LONDON LETTER

Cross Country

July 15 1948
LONDON LETTER

Cross Country

July 15 1948

Cross Country

General Articles

BRITISH COLUMBIA

BRITISH COLUMBIA'S campaign to prevent citizens trying their luck in raffles and lotteries ran into some bad luck itself when a jury of 11 men and one woman acquitted Sidney Welsh, a Vancouver Kinsman, of conducting a lottery.

Mr. Welsh was chairman of the Kinsmen carnival committee, which had set out to raise $100,000, half for food for Britain and half for local charities, less 15% for expenses and prizes. Chief prize was a $9,000 furnished bungalow, which would go to the person who won the draw and then answered a quiz.

Twenty-four hundred tickets at $1 each had been sold when the authorities intervened. The side was resumed as soon as the “not guilty” was sounded.

The University of British Columbia fried a new labor-saving device this year—the mechanical marking of examination papers. Students in certain subjects were given prepared papers on which they could indicate what they thought were the right answers by pencil marks in appropriate squares. The pa pers were then fed into a complica fed machine, the marks made electrical contacts which fold whether the answers were correct or not and the results were tabulated, all at the rate of 500 an hour.

The spring floods were serious business to thousands of British Columbians who saw their possessions swept away and their farms under water. But almost everybody collected a flood story.

For instance, there was the one about AB Brian Forbes of Cloverdale, who

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tired of milking and left the farm and joined the Navy to see the world. AB Forbes was one of the Navy rescue squads sent, into the Fraser valley, back to his old haunts. When his barge loaded up some stranded cows he was put to work—milking.

Near Kamloops one Sunday an evangelist preacher who was operating a bulldozer on a Thompson River dyke suddenly excused himself and hurried away. In a few minutes he marched back a group of volunteers, who went to work, all willingly but some with surprised expressions. They were his congregation who’d been waiting in the church. “I just told them that this was no time for talk and to follow me,” the evangelist explained. “Some of them had no idea where they were going.” .

Prospectors and trappers in the hinterland were able to nod their heads sagely when the rivers burst their banks — they’d seen it coming. Throughout the winter they’d watched unprecedented snows pile up in the mountains. On the peaks of the Cascade Range, in the Fraser watershed, the total snowfall was 50 feet.

THE PRAIRIES

Alberta would like to ban the export of natural gas without provincial consent and this policy promises to run the province into conflict with interests which want to send the gas by pipe lines to the Pacific coast and to Saskatchewan and Alberta. A bill has already been introduced into the Canadian Senate to incorporate a pipe-line company to ship Alberta gas to Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Alberta’s fear is that exports will deplete this great natural resource. Her citizens have millions of dollars invested in gas furnaces and other appliances and they want their supply to last for a long time.

Gas leases now issued by the province forbid export, but large corporations now hold mineral rights to 16 million acres which, it is contended, are not subject to the ban. The pipe-line promoters claim the province has no more right, to interfere with the export of privately owned natural gas than it has with wheat or coal.

Important money is involved in the argument. It is estimated a pipe line to Winnipeg would cost $45 millions; to the Pacific, $80 millions.

* * *

In 1894, when a survey was made of the water requirements of Moose Jaw and Regina, Sask., it was recomi..ended they build a 112-mile pipe line to the South Saskatchewan River, 'today, the twro cities are still getting

their supply from wells and every summer they go short of water. And a pipe line seems no closer in 1948 than it did 50 years ago.

Latest development is a federal plan to build a huge dam on the river and pipe water to the dry cities. But even if this plan goes through, it will be 10 or 15 years before the first drop of South Saskatchewan water flows from the taps of Regina or Moose Jaw. Until then the drought is likely to continue.

* * *

A third of a century ago Mark Ki, a shy, unassuming little Chinese, opened a grocery store in Morden, Man. This year he retired and recently he was guest of honor at a bang-up celebration. As he stood embarrassed but pleased before a packed auditorium, he was presented with a “good citizenship” award.

Everyone there knew why Mark was being feted, but they cheered anyway while the facts were told anew. How for years he had been going about the district helping those in need. How he liked to drive around the country in the evening in his dilapidated truck, dropping off a bundle of groceries here, a little money there or quietly taking care of a hospital bill. How, as a director of the local hospital, he had donated large sums, raised thousands more and loaned it money during hard times to pay the nurses.

When the plaudits were finished, all Mark could say was “Thank you very much.”

ONTARIO

In the late 1840’s, a 12-year-old Niagara Falls boy, Homan Walsh, earned five dollars for flying his kite across the Niagara Gorge to establish first, contact for a bridge connecting Canada to the United States. On Aug. 2 the event will be re-enacted with modern trimmings, when a helicopter will haul a cable across the gorge as part of a celebration to mark 100 years of continuous operation of the bridge at Whirlpool Rapids.

Actually, there have been four bridges at the site, but each new bridge has been built around the preceding structure and traffic between the two countries has never been halted.

Parades, fireworks, commemorative stamps and an air show will mark the anniversary.

The idea of a bridge across the Niagara was conceived by a Niagara Falls pioneer, William Hamilton Merritt, as he picnicked on its banks. He read a letter from his son in Europe describing a suspension bridge in the Alps and resolved to build such a bridge across the chasm between the two countries. The first bridge was for foot and horse-drawn vehicle traffic. Later, a second deck was added for rail traffic and in 1855 the first locomotive puffed across to make the bridge worldfamous. In the third bridge, the

original stone and wood were changed to steel and oement. When freight trains became too heavy for the suspension type of bridge, the present-day arch was erected in 1896.

In the 100 years, six Niagara bridges at other points on the river have been blown down or carried away by ice. The two Whirlpool Rapids bridge companies, Canadian and American, which received the original charters from Upper Canada and New York State, are still working together; Thomas Merritt, great-grandson of William Hamilton Merritt, is on the Canadian board of directors.

* * *

Does the centuries-old Hippocratic oath exempt doctors from paying union dues? This question is being argued by the authorities of the Hamilton General Hospital, the Hamilton City Council, the Hamilton Municipal Employees’ Association and the* doctors and nurses at the hospital.

Under the Rand Formula for labor agreements, employees are not forced to join the union which has bargaining rights, but they must, pay union dues on account of benefit they may receive from union activities. The Hamilton Municipal Employees’ Association argues that, the doctors and nurses at the hospital have benefited from the union’s activities for the last four years and now they should contribute. No, say the doctors: the oath they trtok

on entering their profession, pledging them to a high standard of ethics, was not framed by Hippocrates in 400 B.C. with a view to union interference. Nurses take the same stand. Counsel is being consulted.

QUEBEC

Three years ago, at the age of 19, Norman Halford, Jr., took his B. A. with honors at McGill, the youngest honors student McGill had ever graduated. This set his 50-year-old father to thinking—why not complete the university education he’d started at Oxford 30 years ago but. had interrupted to emigrate to Canada?

Urged on by wife and son, Halford, Sr., a Bell Telephone employee, enrolled for night courses at Sir George Williams College, the thriving institution which operates in the Central YMCA in Montreal. At first he found the going tough, but he never missed a night’s attendance, and this spring he was duly capped as a bachelor of commerce, probably Sir George Williams’ oldest degree graduate.

Halford, Sr., talked young Norman into attending Sir George Williams, too; he’ll get his B. Comm, next year.

* * *

What to do with old airline pilots? The men over 40 who may have gained matchless experience on the world’s skyways but no longer have the physi-

cal zip it takes to handle a four-engined giant?

The airlines of the world, meeting in Montreal, may soon come up with their version of the “Forty-Plus” Club. One of the units of the International Civil Aviation Organization is working on a plan to create a new rank—a nonpiloting aircraft commander. The older man would boss the ship but leave the controls to a younger subordinate.

THE MARITIMES

Saint John citizens have long been unhappy about their transit system— they ride in little red streetcars that have become so antiquated they almost rank as a tourist attraction in themselves. But now they hope that things are going to be better.

First, after a 10-year financial and legal struggle, K. (’. Irving, a New Brunswick industrialist who operates oil companies, shipyards, intercity bus lines and pulp and paper mills, has finally won control of the service. His opponent was a Halifax financier, F. C. Manning. Mr. Irving’s victory was clinched when the Saint John Council awarded the Irving interests an exclusive franchise to take effect in August.

But at the same time the council decided to let the people vote in November on whether they want a publicly owned system. So everyone expects Irving to provide superservice between August and November HO that happy riders will vote the right way.

* * *

Every year, when spring comes to the Annapolis Valley, feverish preparations begin for the annual Apple Blossom Festival. Nothing is left to chance the experts are consulted and the date set for a day when the blossoms will be in their prime.

This year nature crossed the experts up. 'Fhe weather stayed cold and, as festival day drew near, nary a blossom could be seen. 'Fhe festival committee desperately sent out scouts to round up blossoms and back they came with only a few blooms from the wild pear.

“Just can’t understand it,” muttered Frank Burns, president of the festival, as the big day approached. “We’ve never been wrong before.”

When the day of the festival came the boughs were bare. But there was some beauty to be seen. Twelve pretty girls competed for the title of festival queen and the choice fell on 22-year-old Lillian Doris Parr, a registered nurse from Middleton, N.S.

Queen Lillian was duly crowned against the traditional background of apple blossoms— artificial ones whipped up for the occasion by the school children of Kent,ville.

And a week after the festival, when most of the visitors had departed, the orchards rustled into breath-taking bloom.