Object Lesson

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Object Lesson - An Object Lesson w first-class By C. B. PYPER...
An Object Lesson w first-class By C. B. PYPER EST of the business section of Winnipeg, at the corner of Notre Dame and Myrtle, there is a little grpup of buildings, made of wood, faced with tin, looking out on vacant, snow-covered lots. They are low and ramshackle and straggling, not much to look at from the outside; but inside there is a cheerful noise of hammering and planing, and the fresh, clean smell of new paint and shavings, and an atmosphere of happy Industry. Stacked In piles In the various rooms are the articles turned outstep ladders, tables, clothes horses. stands for washtubs, Ironing boards, magazine racks rocking horses, children's desks and chairs, and the wooden end pieces of davenport couches. They are all useful articles, strong, well-made and neatly finished and all with a definite market value. : The men who make them are I men who have been classed as un employable, and who are, In fact, unemployable by private aims in the ordinary course of competitive business. They are veterans of tho World War, unfitted by disability to get and retain ordinary Jobs. Left to themselves, they would have been useless and lost, producing nothing, living miserably and hopelessly on their small pensions. Here, In the Veteraft shops, they have been salvaged, trained to work that they can do, and are actually producing not trinkets, to be bought for charity's sake but solid, saleable articles or everyday use. s There are some 35 of them, under a foreman. I saw them In their shops this week, all apparently happy and contented, and all taking an obvious pride In their work. Mere was a man rounding off an Ironing board, there another was guiding a plank against the teeth of a circular saw; one was turning the legs of a child's chair, another dipping the finished chair In a bath of paint, a third nailing together a serviceable stand for books and magazines. Everyone waa Intent on his Job. There is a steady market for their work, which Is sold In the large stores of the city. The men themselves, once, discouraged by long periods of helplessness in hqs-pltal, have a new hope and a new Interest In life. Many graduate to regular employment, which Is the aim of their training, wherever possible. All are producing reliable Made-ln-Manltoha articles, which otherwise would have to be Imported, and all are contributing to their own support. They have all been trained tn the shops. In the spring, many of them will be turned to the making of the Veteraft popples and wreaths which are distributed throughout Manitoba and Northern Ontario on Armlstlra Pay. Iist year they produced 110,0(10 small, 15.000 large popplea, and a great number of wreaths. In many cases the disabilities ara such that the men have to take periodical holidays, for rest or for medical attention. They do not suffer for this which would dlsabla them for work with private employersand their Jobs are kepJ open for them when they return. They have their own organization and present suggestions and requests to the officer in charge, who is the unit director of administration of the Department of Soldleis Civil Re-eatnhllnhmcnt. a a The shops are operaled at a loe or, rather, at a profit and loss. Tha loss Is In the difference between expenses and the returns fur the work; the profit in the fact that it would cost much more to car for them by the relief system, tr say nothing of the benefit in (he knowledge of their usefulness. Here Is the other side of the ledger. There are soma 300 other men. suffering from war disability, for whom there is as yet no provision in the shops, and who are tn receipt of relief from the department. The relief taken the form of orders for food, fuel, rent and clothes, which arc used by the men and returned to the department for payment. There Is no compensation in this ease, either In useful article produced or In encouragement to the men. And that Is the main thing-the hope and encouragement given t the men. There is all the difference In the world between a man working happily at his bench, doing his dally Job and knowing he Is still of some use In the world, and a man waiting at the door of an officii for a dole In the way of food anJ lodging. It would seem to be worth while to extend the undertaking, to enlarge. the shops so as to accommodate all the men now needing relief, to widen the scheme of the work so as to lake In the manufacture of other articles of simple de sign, such as toys, which are now brought from abroad. What Is being done at present is at once a revelation and an object lesson. a a a It Is an object lesson of what may be done, not only in the case of the unemployable returned soldier, but in tho case of the employable unemployed. The system of the Veteraft shops could not be applied to unemployed men who are fit for any kind of work and who have no vpeelsl claims on the community, but It shows that It is possible, when necessary, to devise scheme of work that will provide some return and will be better than soul-destroying doles.

Clipped from
  1. The Winnipeg Tribune,
  2. 10 Feb 1928, Fri,
  3. Page 13

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