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.