|Politically charged times in Regina. The world is once again becoming
a menacing place. The Spanish Civil War, Hitler, Mussolini, the Japanese
invasion of Japan, Roosevelt in the States, Father Coughlin, Father Devine,
the Duke and Duchess of Windsor cavorting with the fascists - all dominated
the papers of the day. On October 7, 1937 Saskatchewan fascists organized
a rally at the Regina Hotel on Osler Street. About 35 people showed up
for the start of the event, yet the paper reported that more than half
of those had gone down the hall to the beer parlor well before the featured
speaker hit the stage. Over 1000 people were on hand for the anti-fascist
rally held at City Hall on the same evening. An ad in the September 5 Leader-Post
promotes "Dionne Quintuplet Shoes. The only line of shoes now being worn
by Callander Ontario's famous five are proving equally satisfactory for
Regina children. Dionne Quintuplet shoes are snug atthe heels, hugging
the instep and give the toes lots of room. Styles for babies, children
and misses. $2.00 - $4.00 a pair at R.H.Williams"
A very welcome announcement told Reginans that after being shut for seven years, the GM factory at Winnipeg and 8th was to be reopened by mid-November. 400 workers were needed and it was announced that hiring preference would be given to those who had worked at the plant before.
A small story in the September 3 Leader Post informed Canadians that they were not yet ready for television - there just wasn't enough population. Television had been in operation in England for a couple of years.
The Reluctant Candidate
October 15, 1937 "Italians pour into Spain to fight for Franco" In Regina, hundreds of fur coats were missing. The son of the owner of Grills Furs was amongst those charged. Former Conservative Prime Minister R. B. Bennett was coming to town on October 26 and provincial Tory leader J. G. Diefenbaker was beside himself with eager anticipation. In the Regina Daily Star, Germany was simply referred to as "Naziland'.
Saskatchewan Tories held their annual convention at the Hotel Saskatchewan on October 26 & 27.
October 27 The Star was agog. R.B. Bennett was in town for the Tory convention. "More than 5000 people jammed their way into the armouries for the greatest political meeting that Regina has ever known." The Star pretty well reported verbatim any utterance that Mr. Bennett made during his two days in Regina. The Leader-Post was more subdued.
The Tories were accusing the Liberals of politicizing relief. When the Tories were in power, the Liberals always accused the Tories of politicizing relief. One story in the October 27 Leader Post was headlined "Gardiner Answers Bennett's Charges. Denies He Is Using Relief For Political Gains
October 30 The new broadcasting studios of radio station CKCK opened in the Leader Post Building.
November 1 - STILL A Reluctant Candidate
Should no candidate be found to go up against Mayor Ellison, it would be the first time that a mayor would have been acclaimed in Regina's history.
November 2 in bright red ink on page one - "Enthusiasm HIGH For Conservative Policies" Government of Canada Bonds were paying 1.5% annual interest Drewry's Regina Brewery was advertising its Gold Seal Beer Mr. Diefenbaker was out rallying the faithful in Weyburn and the first night landing occurred at the Regina airport - a Lockheed Electra en route from Lethbridge to points east The GM plant located at Winnipeg and 8th Avenue re-opened - soon it would be manufacturing guns.
Finally Tossing His Hat In the Ring
The Leader Post ran a similar story. "Henry Black For Mayorality. Cites
Economy Record In His Announcement. Citing his long record of economy
care in civic administration, Henry Black, Regina contractor, announced
Tuesday that he would oppose Mayor A. C. Ellison in the mayorality contest
this month as an independent candidate. "After numerous requests by citizens
during the past six weeks I have decided to enter the field for the office
of mayor," Mr. Black said. "I had labor support when I was previously mayor
and I was acceptable to the taxpayers."
November 15 - a bewildering array of 60 candidates is to appear on the ballot for the November 22 election - the city is going off the ward system. There are no fewer than five former mayors to chose from: incumbent Ellison; James Grassick; Jim McAra; Cornelius Rink and Henry Black. Henry Black was proposed by Dr. E.K. Sauer and seconded by J.W.Gray, a CNR locomotive engineer.
Henry Black was endorsed by the Regina Homeowners and Taxpayer's Association and they took out a couple of ads in the Regina Daily Star and the Leader Post. One of them read: "Independent Candidate For Mayor. Your Vote Respectfully Solicited. Henry Black. To all citizens: we urge all voters to support the endorsed candidates at the polls on Monday. All are sound citizens who through good years and bad have given freely of their time and talents to build a city that affords the best living conditions possible within our means having regards at all times to the needs and comforts of all citizens. By voting for these candidates and two of your own choice for council the offices of the city will be in strong and capable hands."
A report from a November 20 all-candidates' meeting that Henry did not attend. He said that he had caught a cold. "Alderman East said he had to administer relief, as chairman of the committee, without special favour to anyone. He contrasted the existing policy with one that had been outlined a few years ago by Mr. Black. Mr. Black, he said, would have set all relief recipients into a confinement camp. In Mr. Black's scheme, the human element had been entirely overlooked and would have had the effect of forcing men to go to work for any pittance that they might have been able to get."
Henry Black Gets His Hat Firmly Tossed Back
Out Of the Ring
The Regina Leader-Post reports: "City Vote For Youth. Ellison Leads White Collar Labor To Big Victory Over the Old Campaigners" "Returns show support for younger men and defeat came to many old-timers who had been in Regina since rebellion days or thereabouts. Leading the day in sensational results was the avalanche of votes that shoved Mayor Ellison back into city hall for a third term. His opponent Henry Black did not provide a race. The mayor won by good margins in every single poll in the city. His victory was never in doubt."
The end to the ward system and the emergence of party politics meant that the newly elected council was dominated by labour - soon to be CCF warhorses C.C. Williams and Clarence Fines were amongst the labour aldermen elected.
A Note About the Regina Daily Star
Since its inception, Regina has basically been a one newspaper town. Up until the early 1990s, that newspaper (the Leader Post) has been owned by various combinations of Siftons and other liberal supporters. On Monday July 16, 1928 the Regina Daily Star, a new paper, appeared. Its mission was to make sure that the conservative message got out. The lead on page one of Vol 1 No.1 summed it up: "The Star is the only Regina daily paper owned and controlled and operated by Western men. The Regina Daily Star is being published primarily as a commercial enterprise, the owners believing that Regina presents an advantageous and reasonably profitable opening for an independent newspaper, owing to the fact that for many years there has been in Saskatchewan a press monopoly of one political persuasion. A very large portion, if not the majority of the people of this province, has resented the way in which the newspaper monopoly has presented the fair representation of the political views and policies of tthose who have hitherto had no means of giving expression to their principles, aims and ideas."
The opening promotion to attract (steal) subscribers was a large one - a five car giveaway. First prize was a chice between a $2385 Marmon sedan, a $2340 Buick, a $2243 Hupmobile or a $2240 Willys-Knight.
Regina was booming at this point in its history - there was a housing shortage, the GM factory was getting going, other manufacturing plants were under construction. You got a $1 fine for playing ball on the street. You got a $1 fine for washing your car on Sunday. Lunch at the Kitchener Hotel was 50 cents, dinner was 60 cents. A 7 room house in Lakeview sold for $7000. Houston Willoughby was advising their clients to buy shares in the Eno Fruit Salts company - $40 a share. Hoot Gibson wa sstarring in "A Hero On Horseback" at the Rose Theatre. A return train ticket to Vancouver would set you back $68.15. In 1928, everal thousand Saskatchewan men belonged to the KKK - Moose Jaw alone had almost 2800 members. The Saskatchewan Archives Board has a fascinating list of all Saskatchewan members of the KKK, Premier Gardiner had the lists created because the Klan was so vociferous in its opposition to the Liberal government.
A Slow News Day??
The Regina Daily Star, with a whack of financial support from R. B. Bennett and perhaps some financial support from Henry Black, lasted 12 years. The last issue was put out on Saturday February 3, 1940 - in the middle of The Second World War.