GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

Vegetable Waste Shocks B.C. Prairie Sunflowers Pay Off Ontario Wars on Slot Machines Big Fishing Boom Hits P.E.I.

December 15 1943
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

Vegetable Waste Shocks B.C. Prairie Sunflowers Pay Off Ontario Wars on Slot Machines Big Fishing Boom Hits P.E.I.

December 15 1943

Cross Country

Vegetable Waste Shocks B.C. Prairie Sunflowers Pay Off Ontario Wars on Slot Machines Big Fishing Boom Hits P.E.I.

BRITISH COLUMBIA consumers were shocked to learn recently that vegetables for which high prices were being asked on the Vancouver market were going to waste by the ton in the fields and storage houses of the Sumas-Matsqui-Abbotsford and Mission districts of the Valley.

Tons of carrots and other vegetables perished from the early frosts. Tons of cabbage, a rare commodity on Vancouver tables lately, were plowed under. Many, many tons of potatoes were lying unsold in various storehouses.

How did it happen? Some time ago the Government, anxious to avoid the potato and vegetable famine of last winter, appealed to growers in those districts which ordinarily produce berries and similar crops to plant vegetables instead. So they did. The resulting glut swamped the facilities of the Coast Vegetable Board. Growers have tried to find other means of selling their produce but B.C.’s orderly marketing legislation is rigid—all sales must be through the Board. A farmer cannot even sell to a friend, and Vancouver restaurant owners who also have farms in the Valley cannot even bring their own vegetables into the city for use in their own eating places. They must sell to the Board and buy from the Board.

Enemies of the Board—and there are many among the growers, particularly in the Fraser Valle;/—hope that this time they have found a stick with which to flog it to death.

Most cities in British Columbia report an increase in burglary, holdup, shoplifting and purse-snatching activities. Vancouver’s monthly loot is estimated at between $25,000 and $30,000, much of which is never traced or recovered.

Sneak thieves appear to be taking advantage of the depleted police forces now protecting most West Coast cities and in some instances have bragged openly of their disdain for the law. Nor have citizens shown any great co-operation with officers in the apprehension of petty thieves. Preferring to avoid the bothersome routines associated with a police investigation, many have been satisfied to collect from their insurance companies as reimbursement for losses sustained.

Drug addicts and dope peddlers have been unusually active this year. They have broken into hospitals, drugstores and doctors’ automobiles, on more than 50 occasions, getting away with tubes of cocaine, morphine, heroin and other drugs. In normal times some ships coming from the Orient helped keep the addicts supplied, but now that this source of supply has been cut off they are taking more desperate means of getting what they want.

The suggestion that doctors should carry drugs with them on their person, instead of leaving them locked up in cars, has not met with much favor among the medicos. They’d rather have an addict rifling their cars than their pockets.

* *

Some landlords along the Pacific Coast have discovered a new device for beating rental “ceilings” set by the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. These landlords will rent you a house or apartment—but

there’s a catch to it. Before you can get into the premises you must purchase a key. One such key sold for $50 in Vancouver recently.

Prairie Provinces

ALBERTA’S dairy production this year is expected L to reach the record value of $33,000,000, exclusive of Dominion subsidies, but this doesn’t mean Alberta is going to escape the shortages which afflict other provinces. Cheese, for instance, is almost as difficult to get in Alberta as a chocolate bar and cheese lovers have been told not to anticipate any improvement in t he situation. The bulk of Alberta’s cheese production is going to help make up the 150,000,000 pounds of cheese Canada has contracted to supply Britain.

Incidentally, soft drink users in Alberta are faced with a puzzling situation. They’ve found the flavor name stamped on a bottle cap doesn’t mean much these days and that they’re liable to pick up a bottle labelled orange and find lemon inside. Soft drink manufacturers explain their line of flavors has been sharply restricted and since metal is scarce, too, they’re using up the caps of discontinued lines on any pop they bottle.

If a Saskatchewan farmer finds a buffalo roaming wild on his property, is he allowed to shoot it? Not according to Saskatchewan law and the law holds,

even if the buffalo is smashing his cattle corral, terrifying his steers and generally making a nuisance of itself. When one excited farmer near Coronach, Sask., reported such doings to officials of the Department of Natural Resources not long ago, he was told there was nothing in the provincial Game Act to cover the situation, and that he’d better not shoot the animal.

Probably the last proud descendant of its kind, the wild buffalo bull had followed some of the farmer’s cattle back to their corral. Trapped inside, the animal had gone on the rampage, smashing through the fence and carrying part of it away with him. Fearing further trouble the farmer had sought permission to shoot the buffalo. If official refusal worried him it need not have, for the next day the buffalo provided

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its own solution. It vanished—where, nobody knows.

Though few Manitobans knoYv it, their province grew something like

14.000 acres of sunflowers this year— almost half the Dominion total of

29.000 acres. To most Canadians that may mean little except that it sounds like a lot of ground to dexmte to flowers. And so it is—but it pays off.

Sunflower seeds are a valuable source of edible oil and Canada’s supply, now limited, needs all the bolstering it can get. Cultivating sunflowers is a profitable undertaking, too, for cash returns run as high as $35 an acre. For wheat it is only about $29; oats $28 and barley $21. Returns from flaxseed, the only other oil crop of importance, run about $18 an acre.

Sunflower oil may be hardened or hydrogenated to produce shortening. In its refined form it is used as a cookingoil. It finds a multitude of other uses in the preparation of such edible foodstuffs as mayonnaise and sandwich spreads. Sunflower meal, besides beingone of the highest protein foods, has commercial possibilities for human consumption. In many respects it resembles the soyb3an. Roasted, the seeds are good eating and have been in high favor for years with people of Russian extraction.

Sunflower protein may be processed to produce an egg white substitute for use in baking. Other possibilities include its use in the plastics and nylontype textile field.

The future of the sunflower, officials say, appears almost as bright as the floYver itself.

A wood fuel shortage, of between

100.000 and 125,000 cords, faces Manitoba this winter, according to an estimate made by the Minister of Mines and Resources for the province. At the moment dealers are getting $9 a cord for their wood. In pre-war years they had to think up a good bard-luck story to sell wood for $2 a cord.

But the shortage of wood is by no means the only growing shortage in this province. Chocolate bars, gum, citrus fruits, raisins and many of the other items, Jong short in the East, have at

last run short and Manitobans are getting a taste of what Canadians in other provinces have had to put up with for some months. Electric irons are among the missing and the Winnipeg Hydro is looking for secondhand items. One large department store is in the market for used luggage, and Winnipeg taxi firms are advertising for drivers 65 years old and over.

Ontario

Ontario has been warring against slot machines.

On a recent cleanup day in the basement of the Parliament Buildings at Queen’s Park, Toronto, provincial policemen made short work of confiscated gambling devices stored there. Shiny, streamlined machines, jammed with hard-to-get springs, steel and other gadgets, were reduced to scrap. An inspector of the Ontario antigambling squad said about 450 slot and pinball machines have been smashed since his squad was formed.

Who gets the dimes and nickels? They are collected and shipped to the receiver-general. The hundreds of feat of electrical wiring, transformers, contacts and motors, contained by each machine, are used for war purposes.

* * *

When goods shortages and other wartime restrictions started piling up on Canadian businessmen, many feared bankruptcy was just around the corner. Now, however, figures released by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics show that bankruptcies in Canada are at a record low.

During one recent month only 23 business concerns in all Canada failed. This was in contrast to the same month of 1942 when 58 firms folded up and in still more startling contrast to the corresponding month of 1939 when 117 bankruptcies were reported.

Officials attribute the sharp decline in business failures to two things. Generally speaking, wartime business has been more profitable for most companies and since 1942, regulations restricting the opening of new firms have meant that a businessman can’t fail and then open shop in some other person’s name.

More thought is to be given to the problems facing the Ontario farmer and under a plan suggested by the provincial Minister of Agriculture, the farmer himself will have a more prominent part in the study of such problems.

Known as the County Unit Plan, it will begin operation in 1944 and it is expected that each of the 38 counties in Ontario will form an agricultural unit along the lines recommended by the Minister. Recently, such suggestions were endorsed by representatives of 35 Ontario counties.

These Government-assisted units in each county will deal with the marketing and distribution of:' farm produce and sucli other problems as reforestation, soil conservation and the health of livestock. Under the plan each county unit will consist of one member named by the Government (probably the county agricultural representative) ; one appointed by each member of the legislature the county has in office; and one member by the county council. In addition, a representative from each of the organized farm groups in the county will be invited to sit on the committee. Each of the committee members will be farmers or men well qualified as farm authorities.

A similar county unit plan has already proved successful in Great Britain where, during a period when the outlook was critical, it is credited with boosting British food production. Government officials here explain that it should also prove to be a factor in the development of postwar agriculture.

Quebec

Officials operating the various war plants in this province have disclosed a new headache hampering the efficient operation of their factories. Workers, most of them unaware of the seriousness of their pilfering, have been stealing small tools, which are not only valuable but extremely difficult to replace. For months now security police have striven to stamp out the practice. Judges have let it be known that they take a serious view of such thefts—ranking them as a form of sabotage—and stiff sentences are being handed out to offenders.

Telephone service to 15 subscribers on a Montreal street was put out of order the other day—and for a time nobody knew why. Then it was discovered that the saboteurs were squirrels.

The frisky little animals had held a teething session on a phone cable, picking all the lead sheathing off the wires. As a result rain seeped into the otherwise waterproof circuit, putting it out of action.

* * :|í

In a flag-draped courtroom, flanked by civic dignitaries and RGMP officers in full-dress uniform, a unique ceremony took place in Montreal recently. During it, 41 new Canadians were granted citizenship—the first public ceremony of its kind ever staged in Montreal.

New Brunswick

New Brunswickers are guessing about two things these days—how soon the war will end and how soon will New Brunswick have its next provincial election.

To an outsider the province already appears to be in the thick of a vote campaign. Newspapers are studded with political stories and advertisements. In past weeks bigwigs of both

the Progressive-Conservative and CCF parties have toured the province on speaking tours, preparing their cohorts for an all-out assault. The revamped and revitalized Tories are stepping up their vote-catching propaganda and already have named candidates in several countries.

Through all this hustle and bustle, Premier John B. McNair and his followers are keeping mum but at the last session of the Legislature, a free schoolbooks measure was extended to include more grades, and a scheme for modernization of the rural school system was adopted. Topping this, the Mothers’ Allowance Act—passed in 1930—was proclaimed and the first cheques mailed to the beneficiaries.

The present Administration was elected in November, 1939, and speculation here is that the Government will go the limit on its five-year term. If it plans otherwise, only Premier McNair knows the zero hour. But neither the Progressive - Conservatives nor the CCF—which party will debut in New Brunswick politics in the coming elections—intend to be caught napping should the Government call a snap election.

Merchants across Canada have been urging shoppers to buy them Christmas gifts early—but in Saint John one group of buyers needed no coaxing. They have been raiding the stores since early autumn.

These are the British Merchant Seamen, many of them grizzled, weather-beaten veterans of more than one North Atlantic submarine duel. Almost any day in the week these men can be seen, along uptown streets, toting toy dolls, games and other trinkets for the kiddies back home, where toys have been few and far between for several wartime Yuletides.

Although censorship forbids mention of ships and their cargoes, there’s no harm in mentioning that one battlescarred freighter steamed out of this port carrying above deck—50 baby dolls.

N ma Scotia

Victims of several almost unbelievable incidents recently, Halifax police can’t be blamed for thinking it’s a wacky world.

It all started when police arrested a pistol-packing stranger in a Halifax restaurant. He was wearing a sealskin jacket, baggy black pants, white and yellow socks and high moccasins. He jabbered excitedly as police whisked him off to headquarters, and a companion who tagged along with him informed police that their prisoner was an Eskimo, who always carried a revolver to protect himself from polar bears. Arraigned before the court, the prisoner, through his self-appointed interpreter, gave his name as Gargit and his address as Baffin Land. The court was taking all this very seriously when a high civic official, attending court to witness Halifax’s first Eskimo trial, demanded to know why the prisoner had a Hollywood profile and nothing of the Eskimo about his features. The interpreter explained, confidentially, that the accused was the son of a white trapper and Eskimo mother.

At this point another interpreter undertook the questioning and it was discovered the prisoner didn’t even speak broken Eskimo. The masquerade was over.

“Gargit” admitted his real identity, revealing that he was a naval rating 30 days AWOL.

But this was only a beginning. After arresting another Halifax chap for failing to report for military duty, police were told he had been exempted as a conscientious objector. When the magistrate ordered him to spend a day in jail for refusing alternative service, the prisoner pleaded that sending him to jail was a violation of the Atlantic Charter, which guarantees every man the right to worship according to the dictates of his conscience.

* *

At a time when Halifax police were faced with several unsolved crimes, including two major safecracking jobs, they arrested two naval ratings on suspicion. After questioning them, police happily announced the sailors had confessed to a $1,500 robbery from a Halifax junk dealer. But their joy at solving the theft was short-lived.

It developed that at the time of the robbery, both the accused ratings had teen confined in a naval detention barracks at McNab’s Island, many miles away. Police still don’t know why they confessed to a crime they didn’t commit.

Prince Edward Island

Fishermen of the Island are enjoying prosperous days, and J. J. Larabee, Provincial Supervisor of Fisheries, says they have never been so well off. Lobsters caught during the fall season sold as high as $55 a case but the real bonanza was the cod and hake raked in by Island fishermen. Cod and hake were not canned during the 1914-18 conflict but huge quantities are being put up this time. These packs

accounted for a large part of the approximately $1,500,000 which Island fishermen realized on their total catch last year. This was almost double the catch of the previous year and a further increase is anticipated by the end of 1943.

One of the Island’s new fishing endeavors, however, fell victim to a ruling by the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. Up to the time a growing shortage of tin plate made certain canning restrictions necessary, Prince Edward Island was the only province in Canada where mussels were being processed. In 1941 a Murray Harbor canning factory experimented with mussels and found them a tasty match for clams. The increasing demand for canned fish created a ready market for this long-neglected shellfish which abounds off the shores of the Island.

It was not until 1942, however, that the mussel really came into its own. Factories in many parts of the province went into production and by the end of 1942, almost 3,000 cases had been marketed. From this fishermen reaped $17,333 and the canning of mussels was placed on an equal footing with clams and other shellfish.

This year brought a rapid expansion in the mussel canning business. The new industry spread to all three counties, with factories in Egmont Bay, Grand River, Malpeque, Rustico and Charlottetown. By September more that 6,000 cases had been packed. Then came the order decreeing that only certain products could be marketed in cans. The order permitted the canning of crabs, clams, lobsters and oysters but the mussel was excluded. And so it is that Canadians, for the most part, will have to await the return of normal times before getting their first taste of canned mussel.