Maclean's Editorials

Maclean's Editorials

December 15 1937
Maclean's Editorials

Maclean's Editorials

December 15 1937

Maclean's Editorials

Social Security

WHAT THE workingman wants more than anything else is to be rid of Fear.

He wants Security. Security against long periods of unemployment, against accident and sickness, against poverty when his age slows down his earning capacity; security under which he can, in reasonable comfort, plan for his wife and family.

In the hope of attaining such security some people have turned to Communism, Naziism and Fascism.

The British system of democracy survives because successive governments have recognized the necessity of social secuiity.

In Great Britain, security for labor has been developed to a greater degree than in any country outside of Scandinavia. Unemployment and sickness insurance, provision of medical attention, old age pensions, have long been established and experience is correcting what faults the systems had in the beginning.

Industry and Labor are co-operating to a greater degree than is yet known on this continent. Interest of private industry in the employee’s welfare is evident in the operation of a high percentage of plants and factories.

The Government, business and labor look ahead. AJready all three are co-operating in the planning of measures that will prevent or offset the predicted slump in employment when the rearmament program is completed.

So far as Canada is concerned, social security inevitably must be the most important question of the next decade. Slow in starting we are now moving to meet the problem.

The National Employment Commission under Arthur B. Purvis is beginning to get results. Its survey of the unemployed will, for the first time, let us know where we stand in the matter of unemployables. Its youth-training plan is already demonstrating that money spent in training a youth for skilled \vork. Is a better investirent than

money spent in supporting him in idleness. Its recommendations for a revised relief policy, when carried out, will put relief on a sounder-basis.

Discouraged at the start by politics and redtape, Mr. Purvis has ended a tour of the country in high hope. Industry itself gives evidence of a disposition to co-operate with labor in working out a better spread of employment over the year, and to discuss sympathetically the welfare of the employee. For its part, thinking labor is seeing the problems of the employer.

As this is written, Prime Minister King is awaiting replies from the provincial governments as to his invitation to participate in an immediate national unemployment insurance measure. It is difficult to believe that any province will undertake the responsibility of blocking its achievement.

Of the need for such insurance there is no doubt. In one form or another it will come. It will, says the Minister of Labor, be a contributory form of insurance, on a three-way basis. The state, the employer and the employee each will contribute.

In other words it will constitute a three-way tax.

The state’s share will be a tax upon the people generally.

The employer’s share will be an additional tax upon his business.

The employee’s share will be a tax levied upon his pay envelope.

One thing will have to be remembered. Ultimately there can be no security for the worker if business itself is not secured and if government finances are not secure.

Desirability of the new taxes (and they will be taxes) emphasizes the need for elimination or reduction of others which are a handicap to business and to the consumer alike.

For the sake of security, industry will have to be encouraged to make a fair profit and build up legitimate reserves.

For the sake of security the government will have to cut its losses, eliminate waste and dupli-

cation. It will have to spend less on the most expensive luxury this country maintains—overgovernment.

Canada Abroad

CANADA WILL have an exhibit at Glasgow’s Empire Fair next summer and at New York’s World Fair in 1939.

We hope that whoever arranges these displays will in some way convey the idea that in this country there are large centres of population, huge industries run on modern lines, an astonishing number of fine automobiles, excellent paved highways, fast air-conditioned trains, tall buildings, elegant shops and smartly dressed people.

Of course we do not suggest that our wheat, apples, cheese, bacon, fish and lumber should be kept secret, but some of the Canadian displays we have seen in other lands overdo the primitive stuff.

After all, we would be willing to bet that the majority of Canadians of today have never seen a moose or a bear or a beaver outside a zoo or a taxidermist’s window. They would all turn around in the street to look at an Indian arrayed in feathers and beadwork. And on snowshoes they would break their necks.

Even the Government’s new post office in North Toronto is streamlined.

The people of other countries ought to get a glimpse of the Canada the majority of Canadians know.

Holiday Note

TF DURING the Christmas and New Year fesX tivities it is essential to your happiness that you take a drink or two, don’t drive a car while you are celebrating.

A visit to the morgue may spoil the seasoi. u Peace and Goodwill for both you and someon else.