A friend has passed along a copy of Gregory Beatty’s “Stay Golden, Dunlop : How A Library Art Gallery Revolutionized Our City”  [Dec. 13-26, 2012]. Thank you telling us a little of this exhibition, for it is absent from the DAG website and the printed material received was too cool to be explanatory.

It nice to hear that the gallery revolutionized the city but you should know that its success became a model used across the country. But Mr. Collins and his predecessor are wrong to claim only 50 years.  During my time directing the Dunlop (1970-1984), I traced its origins back to 1948 when I named it the Dunlop. Helen Marzolf, who followed Peter White, who followed me, traced it back to 1946. That makes it 67 years serving the public. It’s on the website.

Either they did not do their home work or wish to ignore the work done by professional librarians, included Miss D., during RPL’s membership in the Western Canadian Art Circuit.  There was an earnest and accessible avenue to art before 1962.  The role of public libraries in democratic access to the arts is deep in Saskatchewan and deserves better attention than this.  Watch for the soon-to-be published history of Regina Public Library.

I also want to thank Mr. Beatty for attention to my Doug Bentham exhibition apparently featured somehow in this “Turner” exhibition.  It was an exhibition I was proud of and Doug’s first serious attention (a previous Mendel show was a bit of a joke).  When I took over the RPL Art Gallery, Saskatoon artists had not been seen in some time in Regina and Doug was a part of an emerging scene of serious local artists who saw no need to leave the province. I photographed him at work and did a secondary exhibition of how someone makes art out of steel.

Alas, when my friend Ron Shuebrook wrote a review of a Bentham show in Toronto last year he skipped over the Dunlop show and went straight to MacKenzie’s later show.  This is, alas, a recurring problem for the Dunlop’s role in Saskatchewan art history because current writers chose only from catalogues and ignore what actually happened.  At the time, especially in the Saskatchewan I saw, seeing art was more important than reading about it.

Wayne Morgan
Grimsby, ON



Re Stephen Whitworth’s editorial “R.I.P., Ralph” [April 4-17]: If you don’t have anything nice to say about somebody, on the day of his death, don’t say anything at all. It’s a simple rule to follow.  It’s certainly not a new concept — remember, his wife, kids, and grandkids read the papers/tweets/facebook. Do you want to open the paper, and read some rude comments about your father, while you are looking up the obituary? I remember when Trudeau passed away, I didn’t say anything bad for two weeks. This was the man who tore the country apart and people were saying he had vision (obviously the same vision gave him no seats west of Ontario, way to unify the country!!!), but I never opened my mouth, until they threatened to name a Mountain in Alberta after him, at which time I suggested the dump, or the sewage lagoon, could be more appropriately named Trudeau.

Ralph wouldn’t have had to make the hard choices if Trudeau hadn’t brought in the National Energy Program that illegally crippled the Alberta and Saskatchewan economies.

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but after the NEP, Alberta was deep in debt, and spending more on servicing the debt, than it did on education. The exact same situation that the UK is in right now. Ralph knew, that if he could pay off the debt, and keep it paid off,  he would have all that extra cash to spend on health and education. Ralph was the first one to take a pay cut, and he scrapped the Premier and MLA pension plan, until the government brought in a surplus.\

Ralph was a teacher, and principal, before he was a premier, somewhat too far to the left for most Albertans, but he understood economics, and surprised us with a very right-wing economic plan. He privatized the motor vehicle branch, and the liquor stores. Alberta now has the widest selection of alcohol, especially craft beers, in Canada. He deregulated the electrical grid, and now Alberta has the largest per capita supply of wind generated electricity in Canada. This is without offering a subsidy! Taxpayers and environmentalists laughed all the way to the bank. He brought the Olympics to Calgary, and we still have world class facilities, like the world record setting, speed skating oval. He brought in the Light Rail Transit, and restricted parking in the downtown core. This makes Calgary the number one North American city in its population class, for transit use.

On the next page of the PD issue, Chris Kirkland listed some “bad jokes”, and they truly were bad. I quote “The Globe ran a Flanagan column on the Ralph Klein legacy, as a premier who … oh seriously who the fuck cares what it was about? Disgusting move Globe” Real class act Chris, way to show you care about the facts.

If you read the Globe’s coverage of Ralph, you saw that it was the most critical, and the least accurate, of all the paper’s coverage — that is until I read Prairie Dog’s. For example, The Globe mentioned that Ralph was a free spending mayor who left Calgary with a big debt, which is true, but most of that debt occurred because Trudeau brought in the NEP, which crippled every layer of government in Alberta — this wasn’t mentioned. It wasn’t that Calgary’s debt bloomed, it was that the debt of every town and province in western Canada sky rocketed, when Trudeau destroyed the economy. It took time to get things under control, and a lot of people took pay cuts to get it under control.

It’s obvious from Chris’s article why the people at PD don’t know about Ralphs legacy. It’s because they aren’t open minded enough to read the other points of view. I enjoy reading the PD, as it allows me to get the other point of view. It’s too bad your staff doesn’t have similarly open minds.

Too sum it up, Ralph paid off the debt, so we could spend more on health care per capita, than any other province, he created a system where it was economically feasible, to build Canada’s largest per capita wind generated electricity system, without costing taxpayers, or electricity users more money. He made Calgary the transit model to be emulated for midsize North American cities, allowed me to buy booze at a liquor store, anytime I want, and pay less, if I wait for a sale, with the largest selection of beverages in Canada. He cut the line ups for renewing drivers licenses from three hours to three minutes.

Alberta has the highest paid teachers in North America, and the highest paid doctors in Canada. I guess in your eyes, Ralph left nothing.

Bob Wilson


GOPHERS LOVE FEEDBACK (AND FEEDBACKERS) BUT LETTERS SHOULD BE 300 WORDS AT MOST But will let it pass this time because Whitworth doesn’t feel like writing an editorial. Send e-mails to feedback@prairiedogmag.com or snail mail to #201-1836 Scarth St., Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 2G3. Letters will be edited for grammar, spelling, style and length (300 words maximum). Please include your full name, city of residence and a daytime phone number. This page isn’t an open forum — we only print signed letters about Prairie Dog articles and other editorial content (if you have an enlightening anonymous rant, send it to Queen City Confidential). Letters sent to Prairie Dog may also be printed in Planet S, our sister publication in Saskatoon. Next letters deadline is Wednesday, Dec. 19.Next letters deadline is Wednesday, May 8.