April 3, 1916

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Whilst I was not ready the other evening to stand by the motion of the member for Vancouver, because I am not convinced that in all provinces the sentiment is unanimous, yet my temperance principles will impel me to stand by any province which adopts prohibition for itself: I understood that my hon. friend would come here with legislation that would make good that prohibition in the particular province. I know that my hon. friend would not resort to quibbling; he has too great a reputation for that. But he knows that his legislation will not be backed by public opinion in the province of Ontario if it does not go further. If you do not prevent the distillation of whisky and strong beverages in the province of Ontario, you are not meeting public opinion as expressed in this province.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Have they every expressed it?

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The minister knows-I can appeal to any member from the province of Ontario here this evening-that public opinion in this province has been overwhelmingly expressed of late in favour of a measure of total prohibition.

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CON
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

When Ontario shall have passed a measure of total prohibition -let us understand the word-it will have a measure of total prohibition, because we will keep the liquor from coming into the province from outside; and if the province of Ontario wants to. say there shall be no liquor in Ontario-let us not talk about manufacture-they have a right to say so.

(Mr. LEMIEUX: I am glad to take my hon. friend at his word-

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

That is my view of it.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

But now let us put a concrete case. If to-morrow the Legislature of Ontario declares that it is the wish and the desire of the .province, speaking through its representatives, to have total prohibition, and that it is necessary to have legislation from the Dominion Parliament in order to make effective that total prohibition, do I understand my hon. friend to say that he will give the province of Ontario the measure of relief it will ask?

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Ontario will not need the slightest measure of relief when she gets her mind made up to get total prohibition. If she chooses to consider that for the abatement of the evil, as a local evil, the essential thing is that there shall be no liquor in Ontario, let her say so by her Legislature, and that will be, in my opinion, .a good law and an effective law, and she will not need any assistance from this Dominion.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Does the minister say that the Provincial Legislature can say that there will be no liquor manufactured in Ontario for export?

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I believe she can say there shall be no liquor in Ontario.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

For export?

iMr. DOHERTY: If she wants to go on and add these words she may put doubt upon it, but she can say there shall be no liquor in Ontario, and then there will be no right for any man to have liquor in Ontario.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I thought some time ago that I understood this Bill. It seemed to me to he very simple and very readily understandable. , But I am not sure, after the Bill has oome under the dissecting knives of lawyers on both sides of the House, that I am not in the same position as the man who undertook to eat a very tough piece of beefsteak, and who, although he was a very strong man, after he had completed the act of mastication, was too weak to swallow the beef-it had taken all his strength to masticate it. It seems to me that if the province of Ontario wants to prevent or prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage within the province of Ontario two Acts are necessary. One of these Acts lies entirely within the power of the Provincial Legislature, and the other within the power of this Parliament. What are those two necessary Acts? The Provincial Government can pass an. Act prohibiting the sale by any person or persons within the province of Ontario of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes to any other person or persons. That includes not only the man in the retail, but in the wholesale trade, and the distiller and brewer as well. That is to say, Ontario can say to any man in the province of Ontario, no matter whether he be in the retail trade, or a private citizen, or a man in the wholesale trade, or a distiller, or a brewer, you shall not sell liquor for beverage purposes to any person in Ontario. But that is not enough, and in order to make prohibition effective what more is needed? While that Act would apply to every person in the province, it would not apply to persons outside, and the difficulty of prohibiting or preventing the sale for beverage purposes in Ontario rests upon the fact that some person in Quebec or Manitoba may send liquor into Ontario. This Act, as I understand it, steps in and says: You in the province of Ontario say you do not want any person to sell liquor to any person else in that province; you can pass laws affecting people inside of your own bounds, making it an offence for any person, brewer, distiller, wholesaler or retailer to sell to any one else within the province. That is as far as you can go. Then this Act steps in and says: We will do that act which is necessary to make your Act effective, we will prevent any person in Quebec or Manitoba or any other province sending any liquor into the province of Ontario for beverage purposes. There you have your prohibition. Suppose you start in Ontario to get Dominion-wide pro-

hibition? Take the case of Hiram Walker, one of the distillers in Ontario. Ontario passes a prohibitory Act and by it tells Hiram Walker that he must not sell liquor to any person in Ontario for beverage purposes, and the province can make the fine as high as they want to. Quebec comes along and passes a prohibitory law, and then Hiram is shut out of Quebec. Manitoba comes along and passes a similar law, and Hiram is shut out of Manitoba. So each province could shut Hiram out from sending his liquor into that province. What does that amount to? Then after each province goes as far as it wants to in preventing the use of liquor for beverage purposes within its bounds, the firm of Walker or any other distiller is in this position, that they cannot sell their liquor to any person within the province of Ontario where their works are, or to any person within any other province that has passed a prohibitory law. Of course a prohibitory law would apply to all Canada if each province passed such a law. But the distiller can still run his manufacturing establishment and sell liquor to the United States or to England or to the Argentine Republic or any other part of the world. I entirely agree-and I feel it is worth while to express my pleasure at being able to agree with the hon. member for St. John in some things-in the hon. member's expression of approval of the local option law. I also agree in the opinion expressed by him that there should be a strong public sentiment behind any prohibitory law. I entirely agree with that. I want to say that no person who believes in local option can disbelieve in the right, of the province to handle this matter as a province, and that no person who believes in provincial autonomy, in the provinces passing or not passing prohibitory laws, can conscientiously advocate that this Parliament should pass a law to prohibit the manufacture and importation of intoxicating liquors. I say that no person who believes in each province having a local prohibitory law for itself, if it chooses, can conscientiously ask that this Parliament should pass a law to prohibit the manufacture and importation of intoxicating liquor, because the moment this Parliament passes an Act to prohibit the manufacture and importation of liquors that moment this Parliament overrides the opinion, perhaps, of British Columbia or of Quebec. We will assume that Quebec says: We are not prepared to pass a prohibitory law, that the

sentiment in the province is not sufficiently strong to warrant it. Hon. gentlemen would not argue that it would be wise on the part of this Parliament to pass an Act which would enforce on that province, contrary to the sentiment of the majority of the people of that province, an Act which must necessarily be ineffective and inoperative because there would not be sufficient sentiment behind it. I think I have stated the effect of the Act fairly, and I believe that it all comes, as I said before, to those two points. If a province passes a prohibitory law-and it can pass a prohibitory law that applies to a distiller or a brewer just the same as it applies to a private ciizen,-it can prohibit selling to any person within the province but it cannot prohibit a person in the province of Quebec from selling to a person in the province of Ontario. But this Act steps in and does that very thing which it is necessary to do to make the Act effective within the limits of whatever province sees fit to pass prohibitory legislation.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Cannot you more

effectively prohibit the sale by the distillery by wiping out the distillery itself?

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

No, I do not think so. I do not think that would be fair to the other provinces. Let us suppose that in one province there was a sentiment of 75 per cent against prohibition; will my hon. friend say that in such a province a prohibitory law could be made effective? I am of the opinion that you want a strong public sentiment behind a prohibition law or any other kind of sumptuary law. I also believe that if you pass a law, such as a sumptuary law, against public sentiment, and that law proves to be ineffective, you have done harm to the cause you want to benefit, because you have made the law a farce. But if the sentiment in the province of Quebec is strong for prohibition Quebec will pass a prohibitory law. The same is true of all the provinces, and that being so, of what earthly use would it be for the distilleries to continue their business? If their sales were confined to the Dominion of Canada, and if each of the provinces passes a prohibitory law, they would automatically go out of business. After each of the provinces has passed a prohibition measure it will be time enough for this Parliament to consider the closing down of the distilleries and breweries, even those that are selling to outside countries. 1 do not think it would be wise legislation

on the part of this Parliament to undertake to do'that at the present time while opinion is being formed in the various provinces.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

It is pretty nearly twelve o'clock, there is another day after this .and we have had a pretty extended preliminary canter. Is the committee prepared to pass this clause and rise and report progress?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

My hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) is very desirous that he should 'be allowed to speak on this first section. The Minister of Justice intimated that he would go on as far as possible. I do not see much object in passing the clause because it may be that upon consideration some amendment will he suggested to it. The Minister of Justice himself intimated that he might amend that clause. Perhaps we had better rise and report progress.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

There is one amendment that I would -be disposed to suggest to the first clause and that would be to provide a maximum as well as a minimum penalty. Amended in that way, I would be glad if the clause were passed. I do not think it need interfere with anybody's liberty of discussion and we could truthfully report that we had made some progress.

Progress reported.

On motion of Sir George Foster, the House adjourned at 11.56 p.m.

Tuesday, April 4, 1916.

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April 3, 1916