Claude McIntosh - Mac's Musings

In what was believed to be a first in Ontario, a Charlottenburgh Township man was found guilty by Mag. P. C. Bergeron in January 1938 of leaving the scene of an accident that caused the death of an animal.

He was fined $50. The victim was a dog owned by a local farmer.

A bystander who witnessed the incident gave police the licence plate number and description of the driver.

Defence attorney Lionel Chevrier (future MP/Liberal cabinet minister) argued that the driver had no obligation to remain at the scene, but Mag. Bergeron had a different take on the driver’s duty.

“It is a motorist’s duty to stop (after hitting an animal),” said the magistrate. “To see if he can render assistance.”

That left lawyer Chevrier wondering, “Does that mean if a motorist strikes a chicken or any other small animal, such as a squirrel, he must stop?”

Well, in most cases yes, said the magistrate.

“I will make an exception only in the case of a skunk. In that case, it might not be wise to stop,” said the magistrate.

In another animal related case the same month, Bergeron nailed a city man with a 40-day jail sentence for animal cruelty, a charge laid by the SPCA.

The man was given 20 days but when he said he could not come up with the fine ($50), the magistrate added 20 more days to the sentence.

Court was told that the animal died after the man treated its leg wounds with lime. The horse had to be put down by a veterinarian.

The owner of the horse argued the animal was not worth much, since he had traded a hen for it.

Bergeron said he wanted to make an example of the man.


Down the street at the county court house, Judge F. T. Costello ruled that the United Counties had to pay two Charlottenburgh Township residents – Mrs. Catherine Purcell and Mrs. Annie Craig – a total of $15,255 for 14 1/2 acres it wanted to expropriate for the new St. Lawrence Tuberculosis Sanatorium (now an Islamic Centre).

Lawyers for the property owners argued that their clients were owed much more because portions of the properties were on the waterfront.

They noted that waterfront properties east of Cornwall were becoming a cottage mecca for city residents with 175 summer residences along the St. Lawrence River between the city and Lancaster.

However, the judge said the waterfront lots in the expropriation case had a “great view” but he considered them unsuitable for a cottage or home.

The judge ordered the counties to pay the legal fees incurred by the property owners.


Dr. W. A. Milligan became the Cornwall mayor with the shortest time in office. A record that still stands.

The Cornwall physician resigned on Jan. 15, 1938 just seven days after he was sworn in. He stepped down to become the new medical officer of health for the United Counties, a position that paid $1,200 a year. The position became vacant when veteran MOH Dr. J.C. Hamilton died.

The health unit said Dr. Ian Gourlay and Dr. John Tallon also were considered for the vacant position but the board decided to offer the job to Dr. Milligan.

The previous shortest mayoral term was held by W. J. Deruchie who was forced to leave office 14 days after being sworn in. A delayed recount declared his opponent Richard Larmour the winner.

Up to 1938, the longest serving mayor was William Cox Allen, first elected in 1862 He spent 11 years in the mayor’s office. This mark was eclipsed by Aaron Horovitz.

ALSO IN 1938 – The annual ice harvest on Cornwall Canal was under way with Merpaw and Merpaw and Cornwall Ice. Co. expected to fill their ice houses with 8,000 tons of ice blocks to be used in local household ice boxes. This was a time when most households did not have refrigerators and relied on ice blocks year-round. … Cornwall Milk Bottling Association – representing seven dairies – announced that bottles of milk and cream purchased at local stores would require a five-cent refundable deposit. … Freshly-minted provincial legislation that required Ontario judges to hand out jail sentences to drivers convicted of being drunk while behind the wheel was not going to change anything in the local court. Mag. P. C. Bergeron noted he made it his practice to sentence persons convicted of drunk driving to 20 days in jail, even for a first offence. The new provincial guideline was seven to 30 days.

HERE AND THERE Kingston’s main hospital is attempting to fill 200 staff vacancies with a financial carrot that provides a $10,000 signing bonus for full-time recruits and $5,000 for part-timers. Staff member are being offered $3,000 for referrals. And for those living more than 200 kilometres from Kingston, there is a re-location payment of up to $15,000. Most of the vacancies are the result of retirements.

TRIVIA Jane Stewart, MP for Brant, was a member of Jean Chretien’s cabinet. Her father was a former leader of the provincial Liberal party and her grandfather was a former premier of Ontario. What was her maiden name?

TRIVIA ANSWER Cornwall Golds coached by Nick Kaneb won the 1948 Canadian women’s intermediate basketball championship.

QUOTED “The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” – Lucille Ball

ONE FINAL THING Breaking news as this column was going to bed: Good for Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique for calling out the court/justice system in the wake of the murder of rookie officer Greg Pierzchala. One of the accused with a record of violence was (again) out on bail thanks to the generosity of the court/justice system which has become a bad joke. There was a warrant for his arrest for yet again breaking bail conditions. Too many leaders at the top of the policing family, unlike Carrique, are terrified of offending the system and its pampered jurists to say what the commissioner said.

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