The government of British Columbia represent the people of that province, and the leader of that government was down here and asking for this legislation. They seemed to think that unless this legislation passed they could not control liquor there as they would wish to. Why should we quibble over these things when the government which represents British Columbia ask for this legislation?
Not the bootleggers; I do not thank the hon. member for that remark. I am just as anxious as he is to see the liquor business of British Columbia or of Canada generally put on a proper and decent basis if it can be done. But in my opinion the application for this legislation is not bona fide; is not for that purpose; is designed simply to put a club in the hands of the Attorney General of British Columbia to be used by him politically and for no
other reason. When the hon. members for Comox-Albemi and Cariboo say that a plebiscite on this question has been held, they do not speak by the book; they are mistaken. There was a plebiscite on the question whether there should be government sale of liquor, prohibition or whether we should continue in the old way of sale in public bars, and the plebiscite went in favour of sale by the government. But the vote taken at that time and the legislation enacted thereunder in no way dealt with the question of private importation; that question has never been submitted to the electors of British Columbia. There is no reason why we should overlook these private rights in regard to British Columbia when they have had an opportunity of expressing their opinion in all the other provinces.
This is the clause that I should like to see struck out of the bill:
Upon receipt hy tl>e Secretary of State of Canada of a duly certified copy of an order in council of the Lieutenant Governor in Council of any province, in which the prohibitions of subsection one of this section are in force, requesting that the said prohibitions be revoked, the Governor in Council may by proclamation published in the Canada Gazette declare that the prohibitions of subsection one of this section shall no longer be in force in that province and the same shall thereupon cease to be in force therein.
Bv this clause the province is seeking to obtain the right to revoke prohibition and bring the sale of liquor into force again. Surely my prohibition friends are not in favour of a section of that kind.
That is to revive what they call the bootlegging trade, to revive a trade by private people in liquor in competition with the government. That is to say, the government of British Columbia will have the right by order in council to revive the sale of liquor by private interests. I do not think they should have that right. If British Columbia wants to be a temperance province and wants to observe the law in the way in which the hon. member (Mr. Neill) says it should be observed-and I should be the last one to argue that it should not be observed- then why give them the right to revive the sale?
The principle underlying this legislation, as I have said before, is to give effect to the will of the province. It is to give effect to the will of the province that the Governor in Council may issue a proclamation prohibiting the import of liquor except by or through the government, and it would be to give effect to the will of the province if a proclamation was issued under this clause. It is exactly the same principle.
bill that I protested against before the Speaker left the chair. It is an entirely wrong principle that the Lieutenant Governor in Council in any province should have the right to declare for prohibition on one day and then on the following day say, "We have had enough of it; we will let these bootlegging houses run wild again."