Tag Archives: Pine Point

A new interview: “Everybody loved Everett!”

In an effort to prime Calgary Gay History Project readers for the world premiere of the play, Legislating Love, next month, we have new information about Everett Klippert. We consider this an addendum to last Autumn’s Klippert Month: our deep dive into the story of the Calgary bus driver whose Supreme Court case sparked the movement for decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.

A few weeks ago we spoke to Robert (Bob) Johnson, aged 93, who was Everett Klippert’s boss in the Northwest Territories. {Thanks to his daughter Liz, who contacted us through Facebook regarding her family’s Klippert connection.}

In the 60s, Bob was a mechanical foreman for heavy equipment at the Pine Point mine, and his department serviced a wide variety of equipment. He explained that they found their employees through the Chamber of Mines in Edmonton who would send labourers. If they asked for ten men, for example, ten would be interviewed and sent up. Everett was hired this way.


Everett Klippert worked in the garage at Pine Point from May 1964 until he was arrested in August 1965. Photo: Pine Point Revisited.

He said: “Everybody loved Everett: he was such a damn nice guy!”

Bob and his co-workers knew Everett was gay, but in those days it was not discussed.

He remembered: “There was a salesman who came up from Calgary shortly after Klippert was hired, who told me that Klippert was a queer and that he had been in the news. I told him ‘we didn’t talk about stuff like that here’ and that ended the subject.”

“Not everybody had a car there, but Everett did, so he was popular. Guys would go to Hay River, 40 miles down the road, to go to the movies or to get drunk at bars. Everett would gather up a bunch of guys and go – that was the way it was then.”

The local RCMP officer was initially friendly to Everett too. When his jeep broke down, he would borrow Everett’s car on weekends for patrols. Bob said: “At one point he told me he was going to have to arrest Everett. I told him, ‘that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.’ But he went onto arrest him.”

Klippert copy

Everett Klippert in stripes. Source: Klippert Family Photo.

At the trials in the Territories, many of Everett’s co-workers attended, including Bob and, his wife, Clara. Bob said, “the mechanical crew would show up, to support Everett – it was a sad situation.” Clara Johnson and the mine manager’s wife, Esther, were so offended by the trials that they went on a letter writing campaign to just about every politician, lawyer and bureaucrat they could find, to complain about what they felt was a great injustice.

We thank you, Bob, for sharing these memories!



Klippert Month – the Recap

Here is a recap of Klippert Month (so you can read it all in one place):

Week 1 – Klippert at work;

Week 2 – Klippert’s honesty;

Week 3 – Klippert and his family;

Week 4 – Klippert in the press.

And finally, here is a charming reference I found in the Pine Pointer – the newsletter for employees working at the Cominco Pine Point Mine. This issue was published just two months before the arson event which brought Everett under the scrutiny of local RCMP – and back in jail.

Pine Pointer

The Pine Pointer Newsletter, June 1, 1965. Source: Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Hats off to history and (fingers crossed) posthumous apologies.


Klippert Month – Week 1

We at the Calgary Gay History Project hope the Federal Government is still working on a posthumous pardon or equivalent for Calgarian Everett Klippert (1926-1996). November 7th, 2017, will be the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling, which fully criminalized gays, and precipitated the legislated decriminalization of homosexuality.

So to recognize that milestone in Canadian LGBTQ2 history, we are posting Everett articles all month!

One of the facts presented in his defence, at virtually all of his court cases, was his steadiness as an employee. Everett left school after grade 8 to work and to support his family. His older sister Leah ran their household and he and his eight brothers were required to hand over their wages to Leah for expenses.

Everett’s father operated a grocery store in Bridgeland, and Everett’s first job was working in the shop along with some of his older brothers. By the time he was 17, he was working at Crystal Dairy, the ice cream division of Calgary’s Union Milk Company. He said that it was when he started working there that he became sexually active with other men.

Crystle Dairy

The Union Milk Company at 130 – 5th Avenue SE in June 1950. Source: Glenbow Archives.

After nine years employed at the dairy, he got a job he loved more, driving buses for Calgary Transit. He was a favourite bus driver too. There are stories of his regular passengers skipping earlier buses to specifically ride home with him due to his friendly, congenial nature.

bus break
Everett Klippert used to go attend bus driver coffee brakes like this one in Eau Claire. Source City Archives via Calgary Metro.

At his first trial in Calgary in 1960 his defence lawyer, W. P. Maguire noted that Klippert “had been steadily employed for 17 years and but for his weakness (sex with men) he would be, at 33, a normal run of the mill man, married with children.” For that reason, he urged a punishment of probation only and not incarceration

Sadly, he was sentenced and served a four-year jail term. When Everett was released in 1964, he quickly departed town both to start over and to spare his family any more shame. He made his way to a job in Pine Point, North West Territories on a lead from a friend and secured a position as a garage mechanic’s helper at the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada, Limited (which was renamed Cominco Ltd. in 1966).


Everett Klippert worked in the garage at Pine Point from May 1964 until he was arrested in August 1965. Photo: Pine Point Revisited.

He was arrested and tried again for homosexual activity in 1965. At his trial, Everett’s garage foreman, Melvin Logan, was called as a witness on behalf of the defence. When asked about Everett’s performance, the foreman said: “He was very good, a very willing worker, hard worker, easy to get along with, very cooperative. He got along with everyone in the shop very well – no trouble at all.” Furthermore, it was revealed that Everett was friendly with the Logan family. He would go over for supper occasionally and was trusted to babysit the two small Logan children.

During both times Everett was in the penitentiary, he worked in the shoe shop. One of the psychiatrists who interviewed Klippert in 1965 reported:

“I talked to the man in the shoe shop with whom Mr. Klippert worked, and he gave an excellent report; that he is a good worker; that he minded his own business; that he is a sensitive man. He spoke very highly of him. He also informed me that he found life in the penitentiary extremely painful to him because I think he is a sensitive man and some of his colleagues are, well less than that and I think they made life a little bit, considerably rough and difficult for him.”

Klippert copy

Everett Klippert in stripes. Source: Klippert Family Photo.

Tragically, this difficulty would be long-lived. Klippert would remain in jail until 1971 for no known reason, even though Parliament decriminalized homosexuality in 1969 as a result of his unjust prison sentences.