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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 11, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 4-THE LiTHBRIDQI HERALD Friday, October EDITORIALS Unfinished business The Sportsplex is one of the best things that has happened to Lethbridge. It is as fine a structure, for its purpose, as any in the country. It will be good for the city and for Southern Alberta. Unfortunately the unlighted and unpaved parking areas are a serious drawback to the enjoyment of the Sportsplex. Already, the patrons have started to shun the designated parking areas in favor of the residential streets across Scenic Drive. The choice of having to cross a busy bypass on foot and flounder through ditches or risk getting bogged down in a quagmire, when weather worsens could be daunting and result in seriously reduced patronage of the Sportsplex. i The problem of the parking lot must be resolved before the Winter Games. And this brings up the point of traffic engineering generally. Any motorist can make his own list of half a dozen intersections which could be greatly improved by better engineering. No more Saturday Nights State Secretary Hugh Faulkner hit the problem right on the head when he said, of Saturday Night Magazine's demise, "People just weren't reading it." Whatever bearing the special tax status of Canadian editions of two American magazines may have had on the survival of Canada's oldest magazine, this one fact is paramount. The magazine was too introspective to appeal to a, large readership. In the words of one irate subscriber, it was too full of the "big I." There was too much soul searching, and of rather un- interesting souls, at that. There was too little good, crisp writing about events. What this country could really use is a magazine about current events and trends using elegant, enlightening and impersonal prose without the heavy overlay of self consciousness which in- habited, and inhibited, much of the writing in Saturday Night. Part of the problem may have arisen from the Canada Council's grants of money to Saturday Night to publish Canadian writers and artists. This is an unprofessional approach to magazine publication in the commercial field. It is too much like the operation of a vanity press, wherein the writer pays to have his work published, rather than being paid by the publication which uses his work. It is a practice which does not necessarily lead to interesting content. Let's face it. Searching national identity can be boring after a while. Why not simple logic of a U.S. senator who suggested solving the Viet- nam war by saying, "We and getting out? (In essence this is just what the Americans did, and while it may not have ended the war it re-defined it.) Why not just say, "We're and get on with the business of helping Canada develop, with due concern for world problems? .Let's stop con- templating the national navel. Enough is enough. J. fi. Letters "Now that the Russia-Canada hockey is over you can get back to your normal democratic frustration with elected officials." Government as employer By W. A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator Dirty work Who will do tomorrow's dirty work? This is a question that will, increasingly occupy the attention of society. Idealists once dreamed of a world hi which menial labor would be un- necessary. They have seen that dream partially realized'as a result of mechanization and computerization but there seems to be a limit beyond which it is not possible to carry the process. Some "jobs of last resort" remain to filled and must be filled because they are essential to the good ordering of society. The resort to importing temporary workers from foreign countries is a stop gap measure, not a long range solution. It merely provides a breathing space in which to look around for other, more per- manent, answers. Forcing people to quit accepting welfare benefits and become.available for employment might help the situation some. Most analyses of those on public assistance indicate, however, that there are not many who would be suitable for the jobs that need to be filled. There are a number of factors which have contributed to the present shortage of people willing to do dirty work. Th'> most obvious of these is the successful inculcation of the upward mobility psy- chology. This motivates people to ac- quire the kind of education and training that makes them eligible for other kinds of employment. There is also the emphasis on self respect that hinders many people from doing work considered demeaning. One approach to dealing with the situa- tion has been to try tolmprove the status of hard to fill jobs. Fancy names for those who do the work, the issuing of uniforms, provisions for training and upgrading of skills, and improved working conditions have apparently helped in giving a new image to some previously despised types of work. An even more successful approach has been the granting of high wages for what have traditionally been low paying jobs. New York City now pays its unionized sanitation men up to a year (plus an ultraliberal pension) and has had no difficulty in keeping its positions filled. The fact is that hardly anybody ever quits, and thousands of men are on a waiting list for future job openings. This may be a portent of things to come. In order to get some jobs done there may have to be a restructuring so that they can be attended to by part time and revolving workers students and women who do not want careers. Already this solution seems to be fairly far ad- vanced. Not much attention has yet been given to the changing of the stereotypes of employers. Those old images of employers as slave drivers, threatening death to get the last ounce of effort from their people, needs some updating to say the least. The frustrations they express and the plaintive appeals they make for help no longer fit that picture. ART BUCHWALD Where are they now WASHINGTON Less than a year ago everyone was hard at work vowing to conserve fuel. Americans had pledged themselves to finding new ways of saving energy and making the United States self- sufficient when it came to oil. In the interests of finding out what has been done in the past 12 months, I did a personal "Where Are They research project This is what I found. C. Carruthers Ringold, chairman of the board of General Chrysfprd, the largest manufacturer of automobiles, is still in Detroit pushing the sales of large cars. When he was reminded he promised last fall that General Cbrysford would devote its efforts to the production of small cars that would not consume so much gasoline, Ringold replied, "No one is going to tell us what kind of automobiles to make. The profits are in the large cars and that's what the public wants. When America wants small cars well make them. If it wasn't for the environmental nuts, there would be more than enough gasoline for everybody." Alan K- Lomltil, who was one of the first organizers of car pooling in Fairfax County, Va.. is now driving to work alone. "Car pooling is a Alan told me. "Who wants to talk to four other guys every'morning? I think a man's automobile is his castle and there is no reason be should share it with anybody else." Mrs. Helen Klinger, the principal of PS 145, said that she no longer believed in keeping the thermostat hi her school down at 68. "We froze our toshies off last she told me, "and we don't intend to do it again. Congress ought to investigate the oil and gas companies and find out where the heat is really going. Heavens knows the schools aren't getting any of it." Gaylord Prather, the advertising account executive for Windfall of New Mexico Gasoline Co., is still turning out copy, bat the conservation campaign has been abandoned. "Since our business is selling gasoline, it's counterproductive to ask people to use less of it. Sure it didn't hurt last year to say we were worried about future fuel supplies and we were doing everything to see that America would never have to do without'But 111 tell you one thing, the campaign didn't sell a gallon of gas. If anything, it scared people and they didn't care what brand of gasoline they bought So we said the hell with it the company has to come first." Congressman Gunther Zilch, who led the fight for energy conservation last February, is not sure whether he's for it now. "This is an election Zilch told me, "and it's hardly the time to ask people to make sacrifices. Heaven knows the voter has enough to worry about without asking him to give up the comforts of home and the road." I went over to the department of transportation and spoke to one of the top officials. "Last year yon people said you were going to have a crash piugiaiu in mass urban transportation so people would use buses and trains again instead of private cars. Are you still going ahead with He replied, "Yes, we're doing a study on it right now and it should be ready by Prof. Heinrich Applebaum who last year predicted that shale oil would solve all our problems for the next 900 years now has doubts about it. "That staff is really Applebaam said.. "I mean squeezing oil oat of a rock is some stupid way of getting fuel. Anyone who thinks we're going to solve our energy problems with shale oil in the near fotare is off his rocker. I don't know why the press takes people like me OTTAWA A difference of outlook within the cabinet over the government's role as an employer is beginning to emerge through the television statements of two members of the ministry. The new president of Treas- ury Board, Jean Chretien, has said firmly and publicly that the government should not be the best employer in the coun- try. This is a somewhat old- which has re-' spectable antecedents but which is probably much less generally accepted than it would have been 25 years ago. The new postmaster, general, Bryce Mackasey, facing the challenge of bring- ing to an end a long period of internal strife and deteriorating service in the post office, is firm in his view that all things considered the government the coun- try's best employer. "The government can hard- ly go round telling private enterprise that they must be good employers if they're not the. best employers Mackasey said in a recent television appearance. Chretien's contrary view was expressed with equal firmness in a radio broadcast last weekend. In Louis St. Laurent's day as prime minister there is not much doubt that the Chretien view was firmly held and little challenged within the coterie of Liberals who governed the country with a good deal of re- gard for the feelings of the business establishment. Government wage rates, it was held, should be set so as to be comparable with those established by the private sec- tor but should trail, not lead. During Lester Pearson's pe- riod as prime minister this ap- proach changed. The very sharp rise in senior public service salaries, which has continued in the Trudeau period, was commenced as a deliberate matter of policy. It was a considered response to the problem the government was encountering in attracting highly qualified men and women into its ser- vice, which was expanding rapidly as it has continued to do since. There has been criticism of this expansion bat new departments for which presumably there was some feeling of public need have been created and. have re- quired staff. They include regional economic expansion, consumer and corporate af- fairs, communications, the Canadian Radio-Television Commission, the Canadian- Transport Commissiqn, Man- power, the non-fisheries por- tion of Environment Canada. It was discovered that if these organizations, with their power to affect the lives of the people and the development of the country, were to be well staffed something must be done to attract excellence. That is the real reason why public service salaries in. the upper brackets have risen so rapidly in the last decade. It was the outcome of a con- scious desire to avoid me- diocrity. The late John F. Kennedy was probably a fac- tor in it: He made excellence fashionable in the early 1960s. A senior deputy minister who was having serious staff- ing problems at about that time once told me he had observed that, because the government can offer so much scope which is hard to find in other employment, it could often attract good men into senior spots for about a year less than, they would be able to get in private industry. If the gap were greater than that, he found, they could not be lured to the capital. Since then, a great deal has been done to ensure still referring to the upper combination of money, scope and power which the government can offer will leave it able to bring in top quality people. While this was going on at one level in the public service; equally great changes were taking place further down. The Pearson government introduced the right of collec- tive bargaining and since then the conditions of less lofty staff have improved sen- sationally. It is difficult to see how the Chretien view, representing an older tradition, is compati- ble with either the need for ex- cellence at the upper, pacesetting levels of the public service or the right of collective bargaining at the general levels. His view is ex- tremely important, however, because Treasury Board, which is both a department of government and a committee of cabinet ministers, is the formal employer of the public service. It does the bargaining with the public service unions and the agreements that set working conditions, salaries and so on, are its contracts. Child care facilities Under C. M. Drury, who held the presidency of the board until recently, the prac- tice was growing of devolving the actual negotiations down to the departments concerned, but with Treasury Board ac- lively represented and controlling the purse-strings. The post office was one of the departments where this process had gone furthest. There are indications that 'Chretien wants to continue this decentralization of the ac- tual although with ultimate Treasury Board control of the money being spent and the salary levels be- ing established. Otherwise, of course, serious discrepancies could develop between departmental salary and wage levels." Mackasey obviously feels forced to attach great impor- tance to the quality of govern- ment as an employer because he has been charged with the job that has defeated other ministers, of finally getting the post office operation back into good shape. There is no doubt that he believes that the next round of wage negotiations with the postal unions is of critical im- portance. "Morale is a little low on both sides and it's my job to upgrade he commented during the television session I'd like to see a good collec- tive agreement, one that's fair to the man and one that puts at ease their concern about automation "I think I'm capable of con- vincing the workers, that everything being equal over the next two years, we will be Canada's best employer. Hie average worker doesn't relate to good employers strictly with money. There are other things that are more impor-, tant in the post office than just money to the worker." This is a vital part of the equation.. At any economic level a "good job" involves much more than money. The interest of the work, the scope it offers, at some levels the power that goes with it, are all part of the mixture that make up a good job. But at no level in the scale are there badly paid "good That is a contradiction in terms in the government service as elsewhere. A couple of weeks ago four women met to discuss the need for more and better day care in Lethbridge. Instead of moaning and groaning and wringing our hands about the lack of facilities, we decided to try to improve the part- time private care being offered at present by the bowl- ing alleys. We felt .that they already offer an extremely valuable service to the mothers. We felt that the cost to the children, however, is too high since for many of the children it is a negative ex- perience and for all of them it is fraught with the dangers of over-crowding, too little in- dividual attention, inappropriate programs (even babies and toddlers are shown exposure to infection, and in case of fire, probably death. We could well understand what a tempting offer it is bowling plus babysitting for a half day so we found no blame in pur hearts for the mothers. Neither did we wish to blame the bowling alley managers; they are only try- ing to fill their leagues and are unaware of proper standards of care for children. If there is a culprit it is surely the present licensing standards. When I go to a restaurant I assume that government regulations assure me of a certain standard of- safety both in cleanliness and in case of fire. Parents babysitting service at the bowling alleys have no doubt made the same assumption. They probably were unaware that most regulations apply only to day care centres and kindergartens. Surely children being looked after in bowling alleys, curling rinks, shopping centres and Sunday schools have a right to equally high quality care and safety. In order to help the children, therefore, we approached one of the churches to ask if the Capri bowling alley might use the church hall if they wished to upgrade their babysitting ser- vice. Apparently, the parish committee already had plans for their own drop-in child care centre. We then approached Mr. MacDonald, manager of the Capri, to offer our help in finding suitable facilities. We tried to explain that I and another trained child care worker had no concern other than the rights of the children to better con- ditions. One half-day per week could be just as good an ex- perience for the children as for" the parents many nursery schools operate no more frequently than that. I am told that standards of babysitting in bowling alleys and curling rinks throughout the province are no better than in Lethbridge. My hope is that the Capri and Holiday 'v bowling alleys will be leaders in showing the rest of the province how much we in Lethbridge about our children. JEANKUIJT Lethbridge Tribute to teacher Last week Southern Alberta -suffered the loss of one of its foremost music Odd Bentsen. I have looked in vain for some words of tribute or recognition from the Lethbridge Herald. Had some athlete died hockey player or whatever it is fairly cer- tain we would have heard more about it. I appreciated Prof. Needham's remarks and have decided to express a tribute of my own. Our daughter Shelley has been a pupil of Mr. Bentsen for the past 10 years and I have attended most of the lessons with her. It was always pure pleasure. The knowledge and understanding of music that I gained, just from the sidelines is priceless to me. I think of his teaching as belonging more to the Old World, more the type of teaching that seems so very rare now. His meticulous attention to detail, his com- plete intolerance of an off-key note, his refusal to accept less than that of which he felt the pupil to be each reprimand administered with gentleness and love. How for- tunate we were! During every music exam, every music festival, every public performance, Mr. Bentsen was in attendance. Afterward there would be words of constructive criticism, ideas for im- provement, but always generously sprinkled with praise and encouragement. Time was never a factor with him, such was his dedication. We received far more than we ever bargained for. The Lethbridge Symphony was one of Mr. Bentsen's great interests and .very im- portant to him. He encouraged his students as they became ready for it, to become active members, wherever it was possible for them to do so. What a contribution in itself to the Lethbridge area! Who, now, will help to -foster the strings section? Another of his aims was to prepare the students to take their place as teachers, to interest younger children in wanting to learn music, so that the love and appreciation for the violin would grow throughout Southern Alberta. This some of them are doing, and is in itself a tribute to a great teacher. I feel that I speak for all of his students when I say that Mr. Bentsen can never really be replaced. We, in our family, shall always treasure our association with him, not only in a musical way, but also as a dear personal friend. Most surely, for us, he will live in every beautiful strain of violin music we shall ever hear. MRS. R. DENNIS BURT Cardston Pleased with letter .It was with great pleasure that I read the very fine letter in The Herald (Oct. 8) signed by one of our native people. It brought back many pleasant memories of my years of nursing at the Blood Indian Hospital where I met many such highly respected citizens of our country. SARAH SPENCER Cardston Letters are welcome and will be published providing: identification is included (name and address are required even when the letter is to appear over a they are sensible and not libelous; they are of manageable length or can be shortened (normally letters should not exceed 300 they are decipherable (it greatly helps if letters are typed, double spaced with writers do not submit letters too frequently. The Lethbridge Herald LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Second No. 0012 CLBO MOWERS, Editor and WWWwr DONHPAJUNG DOHALOROORAM Gwwrd ROYF. NBLFS WBERTM FEHTOM can hardly wait to get oat and see If Mr. Tradera has broognt down the cost of living yet..." OOUGLASK WALKER THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH" KGNNOH C. UAnM.ll Manager ;