Conscription opposed; Vietnam War underway

The Western Producer takes a weekly look at some of the stories that made headlines in issues of the paper from 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

75 years ago: March 7, 1940

This week’s front page war news included Italy’s challenge of Britain’s German blockade, the Russian attack on the Finnish province of Viipuri, a German attack on a British passenger liner in the English Channel, Germany’s continuing war on shipping, a German apology to Belgium for killing one of its pilots, the British sinking of a German U-boat, increased German activity on the Dutch and Swiss borders, the federal Conservatives’ declaration that it opposed conscription and Pope Pius XII’s prayer for peace.

As well, the three prairie pools asked the federal government to use its powers under the War Measures Act to make another payment on wheat delivered from the 1939 crop.

A story on page 3 detailed a bitter debate in the Manitoba legislature about communism. All but one member — the lone communist MLA — were opposed it.

50 years ago: March 4, 1965

Federal trade minister Mitchell Sharp said it would be a bad idea for the government to subsidize wheat exports. Such a move, he added, would weaken the position of the Canadian Wheat Board and reduce the incentive to sell as much wheat as possible at the best possible price.

Four new grain varieties were re-leased to seed growers for increase: Manitou (wheat), Conquest (barley), Harmon (oats) and Noralta (flax).

A CCF MLA in Saskatchewan called Montana a fascist state. The governor shrugged off the comment, saying Harry Link “perhaps became caught up in his own oratory.”

Seven inches were set aside on the front page to explain the latest developments in what would eventually become known as the Vietnam War.

25 years ago: March 8, 1990

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture gave lukewarm support to the proposed goods and services tax but asked for an exemption for farm inputs. It wasn’t the strong endorsement that agriculture minister Don Mazankowski had wanted.

A judge acquitted an Ontario man who was charged with fraud for showing farmers how they could collect unemployment insurance.

Scientists were predicting that El Nino would return in 1990.

10 years ago: March 3, 2005

Ottawa’s plan to amend the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act revealed a rare consensus among prairie farm leaders: don’t mess with farmers’ right to save and plant their own seed.

Conservative MP Gerry Ritz wasn’t impressed by government plans to cut $180 million from agriculture spending over the next five years. “This looks like a systematic pulling back from supporting agriculture in many ways, just at a time when the industry needs all the support in can get,” he said.

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