Was the 1947 candy boycott a communist plot?

When the price of a chocolate bar rose to eight cents from five cents in 1947, thousands of children across Canada joined a 10-day candy boycott, said Maclean’s in its April 21 issue, backgrounding a History Television documentary called “The Five Cent War.” At the time, the Toronto Telegram said children were duped by the Communists. “Chocolate bars and a world revolution may seem poles apart,” said the paper, “but to the devious Communist mind there is a close relationship.” One of those “devious minds,” said Maclean’s, belonged to retired York University political scientist Norman Penner, general secretary of the National Federation of Labour and a Communist Party of Canada member until 1957. Penner recalled being asked to organize a protest in Toronto. “I got into Harbord Collegiate,” he said, where the school had assembled to hear him speak. Even a senior Cadbury executive was there. But the students failed to move the candy baron. He told Penner simply, “We’re not going back to five cents.” The media grossly exaggerated the Communist involvement, said Penner.

Roughriders sign York athlete

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the signing of defensive back Dennis Mavrin, a 23-year-old product of Toronto, who played four seasons at York University and was a two-time All-Canadian, reported The Leader-Post in Regina April 17. As a senior, the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder had 65 tackles, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries and copped York’s team, special-teams and defensive MVP awards.

Jewish Tribune apologizes for cartoon

The Jewish Tribune, Canada’s largest-circulation Jewish newspaper and the official organ of B’nai Brith Canada, makes no bones about its support for the Israeli government, said Now magazine in its April 16-22 edition. But the paper’s recent coverage of the ongoing conflict between Jewish and Arab students on the York University campus was too much even for York’s Jewish Student Federation to stomach, said Now. At issue was a cartoon that ran in the paper’s March 13 edition for which the Tribune was later forced to publish an apology. Now said the Tribune’s publisher, Frank Dimant, seemed eager to downplay the entire incident as a misunderstanding – despite the apology. “Some people misunderstood, and we didn’t want anybody to be hurt,” said Dimant, who’s also executive vice-president of B’nai Brith Canada. Dimant said the paper received a lot of letters of complaint, but declined to say from which individuals or organizations, if any.