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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 17, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta THE FUN' AT THE C.N.E. in Toronto. Special departure from Calgary Aug. 16lh. Limited space. AIR FARE ONLY S174.00 ART WILLIAMS TRAVEL CENTRE VILLAGE MALL PHONE 328-3201 The lethbridge Herald SECOND SECTION Lelhbridge, Alberta, Monday, July 17, 1972 PAGES 9 TO 18 NOW IN OUR NEW LOCATION CECIL OXENBURY DISPENSING OPTICIANS LTD. 101 PROFESSIONAL BLDG. 740 4lh AVE. S. PHONE 328-7121 "Do you have u spare pair of glatiel for holiday Beetworkers quarters 'pig sties' official says UNDER AN ARTILLERY BARRAGE? No Part of a three-room beet worker shack ready to be re-occupied. The bedroom has a wooden mattress and the kitchen is without water. However, it is also an example of what does happen to some huts by an occasional rowdy in- habitant. Rats wouldn't, live in some or the huts sugar beet workers awl their families are forced to live in. The huts just aren't up to the rodents' standards. Those are observations made by a Herald reporter-photo- grapher team following a lour of southern Alherta's sugar beet fields. And they're backed by an Indian newspaper and a de- partment of Indian affairs offi- cial. One and two-room shacks without water or toilets, hous- ing anywhere from one to nine people man, wife and chil- dren wore not uncommon. No electricity, boarded and broken windows and danger- ously-ancient stoves were also frequent. However, most of the shacks lived in by transient sugar beet families resembled those often found in metropolitan ghettos. Occasional dwellings which a very low income wage earner RURAL SLUM TENNANTS Nine people share this life-room shack, dalion their employer a southern Alberta sugar beet farmer supplies.. Although they have no running waler nor indoor toilet facilities, these Their stay could vary belween a few days to most of the summer. If ihey Saskatchewan Indians were relatively pleased with the type of accomo-. leove, another family will replace ihem in the same quarters. would consider living in were found, but those buildings were by far the exception rather than the rule. Every year hundreds of mi- grant workers and their fami- lies mostly of native origin flock to the beet fields from reserves in Saskatchewan and northern Alberta. They are paid according to acre basis. A couple of farmers inter- viewed complained bitterly that any story published would be "biased and sensational." The buildings currently cupied hy the workers were once new, they said. But years of nearly constant abuse by in- habitants have destroyed them. One farmer's son said: "We've tried to keep them up to standards, but every time we fix them it doesn't lake long before someone kicks hell out of them. "It gets discouraging after a while and then many farm- ers don't give a damn any- more." A former beet worker now employed by the federal gov- ernment said, "It's just like everything else. A few spoil it for everybody." He added, if offered slum- like accommodations, people will generally treat them in that fashion. Many of the so-called tem- porary beet worker homes labor huts were also some distance from where the em- ployer b'ved. Some people living in deso- lale-loolaug shacks were pleas- ed with the quality of ac- commodation they had finally found no running water, par- tially boarded windows and the like. They were quick to identify even worse places nearby, and urged the photographer to seek them out. Due to time re- restrictions, most of these places could not be photo- graphed. The first place visited was a farm where about a dozen labor huts were clustered to- gether. None of the buildings had water or sewer, and all were in extreme states of dis- repair. Half of the structures were one or IVz-room shacks. One farmer pointedly re- marked the structures were for ''temporary residents." Be- cause the buildings were oc- cupied only in the summer, the Taber park reopening The Taber Provincial Park will re-open to the public Wed- nesday at 8 p.m. The park was closed during the spring because of condi- tions caused by flooding. Dr. Allan Warrack, minister of lands and forests, and Boh Bowling, minister without port- folio responsible for tourism, CLIFF BLACK, Certified Denial Mechanic BLACK DENTAL LAB Lower Level MEDICAL DENTAL BLDG. PHONE 327-2675 will be in attendance as well as officials from the Student Temporary Employment Pro- gram, Labatt's Alberta Brew- ery Ltd., and the department of lands and forests. Those involved in the STEP program had interested bait's Ltd. through their en- couragement ol private indus- tries to assist in alleviating the student employment situation. Four local students were employed through a donation of from Labatt's to assist the department of lauds and forests in a cleanup and beau- tification camp in Tabsr. WHAT ARE CATARACTS? DISPENSARY AND DOWNTOWN GEORGE RODNEY Halo Modlcal Blda. 401 5th SI. S. 601 6th Ave. S. Delivery Call 328-6133 Coll 327-3364 TOOL SHED? No. It's a single room ncn-insulaled shack with only one tiny win- dow to allow in any light. It's nearly new, and the beet worker living there seemed elated by the "excellent" qualify of accommodation he had found. No toilets or run- ning water, but "better than my last place here." AinCONDITIONED WASH- ROOMS But for bcclwork- crs only and is typical of llic sanitary .facilities .available at belter bent worker huts in southern Alberta. normal utilities were not all required, he said. The former beet worker now a civil servant said Can- ada Manpower usually checks out the standard of accommo- dation before sending out work- ers. This ensures a cerlain stan- dard of accommodation for the transient beet worker and liis family. But there are a lot of "free- lance" beclworkers who do not use CMC facilities and take any accommodation offered, he said. Federal grants are available to the farmer to improve or construct "labor he added. These grants pay up to hall of all cosls. Not all beet workers living in labor shacks are of native origin. of the first five shacks visited were occupied by white men- The Herald investigation was launched following a story printed in June in The Native People, a northern Alberta In- dian publication. The story said: "The work- ing and living conditions are usually far below than what is advertised by the employer, Story by Rudy Haugeneder Photos by Bill Groenen and much lower than what is construed as Canada's stand- ard of living. "Most of the so-called houses arc one or two room shacks without electricity and run- ning water. Some do have run- ning water. You have to run out back and get it from a well. The workers come from all over with expectations of living in modern homes with all the facilities tliat they are accustomed to." In the following edilion, il ran a letter to the editor by Pau! Van Cleve, a Lethbridge department of Indian affairs guidance counsellor. He said: "Your article is timely and accurate. "I have many limes, in visits to native people working in the sugar beet fields, been appall- ed by their living conditions. "I would suggest to you that those who return to the pig sties some farmers call 'ac- are not "chic- kens" but "silly geese." The Indian paper's story was rilled The Chickens Came Back Chicken Coops Living Quar- ters for Beet Workers. Mr. Van Cleve. who Is cur- rently on leave of absence at his Big Timber, Mont, ranch, ;aid in a Herald telephone In- terview: "I employ ranch hands, and wouldn't think of letting my employees live in those chic- ken coops. No, they're pig sties. "I haven't seen a beet farm in the Lelhhridge area which provides accommodation even approaching decent for the beet workers. It's appalling." He said unmarried beet workers probably don't mind the quality of accommodalion, bul his concern is for people wilh families children. "It's inexcusable that beet farmers provide the places they do. They can afford to spend more.1' Commenting on CMC checks of housing he, "My God. If they're chocking the ones Fve seen there's got lo be something the matter there." "I can appreciate lhat beet farmers arc reluctant in fancy- ing up the places, but they cer- tainly ought to manage some- Ihing." Noting the currenl shortage of workers in southern Alberta, Mr. Van Cleve said, "Best farmers are hiring more stu- denls now. "They pick them up in town morning and bring them back every night. "Working students usually like independence and living away from home when work- ing. "The fact that beet farmers bring them to town every night shows the kids won't live here (labor SAPESEED COUNCIL The three Prairie rapeseed growers associations formed a prairie rapeseed council March 5. The council consists of the presidents and vice-presidents from each of the provinces (Al- berta, Saskatchewan and Mani- Don Valleau, president of the Saskatchewan association, who chaired the meeting in Saska- toon said the council will great- ly improve the co-ordination be- tween the provincial organiza- will present a stronger voice when dealing wilh mailers of mutual interest such as tariffs, freight rates, etc." WHOOP-UP DAYS SPECIAL! PYREX 6 CUP TEAPOT Regular I SPECIAL PYREX 6 CUP COFFEE PERK Regular I SPECIAL DOWNTOWN SummerSun FUN CMJDS (For boys and girls six to eight years old.) Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. lo noon at Ridcau Court, Kinsmen and Lnkcvicw play- grounds-. ART DIETRICH DENTURE CLINIC DENTAL MECHANIC Schwartz Bldg. 322 5lh St. S. Phono 32B-4095 Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to noon at Slaffordvillc, Kiwanis, and Lions play- grounds. Tuesday and T h u r sday afternoons nt Rideau Court playground. Gyro Park is open every week day morning. PLAYGROUND CENTRE (For hoys and girls over eight years old.) Norbridgc films, arts and crafls, lours, swimming. Civic Ccntro volleyball Community summer program tournament at the fair grounds, puppet show and. workshop, games. Day Camp-registration for Henderson Lake Day Camp will be in Ihe afternoon of this week. Today is the start of a new week of fun at the cnmps located in the north- east corner of the park. OTHER EVENTS (For people eight to 11 years Canoeing features cnnoo instruction, water safety, trips and lours. For more Information about the .summer program and A Summer of Fun call 32H-087G. AIR CONDITIONING Alcon RcFrigoration Ltd. For tlio besf buy in Air Conditioning Phono 327-5816 AUCTION BARN 2508 2nd Ave. N. Regular Tuesday Sale-July 18th P.M. Fish lank (2.1 cu. fi.l, chicken brooder (1000 chick beauliful old cak writing desk, oil burner, rollaway cot, excellent box spring and mattress, large seleclion of garden Universal hitch and clamp on hilch, (loor polishers, reol good varicly of automalic washers and dryers, older lype chesterfield and chair wilh wcod Irim (very good con- modern wooden planter wilh shelf, windshield and back window for '60 Plymoulh. 25 cu. ft. Coldspot Deep Freeze 3 very good fridges, selection of chesterfieldi, like new green occasional chair, davenports, beds galore, windows and doors, bikes, wringer washers, book cases, electric ranges, nice old buffet, lamps, many TV's, good light brown patterned rug, 2 commercial floor polishers, display rack, curloinj, vacuum cleaners, many more items too numerous to list. Please feel tree lo inspect the merchandise at any lime. 1968 SUZUKI 250 CC. X6 HUSTLER IN Al CONDITION FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT SOUTHWEST AUCTION SERVICES 327-1222 2508 2nd Avo. N. Auctioneer: RILL HOPE-Uc. 845 REED HAWTHORN! Representative ;