army has been supplying monthly funds to the Popular Front for the Libera- tion of Palestine for some time. Prime' Minister Eisaku Sato echoed the first shocked disbe- lief of his nation following the May 30 massacre when he asked: "But are there any Jap- could do such a anese who When the Identity of the sui- cide squad was established, the government quickly issued a public apology, ordered a spe- cial envoy to go to Israel, and considered whether some form of financial compensation should be made to the victims or their relatives. Leading national figures de- scribed the indiscriminate air- port shootings as the most infa- mous incident for Japan since the Second World War. The government feared the Quality Costs No More At Simpsons-Sears STORE HOURS: Open Daily 9 a.m. to p.m. Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Centre Village. Telephone 328-9231 Trees burn three miles irom town SWAN HILLS (CP) Cloudy and damp weather has helped firefighters bring a forest fire killings would damage Japan's image abroad and quickly as- sumed moral responsibility for them. UNKNOWN TO POLICE Police in Tokyo were unable to find the names of the three men on their list of known left- wing extremists. The lone survivor told a Japa- nese embassy official in Tel Aviv that his name was Kozo Dkamoto and he was an agricul- tural student. All three were members of the Unified Red Army urban guerrilla group or a related fac- tion. The Red Army emerged from a fragmentation of left-wing groups during a period of ideo- logical dissension in the 1960s. A tew hundred revolutionaries came together determined to create a Utopian state through guerrilla organization was un- covered. The Japanese and Arab guer- rilla groups apparently pledged unity at a secret meeting last year and vowed to work to- gether for world revolution. A female Bed Army member, Fusako Slu'genobu, went to Bei- rut to joiiuthe Palestine guerril- las, according to the police, and Japanese funds were channelled through her. Other members of the Japa- nese group also were thought to have undergone military tram- ing with guerrillas based in Le- banon. Some time In March or April this year, Arab recruiters ap- parently virited Japan to enlist the three assassins for the Lod airport operation. By this stage, it was believed here that the Red Army in Japan was virtually in ruins fol- lowing a determined police crackdown late last year in which many radicals were ar- rested. Surviving members of the group fled to mountain huts and caves in central Japan where they studied the revolutionary tactics of Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung, underwent military training, and manufac- tured bombs and grenades. Police said the group planned an uprising in Tokyo last April when special suicide squads- similar to the one that caused the slaughter in try lo kill leading government ministers. LEADERS IN JAIL The attacks failed to material- this northwestern town to a near violence, cither world-wide. in Japan or :hreatening Alberta oil standstill. A forestry official said today the fire expanded by 200 acres overnight and remains almost stationary three miles south- cast of the town. There was a possibility the 300 women and children evacuated from the community would be permitted to return if the fire was con- trolled for another 24 hours. Fire is sweeping through 000 acres of marketable timber in Marten Hills area, 20 miles northeast of the town of I Slave Lake. The group first gained head- lines when nine of its members hijacked a Japanese airliner at I he point of a Samurai sword in 1970. They flew to the North Ko- rean capital of Pyongyang, where all nine were reported to be studying revolutionary theory. One of them is believed to be the older brother of Kozo Okamoto. The present Red Army group appears lo have been formed last year by amalgamation with an equally violence-orientated organization blamed by police for a rash of armed robberies and bank raids. It was thought that the money acquired was meant to buy weapons and finance a revolu- tion exclusively inside until a connection with the Arab ize because by then almost the entire leadership was in jail, po- lice say. The previous January police had begun an intensive hunt for the radicals, patiently combing mountain ranges in several pre- fectures. Five were eventually trapped in the mountain resort of Karui- zawa where they grabbed a housewife as a hostage and held off besieging police for JO days. Interrogation of captured rad- icals led to the bizarre discov- ery of an ideological purge within the group which had in- volved the torture and execution of 14 members. Survivors told of midnight ter- ror courts in mountain hide- aways with the accused tortur- ed into confessing their sins. The victims were then killed or tied to stakes on snow-cov- ered hills and left to die slowly. Several were women. All were found naked in lonely mountain graves. The Red Army also was ac- cused of killing several police- men last year during street demonstrations In Tokyo and elsewhere. Added now lo that scries of shocks is the outrage in Israel. HURTS MINOR KITCHENER, Ont. (CP) Thrown from his station wagon as it rolled over in a four-vehi- cle crash, Alex Nennie managed to grab the roof rack of the roll- ing wagon and hang on before he hit the ground. A second im- pact tore the rack free and threw him inlo another car's windshield. He suffered a shoul- der injury and cuts.