January 13: Fort William

Harry Murphy is elected as mayor of Fort William. This is Murphy’s fourth year as mayor; however, in the previous three years, Murphy was acting mayor during the absence of S. C. Young, who was on active duty. In his inaugural address, Murphy speaks to the City Council of the devastation of the last four years, and the work that the Council will have to do in order to restore and reconstruct their city. He also speaks of their returning soldiers for whom the city will have to care through the provision of jobs and offering compassion and understanding for their suffering.

Full Transcript:

For this past four and one-half years this world has witnessed such unparalleled loss of life, destruction of property and untold misery that it is quite staggering, and just now the brightest minds of all the lands are co-ordinating their ideas for the rehabilitating and restoring of the land which has been laid waste.

You Gentlemen, will have to do your part in this great world work. Already your Federal and Provincial Governments have been considering the various phases of re-construction. Vast sums of money will be spent, and factories for turning out such material as will be needed, not for war, but for the re-building of the world, will be speeded up, new industries will be locating where they can be most economically operated.

It should be our aim to make such a survey of our possibilities and economic resources, that we can go to the manufacturer and lay our claims before him, and assist him in deciding why he should locate here.

We should very seriously consider offering assistance on this subject.

Many of our soldier boys are returning home from the battle fields of Europe, in some cases to resume their former occupation, others to take on new work, we should recognize their worth and work and offer all the assistance in our power. We as a Council should take the lead in this work, then, we can urge upon our other employers to realize their responsibility. We will have to be patient with many of these returned men for have they not been subjected to the most terrible experiences, is it any wonder they are nerve racked and may not be 100% efficient, so I say be patient with them until they assume their ordinary mental condition.I spoke of those that have returned to our midst, there    is yet another class of men, young men for the most part, boys whom we have known from their infancy, have watched them at school, known them intimately, they answered the “call”, went to battle, were doing their “bit” and paid the supreme sacrifice – are we going to forget those boys of ours? No! we must erect such a memorial that they will never be forgotten by those of us living and also that those that come after us may recognize their work. I would ask you to seriously consider what would be the best form the memorial should take.

January 13: Port Arthur

The City Council of Port Arthur received correspondence from Sir Douglas Haig, Field Marshal of the British Expeditionary Forces (Sir Douglas Haig) and King George V of England thanking the council for their letters of congratulations. They also received correspondence regarding war indemnities and taxes on Keefer Home (see below).

January 13: Port Arthur

The City Council received a letter from the Board of Trade suggesting a 1 (one) mill rate (a percentage or amount) of the tax levy will go towards for Soldiers’ Aid work (i.e. a percentage of municipal taxes will go to this charity).

January 13: Port Arthur

A request for a Tag Day is received by the City Council, and is referred to the Finance Committee. A Tag Day is a day on which money is collected for a charity and donors receive a tag in exchange for their contribution. Here the Council has received correspondence regarding a Tag Day to raise money for Canadian War Hospital Fund for Serbia.

Serbian troops fought on the side of the Allies during the war, and their small country was also constantly bombarded by attacks from the Hungarian and Austrian troops, resulting in a country that was in desperate need of aid.

January 13: Port Arthur

The Council received a resolution from the City of Calgary and decide to endorse it, thereby passing it as their own resolution.  It lists all the sacrifices Canada has made in the fight against Germany, and thus they agree that Germany should pay $1 billion in war indemnities (payment made to the victors of a war by the vanquished) to Canada. Canada has spent the same amount of money on the war, and has sent half a million men to fight a war that the Germans started. They also argue that Germany’s war debt is mainly to its own people because the population donated their money to a cause they thought they could win and from which they would profit. Canada wants to use the war indemnities to industrialize the West and access the natural resources found there. ($1 billion would be approx. $13 billion in today’s dollars).

Full Transcription:

            Whereas the Dominion of Canada has spent over One Million Dollars and supplied half a million men for the prosecution of the Great World War.

            And Whereas in the opinion of this Council the Dominion should be recouped to the extent of the sum of One Billion Dollars at least.

            Therefore be it resolved that this Council place itself on record that Canada should received at least One Billion Dollars war indemnity. Canada has spent that amount and has supplied half a million me in a war made necessary by the German dream of world-domination. Canada is a country larger, much larger, than all of Europe with a population of less than 8,000,000. This country has great undeveloped areas and billions of dollars of natural resources still scarcely touched. These resources are principally in the West. At least one-half to the indemnity money should go to Western Canada to be applied to the development of the country so that preparation may be made for the population which should, in the near future, be attracted to this last Great West.

Such a course should advance this country 25 or 30 years and would aid materially in resolving the returned soldier problem which undoubtedly will be the gravest question which this, in common with all other countries, will have to bear.  

According to Col. Maclean writing in Maclean’s Magazine recently, Germany is well able to pay the cost of the war, and he shows in detail the vast resources which that country could devote to paying this debt if her energies were directed in this direction instead of on the direction of military conquest.

Some people believe that Germany has so mortgaged her future in order to carry on the war that she will be unable to undertake the additional burden of war-indemnities, but it must be remembered that probably 90% of her war debt is owing to her own people, who joyfully furnished the Kaiser with funds for the purpose of destroying the world, and who expected to get back their money a thousand fold.

According to August Thyssen, a German millionaire, in an article written some few weeks ago, when it was understood that the game was lost, the German people were to profit largely by the conquest of the world.

He tells how the Kaiser divided up the world with his backers. He, Thyssen, was to receive 30000 acres of land in Australia and $50000000. To others he gave millions of acres of land in Canada, India and British Africa.

From Bertha Krupp to the lowest peasant, they backed their rulers in what they knew was a crime against man and God; for 40 years they have been drinking to TheDay they would divide the earth among themselves.

They played for big stakes and they lost; why not let them settle?

We do not propose to do unto them as they would have done unto us, but let us treat them as we would treat any other criminals caught in the act. The divine law established by the Creator insists on punishment, when broken, there is no sympathy wasted on the criminal, neither his mental nor moral condition is taken into consideration, and there is no appeal unless it is to that Higher Court before which we shall all stand one day.

In all civilized countries, the law against destruction of property insists on restitution, and punishment in addition. As nations are made up of individuals, punish the principal perpetrators with death or imprisonment, and the lesser criminals by insisting upon restitution in full.

Germany is a rich nation, potentially, to-day. Practically, all of her liabilities are owing to her own people. The balance of he cost of war has been paid for our of wealth stolen from the countries which she has ravaged. Her country has not been ravaged as other countries have, and she will be able to begin immediately creating wealth when the war is over. She should be made to pay.The Port Arthur City Council should pass a resolution to this effect and forward a copy through our local member to Premier Borden, and also copies should be forwarded to the City Council of every other City in Canada, so that this matter may have the strongest endorsement possible.

January 13: Port Arthur

In the autumn of 1918, the French Marines arrived in Port Arthur to outfit the minesweepers being built at Canadian Car and Foundry (Can Car) in Fort William, and escort them to France. Lieut. Edmund Jean Marie Raoult contracted the Spanish Flu, and passed away. The Council and the Finance Committee suggested erecting a monument in his honour in December of 1918 and are continuing that discussion.

January 13: Port Arthur

During the war, Keefer Home was used as a Convalescent Home for the military. A Convalescent Home is where soldiers stay if they need care, but are not sick/injured enough for a hospital. The Council has agreed to write off the charges incurred for taxes during the time it was used as a Convalescent Home. See Keefer Convalescent Home.

Francis Henry Keefer, a prominent Port Arthur lawyer, metallurgist, and politician, offered his home, located on the corner of Cameron and Algoma (present day Camelot St.) to be used by the Military District #10 Militia. Colonel Ray offered the Soldier’s Aid Commission use of the three acres adjacent to the Keefer Home for gardening. This was endorsed by the Parks Board, and Parks Superintendent Craig was authorized to assist with the effort.

January 14: Fort William

Mr. Gorman, President of the Great War Veterans’ Association, appeared before the City Council to request that Sunday night concerts be allowed so long as they did not interfere with church services; the appointment of a committee to assist with demobilizing and rehabilitating returned soldiers (referred to Finance Committee); the erection of a memorial monument (referred to Finance Committee); and a more favourable electric light rate (referred to Public Utilities Committee). The Great War Veterans Association was formed in 1917 and later amalgamated with other veterans’ groups in 1926 to form the Canadian Legion which in 1960 would become the Royal Canadian Legion. As members of the military returned from overseas, the need for a support system for veterans became evident.  The Royal Canadian Legion continues to assist military personnel and their families today.

January 20: Port Arthur

At the second City Council meeting of 1919, correspondence was received from W. P. Charles inviting the City Council and the Mayor to a luncheon at the Prince Arthur in honour of the returned soldiers. Acknowledgement of the city’s congratulations in regards to the war was also received from the Lieutenant General Arthur Currie (See Sir Arthur Currie).

January 20: Port Arthur

At the January 13th City Council meeting, the Council decided to write off the charges incurred during the war for Keefer Home (see above). During this meeting, the Council has the Solicitor look into the legality of doing so and whether the Council has somehow obligated the City to pay the taxes instead.

January 28: Fort William

Fort William has received, from Calgary, a copy of a resolution in connection with war indemnities. The resolution has been referred to the Industrial Committee. Port Arthur passed this resolution on January 13th (see above with full transcription).  

January 28: Fort William

The Great War Veterans’ Association wrote to the Fort William City Council asking for a committee to meet with various organizations in order to deal with the re-employment of returned soldiers, and the erection of a memorial monument.

January 28: Port Arthur

The City Clerk of Kingston, W. W. Sands has written to the Port Arthur City Council regarding enemy aliens* in Canada. The Council agrees with Kingston’s resolution that all “alien enemies who have shown an anti-ally spirit during the war should be deported at the earliest opportunity and that systematic action be urged throughout the Dominion to adequately punish offenders guilty of disloyal talk or actions.”

*in the case of the First World War, enemy aliens were anyone living in Canada who were originally from an Axis’ country (i.e. German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires and Bulgaria). See Enemy Aliens.

January 28: Port Arthur

Provincial war taxes were imposed on the citizens of Ontario at the beginning of the Great War to help pay for said war. However, once the war was over, the cities of Ontario, including Port Arthur, were requesting the provincial government abolish this tax (which did not occur as the province of Ontario still imposes a provincial tax today).

January 28: Port Arthur

Trophies from the Great War are being allotted to various parts of the Dominion (Canada) and Port Arthur City Council is requesting a share of the war trophies as a tribute to the men from the Port Arthur district who fought in the war. Read more in the Canadian War Museum’s article about War Trophies.

January 28: Port Arthur

$250 ($3,269.61 in today’s dollars) was given to the Soldiers’ Aid Committee, taken out of their yearly grant.

January 28: Port Arthur

A $100 ($1,307.84 in today’s dollars) military grant was given to Mr. Charles James Whatley “as he seems to have been entitled to” for his service to the City. The City of Port Arthur granted every civic employee who enlisted for Military Duty a sum of money and the promise of being able to return to their job upon their return.

The policy for providing grants to former municipal employees enlisted overseas had been changed in March 1916. The policy for grants to soldiers had been to provide the difference in pay between the former employee’s regular salary and their military pay, up to $1000 per year, provided they had worked for the City for at least one year before enlisting. Under the new rules, married men were given $100 and single men were given $50 in a one-time grant.