September 8, 1903

CON

Seymour Eugene Gourley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOURLEY.

I think this is a very important and strong section, notwithstanding the fact that it draws an objection from the Women's Christian Temperance Union of Canada and the tobacco manufacturers.

I know, speaking for Nova Scotia, that they represent the very best class of people down there. I do not know what they may represent elsewhere but the Women's Christian Temperance Union represent people who are not cranks but who are anxious for the preservation of their families and who are desirous of promoting those objects which every woman and mother ought to be interested in. I agree with the hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser) thoroughly that this is a step in the right direction and I believe so on two grounds. First,

I believe it will deter the ordinary dealer from selling to a boy. because such an Act would impose upon him a heavy penalty. Secondly, I agree with the argument of the hon. member for Guysborough. that once a boy understands that the smoking of cigarettes under a certain age is illegal, unless he is a very bad boy, he will be deterred. Once he knows it is illegal to smoke cigarettes, once he knows that if he goes along the street with a cigarette in his mouth he may be reported to a law officer he will be encouraged to abandon the habit. The sellers of tobacco are respectable men, they do not want to be subjected to prosecution for selling to a minor and to be liable to the penalty under the law. Therefore, you reach the boy who wants to smoke the cigarette ; and you reach the man who sells cigarettes.

Now, while I am not an extremest in any of these ways, yet, I cannot but recoguize the facts, as I see them. I have observed, on the streets of the town of Truro, young boys, of thirteen and fourteen, smoking cigarettes ; and, in every case, they are degenerate looking, emaciated, pale-faced ; and I have no doubt that this is due to their having acquired this habit. No doubt, this habit is striking at the manhood of the country, equally with the drinking of liquor. Therefore, as everybody ought to be anxious that the strength of the country should be preserved, we ought to preserve young boys who might, from want of warning, and before they understand the value of strength and intellectual and physical power, destroy themselves, through this habit. For these reasons, I think this is a moderate section. I would ask the minister not to bow to every telegram he may receive. from interested parties, either from the Women's Christian Temperance Union, or from the cigarette people. They are interested parties. We are the judges ; we should sit here as competent men, listen to both the one side and the other, and decide the question. We should be prepared to say, this is right and fair, or, you are extreme in Mr. FRASER.

your views, you ask too much we cannot get the public opinion of Canada to go so far.

I am prepared, for one, to say to the minister, that I support this measure. Whatever may be the contention, on either side, this is a step in the right direction. If, later oh, we find this is likely to do good, we can go further. This section should be preserved.

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LIB

Robert Holmes

Liberal

Mr. HOLMES.

While this clause does not go so far as the original legislation proposed, I certainly think it should be allowed to stand. I had some conversation with the ladies of the Women's Christain Temperance Union, having been the seconder of the original resolution.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Robert Holmes

Liberal

Mr. HOLMES.

I am willing, at any time, to be again the seconder of a similar resolution. I was not the only member of the House who had an interview with the ladies. I fancy all the members had that pleasure. In conversation with them, after the original Bill was thrown out, I tried to persuade them to accept this as a half-way measure. I do not know what objections to it have been presented to the minister, but I believe that the mass of reformers-I mean reformers in the sense of those who are trying to reform this evil-will be satis-fled with this, as far as it goes. For my part, I would prefer something more drastic; but, failing that, I think reformers would be willing to accept this as half a loaf.

I would urge upon the minister to allow this to stand. The very fact that this is a Dominion law, that the force of the Dominion is behind it, will have a good effect in prevent the selling of cigarettes to boys. I would be glad to see the age limit raised a little further. When we had the discussion, I saw that notice had been given of a measure in the British parliament to provide that no tobacco in any form be sold to boys under twenty-one. I have no objection to the section now under discussion, so far as it goes, but my own preference would be to have the age limit raised. I think the minister would conform to public sentiment if he would allow this section to remain part of the Criminal Code ; I am sure it will receive the endorsation of the great bulk of the people who favour legislation of this kind. It may not meet the views of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. But if this legislation is not provided, they will probably come down to the House next year and ask for legislation similar to that which was thrown out. If this is enacted, it may anticipate that. While I favour the prohibition of the sale of cigarettes, 1 recognize that there are great difficulties m the way of such a measure. But, I am satisfied that a clause of this kind will be effective in accomplishing good, and I hope the minister will allow it to stand.

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CON

Bennett Rosamond

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSAMOND.

I wish to add my word to what has been said by the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Gourley) and the hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser).

This legislation is in the right direction. Too many young lads are in the habit of smoking cigarettes, and any legislation that [DOT]will have the effect of decreasing this practice is in the right direction. Therefore, I should be sorry if the Minister of Justice found it necessary to abandon this clause. I am not sure that the clause as framed is the best for the purpose, but it is a move in the right direction, and, if it is not found to be exactly right, it can be amended.

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

When the resolution of the hon. member for Montreal, St. Lawrence, (Mr. Bickerdike) was before the House I took strong ground against it, because I believed, that if carried into law, it would not have the desired effect. I do not believe that public sentiment in this country would back up such a law if put upon the statute-book, that is, a law prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to any persons in Canada. Rut the present section, it seems to me, is a step in another direction, and in the right direction. I do not think anybody would charge me with being a crank on this question. But representing, as I do, a constituency whose people take a serious interest in this matter, I can only enter my protest against this section being withdrawn. It would have been far better, if this section is to be withdrawn, if it had never been put in the Bill. It is rather an indication to the people that we are afraid of the legislation, and it does not seem to me that that would have a salutary effect, so far as the boys of our land are concerned. I am not speaking here with reference to the tobacco habit. Probably a great many of us would not be very consistent in speaking on that subject. But I am here to say that I believe the smoking of cigarettes by boys is one of the worst evils we have in this country to-day, especially in the case of boys from fourteen to sixteen years of age. I would point out that we have upon the statute-books of a number of the provinces, a law similar to that here proposed. I would only ask the Minister of Justice, if he cannot see his way clear to allow this section to be voted upon, or at least to allow it to stand. It would be a step backward to withdraw the section, now that it has appeared in the Bill.

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IND

Leighton Goldie McCarthy

Independent

Mr. MCCARTHY.

I desire to add my protest also against the dropping of this clause. Nor am I satisfied altogether with the reasons given for the dropping of it. The fact that the two contending parties in respect to this legislation both object to it, would, under ordinary circumstances, lead one to believe that possibly, a very fair clause had been provided. I am not prepared to say, speaking for myself, that I would legislate more drastically than it is proposed to do by this clause. But, inasmuch as this is a clause which we have had under consideration. I simply desire to state that I am prepared to support it, and i 337

I protest against it being dropped. As the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Logan) has stated, similar clauses exist in the statute-books of the provinces, not, perhaps going quite so far. But I do not think it can be urged that this goes too far and I hope it will be enacted by this parliament.

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Ontario).

I think it would be a very grave error for the Minister of Justice to allow this clause to drop. I am satisfied that the effect on the people who inaugurated the movement against the sale and manufacture of cigarettes would be rather injurious. It would have the tendency to keep them from all similar good work in future to give them no law at all. This parliament has done nothing in the direction indicated by the motion of the hon. member for Montreal, St. Lawrence ; and now, when we have another opportunity to pass legislation in connection with this matter, apparently it is to be withdrawn. I think that would not be right. We all know the hurtfulness to children and to growing boys, of the use of tobacco in the form of cigarettes. During the present session of this parliament, it has been shown that the smoking of cigarettes by boys is extremely injurious to them. Under such circumstances, it is right and proper that we should adopt such legislation as this. In my opinion the clause as it stands is better calculated to answer the purpose we have in view, than the proposal which was submitted to the House earlier in the session. Cigarettes are so easily made, that it is questionable whether you can possibly prohibit their use by law. It is very easy to buy the cigarette paper and the cigarette tobacco already cut, and consequently, boys can very) easily make their own cigarettes. Such being the case, cigarettes would be largely used by certain people who would make them themselves, and in this way, no doubt the revenue would be affected. However, I believe that the legislation contained in the clause now before us, would have a deterrent effect, and in that respect it is a move in the right direction.

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David McKenzie Wright

Mr. WEIGHT.

I for one would be very sorry indeed to see this clause stricken out of the Bill. We all remember what a very large majority there was in favour of the prohibition of cigarettes, when the proposition was first submitted to this House, and if we cannot get all that we actually want in the matter of prohibitory legislation, we can perhaps get some legislation which will be beneficial. If this clause is going to be stricken out of the Bill, I suppose we cannot help it ; but next session we will have to begin over again, anl re-introduce the Bill which this session was ruled out of order because of some irregularity in the form of its introduction. I had occasion recently to speak to a number of people in my own town in reference to this cigarette evil, and my information is that the evil

is growing worse and "worse amongst the boys who attend our collegiate institute. Last week when I was in Toronto, the ladies of the Women's Christian Temperance Union came to me to talk about the nature of the legislation which they expected might be passed this session.

I explained to them the provisions of this Bill, and they stated that if such a Bill were passed it would be a step in the right direction, and, that as they could not get all they asked, this provision would perhaps be ample for the time being ; at all events they would be able to see how it would work in practice. I shall regret very much indeed if this clause be allowed to drop. If It is dropped, then we shall have to renew our efforts next session.

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LIB

George McEwen

Liberal

Mr. McEWEN.

I believe that this clause is in the right direction, and I join with the other hon. members in raising my voice against dropping it from the Bill. In fact, Sir, I think the provision in this clause is better than the provision in the original Bill, because it strikes at the root of the evil, and will provide a remedy.

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CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KAULBACH.

I wish to add a word to what has already been said by hon. gentlemen, as to the evils which result from the use of cigarettes by boys under the age of eighteen. We have it on the authority of physicians, that the use of cigarettes by young boys is most injurious. These physicians, wlio are our very best guide in such a matter have expressed themselves in no unmeasured terms in regard to the matter. I believe that the use of tobacco in any form is injurious, but, when indulged in by young men it is peculiarly harmful, in that it leads to other ills, which in the course of time become uncontrollable. I appeal to the government not to withdraw this legislation, because I believe it to be a step in the right direction. If I had my way I would recommend that the age limit be placed at over eigh-een years, because if youths were prohibited from using cigarettes until they were twenty-one years, then when a young man attained his* majority he would be better able to judge for himself between right and wrong and he would no doubt feel -the more strongly that he was committing a very serious offence, should he break the law by smoking cigarettes. If we had such a law upon the statute-book, the community of any particular locality would no doubt be interested in enforcing that law for the sake of the good name of the place. Some few Sundays ago, on my way to church, I saw three or four youths who were not more than fourteen or fifteen years of age, smoking cigarettes on the street. I spoke to them, and pointed out to them the evil they were doing, and I took the cigarettes from them. One of them pouted a little at my action, but I felt satisfied that not only had I done an act of justice to the boys Mr. WRIGHT.

themselves, but that I had given a good example to others.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I regard this clause in the Bill we are now considering as an exact copy of the Ontario statute. We have had such a law in the province of Ontario for a number of years and I am not aware that any harm has resulted from its operation. I believe that that law has been beneficial, and I am quite sure that no one in the province of Ontario would desire to see it repealed. The hon. gentleman from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) said that the Ontario Act only extended to the age of sixteen years, but on reference I find that the age limit is there specified at eighteen years, just as in the clause under discussion. I trust that the Minister of Justice will allow the clause to stand as part of the Bill. Even if it be not the law in the other provinces, outside of Ontario, I am quite sure we will make no mistake if we extend the Act to the whole Dominion. I cannot understand how, by dropping this clause, the Minister of Justice will meet the wishes of the ladies to whom he has referred. As I understand it, these ladies requires more drastic legislation, and if the Minister of Justice cannot meet their wishes at present, I think it would be a very proper thing to allow the clause to stand, in order that the other provinces of the Dominion may reap from it the benefits which we are now enjoying in Ontario.

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CON

Seymour Eugene Gourley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOURLEY.

I wish to say to the Minister of Justice, that in view of the recent decision of the Privy Council on the Lord's Day Act, probably all similar provincial Acts may be dead, and therefore this clause should be passed in order that the country may have some substantial protection against the cigarette evil.

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CON

Bennett Rosamond

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSAMOND.

The weak point in this clause is the fact, that it does not go quite far enough. My hon. friend (Mr. Gour-ley) seems to think that this clause made it illegal for a lad to smoke a cigarette, but as a matter of fact the clause only provides that it is illegal to sell cigarettes to youths under the age specified in the clause. If this clause went a little further, and made it illegal for * boy under eighteen years old to be seen smoking cigarettes on the streets, or anywhere else, then more good would be accomplished. Such a provision would certainly have an educational effect. The Minister of Justice should not only retain this clause in the Bill, but he should make it still more stringent by providing that it would be illegal for a boy under a certain specified age to smoke cigarettes.

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CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KAULBACH.

I endorse the view of my hon. friend (Mr. Rosamond!. I feel satisfied that if the law gave authority to any person who found a boy smoking cigarettes, to take him in charge and pass him over to the authorities, it would have a much more beneficial effect.

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LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

That may be just exactly the way we will not get legislation-by wanting everything at one time. This legislation goes fairly far ; let us accept it. There are a hundred and one things we would like to see in operation, but we cannot have them, as they are unworkable. Ret us test one thing first ; that is the education people get in law, and then the other thing will come more easily. We cajnnot go this far without calling for something more.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I would like to state the reasons why I came to the conclusion which I have just mentioned. There is considerable conflict of opinion in this country on the subject of tobacco legislation. There a re those who think that the manufacture and sale of tobacco ought to be prohibited absolutely. There are others who think that this question of prohibiting the use of tobacco by persons of a certain age is more a matter for parental control-a matter that ought to be regulated by the parents in each family. These are the two extremes. Between these two extremes there stand the moderate men, who think that this cigarette business has got to be a very serious matter-something that ought to be regulated by the state. 1 say regulated designedly, because I do not think we ought to go too far in the direction of state control over the conduct of children, or of adults either. But in respect to this particular matter, there are those moderate men who think that we ought to regulate so as to prevent what is, in the minds of some people, at all events, a nuisance. Hence the legislation that was introduced by my hon. friend from Montreal, and which went in the direction of prohibiting the sale and manufacture of tobacco. Those who are supposed to be anxious for that particular legislation are dissatisfied with the middle course which I have proposed. and which is embodied in the section now under consideration. There are others who wish to see this trade regulated, and who think this provision does not go in>

the right direction for that purpose. For instance, there are those who make representations to the effect that if this legislation passes, it will work gross injustice to those honest traders who merely desire, after all, to carry on an honest calling, and that it will have the effect of creating a gang of informers who will seek, by tempting children, to create trouble for those who would not otherwise be interfered with in carrying on their business. My idea was that this legislation, not going far enough to meet the wish of either party, we should drop it, with the view of having the whole matter re-considered, and bringing in other legislation at a future time. I think myself, after having heard the representations on both sides, that this section can be improved. I do not wish to do that hurriedly.

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I have given an earnest of my good intentions at all events ; on further consideration, I hope to be able to draft a clause which Will be free from the objections urged on both sides to the clause under consideration, which either goes too far or does not go far enough.

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Mr. BRAIN@

I wish to enter my objection to the withdrawal of this clause. My hon. friend from Halton has pointed out that it is a fac-simile of the clause in the Ontario law. I understand that that is very generally acceptable, only the law is not enforced in that province. I do not think the passage of this clause now would in any wise prevent further legislation with, reference to the sale and manufacture of cigarettes in this country. I understood this clause to be a compromise between the extreme views held on either side of the question. For myself, I wish to enter my objection to the withdrawal of it, and to say that I think it should pass at this session of parliament; and if the government, on consideration, think it advisable to bring in further legislation, it can afterwards be submitted for the consideration of the House.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

It is understood, of course, that I drop this clause for the purpose of re-introducing another clause, which I think will better meet the real necessities of the situation. I am not going to allow myself to be influenced too much by those who are interested in the sale of cigarettes, nor on the other hand, by those who think that because they do not smoke themselves, nobody else should do so. I wish to introduce legislation with reference to the use of cigarettes by children.

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Mr. CARVIN@

Will you introduce it this

session ?

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September 8, 1903