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three week period in 1957, revival meetings in Altona regularly drew 200 people a night. 86

In the political realm, Rhineland voters also demonstrated a cer­ tain amount of continuity. In municipal politics, elections were largely determined by personality and religious affiliation. From 1904 to 1948 the position of reeve was continuously held by a Sommerfelder Men­ nonite, in part due to the close affiliation between Sommerfelder and municipal leadership mentioned in earlier chapters. In fact, the election of Ed Pokrant, in 1948, the first non-Mennonite reeve since the 1880's, coincided with the large scale Sommerfelder emigration from Rhine­ land to Paraguay.

Municipal politics were also characterized by long terms in office with 1. D. Giesbrecht serving as reeve from 1930 to 1947. When the reeves hip changed hands it was usually because one man resigned. An exception to this occurred in the 1954 election when a conspiracy of sorts was hatched to unseat Ed Pokrant. Pokrant had administered much of the land expropriation for the various drainage projects and had thereby aroused some opposition by what some regarded as his high handed methods. Not expecting an electoral challenge, Pokrant had not compaigned for the 1954 municipal election. But at the eleventh hour H. P. Hildebrandt, at the instigation of August Lang and Ed Nickel, filed nomination papers and in the ensuing election Hildebrandt defeat­ ed Pokrant by 67 votes. 87

w. C. Miller. A very popular politician, W. C. Miller served Rhineland in the Provin­ cial Legislature from 1936 to 1959 when he died. Born on February 7,1896 in Wa­ terloo County, Ontario. Miller was edu­ cated in Germany but returned to Canada to serve in the Canadian Army in France 1916-1918 where he was twice wounded. Following the war Miller came to Gretna to work for the Pieper firm. While in Gretna he served as a Notary Public, Police Mag­ istrate, Chairman of the Gretna School Board and Clerk of the County Court and was well known and respected in the area. He was first elected to the Legislature as a Conservative in 1936 but joined the Coali­ tion Government in 1941. When the Con­ servatives withdrew from the Coalition Government, Miller remained with the Lib­ eral Progressives becoming Education Minister in 1950.

Credit: PAM

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