GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross-Country

B.C. faces a wood shortage ! Calgary’s guerillas ride Saskatchewan wants war plants Cleanup waves hit Toronto Water pressure worries Halifax

May 15 1942
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross-Country

B.C. faces a wood shortage ! Calgary’s guerillas ride Saskatchewan wants war plants Cleanup waves hit Toronto Water pressure worries Halifax

May 15 1942

Cross-Country

GENERAL ARTICLES

B.C. faces a wood shortage ! Calgary’s guerillas ride Saskatchewan wants war plants Cleanup waves hit Toronto Water pressure worries Halifax

HASTINGS grounds, has PARK, become Vancouver’s the strangest fair “manning pool” in Canada, centre of the roundup of Japanese coastal residents who are being evacuated to safe inland points. First those living in the further coastal regions, such as the Queen Charlotte Islands, were moved to the camp. Too promptly some of the Japanese in less strategic areas sold their homes and closed up their businesses, only to find the Government not yet ready to take them. But as soon as the first groups began to move inland, vacancies in camp barracks were filled from those on the “waiting list.” At peak, the camp is expected to shelter 12,000 Japanese. Renovated fair buildings provide for dormitories, dining halls and a hospital where already JapaneseCanadian babies are being born.

Whenever possible families are to be kept together, but it will apparently be necessary to move thousands of mothers and children to old ghost towns in the British Columbia interior, towns like Greenwood, Sandon, Kaslo and Slocan City, while fathers are sent to work in distant B.C. and Ontario roadcamps for the duration. And after that?

Ian Mackenzie, B.C. Federal cabinet minister, declared in a written statement that he wanted the Canadian delegation to the next peace conference to see that the Japanese of Canada are all repatriated, kindly but firmly returned to their motherland. There seemed little doubt that he expressed the feelings of most British Columbians, fresh in whose ears was the blunt warning of Lieutenant Governor W. C. Woodward: “Make no mistake about it, we will be bombed here,

if not in three months, certainly in six.”

* * *

British Columbia, largest forest province, is running short of wood to burn. Sawmills are closing due to lack of labor in logging camps. Cordwood cutters have found other jobs and cordwood is becoming something to discuss in nostalgic tones, like tires . . . The B.C. Government would like to give its half-anoil-well to the Ottawa Government. The big hole at Commotion Creek in the Peace River country hasn’t reached oil yet, and the province (side-stepping bids from large oil companies) has offered the Federal Government use of the well. All oil—if Ottawa struck oil — would be free of royalties for the duration.

Alberta

SO GUERILLA fighters are going to be organized in British Columbia? The news was received with knowing nods by the hardriding, crack-shooting troopers of the Calgary

Mounted Constabulary. They had been training for just such activity since June, 1940.

Sworn in as special city constables, they have been co-operating in A.R.P. work, but the Rocky Mountain foothills lie just south and west of their city and should there ever be a threat of enemy penetration the “Calgary Mounties” vow they’ll be on the job. That’s horse country, and the troopers know their horses.

Doctors, dentists, clerks, newspapermen, retired ranchers and former cowboys comprise the three troops of the C.M.C. Every man buys his own uniform, owns and maintains his own horse ($20-$25 a month). Some prominent Calgarians presented them with 30.30 Winchester carbines and they are also armed with police riot sticks.

Three times a week the troopers have a workout, sometimes including thirty-mile cross-country treks. Commandant is Major P. P. Littlewood, retired cavalry officer. One troop leader, Eric Harvie, is a K.C. and last war veteran; another, C. W. Roenisch, a grain

man and polo player.

Alberta’s Treasurer, Solon Low, doesn’t give up easily. When a Social Credit caucus

upset his plans for refunding Alberta’s $147,000,000 debenture debt five months ago, by banning any upward revision of the interest rates, Mr. Low appeared licked. Undismayed, he is reported to have sold his scheme to all thirty-six Government members of the Alberta Legislature. Success of his “sales campaign” became apparent with a government announcement that the caucus had voted to give Treasurer Low a free hand in refunding negotiations. Conferences with bondholders were scheduled for the end of April.

If Solon Low can pull off the deal and boost the Social Credit province’s credit rating in eastern financial circles, he may also send his own political stock soaring. Political gossip has it that Premier William Aberhart has thoughts about retirement, for health and other reasons, and some of the legislative sages see Solon Low as his successor.

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Saskatchewan

OF $645,000,000 in war contracts issued by Ottawa from May, 1940, to March, 1941, only 2.8 per cent went to the middle prairie province, the Saskatchewan legislature was told by Norman McLeod, member for Souris-Estevan.

Part of the blame for Saskatchewan’s dropping population (down 34,038 in ten years) has been attributed by some leaders to the exodus of would-be warworkers to the East. Contending that this is by no means a normal condition, the legislature unanimously deplored any redistri-

bution of Federal seats for the duration (on present figures Saskatchewan stands to lose four members).

Opponents accuse Premier “Billy” Patterson’s Liberal Government of doing too little to press Premier “Billy” King’s Liberal Government for war contracts, and one C.C.F. member dismally predicted that present policies, if continued, “will leave the province populated by only the aged, the halt and the blind.”

A little more cheering was Resources Minister W. F. Kerr’s announcement that “I fully expect that we will find oil and gas in southern Saskatchewan this year.” A 9,000foot well is said planned near Radville, eighty-four miles south of Regina, and others in the Lloydminster, Kamsack, Val Marie, Horsham and Muddy Lake districts.

Meanwhile Saskatchewan’s wellestablished agricultural industry is undergoing some wartime conversion in an apparently increasing swing from wheat to coarse grains. Officials hope that most of the six million acre increase (between 1940-41) in summer fallow lands will be sown to oats and barley. And the guaranteed $2.25 a bushel for flax is said to have produced many new converts to that crop.

The back-pay-for-teachers situation in Saskatchewan is looking up. At their annual convention Saskatchewan school trustees had heard that $1,500,000 was still owing teachers throughout the province, but Saskatchewan’s new Minister of Education, Hon. Hubert Staines, was later able proudly to announce that the figure is now closer to $775,000.

Manitoba

MANY A young chap with sound heart and lungs, keen eyes and a top layer of good sense has found himself barred from the Air Force because he left high school before completing studies required for enlistment.

Hearing of this, Dr. Robert Fletcher, retired Deputy Minister of Education for' Manitoba, devised an eighteen-week course in English, mathematics aqd physics. He found an ex-school principal and another teacher to assist him and secured the use of a room in La Verendrye school in Winnipeg. Forty-five would-be airmen attended Dr. Fletcher’s new school six days a week, completed the course in April—and the R.C.A.F. secured forty-five fully qualified recruits it might otherwise have lost.

The pre-enlistment training plan didn’t originate with Dr. Fletcher or even in Winnipeg. Three schools opened simultaneously last fall in Hamilton, Ont., Regina and Vancouver. Others followed at Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, Fredericton and Truro, as well as Winnipeg. But Manitobans like to point to their former Deputy Minister as one of those practical citizens who pitch in and do something about the war effort while many just criticize it.

The course has now been standardized at twelve weeks, and the R.C.A.F. pays a subsistence allowance to its pre-enlistment students: single men living at home, seven dollars; away from home, ten; married men fifteen.

Easing Winnipeg’s housing problem, the Steel Controller agreed to release steel rods for the reinforcedconcrete foundations demanded by the dried-out clay on which Winnipeg homes are built. (Cross-Country April 15.)

Ontario

A RAID on one of the big gambling joints on the city’s outskirts has long been considered as fine sport as any Toronto newspaperman could ask.

The mad dash to the scene on a tipoff that the Ontario Provincial Police were in action . . . the big hefty cops slugging at heavy doors with axes and sledge hammers . . . The chase after furtive denizens of the club, scurrying away through secret tun-

nels . . . the sheepish, pale-faced “found ins” being bundled into patrol wagons.

But like all days of real sport, raids were rare. Campaigning clergy claimed there were eight big and thriving clubs, yet there have been only four important raids in the past five years and the raided dens are reported to have continued operations after a “decent interval.” Most ardent foe of the gamblers has been Rev. Gordon Domm of Bathurst Street United Church. In the last few months even he has been comparatively silent in the pulpit, but all the time he was pushing his crusade through ministerial groups and prominent citizens. Finally he met with Ontario Conservative Party leaders and the fireworks started.

Just as the Ontario Legislature was concluding one of the quietest and shortest sessions (twenty-one sitting days) in history, Opposition Leader George Drew let fly. He charged that one Manny Feder was an “underworld overlord” engaged in “racketeering on a scale never before known in Canada.” He charged Feder with employing U.S. gunmen, “miserable beasts brought in for pay” who beat up on rival racketeers and left them “on the verge of death with their legs broken.”

Attorney-General Gordon Conant protested that successful gambling raids were a difficult trick to turn; that months of secret sleuthing was sometimes foiled by “counter-espionage” and that some municipalities objected to “interference” by Provincial Police. But the next day he suddenly produced a “padlock law” giving his “Provincials” power to close up premises which within the past three months have been convicted of gambling operations. “Hereafter the Provincial Police will act directly ... in any municipality . . there will be no warning ... no

opportunity for a tip-off.”

A cleanup of a different kind was launched within Toronto city limits. Four service organizations have been doing an industrious job of collecting salvage, but nobody imagined they were getting all the city had to offer. Hon. J. T. Thorson’s Department of National War Services, dissatisfied with the way the scrap campaign was going throughout the country, asked the Toronto Citizens Committee for Troops in Training to dope out a real salvage blitz.

The committee went into a huddle with Toronto City Council, called in the press to broadcast the plan. Then one mid-April morning the street cleaning department’s 183 trucks launched an eight a.m. attack. Each householder (Toronto has 110,000 homes, 43,000 apartments) was asked to put out at least ten pounds of newspapers, books, magazines, bones, bottles, old rubber, metals and rags for “ammunition”—hoped-for total, 800 tons. Twelve hours later the amazed salvage army called it a day, figured they had collected less than half “the take.” From eight a.m. to eight p.m. the next day they toiled again, filled six dumpyards instead of the scheduled four, found they had trundled away more than 3,500 tons of valuable scrap from Toronto doorsteps. Almost as close

to exhaustion as the street cleaning crews, Committee members refused even to guess at the total sales value, asked 1,000 Toronto citizens to don old clothes, turn in and help sort junk. The money will provide hostel, canteen and other accommodation for men of the armed services within the city, the campaign to be repeated monthly. Elated, Mr. Thorson’s Deputy Minister, Mr. Justice T. C. Davis, announced the system would be promoted “from one end of Canada to the other.”

“Meet Miss T.T.C.,” invited the Toronto Transportation Commission, and pleasantly startled citizens discovered efficient and smartly uniformed young ladies posted at main downtown corners to sell them tickets, thus easing the bottleneck in boarding pay-enter cars. Thousands of new families who have moved to Toronto to take war work find the big city baffling and the T.T.C. believes its new feminine squad’s most important job will be providing information. Enquiries handled by the Commission’s telephone information service have jumped fifty per cent (from ten to fifteen thousand a month) in the last year.

The six girls recruited to start the service took three weeks intensive training. More may be added if the scheme is successful. Girls must be at least five-foot six; T.T.C. officials say other requirements sum up to: “They’ve got to know their way around.” The Commission won’t have the girls called hostesses (official name: guides), says they have a real job to do and that they know how to discourage nuisance questions and engaging males. It’s a good bet: all six are married.

Quebec

MONTREAL announced restoration of streetcar services on routes abandoned in favor of buses before the war and made a start by taking buses off St. Antoine Street. Other municipalities may think it wise to follow—but in suburban Longueuil steel salvagers were ripping up old interurban tracks and carting them to near-by foundries to be reforged as gun barrels; and Sherbrooke, which made a shift from trolleys to buses several years ago, now wishes it hadn’t disposed of its tracks.

New Brunswick

THE VILLAGE of Rothesay, N.B., had a visit from the Queen’s brother. While on a special mission to Washington, Hon. David Bowes-Lyon made a side-trip to spend a few days with son Simon and daughter Davina, who for a year have been attending Rothesay’s posh boarding schools—Rothesay Collegiate and the Netherwood School for Girls. The happy reunion was not unmarred: Simon had the mumps.

Since empty houses are also at vanishing point in Saint John, the city Kinsmen’s Club had a brainwave when it announced a lottery on a new $6,000 frame home. Proceeds will buy “Milk for Britain” and the way the tickets were being gobbled up by house-hungry residents indicated the total would raise a milky flood. Newly-weds and intendeds became eager speculators; some couples invested up to twenty dollars.

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Nova Scotia

HALIFAX wants to build new homes even more urgently than Saint John. Wartime Housing Limited spent $1,043,000 to erect 541 new dwellings but the Halifax Housing Committee says accommodation for 400 more families is imperative. The Committee suggested that the city be closed to all but warworkers and the City’s Safety Committee asked policemen on their beats to make a survey of all houses placarded for rent or having potential accommodation.

“I’ll bet they don’t find one,”

gambled Alderman A. H. MacKay as police started sleuthing for wanted homes, flats and rooms. “The only way for us to get any action is to put the pressure on Ottawa as Vancouver did,” declared Aid. J. E. Ahern. Alderman T. H. Coffin cautiously added, “Don’t let us go to Ottawa with a chip on our shoulders.” Council decided on a letter to Premier King and his ministers, to be backed up by a five-man delegation headed by Mayor W. E. Donovan.

If Halifax needs more homes it already has enough homes, not to mention busy shipyards and naval bases, to tax its water supply. Even before the war jumped the population overnight the city water system was due for expansion, says Works Commissioner R. M. MacKinnon. Announcement came some months ago of an $800,000 plan (Ottawa to

pay one quarter) involving the linking of Big Indian and Long Lakes, erection of a 5,000,000-gallon reservoir, installation of two new mains and a booster pump. But when firemen fighting the blaze that recently destroyed the First Baptist Church found some hoses spouting with scarcely enough pressure to smash a window, worried Haligonians demanded a progress report on the new expansion scheme.

The booster pump, the Works Department said, would be ready by mid-March, but the low-pressure danger could be permanently averted only by completion of the proposed reservoir. Twenty thousand feet of pipe and other needed materials were on hand, and the only possible obstacle to a quick job is the difficulty of securing labor. Establishment of auxiliary pumps and reservoirs throughout the city may be recommended by insurance underwriters.