GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

Pattullo blacked out on West Coast Aberhart bids for national power Toronto chokes on pollution hazard Quebec chokes on conscription Nova Scotia has a short dry spell

January 15 1942
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

Pattullo blacked out on West Coast Aberhart bids for national power Toronto chokes on pollution hazard Quebec chokes on conscription Nova Scotia has a short dry spell

January 15 1942

Cross Country

Pattullo blacked out on West Coast Aberhart bids for national power Toronto chokes on pollution hazard Quebec chokes on conscription Nova Scotia has a short dry spell

FOR THREE nights after the Japanese attacked Hawaii the West Coast stumbled around in the blackout. For three days citizens raided the stores for materials to make the blackout, blacker. When the blackout, order was lifted, British Columbians massaged sore shins and blinked about them, wary eyes still on the Pacific horizon.

Few voters yet realized it, but the blackout bad also come to B.C.’s old party political machines. In both instances Tuesday, Dec. 9, was the darkest day. Victoria, most English of Canadian cities, had become a little London. As in Vancouver, many stores and offices worked all day beneath electric lights, blackout curtains too much of a nuisance to remove. In a room swathed in thick black drapes, as if for a state funeral, John Hart shuffled names for a new provincial Government. Next day B.C.’s new Premier greeted the lifting of the blackout with the announcement that he had formed a coalition cabinet—five Liberals and three Conservatives.

Missing in the blackout, and unreported in the new political dawn, was Thomas Duff Pattullo. Game fighter that he had always been, the former Premier had refused to quit, though left with only twenty followers in a house of forty-eight. Ottawa Liberals, it is reported, urged him to hang on for fear of a breakdown of the B.C. Liberal machine. He fired ministers who demanded he seek opposition support. When a Liberal party convention insisted on this course he thundered, “You are no longer Liberals, you are coalitionists!” And then Thomas Duff Pattullo walked out of the Georgia Hotel auditorium through the service entrance. He had walked out of the Liberal party, too, though he returned to recommend John Hart to the legislature as his successor.

Pattullo had lived politically on a grievance against Canada, that B.C. had never been given a square deal in Confederation. His provincialism was climaxed by his refusal to discuss the Sirois report at Ottawa last January, but in October he learned at the polls that B.C. was tired of provincialism and had found a larger sense of national responsibility. He went to defeat with the Liberal machine, which had been in power with him since 1916 (except for one five-year break) and which was dying of old age.

But all this was happening as .Japanese raiders were nearing Hawaii, and British Columbian eyes weren’t on Mr. Pattullo and Mr. Hart, but on the ocean. At first residents didn’t believe the Western Air Command’s announcement that an air attack was “imminent.” But the word rang ominously in their ears, despite Washington denials, as San Francisco reported Jap planes circling the night skies and the R.C.A.F. kept repeating the warning. For the first time, when an air-raid warden tapped on its windows, B.C. jumped to douse the lights.

Coast dwellers hurriedly draped blankets over their windows or nervously went to bed. Later they got into the spirit of the thing, challenging the criticism of experts from overseas who said Vancouver remained a beautiful bomb target as late as 11 p.m. Every household took pride in its own light-tight artifice: there was the tar-paper school

and the oil-cloth school, and the fellows handy with tools who cut neat plywood panels to fit each window. Motor cars crawled along behind slits of lights from hooded headlamps.

The ragged coast line lay in darkness and shapeless ships glided about the harbor, as most everyone stayed home waiting for the bombs to fall.

There were light,er touches t oo, such as the Cockney housewife who complained that her husband had unfurled a borrowed horse blanket in the kitchen window. “So,” says she, “the ’ouse smells like a stable. I thort this was a mechanized war and I never h’expected to find meself in the cavalry.”

There had been nothing so strange and stirring as this since the railway came to Gas Town.

Registered, photographed and fingerprinted longin advance, British Columbia’s 24,000 Japanese took the war quietly and sadly. Most were considered harmless, and registration had shown there were far fewer than the usual estimate of 35,000. There are only 6,000 Japanese nationals in all Canada (the rest are Canadian-born) and these must report monthly to the R.C.M.P.

Taking no chances, police ordered the Jap fishing fleet to tie up in harbor, put engines out of business; some of the boats are surprisingly powerful and popular rumor insists many are manned by Japanese naval reserves. Japanese-language schools were closed, four Jap-language papers banned and a few suspicious yellow-men interned. Canadians were asked to let the Japanese go about their business unmolested, and little Jap tailors, gardeners, farmers and houseboys were at work as usual. And as usual, saying nothing.

“Personally, I don’t want to leave,” said Vancouver’s Japanese consul, Ichiro Kawasaki, who had arrived only ten months before and didn’t knowhow he could get home. “Canadians have been very courteous to me and 1 have enjoyed being here.” This was one Japanese official, everyone felt, who spoke the truth.

Prairies

ONE of these days the Alberta faithful may be summoned to hear Premier William Aberhart solemnly intone: “Social Credit is dead -long live Monetary Reform!”

That the newdy-formed Monetary Reform party would contest the next federal election on a nationwide basis was announced in December. Growing and insistent reports indicate that the Albertan machine will also scrap the “Social Credit” tag locally. “Monetary Reform” will conjure up no ghostly memoriesof $25-monthly-dividends, interest-free loans, and other unfulfilled promises Social Creditors would like to forget.

Non-prairie-dwelling Canadians are paying perhaps too little attention to the newborn political party which plans to draft all shades of Social

Creditors, New Democracy-itesandCreditUnionists. The portly Mr. Aberhart expects to be swept along on the crest of the new wave and land at Ottawa as Canada’s next Prime Minister—or at least leader of the opposition.

But back from Ottawa trickle reports that the Departments of Justice and Finance are constantly being asked to curb certain of Mr. Aberhart’s activities which, Alberta critics charge, are sapping the war effort. Some wild individuals, not taken seriously, are even said to have demanded his internment. When the Premier was quoted as telling the Monetary Reform Convention in Winnipeg that war loans “will never be repaid,” Hon. J. L. Ilsley quickly issued a protest. Aberhart said he had been misquoted, but his critics later produced a statement signed by the Premier, clipped from the Alberta Social-Credit Party’s official paper:

“Experience of past wars has taught us that under the present monetary system huge national war debts are piled up, imposing heavy interest burdens on the people, and that these debts can never be repaid.”

The whole Monetary Reform business has sadly disrupted Provincial Treasurer Solon Low’s gallant efforts toward refunding the $147,000,000 provincial debt. He even arranged a conference between bondholders and cabinet ministers but. this ended abruptly. A caucus of Social Credit M.P.P.s was called, and out of nowhere produced a resolution instructing the Government to refuse any refunding agreement involving an upward revision of interest payments. Alberta at present is paying an average 2.6 per cent (half the contractual rate) and Treasurer Low knows the bondholders won’t agree to refunding at that rate.

Behind the resolution may have been the fear that Monetary Reform wouldn’t be taken seriously as a Canada-wide election slogan if its advocates agreed to up interest rates on the home front. But there are wisely nodding heads which suggest that certain cabinet rivals simply didn’t relish Solon Low’s achieving the personal triumph of accomplishing the refunding scheme.

Said the Governor of Manitoba

IT IS the social duty of Lieutenant-Governors to entertain local notables and visiting personages. Notables and personages are inclined to be a worldly lot who like to sip at cocktails and long tall

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Cross Country

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drinks. But Lieutenant-Governor R. F. McWilliams, standing steadfastly on his temperance principles, serves nothing stronger than elderberry wine and assorted fruit juices at Manitoba House.

A most eminent personage, recently a Government House guest, is said to have struggled politely through dinner with no other than an elderberry bolster, only to retire to his room for restoratives immediately after. A report of the incident reached legislative corridors, quickly spread beyond, and excited quite a flurry of comment. A new cleavage cut across all party lines, one group maintaining that the LieutenantGovernor and his Lady, when entertaining on behalf of the state, should set personal scruples aside in order to cater to their guests. Their protests are not known to have had any effect., however. Elderberry wine is known locally as swamp water.

Manitoba’s 86,982 Ukrainians, who take to politics as ducks to water, currently hold seven seats in Manitoba’s fifty-four member legislature, plus an alderman’s post and school trusteeship in Winnipeg.

Their political sympathies seem to I classify them all, roughly, as either j communist or anticommunist. But ! they seldom risk a split that would permit any good Ukrainian to be defeated, and anticommunist Ukrainians will vote for a communist Ukrainian rather than an AngloSaxon. It doesn’t always work the other way, though; the communist Ukrainians sometimes put the class : struggle ahead of everything, even

blood.

Common dream of all 86,982 of them is the creation of an independent Ukrainian nation, fashioned from equal parts of Russia and Poland. The dream becomes almost an actuality in Winnipeg’s Ward Three, where most of the city’s 21,217 Ukrainians (almost ten per cent of the population) are concentrated. Here at the moment they are having a row over possession of several public halls built by the Labor Farmer Temple association.

Seems the communists got control of the Temple organization, and with the war the halls were taken over by the R.C.M.P. Now the Government I has sold them to the White Ukrainians, some of whom, the communists charge, are nothing but Skoropodskyites. A Skoropodskyite, if you still follow, is a supporter of Prince Danylo Skoropodsky, pretender to the throne of the Ukraine. The I communist-leaning Ukrainians and the liberal (non-communist)-leaning Ukrainians claim the Prince is a tool of Hitler.

Anglo-Saxon residents say that life in Ward Three is politically confusing, but never dull.

Ontario

SINCE BOTH Premier “Mitch” Hepburn and Opposition Leader George Drew have repeatedly voiced opposition to unnecessary elections in wartime, it is not unlikely that

action to prolong the term of the present provincial assembly will be taken when the legislature opens in February. The same aim might be accomplished by formation of a coalition government, and two Conservative members said favoring this plan are W. J. Stewart and Leopold Macaulay.

Hepburn has countered questions on this possibility with a bland “no comment.” But in event of coalition, it is no secret, Provincial Secretary H. C. Nixon would leave the cabinet. It is thought likely that at least fourteen and probably twenty-seven Liberals would follow Mr. Nixon into the Opposition, their ranks including Welfare and Works Minister Farquhar Oliver and Hon. P. M. Dewan, Minister of Agriculture.

Nixon is also opposed to avoiding an election because of the war. He and Highways Minister T. B. McQuesten are both said to believe that Government support is particularly strong right now in rural districts, and ideal for an election. The Plepburn Government has recently won farmer favor by bonusing hog and cheese production.

The estimable City of Toronto is going around with a wry face and a bad taste in its mouth. Municipal experts bluntly told city fathers that Toronto has been drinking “dilute sewage” for thirty years. The sewage Toronto drinks is sterilized and safe, they added, so long as there is never a breakdown in the water purification system.

Fortunately, Toronto has two of the finest filtration plants on the continent, one just opened at a cost of $14,000,000. The trouble with Toronto’s drinking water is that the intake pipes for the two plants are just eight miles apart—and halfway between them the city’s highly inadequate sewage-disposal plant dumps 72,000,000 gallons of pollution into Lake Ontario every day.

Because the sewage-disposal plant was designed to dispose of only half that amount, it can remove only thirty-four per cent of all “solid pollution” from the present flow— the rest goes into the lake. Bodies of sewage two miles in area sometimes drift past the Island intake pipe. Chlorine kills the bacteria, but industrial chemical waste reacts to create an unpleasant taste.

Norman J. Howard, director of purification, developed “superchlorination” to kill the taste; but with Toronto’s war-booming industries dumping more and more chemical waste, and Toronto’s sewage plant doing so little to dispose of it, the filtration crew are constantly in a frenzy of valve turning and regulatory chlorination.

Two years ago Toronto citizens voted approval of a new sewage-disposal plant to cost $5,600,000. Nothing was done about it till Toronto began getting a bad taste in its mouth la'st fall; now costs are up some thirty-eight per cent and the steel controller says he can’t guarantee needed materials. Orders have been given to start construction of

the first of three plant units, but even if steel is available, that will take three years. Meanwhile Toronto is drinking its own particular brand of swamp water.

Quebec

NO MATTER how things may appear on the surface in Quebec, the fact remains that the word Conscription is still the issue of the hour, even with our own Pacific coast an imminent danger zone. And yet, strange to say, it is not the question of service to the state or the democratic cause which is the burning issue, but the use of a word which has come to enjoy a grisly connotation in French-Canadian minds. It is not the habitant farmer, or the city workman in industry, or the wealthy bourgeois, or the cleric, or the intellectual who is against it. It is French Canada from Godbout and the Cardinal down to Jean Baptiste Trudeau.

In the beginning people thought of a war which would he a repetition of 1914-18. Into that framework the conscription bogey was thrust as the same bogey we knew before. Then the whole outlook on war changed, but the term remained. The discussion has never been hoisted onto the new plane.

Many people believed the Jap attack on the United States would bring about an immediate volte-face. It did not. With the new battlefield of the Pacific barely opened the Honorable Arthur Matthewson, English Protestant Provincial Treasurer and a Black Watch officer of fine fighting record from the last war, was on the air speaking of “sinister forces” at work to destroy National Unity through their insistent drive on this one bogey-word. He spoke of certain sections of the press. It is a well-known fact that Matthewson was gunning primarily for the Montreal Gazette and, in lesser degree perhaps, for Jean Charles Harvey’s Le Jour, the very name of which is anathema to French-speaking leaders of church and public life. The Toronto Telegram may also have been included*

The Ottawa Government itself has mishandled the issue, hut doesn’t even know it, or the mistake-making ministers don’t. Some weeks ago Colonel Ralston sent for an eminent French-Canadian Montrealer and offered him the post of chief recruiting officer for Quebec. This gentleman tried togive the minister a bird’seye view of the problem. He told Ralston frankly that too much stress had been laid on such terms as Empire, not enough on Commonwealth, “saving Canada” and so forth. He urged a strong, fearless propaganda throughout the French country, the creation of a new viewpoint as to the inherent problems of war. He was told that the Minister knew the problem, had devised his own policy to fit it, wanted a man to give effect to that policy, not to devise ways of his own of reaching the potential French - speaking recruit. The Montrealer was then told

that he would hear from Ralston in a fev days. The next he heard was through the press—the notice that Leon Trepanier had been appointed. N )w Leon is generally considered a capable journalist and something of a dabbler in politics, but so far as anyone can see he is not doing much beyond writing letters and signing eports.

The latest point is Arthur Meighen. Reeling here is that if the Conservative Party had definitely wanted to assure itself of no seats in Quebec at the next federal election, even though Meighen steps down before that time, it could not have made a better leadership selection. Even so, new political forms could easily take shape, based on Quebec. To some observers it begins to look as if the next thing that will happen in Canada isa redirecting of political estimates, with a Party of the Right (Liberal plus Tory) and a Party Somewhere Left of Middle (C.C.F. plus some Liberals, plus the field). The fate of such a new Right Liberal Party is largely going to hinge on Quebec ar.d Ontario. Quebec is not likely to take a Toryish Party carrying Meighen, and perhaps Ontario isn’t g(ing to accept one with King. But both might accept new leadership under such a man as Power. Things certainly are moving his way in Quebec.

Maritimes

BRIGHT flashes filled the sky and cannon-loud reports were heard in Saint John one December evening. Air-raid conscious citizens by the dozen telephoned newspaper offices to discover that no bombs had fallen, but instead a rare “lightning snowstorm” had caused the fireworks. If they were being bombed the people wanted to know about it—but there was no indication of hysteria, any more than there had been when “enemy planes” were earlier reported approaching the New England coast.

Following U.S. entry into the war, a special blackout test held in Saint John was pronounced successful by the authorities. Blackout cardboard of the eighteen-point gauge specified by A.R.P. officials became a scarcity as householders prepared for the test. Wardens found it necessary to check-up on many homes, however, where lights glowed round the edges of inadequate blinds. Sand will be distributed to homes for combatting incendiary bombs, and one bank has already installed sand buckets and long-handled shovels.

Instructions are to be issued from door to door, telling residents where to take refuge should their area be swept by flames.

Nova Scotia Bottleneck

NEW YORK’S air-raid scare early in December spiked a growing complacency on Canada’s East Coast. Critics say that Haligonians have become too accustomed to sitting on the edge of the war, their city and harbor an obvious target for enemy j raiders that have not come—yet.

Now they are listening to charges that in two years of war there hasn’t been a blackout even close to perfection. It’s unlikely that one house in twenty was properly equipped for a raid, before the recent awakening. Most householders have simply turned off their lights during practice blackouts. A pail of sand for fighting incendiary bombs has been a household exception, not the rule.

Again on the alert, citizens discovered that despite much talk the highway bottleneck at the city’s entrance remains a threat to speedy evacuation. Off to Ottawa in midDecember went Premier A. S. MacMillan, to impress on the Board of Transport Commissioners “the urgency of having this work undertaken at the earliest possible date.”

The Liquor Commission did its best to make the Christmas-New Year holiday a dry one. Nova Scotia was sentenced to prohibition for two weeks less a day.

Temperance forces have never given up the struggle during twelve years of “Government control,” and the war finds them hard at it today, demanding closing of liquor stores so that money may be diverted from breweries and distillers to munition plants. But there are few signs that the Government—which made close to $4,000,000 from liquor sales in the two years ending Nov. 30, 1940— wishes to kill the golden goose.

On the one hand teetotallers have a four-to-three edge in the MacMillan cabinet, including the Premier himself. Yet many party supporters saw a protest against 6 p.m. and Saturday closing of liquor stores in the near defeat of Attorney-General Josiah H. MacQuarrie at the recent elections. The 200-pound “Jo” MacQuarrie is also head of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission.

Nevertheless, the Commission shut all stores from Dec. 23 to Jan. 5 inclusive, excepting only Dec. 29. One day to stock up for New Year’s Eve.