GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

Bobby Sox Club in Edmonton House Lotteries in Ontario Quebec Bids for Peace Parley N. S. Apple Market Curtailed

November 15 1944
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

Bobby Sox Club in Edmonton House Lotteries in Ontario Quebec Bids for Peace Parley N. S. Apple Market Curtailed

November 15 1944

Cross Country

Bobby Sox Club in Edmonton House Lotteries in Ontario Quebec Bids for Peace Parley N. S. Apple Market Curtailed

British Columbia

THE National Research Council and the Federal Department of Agriculture are conducting tests to determine the commercial possibilities of a rubber - producing plant developed independently by two British Columbia men, a Hollander and a Chinese.

Nick Boldt, a Dutch mechanic, who came to Canada 20 years ago, claims that after five years’ research at Burnaby, near Vancouver, he has produced a plant which will yield 600 pounds of rubber to the acre annually—about double the yield of rubber plantations. Wah Sing Chow has claimed encouraging results from experiments near Duncan, Vancouver Island.

The plant sprouts to a height of 18 feet in about 18 months, and at one period in its development grows two inches a day. It will not stand extreme cold but the roots survive freezing, and new growth develops in the spring.

The Research Council dubbed the plant “lactuca biennis,” and, after viewing motion pictures of latex production from the lanky legume, decided to investigate its commercial possibilities.

“The plant has some rubber in it and yields a lot of gum, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that there is a lot of rubber in it,” an official of the Agriculture Department said.

* * *

B. C. bibbers boiled over recently when they picked up their morning papers and read that 100,000 gallons of prime Demerara rum, owned by the provincial liquor control commission, has been lying in storage at New Westminster, B.C., and in West Indian warehouses since 1942. The discovery came right on the heels of the commission’s announcement that the October ration of spirits had been reduced from 26 to 13 ounces, just when folks were trying to stock up for the year-end holidays.

Liquor Commissioner W. F. Kennedy announced that under Federal restrictions some of the rum could be released monthly to the public, but he thought it good business to let the stock age in the warehouse wood and increase in value.

* * *

West Coasters knocked off work long enough in 1944 to bet more than $6 millions on fast and slow horses. The pari-mutuel machines clicked to the merry total of $6,168,817—$562,000 more than last year. And this did not include bets placed with bookies outside the tracks.

The Government got 10% of the gate receipts, and 7% of the “take”—totalling $431,817.

There were many protests against the use of manpower and gasoline during wartime, but the protests did not, in the Government’s opinion, add up to $431,817.

* * *

The Pacific Coast is alive with reports of a little private war being waged in the Strait of Georgia between overzealous RCAF marksmen and fishermen who reported that boats were being fired on while well outside legitimate target areas. Both the Air Force

and the Dominion Fisheries Department said everything had been done to ensure the safety of fishermen in the area.

There is an RCAF practice range about a mile off Gabriola Island, and it is thought bullets aimed at airborne targets in that area went astray and struck near fishing boats. The Fisheries Department admitted complaints had been launched by fishermen.

Recently authorities of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals claimed that fledgling air gunners were firing on whales just to keep their hands in.

Prairie Provinces

WHAT could be one of the most widely contested elections in history will be held Jan. 8 to 20 to choose three service members of the Alberta Legislature.

Until Nov. 20 any 25 Alberta servicemen may nominate a candidate. No deposit is required, and the election is not supposed to be run along Party lines. One candidate each will be elected by Alberta men and women in uniform for the Army, Air Force and Navy.

By Jan. 8 every Albertan on service, no matter where, is supposed to be advised of the candidates in the field. Returning officers are already in the field. Holding that anyone old enough to fight is old enough to vote, Alberta lowered age requirements for the special soldier balloting.

Saskatchewan’s service election, fundamentally the same, provided for election, some time before Oct. 30, of a member of the Legislature from each of the main military areas; Newfoundland and all of Canada except Saskatchewan; Britain and Western Europe;

the Mediterranean theatre.

* * *

Edmonton now has a “night club” exclusively for the younger set. Anyone over 19 is an “adult” and not admitted to membership in the Edmonton Teens Club.

The club was formed as an answer to what authorities said was an urgent need for a place to keep youngsters off the streets and provide supervised recreation. Its instant success astonished the promoters. Within two weeks the membership soared to more than 600 and was still rising rapidly.

Supervision of the strictly “hands-off” variety is provided by the YMCA, and the admission charge is

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nominal. The youngsters run the club themselves. There are games of all kinds and dancing. Delighted parents say the club is not the quietest place in town but they are pleased to know exactly where Johnny and Mary are on their nights out.

In Winnipeg a similar scheme was tried by the YMCA and met with equal success. Now the Winnipeg Air Cadets plan to sponsor teen-age dances.

For two years harassed house hunters in Edmonton have been saying, “When the Americans leave there will be plenty of houses.” Now thousands of American military and civilian personnel, and their families, have returned to the United States. But still there is no noticeable improvement in Edmonton’s housing situation.

Since 1942 approximately 2,000 homes have been built but it’s still almost impossible to find any kind of house for rent. Many of the buildings the Americans put up in Edmonton are being turned into housing accommodation. The U. S. construction camp in the northwest section of the city is being converted into housing units at a cost of more than $100,000.

Part of the former headquarters of the U. S. Northwest Service Command —the “city within a city” on which the Americans spent more than $1,000,000 —is also being made into housing units.

Meanwhile the Government is wondering how many of the more than

50.000 Americans who came to the district for war construction work will return to make their homes there. Many told friends they hoped to return after the war.

There is an estimated surplus of

250.000 head of horses on Saskatch-

ewan farms and ranches. The problem of the surplus horses is a serious one because the animals are consuming much-needed pasture. Farmers would rather be raising cattle than keeping horses that have no value.

To deal with the problem the Saskatchewan Government has opened negotiations with representatives in Canada of the French and Belgian Governments in an effort to obtain markets for processed horse meat and for live horses.

Farmers and ranchers have formed the Saskatchewan Co-op. Horse Marketing Association and are seeking Government assistance to erect a horse-processing plant in the province. * * *

Western farmers plan to purchase and distribute agricultural implements through their own co-operative, the Canadian Co-operative Implements Ltd., and expect to have 2,500,000 with which to start operations. The organization has the blessing of the Prairie Governments and their financial support to the extent of a $750,000 promised loan.

The Co-operative has 25,000 members and a campaign for new members is under way. A $400,000 factory has been purchased in Winnipeg as the first step in the program for co-operatively produced machinery.

Ontario

Ontario is experiencing an epidemic of house lotteries. Advertisements such as, “This beautiful, fully modern $6,000 home can be yours for ONE DOLLAR!” are familiar to most newspaper readers. In scores of cities and towns service clubs are raising funds for war and charity purposes by sweepstakes in which a new house is the grand prize. The usual ticket sells for $1 and entitles the purchaser to a draw in the lottery, which takes place when sufficient money, over and above the

cost of the house, has been raised. For “legal purposes” the lucky winner pays an additional $1 to purchase the home.

Under the Criminal Code all forms of lottery, with two exceptions, are forbidden; the first exception permits raffles at charity bazaars of articles valued under $50 which previously have been offered for sale, the second permits co-owners of a property to divide it among themselves by lot.

It is the latter proviso which is employed by service clubs to make their lotteries legal. That is, a person buying a ticket for a sweepstake on a home does not purchase a raffle ticket but a share in the house. Then, when all the “shares” are sold, the joint owners theoretically meet and decide by lot which one of them is to receive all the shares and become sole owner.

Service Clubs deny any “national” organization of lotteries and maintain that the outbreak of home sweepstakes across the province and country is spontaneous and that every effort is made to keep them confined to the local community.

The validity in law of the device of “selling shares” has never been tested in the courts and is not likely to be tested in Ontario unless some private citizen lays information with AttorneyGeneral Leslie Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell does not consider it any part of his duties to institute such a prosecution since he feels the violation, if any, is a violation of a Federal law, but in the event of a private citizen taking the initiative by laying an information, he says he will permit the case to go into the courts so that a test can be made.

Meanwhile thousands of dollars are wagered every day by citizens hoping to win a new home on a lucky ticket.

Northern Ontario’s million dollar baby has had the brush-off. A special 15-man committee set up by the Ontario Government to study the possibility of developing the lignite deposits at Onakawana, 126 miles north of Cochrane on the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway, announced that development of the property was not economically possible at the present time. The committee turned thumbs down on the project— with its estimated 100,000,000 tons of lignite—on the grounds that there was no substantial industrial market for the fuel even if it was mined and processed for distribution.

The news came as a surprise to many for only in August of 1942 the Ontario Government, then headed by Premier Hepburn, announced plans for immediate development of the Onakawana lignite. The Liberals established a special department of the Government to push the development and earmarked $1,000,000 for a plant and equipment needed to mine and process the lignite. Reports indicated that 20,000,000 tons of the fuel had been blocked out and were easily accessible in two seams running from 56 to 68 feet under the ground’s surface. Experiments conducted at a pilot plant of the T&NO railway in North Bay disclosed that with proper drying and other processing the lignite had good burning qualities.

Optimists talked of buying cheap winter fuel but sceptics reminded the optimists that lignite had been on the eve of production almost since the day the Onakawana properties were first surveyed in 1927.

And the sceptics were right. With a change in Government, enthusiasm for the project waned. A new investigating committee was formed and once again northerners were told that their pet project was headed for a Government pigeonhole, there to stay until further

proof was available that lignite development in the north could be shown to be economically feasible.

Quebec

The redcoated Royal Canadian Mounted Police still are Canada’s best salesmen, as far as visitors from faraway places are concerned.

This was demonstrated once again at the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration conference in Montreal, when Mounties drew more attention than anything else in the city. Delegates from all parts of the world sought permission to snap pictures of the husky constables guarding the UNRRA doors. They included a Czech, who explained that his 10year-old son had given him explicit instructions to bring back a photograph of a Mountie. And a hard-bitten Washington correspondent, not given to displaying enthusiasm for anything, was heard to murmur that he wished there was some way he could take a Redcoat back with him.

Delegates, filled with stories about the Force that always gets its man, found backing for the tales they had heard in the strict way in which the Mounties attended to their guard duties. Herbert H. Lehman, director general of the UNRRA, and Air Minister Power were among those stopped on the threshold because they failed to produce passes. And they didn’t get in until they found their passes.

* * *

The little ship didn’t look impressive as she warped carefully into Montreal’s Alexander Pier, but for the three months before she had been just about the most important thing in the world to the 6,500 residents of Canada’s farflung outposts of the north. For she was the Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship, Nascopie, back from another of her yearly 12,000-mile jaunts through the icy wastes of the far north.

For 32 years the Nascopie has been making her three-month trip to the north. Once a year she visits the outposts, and the day the Nascopie arrives is a bigger event than Christmas for the residents of the northland.

This year the Nascopie reported an excellent trip, with mild ice conditions and everything well with the 6,500 Eskimos and whites who live on the edge of beyond. On the trip she reopened Fort Ross, which had been closed and its personnel flown out last year when the Nascopie failed for the second successive year to break through to the settlement with supplies.

Three weddings and an appendectomy were performed during the trip. The brides-to-be were taken in from the “outside” and will remain in the north with their husbands. The appendix operation was performed on a 16-year-old cabin boy, in the ship’s dispensary, with dentist’s instruments, by Dr. George Hooper, Ottawa.

There’s a faraway look in the eyes of many Quebec City residents these days. The Second Quebec Conference is only a memory but Quebeckers are booming their city as the site of the Peace Conference. Those in favor of bringing the momentous parley to Quebec gleaned some support from the parting words of Prime Minister Churchill. “Personally, I have no objection,” said Churchill when Mayor Lucien Borne made the suggestion. “Quebec is the ideal place to hold a conference. It is a marvellous spot, where rest, peace and comfort can be found.”

Quebec hopes rose still higher when, after the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Washington, it was reported the city was high up in the list of sites being considered as a home for the United

Nations postwar organization for peace and security, recommended in the Conference report.

The Maritimes

Apple growers of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley suffered a double blow this year when they learned that Great Britain would take this season only 333,000 bbls. of apples (against an expected shipment of 1,000,000 bbls.), and that 50% of this quota had been allocated to British Columbia. Originally B. C. growers had been awarded 60% of the quota, but this was reduced after direct representation by the Nova Scotia apple men.

What’s more, Nova Scotians are now discovering that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Till now wartime demand for shipping space has been thought of as the limiting factor in British demand. But Nova Scotia growers have now been told bluntly by the British that they (the British) simply can’t afford to buy any more apples.

Maritime apple growers claim it is not logical that Britain should want to pay $2.25 for B. C. fruit delivered at Halifax against $1.70 for N. S. apples and that the Dominion should not tie up vital transport toting apples unnecessarily across a continent. Conclusion of the Valley growers: the whole quota should go from Nova Scotia.

They are particularly indignant because they have one of the biggest crops on record and are worrying about markets. The pick, despite losses of about 150,000 barrels in a hurricane, is expected to run to more than 2,000,000 barrels.

The tropical hurricane that swept along the Atlantic seaboard late in September did thousands of dollars’ damage to fishing villages along New Brunswick’s southern coast. But veteran fishermen, remembering their experiences when storms of like proportions had struck before, quoted the old proverb about “an ill wind.” Their predictions came true.

Since the hurricane blew out they have been bringing in record catches of sardine herring. Catches of 20 to 30 hogsheads to the single weir no longer are considered an unusual occurrence. One fisherman was reported to have sent in 88 full hogsheads from one weir, netting himself $1,450 for a single day’s work.

* * *

Saint John, N.B., recently witnessed something of a political phenomenon. The Civic Improvement League nominated seven candidates for the City Council—a mayor and a full slate of six councillors. And all were elected by acclamation—the first time such a thing had occurred in the city’s history. There was no reason evident for the acclamations except, as one newspaper put it, that the citizens “apparently have sufficient confidence in these men that they were willing to have them take over at city hall without opposition.”

* * *

Despite Selective Service’s un-Yulelike frostiness toward the chopping of Christmas trees, it appears Christmas in the Maritimes won’t suffer for lack of them. The outlook is so encouraging that a firm of Christmas tree dealers has reopened its Moncton office. N. S. S has put its foot down on the hiring of men to cut the trees, but in the Maritimes most of this trade has been carried out by farmers during the season when ordinary lumbering and farming are at a standstill.

* * *

Halifax intends to do something about its slums. Civic officials, who

have long been on the defensive whenever a visitor brought up the matter of the city’s water-front slums, are going on the offensive for the first time in a quarter of a century. They are planning to spend one million dollars in slum clearance, $900,000 of which they hope to obtain from the Federal Government under the National Housing Act regulations.

Haligonians were first needled into action by a report of the Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation, which, in 1942, found that Halifax slums were “out of all proportion to the size of the city” and “constituted a real menace to the health of the community.”

Then, recently, George T. Bates, secretary of the Halifax Town Planning Commission, reported that of Halifax’s 14,000 homes more than 1,400 had insufficient sanitary facilities and of these 239 had no facilities whatever. Furthermore 5,000 homes were in “fair, poor, or very poor condition,” and 50% of all Halifax homes still had the old hall stove.

Haligonians want action and expect to get it.