682 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
None of the guilty had a lawyer, which meant that some interesting
defences to the charges were never argued. The Motor Vehicle Act only
applies to public highways. There were no public highways in Ocean Falls
because all the roads, like everything else in town, were privately owned by
the Company. The sting and the resultant convictions probably had their
desired effect, which was to discourage office workers from going home to
Martin Valley at lunch. They could now eat their lunches at their desks in
the office and contribute to the profitability of the Company. Heather
Stanier, the daughter of George Stanier, one of the accused, became a lawyer
to avenge her father’s guilt.
Police Court was also the site of the juvenile court where the odd
teenager who stole once too often from the unprotected boats tied up on the
salt chuck or the lake, or who broke into one of the cabins at Wallace Bay,
was sent away to reform school at Brannen Lake near Nanaimo.
Because of its remoteness and the constant need for manpower and good
wages, Ocean Falls occasionally attracted men on the run from a questionable
past or women attempting to make easy money from the men on payday.
A pact existed between the RCMP and the Industrial Relations
Department of the mill. When an undesirable man with criminal propensities,
or a woman with plans for more financial rewards than her job as a
chambermaid in the hotel could provide, arrived in town, the police notified
the management. The unsuspecting culprit then found that he or she
no longer had a job, or a place to live, because of a violation of a “safety rule”
of the Workers’ Compensation Board that puts the lives of fellow workers in
Some crimes were tolerated. The big poker games in the bunkhouses and
the hotel—where operators like Cam Smith and Bill McPherson took a portion
of the pot and sold liquor on the side—allowed the single men to blow
off steam. Classy waitresses like Fifty Buck Mona who worked in the coffee
shop provided a well-needed service to the mostly male workforce when
the house at Pecker Point was shut down.
I was intrigued that my father actually knew and used a lawyer. When he
briefly practised in Fernie, B.C., he became friends with Harry McKay.
Harry did my dad’s will. I was proud to know someone famous when Harry
was elected as the MLA for Fernie and was later made a Supreme Court
Ocean Falls must have been one of the few communities in the Western
world in the 1950s with a strictly enforced curfew. At 9 p.m. (9:30 in the
summer) a siren, which might have been obtained from the City of London
after the Second World War air raids were over, wailed out across the town.