Bonus Features: “Knocking out that rag is my only passion”

Before diving into this post, read my TVO article on the Star and the Charitable Gifts Act.

Warning: there’s a lot of material in this one, as so much ink was spilled in the press concerning the Charitable Gifts Act (CGA). What I’m presenting here is a tiny fraction of the coverage. At the peak of the controversy, a quarter of the Star‘s pages (averaging around 56 pages an edition) mentioned the CGA.

Due to COVID-related closures, I was unable to check the Telegram‘s coverage. As the Globe and Mail remained closer to George McCullagh’s heart, I imagine the Tely‘s coverage wasn’t much different, other than using language better suited for the paper’s audience.

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Toronto Star, May 10, 1948.

star 1948-05-10 atkinson foundation

Toronto Star, May 10, 1948.

star 1947-07-14 tely for sale

Toronto Star, July 14, 1947.

Let’s step back a few months, to the news that the Telegram, which had been administered by trustees since founder John Ross Robertson’s death in 1918. Throughout the Charitable Gifts Act saga, politicians and the press wondered why the arrangements surrounding the Tely and the Hospital for Sick Children had not been questioned.

tely 1948-12-01 front page mccullagh note

The Telegram, December 1, 1948.

A front page message from George McCullagh after he bought the Telegram. One can quibble about the claims of political independence, given McCullagh’s strong ties with George Drew and other Progressive Conservatives. Still, he modernized the paper, bringing it into the postwar era by gradually lessening its strong British flavour (the Union Jack soon vanished from the masthead) and bringing in a new generation of talented writers and editors.

honolulu star-bulletin 1949-01-08 mccullagh's hatred of the star

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 8, 1949.

McCullagh’s dislike for the the Star made it into the North American wire services, with this story spreading as far as Hawaii.

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Toronto Star, March 26, 1949.

The first of many front-page Star editorials on the CGA and its potential effects.

gm 1949-03-28 editorial on protecting ontario charities

Globe and Mail, March 28, 1949. 

star 1949-03-30 dennison and temple

Toronto Star, March 30, 1949.

A few words about who was serving at Queen’s Park at the time. The result of the June 1948 provincial election was 53 PC, 21 CCF, 14 Liberal, and 2 LPP (Labor-Progressive Party, the legally acceptable name of the Communists). Though his party won, Premier George Drew lost 13 seats compared to 1945, including his own. He was vanquished by one of the men seen here, William “Temperance Bill” Temple. Drew handed the premiership over to veteran Peel MPP Thomas Laird Kennedy, who would serve as interim leader until the PCs voted for a permanent replacement on April 27, 1949.

Besides Temple, the CCF caucus of 1949 was an interesting mix of MPPs. Among them:

  • William Dennison (St. David), a speech therapist who served as Toronto’s mayor from 1966 to 1972.
  • Agnes Macphail (York East), elected as Canada’s first female federal MP in 1921. She had switched to provincial politics earlier in the decade.
  • C.H. Millard (York West), who was the United Auto Workers local president during the Oshawa GM strike in 1937, beginning a career which shaped trade union activism in Ontario.
  • Reid Scott(Beaches), who, at 21, was the youngest person elected to the Ontario legislature until Sam Oosterhoff in 2016. He later served the public as a city councillor, judge, and federal MP. When he died in 2016, he was the last surviving member of the parliamentary committee who chose the current Canadian flag.

star 1949-03-30 charities bill editorial cartoon

Cartoon by Les Callan, Toronto Star, March 30, 1949.

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Ottawa Journal, March 30, 1949.

The Ottawa Journal was among the conservative papers who disagreed with the bill.

gm 1949-03-31 bill assists charities 1

Globe and Mail, March 31, 1949.

A front page editorial where the G&M takes the high ground in paragraph one, then resorts to name calling in paragraph two. But then with a title like “Pay Up and Shut Up,” could you really expect less?

oj 1949-03-31 kennedy statement

Ottawa Journal, March 31, 1949.

Premier Kennedy’s thoughts on the bill. Apart from a three-year break following the Liberal landslide of 1934, Kennedy served as an MPP for Peel from 1919 to 1959. He served as minister of agriculture under four premiers, and retained the portfolio during his interim premiership. His name lives on via a Mississauga secondary school and two major roads in Peel Region (Kennedy Road and Tomken Road).

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Windsor Star, April 1, 1949.

gm 1949-04-01 editorial cartoon

Cartoon by Jack Booth, Globe and Mail, April 1, 1949. 

The G&M‘s cartoon following CCF leader Ted Jolliffe’s filibuster (which, if you have access to the online archives of the G&M and the Star, you can read lengthy excerpts printed in each paper). The man in the dumpster at the back is federal CCF leader M.J. Coldwell. Pro-CGA coverage accused Jolliffe of defending the Star in order to lure the paper away from its traditional support of the provincial Liberals.

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Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 1949.

star 1949-04-02 charities bill editorial cartoon

Cartoon by Les Callan, Toronto Star, April 2, 1949. 

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Financial Post, April 2, 1949.

The Financial Post also reported on the potential effects of the original bill on charities and foundations, including the University of Toronto (with its interests in Connaught Laboratories and University of Toronto Press) and the Royal Conservatory of Music (which ran music publisher Frederick Harris).

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Toronto Star, April 6, 1949.

Agnes Macphail’s feelings about the CGA, along with a guest appearance by former premier Harry Nixon (also not a fan of the legislation).

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Toronto Star, April 6, 1949.

Was John S.D. Tory (grandfather of the current Toronto mayor) an advisor on the CGA…

gm 1949-04-07 ccf filibuster john tory

Globe and Mail, April 7, 1949.

…or not?

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Windsor Star, April 6, 1949.

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Canadian Champion (Milton, ON), April 7, 1949.

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Newmarket Era and Express, April 7, 1949.

Excerpts of pro-CGA editorials from papers of all sizes and publishing frequency were reprinted in the Star.

kingsville reporter 1949-04-07 pro cga editorial

Kingsville Reporter,  April 7, 1949.

stouffville tribune 1949-04-07 pro cga editorial

Stouffville Tribune, April 7, 1949.

A pair of small-town pro-CGA editorials. Of the larger papers in the province, the G&M published a supportive editorial from the Hamilton Spectator. I wonder what the London Free Press‘s take was, as its name never came up in anyone’s coverage.

gm 1949-04-07 anti-jolliffe editorial slam

Globe and Mail, April 7, 1949.

The shortest CGA-related editorial, and a fine example of the snark that enveloped everyone.

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Toronto Star, April 7, 1949.

The Star‘s front page editorial the day after the CGA passed. This sums up several other articles which had run in the paper over the previous week.

star 1949-04-07 mccullagh and time

Toronto Star, April 7, 1949.

McCullagh’s interview appears to have been in the Canadian version of Time – it’s not in the April 11, 1949 cover dated American edition.

gm 1949-04-08 editorialGlobe and Mail, April 8, 1949. 

star 1949-06-23 drew and mccullagh and newspapers 1

star 1949-06-23 drew and mccullagh and newspapers 2

Toronto Star, June 23, 1949.

How the Star and McCullagh’s papers covered the 1949 federal election is worthy of a post of its own, if only to show the depths both went to sling mud at each other. Drew fared poorly in his first election as federal PC leader, as their seat count dropped from 65 in 1945 to 41. In Ontario, their count dropped from 48 to 25.

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Toronto Star, March 26, 1958.

A Collection of Editorials About the 1919 Toronto General Strike

times 1919-06-03 editorial page header

Before diving into this post, check out my article for TVO about the 1919 Toronto General Strike.

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Toronto World, May 22, 1919.

Mayor Tommy Church, who held numerous meetings with employers and labour in the lead up to the strike. The messsage on the wall refers to the Labor Temple at 167 Church Street, where many of the organizational meetings for the strike were held.

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Toronto Star, May 23, 1919.

A major Star editorial on the Winnipeg General Strike and the battle between employers and labour, which treats the disputes as labour disputes, not a rise in Bolshevism.

The Star‘s competitors, especially the Telegram and the Times, saw this editorial and others the paper published at this time as an opportunity to attack and ridicule.

tely 1919-05-23 criticism of star coverage of wgs

Evening Telegram, May 23, 1919.

This editorial refers to an old timey tune, which you can hear a 1926 recording of via the Internet Archive.

tely 1919-05-27 anti-star cartoon

Cartoon by George Shields, Evening Telegram, May 27, 1919.

Star publisher Joseph Atkinson is standing in the doorway. Not entirely sure who the other two men are supposed to be, though I’m guessing one is socialist activist and future Toronto mayor Jimmie Simpson (another favourite target of the Tely).

times 1919-05-23 editorial criticizing star

Toronto Times, May 23, 1919.

This is one of the few opportunities for me to browse the Toronto Times, the short-lived final incarnation of the Toronto News. Debuting on March 27, 1919, it was a Conservative daily in a market filled with several shades of Conservative dailies. Its death in September 1919 demonstrated the city could no longer support six papers.

times 1919-05-31 front page anti-star cartoon

Front page cartoon, Toronto Times, May 31, 1919.

The Times didn’t like Atkinson either, and also referred to the dog song.

times 1919-05-27 editorials on strike and rent profiteering

Toronto Times, May 27, 1919.

tely 1919-05-28 editorials

Evening Telegram, May 28, 1919.

As the deadline for the general strike loomed, Telegram editor John “Black Jack” Robinson started getting shouty.

Feel free to debate Robinson’s contention that “Toronto is a community of citizens, not of classes,” especially in 1919-era Toronto.

tely 1919-05-29 drifitng to calamity editorial

Evening Telegram, May 29, 1919.

me 1919-05-28 sober men want more editorial

Mail and Empire, May 28, 1919.

There were numerous theories floating around editorial pages as to why labourers were so upset in Toronto and across the country. This one uses an unnamed source claiming prohibition was making workers smarter now that their access to booze was (theoretically) restricted.

world 1919-05-28 editorial

Toronto World, May 28, 1919.

 

star 1919-05-29 editorial

Toronto Star, May 29, 1919.

And now, a word from our sponsors…

star 1919-05-28 lawrence bread ad about strikes

Toronto Star, May 28, 1919.

tely 1919-05-30 anti-strike cartoon

Cartoon by George Shields, Evening Telegram, May 30, 1919.

 

times 1919-05-30 editorial

Toronto Times, May 30, 1919.

times 1919-05-30 woman's page jewish girls among strikers

Toronto Times, May 30, 1919.

In all of the papers, the only women’s page to offer strike coverage was the Times‘. This piece about garment workers makes special note of their dress and religion in ways that feel off in a modern context.

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Toronto Star, June 2, 1919.

The Star‘s attempt to refute claims that “Europeans” were leading the strike effort…

times 1919-06-02 editorial

Toronto Times, June 2, 1919.

…while the Times continues its fearmongering tactics.

The “men we blame” were Jimmie Simpson (labour activist, future Toronto mayor, and whom the park and rec centre on Queen Street are named after), Reverend Salem Bland (a Methodist minister who preached Social Gospel, later became a Star columnist, and was the subject of a portrait by Lawren Harris), and William Ivens (editor of the daily workers bulletin during the Winnipeg General Strike).

world 1919-06-03 editorial cartoon

Toronto World, June 3, 1919.

globe 1919-06-03 editorial

Globe, June 3, 1919.

This editorial, and the next one, revolve around the roundup of 12 suspected subversives, and federal legislation that would deport anyone (especially those “Europeans”) arrested for Bolshevist tendencies.

me 1919-06-03 editorial

Mail and Empire, June 3, 1919.

times 1919-06-03 editorial

Toronto Times, June 3, 1919.

And now a pair of pieces celebrating the strike’s end. The Metal Trades Council remained on strike for another month.

times 1919-06-04 editorial on strike being beaten

Toronto Times, June 4, 1919.

globe 1919-06-04 editorial

Globe, June 4, 1919.

world 1919-06-05 editorial

Toronto World, June 5, 1919.