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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 1, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LFTHBRIOGE HERALD Saturday, September I, 1973 Negotiations help economic relations The right to strike During the debate on the railway itrike, Mr. JNlarchand, the transport minister, suggested it w as not Parlia- ment's duty to settle the dispute. The tvvo sides could not agree in their early negotiations. The gove- ment appointed a conciliator, who rec- ommended a certain level of increases. The railways said it was too high, the unions too low. Then, in full accordance with the law, there was a strike. The country wouldn't tolerate an indefinite strike, winch should surprised no one. and further negotiations were fruitless, so Parliament had to be called in to end the strike but not, as Mr. chancl said, to settle the dispute. It was significant that the government bill the conciliator's award as a minimum increase, uith negotiations and (if necessary) coin- pu'sory arbitration to go on from there. Wuen the trains are running again, two more issues will remain unreson ed in addition to the final new wage is how the railways are goina to pay the increases. Clearly their rates will have to go up or govern- ment subsidies will have to be raised. The other is how much longer the nation should have to tolerate the pre- tence of the right to .strike the rail- ways. on the ons hand, and the inter- vention ol Parliament whenever the unions dare to exercise that right. Clearly there is no real right to strike, nor can there be. So why pre- tend A bit more inflation There are almost as many of uiiialion as there are experts talk- ing Lbout it. Economists speak learn- edly of sucii thing? ac cost-puce squeezes, multiplier cfioctt-. demand pioduclixity indices and i'au other arcane matters thai interest them. Labor blames rapacious busi- ness, and business blames rapacious labor. Farmers suspect arnone not a faimer. Opposition politicians say it is the government's fault, emment spokesmen attribute it to various factors, all of them conven- iently and not surprisingly bexond government control One causative factor that make5: sense is this thing called "initation- ary But a public atti- tude isn't easily dealt vith. rnd this one isn't likely to be ctianged quicKiy enough to save a lot 01 people real distress. There aie some things, how- ever, that can be done, and it doesn't Hurt, to try to point out particular problem area.- One such problem is the videly be- lieved fallacy that an across-the-b'oaid wage increase is a sensible way to tieal vvith increases in the cost of liv- ing, the notion that a pay raise of 10 ner cent is warranted if the cost of living goes up 10 per cent. A little simple arithmetic shows that it isn't, and thai it makes poor economic sense. First, the relationship between cost of living and people's earnings is far less direct than most wage-earners seem to think To illustrate, consider Chat's happening because of the latest rise in the cost of food, a matter of close to 20 per cent in the past few months. If a family spent a month on groceries before the latest the extra food bill will amount to Weekend Meditation 840 a month. But if it was like the average Canadian family, and expect- ed to spend about a quarter of its income on iood items, it would have a monthly income of around Twenty per cent of -S800 comes to SloO. or tour times as much as the In- crease in the grocery bill. In this a five per cent boost in take- home pay v, oulcl completely offset the 20 cent increase in the cost of iooJ There's another dimension, too across-the-board increase based ci; the cost of In ing is of greatest bene- lit to those already at the top of the v age scale, which makes it an im- portant lactor in helping to preserve even gaps be- lt- een rich and poor. Take the example of a recent settle- reached with a large teaching staff (not around here, by the wayi. Tne salary scale for this group had gone from 86.500 for a beginning teach- er with minimum qualifications, to for those with maximum ex- perience and top credentials. The agreement was complex, of course, but the basic effect was an across- the-board increase of eight per cent, based on the cost of living. to the scale, this gave 3520 extra to the man at the bottom, and more the., twice as much to the man at the top. Not only did that increase the gap between the lowest and the highest paid mem- bers, but it raised another question" If the best paid members needed to offset the increased cost of living, then how on earth is the lowest paid In manage on Or, to put it the other way. if 8520 is enough to com- pensate one man for the increased cost of living, why should another get The iconder of mercy Alexander Wilson in a letter told how one of his boys caught a mouse in school and took it up to him gleefully. Wilson set about painting it that evening and the mouse watched him with its little heart panting in an agony of tear. He intended to kill it later to iix it in the claws of a stuffed owl, but as he gave it a bit of wat- er the mouse lapped it up all the while looking at its captor with such supplica- tion that he had no heart to cany out his purpose and set it free. Though he regard- ed the incident as insignificant, yet it left with him a most pleasant sensation such as mercy leaves when it triumphs over cruelty. Mercy seems in short supply in the wor'i today. Vindictiveness is far more popular. The modern leader does not say, "Blessed are the merciful.'1 but are the revengeful, the aggressive, the unforgiving, and the brutal." Man is most like God when he is merciful. The prophet MLcah asks. ''What doth the Lord require of thee. but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy Professor William Barclay points out that the Hebrew word for mercy is chesedh which means, not merely to sympathize with someone in trouble, but to get inside the other person's think with mind feel with his heart, see things with his eyes. Sympathy means experiencing things with another person. So Walt Whitman said that when he saw a wounded person he be- came the wounded person. Barclay illustrates the meaning o f mercy with a story of Queen Victoria who went to visit Mrs. Tulloch, wife of the de- ceased Principal Tulloch of St. Andrews. Prince Albert had died and. when Mrs Tulloch would have risen and curtsied, the Queen said, "Don't rise. I am not coming to you today as a queen to a subject, but as one woman who has last her husband tn another." me never to judge another until I have walked two weeks in his moc- casins." was an Indian prayer. Jesus was verj hard on censorious, unforgiving per- sons. In Hawthorne's "Transfiguration" Miriam reproaches the hard-hearted Hilda. "You have no sin nor any conception of it, therefore you are so terrible severe; as an angel you are not amiss, but as a human creature you need a sin to soften you." There is notiiing this world needs mare than reconciliation and the forgiving spirit. Hate breeds hatred, revenge spawns re- venge. Yet in the hundreds of millions of re.ugees, the agony of Bangladesh, the suf- ferings of Northern Ireland, the tragedy of the Greeks in Turkey, the fearful inter- tribal wars in Africa, and the oppressed millions of Latin America, toe cry is for mercy. Mercy too breeds mercy. Thus the beati- tude Oays, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Somehow the vi- cious cycle must be broken and men must learn the hard art of loving kindness if this is to be a better world. The evidence that they are learning it is scarce indeed. PRAYER: Help me to feel another's F. S. M. To hide the fault I see; That mercy I to others show That mercy show to Decisive chap By Dong Walker Our friend Jim Hamilton in Calgary is truly a decisive chap. He thought a pool table would be an appropriate gift for his son SD he placed an order. The delivery men arrived at the Ham- ilton home while Jim was at work. It was discovered that the table wouldn't go down the stairs to the basement. "What will we asked wife Shirley after she had described the problem t o Jim on the phone. "Have the fellows put it in the master said Jim without a moment's hesitation "Just like a remarked Elspeth when she heard about the incident. By Peter Buckley, Canadian Press staff writer Whatever happened to those solemn occasions v.hen the cream of cabinet miirsters from Washington and Ottawa gathered, with appropriate fanfare, to debate trade and the economy? The last time they mot. in Ottawa, they pledged !o keep up "close, continuing and frank consultation" and agreed to meet again in Washington "at a date to bu announced." Nearly three ysars later, the date still is wailing to be announced. Both Canadian and Ameri- can sources here say they know of no plans tor the joint Canada-United States com- m'itee tracts and economic aiiairs to meet again in the near future. A few of them wonder whether the com- mittee's usefulness isn't ovsr. The joint committee, bring- ing together some of the most figures in the cabinets ol the two governments. WES established in 1953 at Ot- tawa's suggestion to help stue a Canadian voice in American decision-making at a time of growing U.L'. in- fluence on the Canadian econ- omy. Ii met 13 timos in the next if! years ard came to be one ol the most highly publicized iorums for a Canada-U.S. ex- change of views. Meetings were normally held at least every IS months. The cunent hiatus is the lengthiest yet. According to the 1933 agree- ment, the joint cominities