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: May 28, 1942
The cost of living for Canadian farm families increased 2.1 percent between the fall of 1941 and the spring of 1942. The Dominion Bureau of Statistics also reported that food prices increased 32.2 percent from pre-war levels.
Rules forcing gas stations to close at night were eased slightly for rural residents. Stations located eight kilometres or more from the limits of a city with a population of 5,000 or more would now be able to remain open until 9 p.m. Saturdays, which was two hours after the closing times set by gasoline regulations. “The step is being taken to help farmers,” said Munitions Minister C.D. Howe.
50 years ago: June 1, 1967
Parliament Hill teetered on the brink of riot in late May when 15,000 farmers demonstrated to back up their demands for higher milk prices. Farmers stormed the doors of Parliament’s Centre Block, which was damaged. RCMP reinforcements were called to control the situation, and security officials ordered the building’s doors locked, which was believed to be the first time such a thing had happened.
Premier Ernest Manning’s Social Credit party won a ninth straight provincial election in Alberta, taking 55 of the 65 seats in the legislature. However, change was in the wind with the Progressive Conservatives under their new leader, Peter Lougheed, winning six seats. The PCs won the next election four years later and wouldn’t let go of power for 44 years.
25 years ago: May 28, 1992
Grain farmers were being asked to repay money they received from the Western Grain Stabilization Administration the previous year. They had initially received an interim payment of $158 million, but an unexpected increase in grain sales eventually reduced the payment to $117 million, which prompted the federal government to ask for the return of $41 million. The average amount to be paid back was $330.
Members of the House of Commons agriculture committee recommended that future governments financially support only farmers who met environmental standards on their farms. The “cross compliance” recommendation was expected to be controversial. “We have boldly stepped into an area to say something that must be said,” said committee chair Harry Brightwell.
10 years ago: May 31, 2007
Cloverdale Rodeo near Vancouver banned tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling and cowboy cow milking after a calf was injured and then euthanized during a roping event. However, Dale Leschiutta, president of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, didn’t expect the move to spread to other rodeos.
Frost, snow and a cool May set back crops on the Prairies. Some farmers were forced to reseed, and others switched to early maturing varieties.