The Ganadmn Jewish News, Thursday, February ?6,1981 - Page 5
''A pension is a ri
Bv SHELDON KIRSHNER
Let's call him John Doe or Joe Schwartz; He was wounded or maimed iri an obscure • battle during World WarL Or. perhapis, he was killed in a skirmish in the courseof the Korean War.
However the fortunes of war may have treated him. John and Joe, or their widows, have no need to worry about money. They have won cash for life, thanks to a bureaucratic big brother.
The benefactor is 'the government of Canada, and the agency that actually doles out the disability, or death benefit, is called the Caniadian Pension Commission/ Its chairman for the last 10 years has been Allan Solomon, a 66-Year-old veteran of the armed forces.
"A pension is a right." says Solomon, who was the first Jewish captain in the Canadian navy, "The country owes him something. Wc act like an insurance company. His premium was service to Canada."
. Wkr disability compensation, he adds in an interview, is not based on financial need, but only on impairment. "At the same time, it must be.cnough so that the pensioner with no other income will have enough for a decent standard of living."
This year, the Canadian"Penslon~Com-mission will disburse $540 million to 140,000 veterans, 2,500 of whom are women. The recipients fought in two world wars and the Korean conflict. They wiere members of United Nations peacekeeping forces. They were senicemen wounded or killed In peacetime. They were interned in prisoner-of-war camps^
"Wc also look after a handful of widows — mavbe five — of soldiers who took part in the 1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa, of survivors of the 1917 Halifax harbor explosion and of RCMP troopers hurt or killed in the line of dutv."
Of the 140,000 pensioners, 7.000 reside outside C;inada — Canadians or foreign nationals who served in Allied armies but who lived in Canada when war erupted.
"There's a gcwd smattering of Jewish names in the list of 140,000," he says.
In terms of numbers, most of the pensioners — 1 lO.OQO — are of World War II vintage. In 1961. 190.000. veterans were getting Canadian Pension Commission checks — a figure not likely to be equalled unless Canada goes to war again.
Barring . another war, the commission expects to be in business until the year 2030 or so. "We'll have a considerable number of people to look after for at least the next 30 years," says Solomon — a friendly, expansive man who cares deeply for his charges,.
"There's no doubt I've been able to
The writer is compiling a list of Jewish surname changes, and requests your co-operation.
1. Original surname,
2. Country of origin.
3. First surname change and date,;
4. Subsequent change, if any., and date.
5. Present surname. .
. 5. ivieaning of origirial nanie arid atiy information, or 'anecdote pertaining to. surnarhe change, if available.
This infqrmatiori can be anonymous, or not. as you wish. The project., when. completed, will be submitted to the office of the Jewish archives. ■ . Please send response to; .
242 Lonsmoimt Drive :
M5P 2Z1 V
I want to congratulaiteyou on your high, calibre of reporting on the. recentSisit of . Mrs. OfiraNavon, wife of the President of the State of Israel. ' ' ■ •■
Your accoiint was presented with dignity, and captured, the essence of. the fine character of. Israel's First Lady, ' her . humanitarian qualities, her fortitude, the depth of her concern .for those who- need. help and her wiilirigness to extend herself on.theii- behalf. ; . :
iwpvid especialiyJike: to commend Janice Arriold and Gaye: Applebaum, whose interviews aiid e.vpert reporting helped to relate the various a'spects of Mrs. Nayon's Canadian visit succintly* in good taste'.and in an exciting.riianher which reflected Nlrs. Navon'S own enthusiasm arid zest for life.
Once again tjie^Canadian Jewish Ne.ws has niade us proud.. - .. : Mirial SmaU
National President Hadasisah-WIZO of Canada ;
I am writing on behalf of Coordinated Scrvic^s-tjp Jewish Elderly to thank you for ^Jie^tory >o,u published regarding 'our volunteer service to the elderly.
The artide wis well wTitten arid, as a-result, we did repruit several volunteers. • Agencies; such as ours are dependent on the media to get bur message to the. public, \therefore, your assistance was greatly prp.ciated.. Dorothy Wiener Volunteer Co-ordtaator '■?.^Toronto'\-' ■■'■
I would like to thank you and Ms. Andrea Parker for the excellent article that recently
function well as chairman because of my experiences in the armed forces." he explains. "You've got to have an understanding and feel of what happened. It's very important to have military experience of some sort to know what it's all about."
The Canadian Pension Commission is an independent quasi-judicial body operating under the amended Pension Act of 1919. and reports to Parliament through the minister of veterans affairs. "A minister can't tell us which decisior.3 tomakeor what claims to hear." he remarks.
Consisting of up to 14 members, the commission employs 47 doctors across the country— not to merition consultants — who decide who gets what and how much.
"Doctors are guided by a table of disability." Solomon explains. A blinded veteran, for example, is considered 100% disabled-. If he is totally deaf, his disability is 80%. If he has minor hearing problems, he has a 10% rating.
A single veteran disabled to the tune of 100% receives 5811.46 of non-taxable income every month. If he's married or living in a common-law relationship, he gets SI. 114. For each child, an additional ' amoiint of 13% is added.
If the serviceman was killed in action, his widow gets S608 per month, and S973 if she has two children to support.
Canada, Solomon claims, has one of the world's best war pension plans. "We've traditionally thought a lot of our veterans and we've taken good care of them. Veterans are held in high respect, unlike the ones in the U.S. who fought in the Vietnam war." ■
Although some 30 years have, elapsed since Canada's last war involvement. 8.000 new claims are filed annually by veterans
who either didn't apply in the first place, or who are just beginning to feel the effects of their injuries. •
In this category, the most common ailments are hearing and neuro-psychiatric problems and arthritis, heart, back and stomach conditions. "Our task is to determine whether a disability is the result of war service, or whether it is purely a function of aging."
In addition, the commission reopens the dossiers of apprpxiniately 13,000 pensioners each year in an attempt to find out whether anyone's benefits should be increased. "We'll increase 4.000 of those on the grounds that their condition has grown worse."
Ten years ago. the Pension Act was amended to accommodate veterans whose bids for pensions were rejected for one reason or another. "We had a widow who had been turried down for a final time back in 1927." he discloses. "She got a pension after we heard her appeal.'' • Hardly anyorie. he says, has cheated the commission. "Very few people have tried to pass off aging to a war disability. In the main, we find people are extremely honest."
Not everyone, of coiirse, is happy with the compensation package judged to be fair by the commission. "There are always veterans who want more. They can appeal their case," he says.
Occasionally, an aggrieved veteran will go to extreme lengths to redress his grievance. "Some phone me at 3 in the morning, and we get cranks who threaten to shoot us if they don't get satisfaction." ,
Several years ago. a man Vancouver phoned the Canadian Pension Commission
appeared m The Canadian Jewish News about the Baycrest Centre and, specifically one of our volunteers. Issie Grossman.
Ypurarticlienotonlyjustlygave the credit due to him by highlighting the various volunteer activities that Mr. Grossman is involved in, but. at the same time, brought oiit many pertinent and important facts about the .Baycrest Ceritre. some of the interesting programs that go on arid the vital role of volunteers in these prograriis, Getting iriformatioh of this sort into the hands of the public is of invaluable help in our constant arid necessary quest for more volunreers.
Lou Stillmah \'■■^'Chairman.'
Volunteer Services Planning And Co-brdinating Committee Baycrest: Centre for-Geriatric.
■ Toronto '
'■*'': ■ * C :^ ^ ^ U^ , ,
Much has been written in the pages of your newspaper lately about the rise of antj-semitism. May I say that; I found much of that unduly alarmist; It borders on the irresponsible ;to.overemphasize the nature of a danger if one at-the same time does not advise on the effective means of protection ft-om.it. Instead, meaningless generalities are touted such as "we rnust fight the problem".and "we must stand united in the face of the JDroblem.'' etc., etc. . . ■
It is especially disconceirting when such alai-rniist and ineffectual views are ex- : pressed from within the ranks of the leadership of biir community. .
With regard to what might effectively.be done individually and collectively in the face of rising anti-semitism. let hie offer these =views; Our leadership can best-deal witJL: anti-semitic expressions in the news media.' constantly monitoring them and respond: irig to thfe imost^seridus of slich expressions ' startirig. perhaps, with a-^ormal protest. In most cases the rriatfer would end with an explanation or an apology. In certain cases, court action might be called for and there ; again our leadership is iri the best positiori to undertake it. .
Incidents that affect person or property — the likes of \vhich it is hoped none of us will experience — are best left to the police authorities. In countries such as France and Argentina where the authorities are either ineffective or. un>yilling to prote^^^ . coriimu.nity, dthermeasures might be called for. Biit that is far from being the case in Canada. ..^ '
Finally, we need constant and accurate reporting of, events, more of the facts and less amplification, interpretation and spe- . culation. '
■•■1 F. Chltayat ■
Mount Royal, Que. '
Consideration.for others is one of the marks of a "mench." Yet. it is amazing how many people who are cpnsiderate of others in their daily liveSi are iriconsiderate at the synagogue. ■
1 find it paradoxical that people care enough about their faith to come for services and then show, discourtesy to that very faith by having conversations during the most solemn services. I cannot conceive what contradiction of common sense will allow people to corrie for the High Holidays and then whisper during the Kol Nidre services, yet 1 have seen this happen.
Jiist as contradictory, is the riish to speak during kaddish. None of us knows what emotions are felt by the person saying kaddish. Possibly, at that time, the reciter is feeling a great sense of sorrow and then people right in front of him are engaged iri animated conversation. This act of boorish-ncss can only add pa:in.
May 1 suggest we all try to be at least as polite in a synagpgue as we would be at a ■public .symphony concert.
Jerry Genesove ■. ■ Toronto
■ , Mistakes-
In his review of the play. "Nathan Cohen: ^ A Review." your writer made several • mistakes. One of these is rather serious and. I would ask that a correction be made. In my teliephonei conversation with Ben: , Rose 1 never used the terms "opposed" or "for" the Coriimunist Party, of which I was . a member for more than 50 years. It is utterly untrue that 1 declared that '' I am now 100% opposed to the Communist . Party." ■ It is well known that in October, 1977 l..u withdrew, from membership in the Com-niunist Party of Canada because of my disagreement with party policies on a number of iriiportant issues. In my letter addressed to the central executive of the ^ party 1 stated that i am "withdrawing" ; rather than "resigning" from the party... ; This was precisely because rny disagreements could not be measured in percentages, let. alone in^ terms of "100% opposition." '
It is utterly untrue that I refci-red to anyone in Nathan Cohen's family, especially it is so insofar, as Nathan's wife is ;concerned. V.;,' .^Z"':^^:^-'- ■
1 am not 79 vears old. In June of 19811 will be 78. ■.r;/,^^'' /-.'^ ,'■
The name dfbnie^ the editors of Today Magazine was not Sol Gordon, ft was Sid Gordon. ., ■ ■ ^ " ■[■
For the sake of accuracy I would ask you to make the appropriate corrections. Joshua Gerstunan Toronto
and told the operator he would commit suicide withiri 48 hours if his allowance ; wasn't-raised. _
Salomon took the call and defused a potentially tragic situation.
Sometimes." it doesn't end so well. A coriimission doctor was gunned down by_a_ veteran in Ottawa someyears back.."It was -the firsthand, hopefully, the last time."
Solomon, who enjoys his Job immensely, was bom in Winnipeg, the son of a Romanian tailor who arrived hi Canada In 1901. His mother, Molly Katz, was a native of Russia. '
The family settled in Dauphin, Man., where Solomon received his early education. In Dauphin, populated largely by Ukrainians. Solomon's father. Samuel, was a mover and a shaker. He was a council member, deputy mayor and a founder of the library.
Samuel Solomon and his wife, had three children in all, including Marsha (Palmer), who lives in Ottawa, and Ernest, a research chemist arid oil company executive who is now deceased.
Their second son, Allan, obtained degrees in arts and law from the University of .Manitoba, and in public administration from Carjeton. He practiced law in the sniall community of Swan River. "1 left Dauphin in 1940 and I've only seen it once since," he says. "J keep promising myself I'll go back."
In 1942, Solomon joined the navy. "Very few Jewish boys did," he notes. "It had a reputation for being anti-semitic. I never experienced anti-semitlsm. Maybe I was lucky. People in contact with me had great respect for me and I had great respect for them."
During the war. he served in St. John's, Ottawa, Halifax and London. Except for several short sea voyages. Solomon spent those years as a landlubber. "I loved the sea but I didn't go often."
Unhke the majority of his contemporaries, Solomon made a career in the armed forces, reaching the rank of captain (equivalent to that of a full colonel in the army). When the war wound down, he was appointed secretary to the Canadian Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Then he held posts on the Naval Board of Canada and the defence committee of the cabinet, ■
At one point, he was loaned to the U.S. navy for special duties in Washington.
In 1960. he was promoted to captain, a rank no Jew had previously had. Four years iater. Solomon was judge advocate of the fleet. a legal position. Then he was assistant chief of naval personnel. Between 1964 and 1968. he was director of personnel legal services at defence headquarters in Ottawa.
During this period, he travelled to Vietnam. Laos, India, Tanzania and Ghana to examine various problems relating to Canadian servicemen and their families in those countries.
His wife, the former Shirley Waldrrian of Winnipeg, accompanied him on some of those trips. An amateur photographer with: a gifted eye; Soloriion often took his camera along on his missions. The walls of his office, adorned with his framed photos, are vivid testimony to his hobby. . Prior to joining the Canadian Pension Commission in Ma:y of 1970, Solomon was stationed in Canada's embassy in Bonn,
[Wayne Cuddlngton photo] Allan Solomon, chairman of the Canadian Pension Commission.
West Germany, from where he advised Canadian embassies in Western Europe on defence matters. "It was a fascinating job," he recaOs.
Solomon represented Canada at NATO riieetings. worked on status-of-forces military agreements and handled the usual run of problems — court martials. drug cases — associated with the armed forces.
He had to accustom himself to working in Germany, a land dripping with unpleasant memories. "There was a short adjustment period," he says, "i had to work on the basis that West Germany was a friendly government, arid that its objectives were the same as ours.
'' BiJt 1 couldn't hide from myself the facts of history. My wife lived with the knowledge that many of her reiatives ended up in the gas ovens." ■
Why, he was asked, did he devote almost 30 years to the navy?
"It was a way of life I couldn't" get anywhere else. In the service, you're shifted and moved around. You become knowledgeable In many things. I've been
around the worid I don't know how many times, and I've had very interestiiig jobs."
Solomon, the father of two, didn't have any trouble rnaking the transition from navy "lifer" to that of chairman of the Canadian Pension Commission, which gives him the status of deputy minister. '
In a sense, his career prepared him for the position.
"I've never had ajobl enjoyed so much," he says, exuding genuine delight. "There's something different all the time."
Under Solomon, the Canadian Pension Act. now 62 years old, wais strengthened. He introduced a 24% hike in basic rates, tied annual adjustments to the consumer price index and equalized male, and female pensions.
In 1983. the Canadian Pension Commission is scheduled to transfer its headquarters to Chariottefown. "1 probably won't go there." he siays. 'll'll be ready for retirement."
By then, Allan Solomon will have served his country, in war and in peace, many times over.
By RABBI BERNARD BASFON
The question is as old as history itself: : Who is an educated person?
Down the long centuries the answers have varied according to time and circumstance. An ancient Greek philosopher taught that an educated person always has riches within him. An American historian maintained that there are obviously two ' kinds of education: "One that teaches us how to make a living, and the other how to -live." And Albert Einstein suggested: ''Educatiori is that which remains wheri one ; has forgotten everything he Jearned in' school." ... ■'■ .1 believe that a person is educated to the-extent that he has attained all or some of the following 10 attributes: ' :
1. HE TRIES TO KNOW HIMSELF. He probes the. innermost recesses of his mind and heart. Aware of his abilities ■ and limitations, he attempts to reach a fine .
. balance between self-confidence and
humility. He has healthy regard for the' ■ - power of his appetites and passions. He realizes that he will riot achieve niaturity. effective rapport with his fellows, or enduring contentment without basic know-—ledge of himself.
2. HE IS ABLE TO EARN HIS OWN LIVING. Well trained in his specialty, he is "king in his own corner" and ableto dohis chosen work with assurance and a sense of . excellence. Useful and rewarding work lead to feelings of worth and dignity.
The individual who lis educated to work with his hands is as important to society as one who works with his uiind. A pair of skilled hands is more valuable to society ; than the output of a second-rate mind. ' !
3. HE NEVER STOPS LEARNING It is one thing to have earned a diploma, it is ianother to.have developed a restlessness to know and to keep knowing. '_^..:
, An educated person responds enthijisias;: tically to the question. "What's ne\^?" AtV. the core of his being is a driving curiosity, A \ person who strives for knowledge is_.self-;X, propelled. He can't be suppressed. Despite the rejections or rebiiffs of the,world he will discover what he needs; Knowledge is the only instrument of production that is not subject to diminishing returns.
4. HE IS AN INDEPENDENT . raiNKER. He does not accept without
question the judgments of others. He strives to ariive at truth for hiriiself. as Keats said, "by feeling it in his own heart's pulses." '.;■■-■•-■■:':
Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much. Mass communications has surrounded us vyith hawkers, pitchriien and aniultitiide of hidden and overt persuaders. We live in the midst of a misinformation explosion.
Bombarded daily by words, images and ; ideas, the educated man seeks a critical method of sorting fact from fiction; and fantasy from reality. He knows that the . more closely we study a problem or a person, the less willing we are to make a flat, glib.generalization. Uisuaily the more positive we sound the more negative we feel. It is "the haters" who have all the cheap and easy remedies.
5. HE HAS ACHIEVED HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. He is acutely aware of the heritage of yesterday. He knows that ■ without knowledge gleaned from the past there can be no objective evaluation of the present or planning for the future.
As Stephen ■Spender rerninds us: "-History is the ship carrying living memories to the future." .
He-tries to achieve the lonXview.. He sifts the enduring from; the ephemeral. He
. knows that, times of stress and even breakdown and tumult . iri society have stimulated some of mankind's greatest achievements. The accomplishments of the V Renaissance emerged ■ from its turmoil. From ancient, broken Judea came three
] great world religions.
6. HE IS ABLE TO COMMUNICATE. He can say what he wants easily, understandably — and often felicitously... His ideas in writing are presented lucidly and cogently. He doesn't insist that good
'^'communication means agreement with his ideas, and he regrets that the most ■ formidable barrier in nature is between one . person's thoughts and another's.
;,7. HE RESPECTS THE DIVERSITY OF HUMANKIND AND LIVES AT PEACE WITH HIS FELLOWS. He is tolerant of the: religiousl faith of others. He makes no' invidious \iistinction based on sex, color or creed. ''v .^.'.v
He knows the infirtite variety of mankind and the storms and stresses, aims arid
■ hopes that flow from the four billion persons who inhabit the globe. When he feels
.. inflated with self-importance he remembers that he is only one individual on a small • planet «n a little solar system in one of the. galaxies. He insists that all persons be given an equal Chance to achieve dignity.
8. HE IS RECEPTIVE TO SPIRltUAL AND ESTHETIC VALUES. There is always the danger that ourever-expanding mate- -rial needs will push our vital spiritual needs
■ iritb limbo. A pennyheld close enough to the eye will shut out the sun. ': .
An educated person is able to perceive • . tbe beauty of the universe in tree, waterfall, flower and cloud. He can erijoy fine music, great art and enduring literature. A life of quality requireis immersion in those ; things that add meaning, savor and purpose ; to our years.
9 HE HAS DEVELOPED A GUIDING PHILOSOPHY AND SET OF STANDARDS. Science is amoral. Scientific research produces both the Salk vaccine and atomic wekpons. Its products are the jet tra;isport as Well as the inter-continental ballistic missile. :):^:-.\.. ■■
■As our knowledge of the laws of the ^uhiverse increase so does our desperate ; need for wisdom. The,educated person will always try to measure material achievement^ against the touchstone of moral and spiritual values. .■;•„ 10. HE ATTEMPTS TO TRANSFORM HIS IDEAS INTO EFFECTIVE ACTION. The educated person does not retire to . cloister or tower to dream of another age. . The isolationist is an anachronism. The-worthy person lives in the World. He works in the arena and. market place. He is . involved in the unending struggle for the survival and triuinph of right and truth. He abhors fanaticism and avoids the thought- / : less idealism, described by Carl Sandberg as "1 am an idealist. ;. 1 don't know where . 1 aril going, but 1 am dn my way.''
Upon the educated man,' as described^ : depends the fatnre of the human race. He realizes that In the fight for survival a tie or split decision simply will not do. He regards his formidable responsibility, if not with , complete serenity, at least with realism and . hope. '"':■'■'■... ' V.,-■