It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did you know…
* 1917 – Parliament passes a new tax on income to help pay for the war effort and recovery.
In 1917, Canada brought in Income Tax as a “temporary measure” to help pay for Canada’s involvement in World War 1.
From, before its birth, in 1867, the people who invented Canada decided that the provincial legislatures and not the federal parliament of Canada would have “exclusive jurisdiction” to make laws with respect to “direct taxation’ within the province.
“Income tax” was then considered, and continues to be considered, by economists and legal scholars, to be a “direct tax”.
This division of legislative powers was enshrined in Canada’s first constitutional document, the British North America Act, which divided legislative powers between the provincial legislatures and the federal parliament.
In the First World War, WW1, Canada’s Federal Government, charged with responsibility for national defense found itself without adequate funds to fight the war and brought in Canada’s first tax on incomes. All the legal scholars of the day, the judges, the lawyers and the politicians, knew that “income tax” was a “direct tax” and, therefore, outside the taxation powers of the federal parliament during peacetime.
So, the Government of Canada, under the leadership of Robert Borden, introduced the Income War Tax Act using its powers under the British North America Act to make laws for the purpose of national defence and, considering that Canada was fighting a war on behalf of England, the Governor General, as the representative of King George V of England, was only too happy to provide Royal Assent to the legislation, on behalf of King George V, who was also the King of Canada at a time when Canada was still an official colony of England. Note: Canada chose to retain the British monarch as the monarch of Canada even after independence was achieved in 1931.
* 1973 King triumphs in Battle of Sexes.
On this day in 1973, in a highly publicized “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, top women’s player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men’s player. Riggs (1918-1995), a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn’t handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. King made a Cleopatra-style entrance on a gold litter carried by men dressed as ancient slaves, while Riggs arrived in a rickshaw pulled by female models. Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell called the match, in which King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King’s achievement not only helped legitimize women’s professional tennis and female athletes, but it was seen as a victory for women’s rights in general.
King was born Billie Jean Moffitt on November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California. Growing up, she was a star softball player before her parents encouraged her to try tennis, which was considered more ladylike. She excelled at the sport and in 1961, at age 17, during her first outing to Wimbledon, she won the women’s doubles title. King would rack up a total of 20 Wimbledon victories, in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, over the course of her trailblazing career. In 1971, she became the first female athlete to earn more than $100,000 in prize money in a single season. However, significant pay disparities still existed between men and women athletes and King lobbied hard for change. In 1973, the U.S. Open became the first major tennis tournament to hand out the same amount of prize money to winners of both sexes.
In 1972, King became the first woman to be chosen Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsperson of the Year” and in 1973, she became the first president of the Women’s Tennis Association. King also established a sports foundation and magazine for women and a team tennis league. In 1974, as a coach of the Philadelphia Freedoms, one of the teams in the league, she became the first woman to head up a professional co-ed team.
The “mother of modern sports” retired from tennis with 39 Grand Slam career titles. She remained active as a coach, commentator, and advocate for women’s sports and other causes. In 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open, was renamed in King’s honor. During the dedication ceremony, tennis great John McEnroe called King “the single most important person in the history of women’s sports.”
* 1963 Kennedy proposes joint mission to the moon.
An optimistic and upbeat President John F. Kennedy suggests that the Soviet Union and the United States cooperate on a mission to mount an expedition to the moon. The proposal caught both the Soviets and many Americans off guard.
In 1961, shortly after his election as president, John F. Kennedy announced that he was determined to win the “space race” with the Soviets. Since 1957, when the Soviet Union sent a small satellite–Sputnik–into orbit around the earth, Russian and American scientists had been competing to see who could make the next breakthrough in space travel. Outer space became another frontier in the Cold War. Kennedy upped the ante in 1961 when he announced that the United States would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Much had changed by 1963, however. Relations with the Soviet Union had improved measurably. The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 had been settled peacefully. A “hot line” had been established between Washington and Moscow to help avert conflict and misunderstandings. A treaty banning the open air testing of nuclear weapons had been signed in 1963. On the other hand, U.S. fascination with the space program was waning. Opponents of the program cited the high cost of the proposed trip to the moon, estimated at more than $20 billion. In the midst of all of this, Kennedy, in a speech at the United Nations, proposed that the Soviet Union and the United States cooperate in mounting a mission to the moon. “Why” he asked the audience, “therefore, should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?” Kennedy noted, “the clouds have lifted a little” in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations, and declared “The Soviet Union and the United States, together with their allies, can achieve further agreements–agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction.”
Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko applauded Kennedy’s speech and called it a “good sign,” but refused to comment on the proposal for a joint trip to the moon. In Washington, there was a good bit of surprise–and some skepticism–about Kennedy’s proposal. The “space race” had been one of the focal points of the Kennedy administration when it came to office, and the idea that America would cooperate with the Soviets in sending a man to the moon seemed unbelievable. Other commentators saw economics, not politics, behind the proposal. With the soaring price tag for the lunar mission, perhaps a joint effort with the Soviets was the only way to save the costly program. What might have come of Kennedy’s idea is unknown–just two months later, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, abandoned the idea of cooperating with the Soviets but pushed ahead with the lunar program. In 1969, the United States landed a man on the moon, thus winning a significant victory the “space race.”
* 1519 Magellan sets out.
Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Río de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.
On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when the ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. He was the first European explorer to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named “Pacific,” from the Latin word pacificus, meaning “tranquil.” By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. On March 6, 1521, the expedition landed on the island of Guam.
Ten days later, they dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebú–they were only about 400 miles from the Spice Islands. Magellan met with the chief of Cebú, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In fighting on April 27, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and left to die by his retreating comrades.
After Magellan’s death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Vittoria, continued west under the command of Basque navigator Juan SebastiÁn de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at the Spanish port of SanlÚcar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.
* 1934 Actress and international sex symbol Sophia Loren born.
On this day in 1934, Sofia Villani Scicolone, later known to the world as the actress and screen siren Sophia Loren, is born in Rome, Italy. Loren, who was raised in poverty in Naples, rose to become Italy’s most famous film star and an international icon of beauty and glamour.
As a teenager, Sofia began entering beauty contests, and she eventually caught the attention of the Italian movie producer Carlo Ponti (1912-2007). In the early 1950s, Ponti (who later produced Federico Fellini’s 1954 La Strada and 1965’s Doctor Zhivago), started using her for small roles and by the mid-1950s, the dark-haired beauty (now known as Sophia Loren) was a star in Italy. She earned international notice in the 1957 English-language films Boy on a Dolphin, co-starring Alan Ladd, and The Pride and the Passion, co-starring Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant and directed by Stanley Kramer (The Defiant Ones, Judgment at Nuremberg, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner).
In 1957, Loren married the divorced Ponti by proxy in Mexico, which caused a scandal in Italy, a heavily Catholic country where divorce was illegal. Loren continued to make movies in Italy and America, co-starring with a long list of Hollywood’s top leading men. She appeared with Clark Gable in 1960’s It Started in Naples, Peter Sellars in 1960’s The Millionairess and Charlton Heston in 1961’s El Cid. In 1962, Loren won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as a widowed mother trapped in a love triangle with her teenage daughter in the Italian film Two Women (released in the United States in 1961). Her Oscar win made her the first actress ever to win that honor for a foreign-language film. She was nominated for a second Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Matrimonio all’Italia, or Marriage Italian Style, which co-starred Marcello Mastroianni. Released in the United States in 1964, Marriage Italian Style was also nominated in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. Among Loren’s other film credits in the 1960s were Lady L (1965) with Paul Newman, Arabesque (1966) with Gregory Peck and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), co-starring Marlon Brando and helmed by Charlie Chaplin in his final time in the director’s chair.
After giving birth to her two sons, Loren stepped back from the spotlight and began acting less frequently. In 1994, she appeared in Robert Altman’s Pret-a-Porter, and in 1995 she was featured in Grumpier Old Men alongside Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and Ann-Margret. In 2002, Loren starred in Between Strangers, directed by her younger son, Edoardo Ponti.
* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php
* This Day In History – What Happened Today http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/