Years ago when studying law at Dalhousie University in Halifax I heard it said that in Nova Scotia everyone knows everybody. In particular the example pointed to was the inevitable casual acquaintance of locals with their members of parliament and the provincial legislature. The comment was certainly not far off the mark. My late father for example told me stories about the late Eric Balcom whom I visited at his residence along the Atlantic Ocean in my second year at law school.
Eric Wilfred Balcom, (March 13, 1909 – May 31, 1989) was a businessman, political figure, and Companion of the Order of Canada.
Born in Port Dufferin, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, Balcom moved to Wolfville in 1938. He established two nursing homes there. Balcom then operated the Paramount Hotel and Cottages from 1942 to 1970. He was Mayor of Wolfville from 1950 to 1955 and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Parliament in 1953.
Balcom was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1956, representing Kings North as a Liberal. He re-offered in the 1960 general election, but was defeated.
Balcom was president of the Atlantic School of Theology, the Nova Scotia Kidney Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Wolfville Board of Trade.[
Balcom returned to Port Dufferin in 1970. He was appointed to the Order of Canada on June 20, 1983.
In 1989, Balcom died as a result of a car accident.
My father was then the commanding officer of Greenwood Air Force Base. He occasionally arranged planes to transport local politicians. Among them was Gerald “Gabby” Regan who later became premier of the province of Nova Scotia.
The airfield for RAF Station Greenwood was constructed between 1940 and 1942 with the first training units arriving as part of No. 36 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on March 9, 1942. Early training aircraft types included the Lockheed Hudson MK III, the Avro Anson, and the Westland Lysander, all from Britain’s Royal Air Force. By the end of August 1942 there were 36 aircraft, and 194 trainees out of a total of 1,474 RAF personnel. By November 1942 the number of trainees had doubled and aircraft had expanded to 80.
Today when bicycling I extended a cheery hello to Rickey Minnelli who is the Deputy Mayor of Almonte. A couple of days ago I sent a personal email to Norm Sterling, formerly a Conservative member of the Ontario legislature. Years ago I was twice involved in the successful election of Jeffrey Lyman de Witt King as president of the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Jeffrey was a member of the Ottawa City Council, Alta Vista Ward. He was appointed QC (Her Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law) and was past president of the Liberal Party of Ontario. Jeffrey was honoured to be appointed Gentiluomo to Pope John Paul II where he assisted the Pope at major religious and civil ceremonies.
Following a successful career in law and politics, Jeffrey became a priest after graduating from the University of St.Thomas (the Angelicum), Rome with a degree in theology. He graduated as a Canon Law lawyer from The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. and was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa on Feb.6 1999. Jeffrey began his ministry as the assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Parish, Fallowfield and then became the pastor at St. Elizabeth’s Parish. He was a chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and the Order of Malta. Jeffrey retired after 12 years as the pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Parish where he treasured the support and friendship of Irene Desjardins and June Laderoute.
All this is to say, small town living is for me a good thing!