In May 1937, Stormont MP Lionel Chevrier, the Cornwall native who would rise through the Liberal ranks to become a powerful cabinet minister and first president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, called for a radical re-design of Canada’s political landscape.
Chevrier, at 32 the youngest member of the House of Commons (first elected in 1935), sounded more like a Conservative, when he called Canada an “over-governed” country.
To remedy the “problem” he supported reducing the number of provinces to five, one more than what the country started with in 1867. He called it a “logical solution.”
The Chevrier model – not part of the Liberal government platform – called for the union of British Columbia and Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and the Maritimes. Ontario and Quebec would remain as one. Newfoundland didn’t become part of Canada until 1949.
In a May, 1937 editorial, the Standard-Freeholder said Cornwall needed to come to grips with a severe shortage of suitable rental units.
The editorial said the lack of supply was forcing many families to live in unsatisfactory quarters. It called out profiteers who were taking advantage of the housing shortage to gouge desperate tenant.
An increase in available housing was needed, it said, to keep pace with a growing community.
“Nothing hampers progress so much as unreasonable housing costs and short supply,” the editorial warned.
Does any of the above have a familiar ring?
“Just get him out of town.”
That was the plea to Magistrate P. C. Bergeron by Crown Attorney John G. Harkness when a Montreal man appeared in court on May 14, 1937 on a charge of vagrancy (today it is called being homeless).
Harkness said the man had been trying to sell bogus disinfectant door-to-door when arrested on a complaint. The concoction was nothing more than water and salt spiked with a chemical to give it a strong odor.
After giving it some thought, the magistrate agreed that it was better to send the culprit packing on the next train out of town than to put him in the slammer.
He was given 24-hours to get out of town.
ALSO THIS MONTH IN 1937 – With council urged to set an example for the private sector, councillors voted to give city workers a 10% pay increase that brought the hourly rate to 40 cents. Civic workers had gone several years without a pay increase. Council was told that Howard Smith Paper Mill was expected to increase the base rate to 40 cents an hour. … Council approved spending $450 for a new cement mixer and $133 for an electric adding machine to be shared by several departments. … With a $9.4 million surplus, the new Ontario budget provided subsidies for municipalities and a reduction in commercial motor vehicle licence fees. … Cornwall’s oldest house, built with logs in 1802, was torn down. Structurally, The Church of Good Shepherd rectory at 411 First St. E. was in fair condition. However, the solid log walls made it difficult to upgrade the home with plumbing and electricity. The original building had outlasted two additions. … Talk about back to the future. The Standard-Freeholder went to three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – from twice a week. The publisher called it a “forward step” that would provide greater coverage of the city and district. … A barn owned by Earl Tilton two miles west of Moulinette was destroyed by fire. Twenty-eight pigs were lost in the blaze. … 500 boys and girls took first communion at Nativity Church, while 250 took first communion at St. Columban’s. … Police in Cornwall and the United Counties said new speed limits – 30 mph in the city and 50 mph on highways and county roads – would be strictly enforced. Cornwall Police Chief Fred Seymour said any driver exceeding the limit would be ticketed. “It’s 30 mph and no more,” he said. … The Rivermead Dairy Bar at 401 Water St. re-opened after closing for the winter. … A story in the Standard-Freeholder noted that the 2 1/2 ton bell in the St. Columban’s Church tower was installed in 1902. … Newsreels of King George V1’s coronation were viewed by 3,000 school children at the Palace and Capitol theatres. Stores and schools closed for Coronation Day and a parade to the Athletic Grounds had 6,000 participants. A crowd of 10,000 packed the Grounds. The Standard-Freeholder printed a 36-page special supplement marking the occasion. … The first high mass celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Church was for the funeral of city contractor Gilbert Emard. … In a one-paragraph brief at the bottom of an inside page, the Standard-Freeholder reported that Freda Horovitz, wife of Mayor Aaron Horovitz, had been granted a divorce and was now living in Ottawa.
TRIVIA In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about “The day the music died.” It was a tribute to this singer.
TRIVIA ANSWER Cornwall’s post office, built in the late 1800s at a cost of $45,000, was torn down in 1955 and replaced with the Seaway Building that was to be the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority headquarters. One commentator said the decision to tear down the post office was a case of “pulverizing history.” In the “Towers of Time” history of Ontario post offices, the author said a time capsule containing documents, coins and newspapers from the 1800s “disappeared” in the demolition. It may have been buried in the rubble.
QUOTED “There are plenty of ways to get ahead. The first is so basic I’m almost embarrassed to say it: Spend less than you earn.” – Paul Clitheroe
ONE FINAL THING At the current rate, the United States is headed for at least 1,400 mass shootings this year. In too many cases it will be the result of powerful assault weapons purchased legally by people with mental health issues.