J.BARLEYCORN and J.CANUCK
CHARLES CHRISTOPHER JENKINS
Some Dry Facts IF a Canadian is asked by a .visitor from the United States, Great Britain or some other foreign country: “Is Canada dry?” it is a difficult question to answer with brevity. One man of our acquaintance replied to a visitor from Scotland: “Well — you see — in a way, we— . . .,” and then he took twenty minutes, to find Sandy more obfuscated than when he started. This article is designed to give reliable and up-to-date facts as to how every province stands. Ontario votes April 18. Several million eyes will be focused on this referendum. At the conclusion of this article an illuminating map shows the comparative “moisture” of each province and territory.
EYES of all Canada will be centered on Ontario on the 18th of this month, for on that date the “Mother of Western Provinces” will definitely decide whether or no she will jam down the prohibition lid so as to exclude all importation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes. The “lid” is at present held quite effectively in place, so far as legal sale is concerned, by force of the existing provincial prohibitory enactment, but advocates of a “bone-dry” province want to push it down over the opening left by the repeal of the wartime prohibition measure in 1920 and seal it there; in order to do this present provincial legislation must be supplemented by a federal instrument forbidding importation. Such an additional act will only go into force if a majority -of the eligible electors of the province show by their ballots at the referendum that they want importation of intoxicants for beverage purposes made an offence against the state, punishable by fines and imprisonment.
There appears to be much misconception throughout the country as to what this referendum means, the auspices under which it is being instituted and the nature of its operation once it has come into legal being. The legislation under the Canada Temperance Act, which is being sought by way of a majority vote marked “X” opposite the “Yes” on the referendum ballots, is not a provincial but a federal law; the vote will be taken under federal auspices and at federal expense. To be more explicit: The Dominion government has charge of this vote and the expenses in connection with taking the ballot will be paid out of the Dominion treasury. It is identical with the recent referenda taken in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. All the provincial legislature had to do with it was the making of formal application to the federal government to sound the will of the people on the matter by the taking of a general vote throughout Ontario province. At the time of writing it was pretty authoritatively understood that the ballot which will be presented to the electors will contain this wording:
“Shall the importation and the bringing of intoxicating liquors into the Province be forbidden? NO.”
“Shall the importation and the bringing of intoxicating liquors into the Province be forbidden? YES.”
The question is asked and answered both ways on the ballot. All the elector has to do is to mark his “X” after the “No” or “Yes” according to his sentiments on the subject.
The passing of the referendum will not mean “bone-dry” prohibition. It has been widely referred to as such, but I have canvassed the opinion of authorities on the subject, including Dr. A. S. Grant, chairman of the referendum committee, and they say it cannot be accurately so termed. It is, however, the very closest to a bone-dry enactment that could be ventured with possibilities of success at the present time. Astute prohibitionists have come to know that the will of the people of Canada like the “mills of the gods,” grinds slowly, that anything like satisfactory enforcement of non-intoxicant laws can be developed only by gradual education of the masses as to the reputed advantages of enforced national sobriety. The Ontario referendum, it is generally conceded, is but a part of the fabric of an ambitious plan to bring about a uniform prohibitory law in the Dominion from coast to coast which will not only make liquor traffic illegal but impossible.
Manufacture Not Eliminated—Entirely
XX/’HAT then are the aims and objects of the present v/ Ontario referendum? If the referendum passes, legislation will at once be established making it illegal for any individual or individuals to bring in from any other country or province intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes. It would be illegal under the proposed act to manufacture intoxicants in any shape or form for beverage purposes. On the other hand, the shipping of intoxicants through the province to points outside its boundaries would not be illegal, but all such shipments would have to go through in bond with the seals unbroken and be at all times in charge of bonded carriers—that is, express companies and the like. Under no circumstances could a private individual carry intoxicants through the province or handle them in transit.
The new act would not stamp out the manufacture of intoxicants within the boundaries of the province—at least not entirely. Manufacture for what is known as “permitted purposes”—industrial, mechanical, sacramental and medicinal needs—would not be forbidden. Furthermore, the manufacture of intoxicating liquor for exportation to other countries and other sections of the Dominion would not be stopped. Apropos of this phase of the proposed legislation it may not be generally known that some manufacturers of intoxicants in Ontario province have been doing a bigger business for export exclusively than they did in pre-war times for local consumption. One
Ontario brewery in particular has received such huge orders from Cuba that extension of its plant was some time ago referred to as imperative by a leading director of the concern.
Incidentally, the sale of intoxicants, by the present licensed vendors, on the prescriptions of medical men, would go on just the same as at present.
These are some of the reasons why authorities state that the proposed act would not create what could be accurately termed a “bone-dry” province. Its definite intention is to make illegal the importation of intoxicants by private individuals and the genesis of this movement, referendum champions state quite plainly, has been the abuse of private individuals’ privileges to import liquor for their own use, when, as a matter of fact, such “private supplies” have been covertly sold to rum-runners and bootleggers. While it remains possible for private individuals in the pay of the illicit traffic to import intoxicants in almost unlimited quantities it will be impossible to stamp out bootlegging operations, according to the claims of the leaders in the referendum campaign.
“This proposed legislation is not aimed, at the private individual who has been legally importing liquor for his own private use,” declared one of the chiefs of the referendum movement when I asked him what the great idea of the Ontario referendum was.
“But it will hit the individual who imported solely for his own use,” I urged.
“Don’t I know that?” cried the referendum champion. “Haven’t some of my best friends been bouncing on my devoted head and asking me why I want to help shut off the legal means of obtaining a household supply? I am sorry for them. Indeed I am, and, believe me, if that were the only motive of the referendum it would not get my support nor the support of a host of others. But we do not believe that the fond privilege of a minority of private individuals should be allowed to stand in the way of stopping wholesale violation of the laws of the land. It is the bootlegger that we are after, whose illegal business flourishes through his being able to import intoxicants by taking advantage of his and his agents’ ‘rights’ as private individuals. It is therefore up to the people to say whether the rights of private individuals in the matter of importing liquor shall stand in the way of stamping out the provincewide operations of illicit whiskey-pedlars.”
That then should make clear just what the Ontario referendum is, what its potentialities are if carried on the 18th, and the motive behind its promotion.
Dr. Grant Hammers Away Steadily AX^HILE this article was under way I looked up Dr. A.
’ ' S. Grant, chairman of the referendum committee. He’s a difficult man to locate just when you want him, for most of the time he’s here, there and everywhere all over the country. Dr. Grant is a hurly-burly type, kindly and
very outspoken. He is one of those
who believe that the only name for a
spade is spade, and he has a sort of
spade is spade, and he has a sort of Cromwellian instinct for “hammering away” while he’s trusting in Providence. He doesn’t believe that prayer and religion have one chance in a million of winning a campaign unless they are persistently supplemented by hard work. Furthermore, he detests pussyfooting and thinks a lot of the sentimentality indulged in does the prohibition cause more harm than good.
He has almost an eccentric aversion to getting into the limelight. Toronto newspaper men tell the following story of his attempt to keep his picture out of the papers: Several city editors had made requests for photos of the Doctor and had been politely refused. Not a photographer in town had a likeness of him and he would not pose for a picture. Finally, one city editor hit upon a plan for trapping the Doctor into having his picture taken whether he wanted it or not. A photographer, therefore, was stationed on the street at the foot of the stairs leading from his office. Through the afternoon the camera-man patiently waited. Five o’clock came, half-past five and finally six, yet the Doctor failed to come down the stairs on to the street. Crowds were hurrying out of the block and along the street to catch their cars. The photographer began to think of home and dinner. Finally, when the shadows were beginning to fall, he thought he’d chance running up the stairs to make sure the Doctor was still in his office. At the door he recognized Dr. Grant’s voice talking into the telephone: “Yes, coming home right away now. There’s been a photographer laying for me on the street downstairs and I have been continuing my work here till it got
The camera man went away thoroughly discouraged after the Doctor came down in the gloom and passed him with a pleasant nod. How he became aware he was being “ambushed” for a photograph the photographer was never able to find out. The Doctor really seems to glory in the fact that outside of one Toronto daily, which snapped him in a crowd, no newspaper has been able to get a picture
Dr. Grant was quite frank in saying that too many crooks might spoil the referendum soup. Certain irrelevant appeals and side issues would be better kept out of platform and printed propaganda, he believes.
“The referendum campaign is being chiefly conducted by a business organization,” he declared during the interview. “Many of the men engaged in helping to get it before the people are men of the world who look upon prohibition purely from a national economic basis. Sentiment of the mushy kind, fanaticism and religious frenzy have little to do with it so far as we are concerned. Our sole idea is to present an opportunity for the people of Ontario to express their will on the matter of importation. Incidentally, we are holding meetings and distributing some printed propaganda in an endeavor to forcefully draw their attention to the necessity for ‘turning off the tap’.”
Turning aside from the situation in Ontario and taking in the whole of the Dominion by and large, the writing on the wall seems plain enough; old Johnny Barleycorn is having a very difficult time of it retaining a legal foothold that promises permanent results anywhere in Canada.
• How the Provinces Stand T ET us take a trip across Canada just to note what has ' happened in this Dominion, which only a few years ago was a “wide-open” country so far as intoxicants were concerned. Say we make a start in Yukon Territory, travel south to British Columbia and thence east across the continent to the Maritimes. Having a penchant for statistics and playing with figures, one of our discoveries is: 780,244 square miles of Canadian territory, embracing a population of 2,190,559, has prohibition and laws forbidding importation for beverage purposes. This area includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
641,515 square miles of Canadian territory, embracing a population of 2,884,163, has prohibition but has riot yet adopted laws against importation for beverage purposes. This area includes Ontario, New Brunswick and Yukon.
2,184 square miles of Canadian territory, embracing a population of 93,728, is “bone-dry” under the Doherty act. This area includes the province of Prince Edward Island.
1,079,474 square miles of Canadian territory, embracing a population of 2,900,000 is about to try out systems of government sale and control of intoxicating liquors. This area includes British Columbia and Quebec.
In Yukon Territory the thirsty traveler would have about the same difficulty getting any sort of an intoxicating drink as he would have in Ontario or New Brunswick at the present time. Conditions are very much the same. Yukon, which is unorganized territory, governed by a council made up of representatives of the people supplemented by a commissioner and other representatives ap-
pointed by the Ottawa government, has a temperance act which forbids the local sale of liquor, except for medicinal purposes, and drinking in public is forbidden. Infractions of the territorial temperance act are punishable by imprisonment and heavy fines. Private individuals, however, who feel inclined that way and have the wherewithal to pay for it may have their cellars well stocked, for importation is not forbidden, and the bootlegger does a very remunerative business until he’s caught. Yukon will be one of the sections of the Dominion that will watch very anxiously to see what Ontario will do about the referendum, for Yukon votes on a similar referendum next July for the stamping out of importation.
B.C. Situation in State of Flux
/"'RÓSSING south over the sixtieth parallel into British
Columbia, though matters are still in a state of flux following the recent mandate of the people, an altogether different condition obtains. British Columbia voted itself out of the prohibition class on October 20th last in favor of sale of liquor under government control. All the interpretations of the B.C. plebiscite have not yet been successfully brought into being by the legislature, which is having more trouble than enough to concoct a workable act and meet certain unexpected exigencies. For instance, while the legislature feels it can restrain all internal sale outside the government stores and restrict the amount sold to each individual, it is finding it difficult to secure a legal way of prohibiting the importation of liquor from other provinces —and while importation is legal the bootlegger will still be in a position to ply his trade. It seems that a province has no power to prohibit importation except by a federal enactment such as Ontario is about to vote on. Such a referendum would have to be sought by the B.C. legislature from the federal government, and prohibition champions declare that it can only be successfully brought into being after the coast province reverts to the temperance act.
Nevertheless, the British Columbia legislators, in the face of many unexpected obstacles, are having the legal aspects of the situation gone over with a fine tooth comb in the hope of finding a means whereby they can effectually put a stop to the bootleggers’ supply. The first bucket of cold waterwas thrown over their plans when they sought to make importation prohibitive by levying a provincial tax of $2.50 a gallon on all intoxicants brought into the country from outside places. Correspondence between the federal minister of justice and Premier Oliver seemed to clearly indicate that British Columbia has no power to impose such a tax, and indeed it is questioned as to whether the province can in any way interfere with inter-provincial traffic by means of its own enactments. A federal act must be sought, afid carried to make any such legislation legal, declare prohibition leaders who have made a study of the situation and who see in this crisis a possibility of return to the temperance act. Premier Oliver and his confreres, however, are hopeful of yet finding a way whereby they can carry out the mandate of the recent plebiscite and at the same time put an end to means whereby bootleggers and smugglers are enabled to import liquor from other provinces.
The seriousness of this phase of liquor control in the province was voiced in the recent declaration of Hon. J. W.
Deb Farris, attorney-general, in commenting in the house on Ottawa’s reply. “We cannot constitutionally prevent the importation of liquor into this province,” he said, “and I doubt if we can prohibit the use of liquor which is naturally incidental to the right of import. Unless in this connection we secure the co-operation of the federal authorities, then a serious blow has been struck by the Dominion authorities to the proper administration of this act.”
In substitution for a provincial tax , on imported intoxicants Mr. Farris suggested that the importer should pay by way of a license fee a sum equal to the amount of profit the government would make out of the sale of liquor plus-ten per cent.
British Columbia was the first of the provinces to make a plunge into the untried system of government “control and sale” of liquor. It will take considerable time to prove whether she can make a success of it from a moral as well as a popular standpoint, reduce drunkenness and stamp out illegal traffic. If this cannot be done under the system, it is not likely that the life of the new legislation will be long, for it was obvious that a majority was rolled up for government control at the recent plebiscite under the belief that the illicit selling and lawlessness that obtained under the former act would be stamped out when the government became sole vendor of liquor in the province.
Thirsty Citizens Must Have Permits
BECAUSE they are new and consequently novel, the proposed provisions of the British Columbia system of control are exceptionally interesting. Every resident of the province who desires to quench his thirst at the fountain of Bacchus must carry a permit issued by the government for which he will be assessed five dollars per annum and non-residents seeking similar privileges, under the proposed act, would pay five dollars for a thirty-day permit. Permits of those convicted of excessive drinking may be cancelled by officials. Two quarts was to be made the limit of a single purchase and uniform price was to be established all over the province, the government paying extra shipping expenses to points distant from their shops. Under the proposed act, consumption of liquor is to be permitted guests in hotel rooms, but no drinking is to be allowed in public places and drunkenness in anyplace is to constitute a punishable offence. No person less than 21 years of age is to be served with liquor and the new law will hold a host responsible for drunkenness occurring on his premises or in his home. Another provision to be included is that individual municipalities are to receive half the profits resulting from the government sale of intoxicants.
The administration of the new law is to be in the charge of what is known as the liquor control board, a commission to be appointed by the lieutenant-governor-in-council— probably a board consisting of a chairman and two other members. Broad powers are to be vested in the liquor control board, subject, of course, to the regulations laid down for them to enforce. They are to have complete charge of the government liquor stores and of the officials and clerical forces thereof. The members of the liquor control board are subject to removal from office for cause.
There can be no transfer of personal permits to purchase liquor, and on Cancellation of a permit all government stores will be notified. In buying liquor the holder of a government permit must write out his order and sign it, stating on the order the serial number of his permit. Permits must be produced for inspection when purchases are made. Only individual permits are to be legal, none being issued to any corporation, association, society or partnership. All liquor purchased under permit from a government store must be in a sealed package which may not be opened on the premises or partaken of in a public
The B.C. act will permit of limited sale of intoxicants by druggists, but only in cases where liquor is prescribed by physicians for medicinal purposes. Even then the druggists must sell the intoxicant in the sealed package as obtained from the government store and at the government price marked on the package. Dentists, veterinaries and heads of institutions caring for the afflicted are also allowed to keep a limited stock. The “Indian list” will still
be barred since no permit may be issued to any person to whom the sale of intoxicants is forbidden under the Indian act.
The proposed penalties for infractions of the B.C. act are perhaps the most drastic in the Dominion. Six months imprisonment is prescribed for all first offences under the head of illegal sale of liquor, no fine being mentioned, and a second offence is liable to bring the convicted one twelve to twenty-one months on the rock-pile. Corporations are to be levied a fine of $1,000 for a first offence and $2,000 to
$3,000 for a second offence. Inspectors will be empowered to enter any premises, private or otherwise, for the purposes
While the individual municipalities receive half the profits from the government sale of intoxicants, it is also obligatory for them to enforce the law and should they fail to do so action may be taken by the liquor control board with the cost of such action being charged against the negligent municipalities’ share of revenue.
An Area of Absolute Drouth
FROM the boundary of British Columbia in the Rockies east for a distance of about 700 miles as the crow flies is an area of almost absolute drouth, and should Ontario pass the referendum this month it would make the direct length of the “near bone-dry” area one thousand four hundred miles with a depth from the limits of the Northwest territories and the shores of Hudson’s Bay to the international boundary line.
The three western provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, previously under prohibition by virtue of the Canada Temperance act, voted on a referendum on October 25th, 1920, to prohibit importation of intoxicants and carried it only a few days after British Columbia had voted to abolish its temperance act in favor of a government control system, by a heavy majority—though it was apparent a great number of electors didn’t seem sufficiently interested to turn up at the polls to vote either way. Once he leaves the Rockies coming east it is impossible for the devotee of the flowing bowl to secure an intoxicating drink legally while traveling over the fourteen hundred miles mentioned, and doubly difficult to secure it even illegally before the train passes over the Manitoba boundary into Ontario. Not till Quebec province is reached can liquor be purchased legally for beverage purposes.
In Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as the bootlegger’s pre-referendum stocks grow lower and lower the illegal sale of liquor is becoming correspondingly less and less, but he still plies his trade and no doubt is still importing a certain amount of intoxicants by devious means in spite of the act. A great deal of difficulty in proper enforcement was for a time experienced through a certain few doctors issuing prescriptions for liquor indiscriminately, but this has been pretty well obviated by prosecutions and convictions of offending physicians.
As to whether the three prairie provinces will remain under the temperance act with importation forbidden permanently is a piece of history still in the lap of the gods. There have already been agitations started in all three provinces for a plebiscite on the question of sale of liquor under government control, similar to the system that now obtains, or is to obtain, in British Columbia. In order to obtain such a plebiscite at least eight per cent, of the people
at least eight per must petition for it, but in view of the difficulties in which British Columbia found itself with regard to preventing importation after the passing of government control, western legislators are inclined to wait and see just how their sister province at the coast comes out. In other words, British Columbia is going to be allowed to play the part of buffer with government control until her sister provinces see just what she makes out of it. If her trial of government sale of liquor prove a failure it will likely never be tried elsewhere, except in Quebec, which province has its own original ideas of liquor legislation,
Ontario's Problems in Spotlight
THE province of Ontario, which votes this month on the question of prohibiting importation, has perhaps been in the spotlight more than any other principally because of the sensational happenings in connection with the attempt to stop booze-smuggling operations along the Detroit river border, the shooting of Beverley Trumble during a road-house raid and the subsequent trial on a charge of manslaughter of Rev. J. O. L. Spracklin license inspector, who slew him, as the jury found, in self-defence. Since the wartime prohibition in January, 1920. when interprovincial traffic in liquor was made legal, bootlegging has been
carried on extensively in Ontario in spite of the heavy fines and jail sentences imposed on those convicted. The value of liquor confiscated in the last twelve months is quoted by the Ontario license commissioners in their annual report as $108,138.75, not including questionable intoxicants which were destroyed.
The government dispensaries also seem to have neen doing a thriving business. According to the commission’s report during the year ending April 30, 1920, the gross profits of the head office and the seven branch dispensaries throughout Ontario were $1,380,920.35, which, after
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deducting all expenses. On the outside Quebec’s attitude on the liquor question has been wrongfully judged, to a large extent by what has been going on in Montreal and Hull, and when a visitor from the dry provinces mentions those particular situations, the Quebec man shrugs his shoulders, smiles and retorts, “Yes, yes, but you know Montreal has shipped $34,000,000 worth of liquor to the other eight provinces in a little better than a year and a half.”
Quebec’s new liquor law by which the government takes over exclusive ownership of all hard liquors in the province, though receiving its prominence in the public mind through the unqualified support of Premier L. A. Taschereau, who said his government was prepared to stand or fall by it, is really the brain-child of J. A. Begin, comptroller of provincial revenue, who has made a close study of the liquor situation as it obtained in all civilized countries for the past thirty years.
Briefly, the government of Quebec will sell hard liquors at its own depots established throughout the country and will forbid, under heavy penalties, any dealings whatsoever in such liquors by private individuals or companies. Accordingly, on May 1st, every liquor dealer in Quebec province must give an accounting to the commission appointed by the government of every item of intoxicant he has in stock. Failing this, his stocks are to be confiscated and he is liable to a heavy fine. Beer and wine licenses alone will be issued to private enterprises, and these licenses
will be sold by the government at from $10 to $1,500 and possibly higher.
Permits of this nature will be issued to hotels and restaurants, boat dining-rooms, railway dining-cars, club dining-rooms and other eating places recognized by the commission; retail stores, taverns and for use at public banquets.
One important feature of the new Quebec enactment is that any or all separate municipalities in the province may exclude government depots from territory inside their boundaries by referendum of the people or bylaw passed by their elected municipal councils. The “Indian list” under the Quebec act is quite drastic and, on application to the commission, any dependent of an individual may have him or her placed on the interdicted list if it is shown that their abuse of intoxicants is injuring themselves or others.
New Brunswick is under the same regulations as Ontario. Prohibition forces have been working hard for a referendum on the importation question similar to the referendum soon to be taken in Ontario. Nova Scotia has the same prohibitory legislation as New Brunswick supplemented hy an act forbidding importation of intoxicants and is on a plane with the prairie provinces.
Prince Edward Island is Canada’s only “bone-dry” province. There full advantage is taken of the provisions of the Doherty act. In 1917, P.E.I. passed an act giving complete control of the handling of intoxicants to a commission composed of six churchmen—three Roman Catholic
priests and three, Protestant clergymen. A wholesale distributing centre is located at Charlottetown and retail depots at six points throughout the Island. The commission further has jurisdiction over all intoxicants disposed of for industrial, medicinal, sacramental and other permitted purposes. Importation into P.E.I. by any other than the authorities is forbidden, and private individuals are not allowed to keep a stock on their premises. The P.E.I. act was drafted by W. E. Bentley, K.C.
Dominion-wide importation of foreign intoxicants provides interesting official figures. For the fiscal year ending March, 1920, Canada imported 1,829,120 gallons of harder intoxicants, valued at $8,000,881, of which 314,341 gallons were for industrial purposes and 693,219 gallons of nonsparkling wines and champagnes, valued at $1,222,769. Total intoxicants imported to Canada for beverage purposes for the fiscal year amounted to 2,234,993 gallons, valued at $5,228,826, and the duty collected therefromamounted to $4,401,285.
Importation of intoxicants by the provinces during the calendar year ending December 31, 1920, were as follows: Ontario, 338,539 gallons; Quebec, 3,306,019 gallons; Nova Scotia, 64,666 gallons; New Brunswick, 81,244 gallons; Prince Edward Island, 14,000 gallons; Manitoba, 199,839 gallons; Saskatchewan, 254,177 gallons; Alberta, 135,539 gallons and British Columbia, 323,264 gallons. Figures for importation to Yukon territory are not available.