General Articles

Cross Country

August 15 1948
General Articles

Cross Country

August 15 1948

Cross Country

THE MARITIMES

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND’S doctors, who took a heavy loss of revenue three years ago when the so-called “Cullen” amendment to the prohibition act was passed, suffered a final financial body blow when the Island's residents voted three to one for a proposed new temperance act which will allow them to buy a bottle a week without a doctor’s prescription.

The Cullen amendment allowed doctors to prescribe a bottle of liquor or a case of beer weekly the prescription to be good for six months. Previously, a prescription had been needed for each purchase. This had cut down bootlegging and moonshining, as well as doctors’ revenue.

T\yo choices faced P. E. I. voters in June: They could vote for bone-dry prohibition or the new temperance act. The Cullen amendment was not a factor and would have died either way. The only difference in the new act is that it destroys the fiction that whisky is medicine. It won’t affect bootlegging because the ration is still the same (though |x*naltk*s for hoof legging are st ricter). And no more liquor stores will IK* o|>ened.

The plebiscite showed that the “dries” on the Island were more vocal than numerous — for years only the bravest of polit icians would support any measure that the temperance forces opposed. But this year, though he was supposed to be impartial, Premier Jones went on the #»ir three days before the act ual referendum and urged the jx*ople to vote for the new act. Said J. H. MacFarlane, Temjjerance Federation president: “It’s a baffle lost in a

war. We know we are beaten . . . for some time to come. But we st ill remain active . . .”

QUEBEC

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due for a face lifting. With federal grants for battlefield maintenance upped, the Battlefields Commission plans to spend more money on the history-laden property.

Quebecers call the Plains simply ‘The Park,” and often sun themselves Under its double monuments to Wolfe and Montcalm. From the plateau you can see the hazy outline of New England’s mountains to the south and the foothills of the Laurentians to the north (peeping between the steeples and tenements of old Quebec City). Farmers still find old military buttons, hunks of rusty muskets and mid-eighteenth-century coins on and near the property. Old cannon, relics of vessels wrecked during the historic seige, still line the pathways, and the thin path which Wolfe used to ascend the steep cliff is still visible at the western extremity. One of the Commission’s plans will be to extend driveways across the property, where once a thin line of French soldiers faced British muskets.

ONTARIO

Hamiltonian Lions, sponsors of the Miss Canada Pageant, hold up hands in horror when irreverent reporters call

it a “beauty contest.” It’s charm, j personality and talent that count, they say—why, the girls only parade in bathing suits for five minutes—well, maybe 10. And there’s $10,000 in scholarships offered the winning conj testants rather than cash.

Lions are proud that one of the first j entries received for this year’s Pageant (August 19-20) is a convent-educated girl who topped her class and sings on the CBC (Miss Halifax in the person of Betty Jean Ferguson).

Other aspiring Miss Canadas aren’t so happy. The odds, they say, are weighted heavily in favor of the girls whose papas can afford to pay for special coaching in music, dancing, dramatics and art. Undaunted, the Lions plan to place more emphasis on nobility of spirit, less on face and form as the years go on.

Not long ago Toronto’s Mayor Hiram McCallum proudly announced a marked decrease in juvenile delinquency in his city. Newspaper readers I weren’t so sure last month. Two | teen-age gangs, it turned out, were j playing the dickens with private pro; perty and the mayor’s statistics.

The gangs operated on a lavish and ambitious scale, reminiscent of AI Capone’s Chicago mobs. They used

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girl spies to grab off information , reconnaissance squads to watch rivals’ movements, hired trucks to transport each other to out-of-town battlegrounds (suburban dance halls and summer resorts) where challenges were issued and accepted. One of the young gangs called itself “The Beanery Gang” after a lunch-counter rallying point. The West End gang called itself “The Junction Boys.” Several dozen teen-agers (some of whom posed for the press with cigarettes drooping from their lips and trousers tight around their ankles) belonged to each gang. Several dozen more were recruited from the streets when a big battle was planned.

A final showdown between the two gangs was interrupted when police arrested 15 of the ringleaders and when four more were hauled into court charged with assaulting a teen-age girl (they got off). Despite these arrests, the gangs still operate. Police aren’t sure yet bow to break them up.

THE PRAIRIES

When pretty, 12-year-old Martha Chretien came to her death under the wheels of a truck on Winnipeg’s Logan Avenue, it was too much for the war veterans living in the 400-house settlement close by. Martha’s father had been killed fighting in Italy and the little girl, who lived with her aunt, was well known to the ex-servicemen. Not only that: it was the fifth traffic death on Winnipeg streets in a month.

Led by a six-foot, 36-year-old architectural ironworker named Don Wilson —a man with five years as pilot-flight engineer with RCAF coastal command —the veterans went to work. For two weeks they clocked cars and trucks between fixed points on Logan Avenue within their settlement. Then they went to the city council. Their findings: some trucks had been careening through the area, on the route to the provincial highway, at 45 miles an hour; passenger cars were doing 55.

The vets asked and got a special traffic patrol. A 15-mph speed limit was established in the entire area. 1 he day after the protest two cruiser patrols went to work pinching speedsters right and left. One veteran noted seven arrests in an hour. Meanwhile, the veterans had formed a safety patrol of the children in their settlement which worked so well that parents all over the city asked for help in organizing similar groups of child vigilantes. Police began to tighten down all over town. And, in the month following little Martha’s death, there were no further traffic fatalities in Winnipeg.

The boom is on in oil-happy Edmonton, whose Chamber of Commerce boosts it as the fastest-growing town on the continent (population: 90,000 in 1939; 124,000 today). Four thousand

new homes have mushroomed up since the war, 2,000 more are in the building and permits have been issued for 20 apartment blocks. A harassed city council can’t keep up with water and light to serve a town which once had wide stretches of bushland well within the city limits. Today these areas are at a premium.

Two Edmonton department stores are building additions estimated at close to a million dollars, the brewing j company has added a half milliondollar addition, the gas company is spending $2,300,000 extending its services. There’s a new telephone building ($600.000), postoffice extension ($500,000) and a million dollars’ worth of new schools going up. They’re starting work on a $6 million hotel and a $4 million federal building. In i addition, Edmonton has 12 new industries devoted to supplying the new Leduc oil field. As for the oil, there’s so much of it that it’s running out of the taps, discoloring drinks and leaving a thick rim on the bathtub.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

For eight years. Constable 122 of the Vancouver police force had been waiting for a big case to come along. On slack days, when there were fewer drunks to be picked up in his paddywagon, he’d joke with reporters and tell them that some day he’d give them a real story. But when the big story broke, Constable Joe Cotter, who has ambitions to he a close-lipped detective, let others tell it for him.

Burly young Police Chief Walter Mulligan called in Joe’s newspaper friends. Constable 122, he said, had been working in his spare time with an anonymous woman to trap a suspicious Toronto visitor. The police had raided the Torontonian’s quarters, discovered a small amount of deadly brown heroin. They’d clapped him into secret arrest, watched the postoffice like a hawk and sprung the trap on a man who’d claimed a parcel addressed to their prisoner.

When the parcel was opened, the RCMP narcotics squad found that Joe Cotter, ex-newsboy, ex-printer and nursemaid for canned heaters had cracked one of Western Canada’s greatest drug cases and paved the way for the seizure of $400,000 worth of brown H.

From an obscure Black Maria driver, Joe Cotter became the city’s bestknown cop. Police Chief Mulligan promised a new job soon: He’d get

next chance at an opening in the prowler ranks of the criminal investigation department.

But still Joe Cotter said nothing about what he called his “luck”-—even around home where his two kids watched goggle-eyed while he quietly weeded his favorite pansies. For a would-be detective, Constable 122 was learning fast. ★