GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

July 15 1947
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

July 15 1947

Cross Country

British Columbia

VICTORIA, which prides itself on being “a little bit of Old England” (to quote the tourist literature), this year took what many Victorians consider a most un-Victorian step. It took the helmets off its guardians of the law and transformed them from picturesque bobbies into plain North American cops.

The police had complained that their chin-strapped headpieces were too uncomfortable in hot weather; maybe tourists liked to take pictures of helmets but the cops didn’t like wearing them. Mayor and council agreed, hut not before they had heard some protests.

George l. Warren, an energetic tourist booster, deplored the change. Council relented slightly, and one policeman on duty near the docks will carry on the picturesque but uncomfortable tradition.

* * *

Life’s never dull for neighbors of the Dukhobors, that unpredictable Russian sect of primitive Christians. So when it came out that the Dukhobor colony at Milliers, on Vancouver Island, had a wifesharing program, it shocked hut didn’t greatly surprise newspaper readers, who knew the Dukhobors as draft-dodging, school - burning and nude - marching fanatics.

What did cause surprise, though, was the discovery that what HTiers’ community was doing was quite legal. You can be arrested for burning a school or parading naked, but it’s quite all right with the Criminal Code if you and your neighbor agree to swap wives (or husbands, for that matter). Adultery only interests the courts when it is grounds for divorce.

First stories from Hilliers gave the impression that wives there were held in something like a common pool, to be drawn upon as needed. This hurt the feelings of Michael Verigin, leader of the colony and descendant of Peter “The Lordly” Verigin, chief of the Dukhobors when they came to Canada 48 years ago.

Wives are not shared “in rotation,” he explained; Continued on page 51

Continued from page 14

instead it’s done by “mutual arrangement.” How does it work? “If any wife in the settlement wishes to associate with a man other than her husband, the husband will not object. The same applies to the wife.” Verigin said it was never intended in the Bible “that one man should regard a woman as his personal property and that their relationship should be hemmed about by man-made restrictions.”

There are only 180 Dukhobors at Hilliers, 80 men. 60 women, 40 children. They are offshoots of the radical “Sons of Freedom,” the nude-parading, and school-burning sect, which is in turn an offshoot, of the main body of Canada’s 17,000 Dukhobors. Unlike the Sons of Freedom, the Hilliers Dukhobors favor education.

Coast churchmen denounced the wife-sharing plan roundly, but perhaps the most heart-rending outcry came from real-estate men at Qualicum, swank seaside resort five miles away. Said one agent: “Real estate just can’t be sold in Hilliers now.”

* * *

At Dawson Creek, the end of steel in the Peace River country, J. E. Hawley, big-scale hog rancher, is operating an enterprise which he hopes will revolutionize the swine industry. For lack of a better name it could be called a pig hatchery.

In Mr. Hawley’s $50,000 plant are 200 purebred Yorkshire sows and 12 boars. This year he expects they’ll produce 2,500 baby pigs. When the youngsters are weaned they’ll be shipped to farmers to raise. Price: eight dollars, f.o.b. Dawson Creek.

Mr. Hawley’s idea has caught on. He has shipped weanlings as far as 1,000 miles by train and truck and to Alaska by airplane. He envisions such “pig hatcheries” spotted throughout the country like grain elevators. This, he says, would “elevate the swine industry from the present complex and disgusting muddle to a most pleasant and profitable department of the average mixed farm.”

Each of the 90 employees of M. D. Muttart, Ltd., an Edmonton lumber company, is made personally responsible for losses arising from illegal or sympathy strikes in a union contract recently signed by the firm. The agreement is believed unique in Canada.

Mutt arts told the Amalgamated Building and Construction Workers (CIO) that they wanted some protection against wildcat and sympathy strikes in return for wage increases and other concessions. The union agreed, but balked at posting the $20,000 bond the company asked for, since a union can’t be sued. Finally, a compromise was reached; each employee signed the contract, making him personally responsible for its observance.

* * *

What’s Manitoba’s industrial future? As the war was drawing to a close the province asked a Montreal consulting engineer, J. R. Donald, to peer into the future and report possibilities. His 370-page survey has now been released.

Agriculture will remain the basic breadwinner for Manitobans, said Mr. Donald, followed by the manufacturing industry based on agriculture. However, he thinks the demand for farm products has just about hit a peak for the time being, and he suggests the best opportunities for manufacturing may lie in lines not directly connected with agriculture. Because changes in tariffs, freight rates and immigration could greatly alter the picture, the report is cautious, gives the green light to only 14 or so new industries.

In mining, though, Mr. Donald thinks Manitoba has a great future. Although it’s considered one of the prairie provinces, actually about three fifths of the province lies within the pre-Cambrian shield, source of most of the mineral production in Ontario and Quebec. The province, however, has no coal or oil. Donald suggested that perhaps natural gas could be piped from Alberta or western Saskatchewan.

Ontario

From now on Toronto fire engines racing to a blaze will pay strict atten-

lion to traffic lights. If the light is red the drivers are under orders from Chief Sinclair to “slow down and proceed with caution.”

This ruling came about after two engines from different stations speeding to a fire in a school reached an intersection at the same moment. One of the machines ran through a red light and into the path of the other. In the smashup three firemen died. It was the first such accident in Toronto.

At the inquest the driver of the illfated vehicle said he had gone against the traffic signal according to “custom.”

The coroner’s jury took the viewr t hat there would have been no deaths had the law been strictly obeyed. It recommended that law, not custom, be obeyed by the fire department.

Quebec

Three pretty young women, interested respectively in codfish, teeth and kilocycles, recently made news in Montreal.

The codfish lady was Anita Marion Kochs. She graduated in a record McGill class of 1,075 men and women with first-class honors in zoology and a gold medal in biology. She is a German refugee who came to Canada in 1940 with her parents and two other children. This summer will find her in Gaspe, investigating the tiny parasites which infest codfish and reduce their commercial value. After finding, identifying and, if possible, destroying this pest, she plans to settle down in Canada as a research scientist.

Also in McGill graduating class was Roberta Phelps Dundass. She headed the class in dentistry, the first woman ever to do so. Dr. Dundass will take postgraduate work in the United States then practice in Montreal, probably in partnership with her two dentist brothers. She is particularly interested in children’s dentistry.

The kilocycle girl was Elizabeth Prescott, a Toronto miss from a family of mariners, who went to sea as a wireless operator. She turned up in Montreal during one of the regular calls of her ship, the Norwegian motor vessel Apollo, which is on the Netherlands East Indies run. Canada does not allow women wireless operators in her merchant marine, so Miss Prescott had to .sail under the Norwegian flag when she first went to sea two years ago.

★ * *

Canada is t Do only country of any consequence in the world which has no national library, Dr. W. K. Lamb, librarian of the University of Rritish Columbia, told the national conference of universities in Montreal. “In 1932 we shared that; distinction with Siam,” said Dr. Lamb, “but they have since established one.”

As a result, he said, Canadian scholars doing research have to lean heavily on American institutions such as the New York Public Library, the Harvard Library and the Library ot Congress. Rut he had learned that these libraries were reaching the peak of their capacity and might soon have to decline enquiries from Canada.

* * *

Montreal is planning a handsome home for the two organizations that earn it the unofficial title of “air capital of the world.” The structural steel contract has already been signed for a 10 - story International Aviation Building which will house the International Civil Aviation Organization and its working partner, the International Air Transport Association.

The CNR is erecting the building, as soon as materials become available,

as part of a large development which will arise above and around its Central Station. It will include a 27-story office building and a 700-room hotel.

The Maritimes

Insects and disease are taking an immense toll of New Brunswick hardwood stands. Worst hit is birch, 90% of the hardwood in the province, which is succumbing to the bronze birch borer despite all efforts to check this pest. The loss is running into millions of feet.

Lumbermen say they could salvage some of the dying forests if they could get a better price for wood—but export quotas are too small and the domestic price is too low. Ottawa’s policy, they say, is to encourage softwood production for the building trades.

* * *

The international yacht race from Marblehead, Mass., to Halifax will be resumed this month and Maritime yachtsmen are looking forward to some fine sport, but not much chance of victory. Canada will have eight or 10 entrants in the 366-mile race against a field which may reach 100. Moreover, some of the American entrants will be rigged out with all the latest in yachting gadgets, including costly suits of sails, ship-to-shore telephone, radar and depth-sounding gear.

The Marblehead to Halifax race will start on the afternoon of July 19 and finish at the Halifax breakwater some time Monday, July 21. Concurrently a power boat fleet will race over the same course, with fuelling stops at Vinal Haven, Me., and Barrington, N.S. The Atlantic air-sea rescue organization, combining the RCAF, RCMP, RCN and the U. S. Coast Guard will go into action if yachts get into trouble in bad weather.

The first Marblehead-Halifax race was run in 1939; the leading Canadian entry placed third. The war interrupted the series.

* * *

The Home and School Association of Kensington, P.E.I. (pop. 767), was meeting as usual in the principal’s room of the school. The eye of one of the lady members fell on the calendar on the wall. It was a pin-up girl—not a very daring one, but still a pin-up girl. Up jumped the member and moved that the calendar be taken down. The motion passed.

The principal questioned the Home and School’s authority over his taste in calendars. Next Home and School meeting the offending calendar was still there. It was no longer just a calendar —it was now an issue.

The lady who had moved that the calendar be removed wanted to know why it was still there. The meeting took sides and there was a vigorous dispute. One of the school trustees defended the principal so vigorously that he resigned from the board. Some of the teachers resigned, too.

A few days later a petition was circulated asking the trustee to reconsider his resignation. He did. The teachers did too. The storm seemed to be over.

Then, one morning, the class arrived at school to find the celebrated calendar had been removed by persons unknown. The pupils went on strike, fashioned banners bearing the slogan, “We Want Our Calendar Back” and paraded through the streets while the school bell clanged in vain.

Finally a trustee talked them into returning to school, reportedly on the promise of a big feed.

And that w'as the end of the battle of the calendar.