BACKSTAGE WITH CANADA’S AIR DEFENSE

How good is our radar warning? Here are hits and misses

September 27 1958

BACKSTAGE WITH CANADA’S AIR DEFENSE

How good is our radar warning? Here are hits and misses

September 27 1958

BACKSTAGE WITH CANADA’S AIR DEFENSE

How good is our radar warning? Here are hits and misses

! Backstage IN THEATRE

MOST CANADIANS know about our three radar-warning systems (Pinetree, Mid-Canada and DEW), designed to guard this continent against surprise air attack. Few have any inkling of the round-theclock war of nerves in which they're engaged with aircraft of all kinds and nationalities, including Russia’s.

Here are a few never-before-disclosed details and statistics on this daily duel, as revealed to Maclean’s by Air Vice-Marshal Larry Wray, who for three years led the Air Defense Command at St. Hubert, Que., and recently took command of the RCAF’s NATO squadrons in Europe:

An average of 58 “unknown objects” is picked up every 24 hours by North America’s air-warning systems. This is one every 23 minutes. Most of these are quickly identified by radio or interceptor planes as prospectors in small bush planes, airlines running ahead of or behind schedule or lost aircraft.

But 13 a day appearing on our radar are not identified. "We have no doubt whose aircraft they are.” says Lt.-Gen. William Turner, U. S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff. His inference is that they're Russian.

Do these aircraft penetrate Canadian or Alaskan air space? “We’ve never had any proof," says Wray. But every day from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. the staff at Air Defense HQ near Montreal has become accustomed to plotting mass flights of Russian planes across the Bering Strait to the international boundary line. When the hour's up they retreat from radar range.

What if they didn't turn back? Canadian and U. S. interceptors are on constant alert. “I can't remember the day when we didn't have to scramble fighters to chase a radar sighting,” says Wray. Radar controllers are allowed only two minutes to identify a plane before sending fighters aloft. They're armed and prepared to shoot a

hostile plane. So far they haven’t met one.

False alarms are the rule, but every warning is treated with dead seriousness. One of the biggest scares occurred a year ago when a “large bomber” was detected flying southward into the Canadian Arctic. Fighters zooming into action found a tight-packed flight of southbound geese.

—PETER C. NEWMAN

Backstage IN ISRAEL

The Canadian who’s changing the nation’s shopping habits

When Israeli

shopkeepers rioted not long ago against an invasion by Westernstyle supermarkets, the gist of their demands was a blunt “Go home, Canuck!” The Canadian in the case was an ambitious Ottawa grocer named Bertram L. o e b. BERTRAM LOEB He and tIlrec •You can t stop progress. brothers run

Canada’s largest privately owned food-distributing firm, which supplies $40 million a year in groceries to the Ottawa Valley Independent Grocers Alliance.

Loeb, who had created a legal furore when he introduced trading

stamps to Canada in 1956, went to Israel a year ago to see some orange groves he owned. He intended to stay only a week or two. Prime Minister David Ben Gurion heard about him, called him in and asked if he could suggest a way to cut food-distribution costs. Israeli housewives were spending a forbidding 60% of the family budget on food. Hordes of inefficient small shopkeepers were part of the reason.

Loeb, who maintains seriously that "the supermarket is a more positive influence in raising the world’s standard of living than the United Nations,” offered his solution. He organized a syndicate of Canadian, American and Israeli businessmen. They put up $10 million for 20 supermarkets. Loeb is president and chief stockholder.

Quickly, he laid plans to revo-

lutionize the country’s shopping habits. He sent key personnel to Ottawa for training. He imported refrigerators and display cases from Canada. When the first store was ready, Loeb. with typical supermarket flair, had bands and giveaways. Ed Sullivan, on a visit to Tel Aviv, was master of ceremonies.

For the first time in Israel housewives could do all their food shopping in one store—with air-conditioning and piped music to boot. While rioters milled outside. Loeb comforted shoppers by pointing to his air-conditioned air-raid shelter. From a huge glass tank shoppers plucked live fish.

Loeb’s conquest of Israel has only begun. He predicts his first store will do $4 million business this year. To shopkeepers w'ho are petitioning the government to throw his supermarkets out of the country because he’s ruining their business, he says: "You can't hold up progress.” As for the housewives, Loeb claims he’s saving them 25% on their food bills.

Canada “raw, musty’’? Here’s how Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde struck Europe’s playgoers

WHEN MONTREAL’S boisterous Théâtre du Nouveau Monde played Brussels and Paris last summer. Canadians read flattering excerpts culled from Euro pean reviews. They decided the company was an international success. It was. But a close reading of the unedited reviews tells even more: the TNM was a triumph of theatre for some Europeans, a nagging puzzle for others, and a chance to show off wildly divergent misconceptions of Canada for yet more. Here are a few of the most revealing—and amusing judgments on Canadian theatre and Canada:

On Le Temps des Lilas, by Marcel Dubé: “A play which could only be understood, written and presented in an old French province.”—France-Soir, Paris. ". . . brings us the musty smell of this country (Canada) resplendent in its scenery and severe in its customs.” Jours de Paris. ". . . seen in Paris it has the clumsy effect of a love letter from an infatuated Canada to its big boisterous cousin, the U. S.” La Croi.x. Paris.

On Molière’s Le Malade Imaginaire: “Obviously, here were performances adapted to the tastes of somewhat raw audiences more perhaps like our own nut-crack ing Elizabethans . . ." -London l imes. “. . . by their interpretation ol Molière in Canadien, they proved ( anadians ol Montreal haven't forgotten their ancient homeland. —Les Lettres Françaises, Paris.

On some of (he players: "In Ar-

gan, Guy Hoffmann creates the most extraordinary study we have ever seen.”—Le Phare. Brussels. “Denise Pelletier, contrary to tradition, makes the mother-in-law an unreluctant Machiavelli.”—Le Soir. Brussels. "Denyse Saint-Pierre is . . . plump as a Canadian apple.”— Le Parisien Liberal. “Gabriel Gascon is ... a Franco-Americano-Canadien delinquent in blue jeans.”—La Croi.x. Paris. On Canada: "The interesting thing about Canada for the French is that it lets them couple their rich past with the present. It is always touching and amusing to see the Aunt-one-never-knew come to life and suddenly emerge as a young slip of a girl . . . But wait! The now youthful Aunt also sprinkles the conversation with OKs straight from Chicago. La Croi.x, Paris. “For us. separated by an ocean from Canada, the inhabitants of that country appear, by no act of their own, in a decor of snow' and furry animals . . .” Le Soir, GASCON

Brussels. “Canadien delinquent’