GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross-Country

Dim-out along Pacific coast Alberta has recruiting boom Anthracite famine in Ontario Quebec gets new school law? Halifax dance floors rationed

February 15 1943
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross-Country

Dim-out along Pacific coast Alberta has recruiting boom Anthracite famine in Ontario Quebec gets new school law? Halifax dance floors rationed

February 15 1943

Cross-Country

Dim-out along Pacific coast Alberta has recruiting boom Anthracite famine in Ontario Quebec gets new school law? Halifax dance floors rationed

British Columbia

THE COALITION Government of British Columbia has successfully weathered its first year of office and appears to have shaken down into something fairly permanent. Since it is the only union of Liberals and Conservatives in the country, forced into collaboration by the threat of a powerful Socialist Party, the fate of Mr. John Hart’s ministry is of some significance and importance nationally.

When it was formed early in 1942 the Hart Government was regarded by most politicians as a makeshift temporary expedient to keep the Socialists out and preserve stable government until something else turned up. Neither the Liberals nor Conservatives in the Ministry showed any sign of abandoning their own partisan activities, nor any desire for a permanent merger.

But events of the last year have produced a definite conviction among men in both parties that they must stick together for a long time yet, certainly over the next provincial election. Two considerations impel this view. One is the success of the coalition which surprised the politicians, though it did not surprise the public which has never seen any real difference between the two parties in provincial affairs anyway. Second, the obvious strength of the C.C.F. has made it clear that they will make a strong bid for office three years from now.

There is always the chance that accidents of personality may smash the coalition. There is the danger of the two rival party machines clashing. But at the moment the Government obviously is going ahead on the assumption that the existing arrangement, the very sensible division of politics between Socialists and non-Socialists, is going to last.

* * *

Vancouver expects to pay twelve dollars a cord

for bushwood, which is fantastic by pre-war

standards, but probably will be glad to pay it rather than go cold. Indians among others are to be mobilized to cut wood in the bush and it is hoped to saw up vast quantities of driftwood now lying in a lake behind a power dam east of Vancouver.

* * *

By the time this is printed the Pacific Coast will be dimmed out, apparently for the duration. Victoria already has been transformed at night and Vancouver is to go into the shadows immediately. The dim-out, of course, is very different from the blackout which was ordered just after Pearl Harbor and again last autumn for one night. But the dim-out is uncomfortable enough to remind British Columbians that the Japs have recently strengthened themselves in Kiska. Street lights are dimmed, all houses must pull down their blinds and the headlights of all cars are painted over until a crack about the size of a stick of gum only is left

open. The idea is not to protect the coast against air attacks, but to eliminate the glow in the sky against which ships might be silhouetted and torpedoed.

Gas masks are now being distributed to all people on the coast. Those who cannot afford to pay get them free. But so little is the public worrying about gas attacks just now that distribution is slow and only a small part of the population is yet equipped.

Prairies

ALBERTA rolled up the greatest monthly total - of volunteers for the armed forces during January than for any month since the war started.

It happened this way. Early in December the Dominion Government announced that all single men between the ages of nineteen and forty, who had not received their Army call, would have to undergo a special registration at any post office before February 1.

Calgary newspapers interpreted the regulations as designed to catch draft dodgers, and they said so in bold print. At that time recruiting for the three services was in the doldrums.

Right after New Year the rush to join the colors started. Recruiting officers woke up every day to

find prospective recruits practically sleeping on the doorstep. Additional medical boards were required to cope with the rush. They came in by the score. Every province in Canada was represented. The majority of them gave Alberta towns as their home addresses.

The recruiting officers were too busy to even enquire the reason for the rush, but some of the lesser officials were half wise.

“What’s the cause of the sudden rush?” one bustling N.C.O. was asked.

‘AVhat happens when it’s twenty below zero and you open the window wide?” the N.C.O. countered.

“Guess you’d get caught in the draft.”

“That’s the right answer!” grinned the N.C.O. * * *

When they celebrate in Saskatchewan they celebrate, so the Provincial Game Commissioner was not surprised when he received word from a

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Cross-Country

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rancher that rattlesnakes had been seen roaming the prairies.

But investigation proved the report to be true. There were rattlesnakes in Saskatchewan !

A rancher in the Ponteix district, 125 miles southwest of Moose Jaw, in the southwest section of the province, had uncovered a large rattlesnake den. He estimated there were over 400 snakes in the den and of that number at least 200 were rattlers.

The rattlesnakes were only found in isolated areas and those on the ranch at Ponteix had probably migrated from Montana up the water courses that drain into the State of Montana from Saskatchewan.

Rattlesnakes had been found in Saskatchewan chiefly in the extreme southwest corner of the province and along the Saskatchewan River from Medicine Hat, Alberta, to Leader, Sask.

“So far we have had no reports of anybody receiving fatal bites from the snakes but livestock men have reported having livestock injured by bites from rattlesnakes,” said the game commissioner.

The Manitoba Government has drawn the blueprints of a rural electrification project which will get under way as soon as the war ends. Drudgery is to go from farm life, farm productivity is to be increased, and it is also hoped that the plan will provide an inducement for young people to stay on the farms, and help maintain a balance between farm and city labor.

In brief the cowbell era is to give way to the push-button age. The plan has been outlined in fifteen main points. Nearly 60,000 farm homes in Manitoba will eventually be served by electric power, in contrast to the mere five hundred farm homes now receiving it. The plan has been drawn up by a special commission appointed by ex - Premier John Bracken. The Commission recommends that the Provincial Government start immediate preparations to make sure of prompt action on the conclusion of the war. Piping of electricity to 1,000 farms the first year of operation is given as a minimum objective with a basic construction program of 25,000 farm services as the target in the first ten years. It’s a rosy picture the commission paints for the land laborer, and that he has already been striving to effect this for himself in his own small way can be seen in the hundreds of small wind-power electric generators which finger their way into the sky across the prairies.

The capital cost for the 25,000 services is set at about $16,831,688. On the same basis the cost per farm is computed at $673, with the report assuming a minimum net bill for a service at $3.60 per month under present operational arrangements.

Labor, time and effort weren’t spared in attempts to determine the feasibility of the program. In co-operation with the Department of Agriculture seven municipalities in

different sections of the province— Rockwood, Rhineland, Morton, Hamiota, Grandview, Portage la Prairie and De Salaberry—were picked and a thorough survey of them made to form an estimate of the costs to the farmer and the practicability of the scheme.

Ontario

WHEN the strike in the Pennsylvania anthracite mines caused a hard coal famine in most parts of Ontario last month the dealers took care of the distribution problem themselves and made a fairly good job of it. Their success probably lies in the fact that you can’t tuck a ton of coal away in the dresser drawer. Customers were told that they could not have more than a ton of anthracite on hand at one time. The greedy ones, who placed orders for additional coal—with more than a ton in the bin —were nonplussed to have the driver take a quick, appraising look at the black nuggets, mutter “Hmmm, certainly more than a ton there,” jump on his truck and drive away— coal and all.

This done several times, especially in Toronto, and it soon dawned on would-be hoarders that the coal dealers meant business. The result was that dwindling stocks were fairly distributed. Soft coal is being used to fill the gaps in the bins where anthracite usually is stored.

The biggest laugh of the first few days of the anthracite famine was furnished by a Toronto newspaper, intentionally or otherwise, which headed an item warning the public against panic buying with: “Enough To Last Month If Everyone Keeps Cool.”

Quebec

COMPULSORY education is on the way in Quebec. The last barrier was surmounted back in December when the Catholic Committee of the Council of Education adopted a resolution favoring it. It was among the first items dealt with in the legislature when that body convened at the beginning of this month. Leading members of the Legislature had gone on record long ago as favoring a bill to make education compulsory, so when the Committee mentioned above gave the green light it was all over but the formalities.

The Committee’s resolution asked that education be compulsory for all children between six and fourteen, that the years of compulsory education be arranged to meet pupils’ aptitudes.

But compulsory education doesn’t come out of a magician’s hat. After the bill becomes law other problems must be faced. New schools will have to be built. More teachers will be needed at a time when pedagogues are scarce. Above all more money will have to be found, and at a time when Quebec’s archaic school financing system is creaking badly and

teachers are aggressively searching for salary increases.

Maritimes

IN HALIFAX it has reached the stage where dance floor space is being rationed! The allowance is fifteen square feet per person.

The fifteen feet per person ruling is not new, but the example of the Cocoanut Grove and Knights of Columbus fires in Boston and St. John’s, during December, when more than six hundred lives were lost, has awakened the Nova Scotia

Board of Censors to the need of having the regulation enforced.

The whole thing is a blow to service men and women stationed in Halifax, not to mention the handicap it places on native Haligonian pleasure seekers. Dance floor space has been at a premium anyway, in Halifax. Now it will be available only to a lucky few. Operators are down in the mouth about it because it has cut deeply into the “take.” The twice-a-week supper dance at the Nova Scotian Hotel has been discontinued and many operators are threatening to close down.