May 22, 1934


On the orders of the day. Mr. PIERRE F. CASGRAIN (Charlevoix-Saguenayl: Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct the attention of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) to a matter which has come to my knowledge within the last few days. There are certain companies which supply fuel oil throughout the country, such as the Imperial Oil Limited and the Champlain Oil Products Limited. Last year the Champlain Oil Products Limited, which was then operating under the name of the Lasalle refinery, quoted a price of eight and a half cents per gallon for a winter supply of oil, while the Imperial Oil quoted ten cents per gallon. This year the contracts made by these two companies, the Imperial Oil and the Champlain, are at the same price in each case, 9i cents. I have asked these people if either of these companies would quote a lower price, and I was given to understand that there would not be any lower price than 9i cents. I do not know whether this is a combine or whether there has been a bargain or arrangement made between these two companies to keep up the price at a certain fixed level, but if such a thing as that does obtain I would ask the minister if it is the intention of the present price spreads committee to conduct an investigation into the matter.


CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

The suggestion of the hon. gentleman is obviously that a combine exists. Now the Combines Investigation Act provides a very simple method of inquiry. All that is required is for six citizens, I think it is, who

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Fraser (Cariboo)

feel they have a grievance, to make their complaint, and then a preliminary investigation is held. I would suggest that my hon. friend consider making an application in that way. So far as the committee is concerned I am not in a position to make any statement about its intentions in regard to an investigation at the present moment.

Topic:   FUEL OIL CHARGES
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

If I may be permitted, Mr. Speaker, I think that some other business and the prices they charge are being investigated by that committee and I do not think in those cases any complaints were made under the Combines Investigation Act. For instance, the rubber industry is going to be investigated by that committee and the tobacco industry is being investigated, but I do not think any complaints were laid in either case under the Combines Investigation Act.

EMPIRE DEFENCE On the orders of the day:

Topic:   FUEL OIL CHARGES
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

I should like to ask the Prime Minister has any undertaking been given by the Canadian government to the British government with regard generally to an empire defence policy, and particularly with regard to aviation.

Topic:   FUEL OIL CHARGES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

The answer is no.

Topic:   FUEL OIL CHARGES
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HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES

BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES


Mr. J. A. FRASER (Cariboo) moved the second reading of Bill No. 56 with respect to hospital sweepstakes.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Explain.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Question.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER (Cariboo):

Mr. Speaker, I think under existing conditions I should in the first place express on behalf of the members of the house as well as those outside who are in favour of this measure their appreciation of the action of the Prime Minister in allowing this question to be debated and allowing each member to vote on a measure of this kind according to his own best judgment.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh. '

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Obedient servants.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER (Cariboo):

Hon. members on the other side of the house seem to be surprised because they can vote the way they like.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

And you too.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER (Cariboo):

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ONESIME GAGNON (Dorchester):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support my hon. friend from Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) and second his motion for the second reading of this bill. In doing so I am not committing myself to the support of any and every sec-

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Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Gagnon

tion of the bill or precluding the possibility of offering amendments; I merely desire now to approve the principle underlying the proposed legislation which as hon. members know has for its primary object to remove from the criminal code the prohibition of the organization and operation of lotteries in Canada. Nor need I emphasize the fact that a member who on second reading supports a bill is not closing the doors on the possibility of amendment. It is a truism to assert that the bill may be changed and modified before it becomes law. In order therefore to make my position clear, I confine my remarks to the propriety of amending the criminal code in order to legalize lotteries, and now refrain from commenting further on the present bill, which has been so very intelligently explained by the hon. member for Cariboo.

My hon. friend has stated that the people of his native province of British Columbia are in favour of setting up lotteries to help hospitals, as the same state of things now prevails in Ireland. As a matter of fact the mover of the present bill in the Senate, where it has been carried by a substantial majority, also comes from British Columbia.

May I give some reasons which apparently guided my hon. friend from Cariboo when he asked me to move the second reading of this bill? In the province of Quebec where I live, there prevails a strong sentiment in favour of lotteries. Newspapers of all shades of thought are overwhelmingly insistent that if the federal government is reluctant to permit or conduct national lotteries, at least the provinces may be given the power to organize, control or permit the organization and operation of lotteries within their borders. During the last session of the Quebec legislature a bill was passed unanimously by both houses in favour of the setting up of lotteries within the limits of the province. I did not at first intend to read the bill, because I understand that the secretary of the province, Mr. David, has sent to every hon. member of this house a booklet printed in the two official languages and containing: (a) a copy of the bill, (b) copy of the speech delivered by Mr. David when he introduced the bill, and (c) copy of the speech made by Mr. Taschereau, the premier of Quebec. But in view of the fact that at least one hon. member of this house has not deemed it wise to read the bill for reasons which he made known to the newspapers, I think I ought to read the bill, which is as follows:

An act to authorize the organizing of a lottery for educational and public charitable purposes.

His Majesty, with the advice and consent of the legislative council and' of the legislative assembly of Quebec, enacts as follows:

1. The lieutenant-governor in council may organize a lottery called "Lottery of the province of Quebec," and determine the duration, drawings, conditions and manner thereof.

2. The proceeds from the lottery, after deducting the amounts fixed for the prizes and those required to pay the expenses of organization and of selling of tickets and the other incidental expenses, as well as the salaries of the officers and employees appointed under section 3, must be employed exclusively for educational or public charitable purposes carried on in the province and designated by the lieutenant-governor in council.

3. The lieutenant-governor in council may appoint the officers and employees necessary for the carrying out of this act.

The remuneration of such officers and employees shall be fixed in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Service Act (revised statutes, 1925, chapter 10).

4. The lieutenant-governor in council, pending the collection of the sums derived from the lottery, may authorize the provincial treasurer to advance, out of the consolidated revenue fund, the moneys required to pay the expenses of organization and of selling of tickets and the other incidental expenses, as well as the salaries of the officers and employees appointed under section 3.

A special account of such advances must be kept in the treasury department, and the proceeds from such lottery must be used first for their repayment.

5. The lieutenant-governor in council may enact, amend or repeal regulations concerning all matters connected with the organization of the lottery, and with the carrying out of this act, not provided for by section 1.

6. The power given to the lieutenant-governor in council by section 1 shall be exercised only if a lottery of the nature of that contemplated by this act is not prohibited by a statute of the parliament of Canada.

Moreover, such power shall not be exercised if the parliament of Canada authorize the Canadian government to organize a general lottery in the whole of Canada, for purposes similar to those contemplated by the preceding provisions.

7. The provincial secretary shall be charged with the carrying out of this act.

8. This act shall come into force on the day of its sanction.

The bill I have just read has been passed unanimously, as I said, by both 'houses of 'the Quebec legislature. An address has also been voted by both houses of the legislature and sent to Ottawa. The hon. Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan) on April 23 last deposited some documents on the table of the house which are: (1) copy of Bill No. 41 which I have just read, (2) the letter from Mr. David to the Hon. Mr. Cahan, which is as follows:

Dear Sir,

You will please find enclosed copy of a resolution that was passed recently by the house, concerning lotteries in the province of Quebec. Athanase David,

Secretary for the orovince.

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Gagnon

And (3), resolution relating to Bill No. 41 entitled An Act to authorize the organizing of a lottery for educational and public charitable purposes.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that I have just read Bill No. 41, I do not wish to take time to read the resolution, which as you may surmise is along the same lines as the bill I have just read. It may be amusing to hon. gentlemen opposite that it should happen that one of Mr. Taschereau's opponents is in this house supporting his views with respect to lotteries. However, since the bill I have just read has received the unanimous support of all members of the Quebec legislature irrespective of party affiliations, I think I may go so far as to say without Showing any lack of humility that I am in a measure voicing the public opinion of the province of Quebec, which is certainly strongly in favour of amending the criminal code to legalize lotteries.

However, I shall say frankly that in Quebec we believe this bill does not go far enough. If it is a sound principle to permit the setting up of lotteries to help hospitals, why should it not be as sound and reasonable to organize lotteries to help universities and other educational and charitable institutions? The principle is the same, only the mode of its application varies, and that can be adjusted by the legislature in order to prevent fraud and assure a substantial measure of relief not only to hospitals but also to universities and similar institutions, which are now, on account of the crisis, in dire distress. My hon. friend and desk mate the hon. member for Berthier-Maskinonge (Mr. Barrette), who as every one knows is not only a good friend of the farmers but also a great friend of the university of Montreal, has already drafted an amendment to this bill which he intends to move if it is accorded second reading. I understand that by his amendment he will try to have this house support the principle that lotteries may be established in some provinces in order to help universities and other educational or charitable institutions. Is it necessary that I should state how strongly I would like to help my own university of Quebec, as well as the hospitals of my home town?

At all events, Mr. Speaker, I have no hesitation in saying that we ought not to let this session conclude without thoroughly studying the principle of lotteries which, as you know, has been carefully investigated by the Senate who, for the last two years, have adopted by a substantial majority bills similar to that now before the house. I do not

know of any group of men in Canada who, more than the members of the Senate, are opposed to extreme measures of a revolutionary or extravagant character. Surely the members of that chamber represent the moderate and respectable views of sound thinking, conservative Canadians who are afraid of revolutionary measures. Do hon. members of this house desire to let the people believe that they possess more wisdom, more common sense and more judgment than the members of the Senate possess?

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Yes.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

I leave the answer to the conscience of each and every member. A lottery is not a modern invention; it is not the creation of a decadent civilization. If you go back into history you will find that lotteries have flourished in almost every European country. I found a book written in 1933 by Mr. Pierre Coste, a Frenchman who is an expert on lotteries; from that book I extracted some notes, which I should like to pass on to the house. Lotteries seem to have originated in Rome under the republic before the Christian era, but took a greater importance with Augustus and the following emperors. At the time, they were part- of the entertainments and festivals organized in the capital of the world.

Lotteries, in the modern sense, are to be found in Italy before the end of the 15th century. Lotteries for the benefit of churches and charity are met with as early as 1519 in Belgium. The first lottery authorized by the state in France took place in 1539. They spread quickly and were used for all kinds of purposes; for the construction of hospitals as early as 1658, just as in Ireland; for Paris fire stations in 1701, for the royal military school in 1757. Then the state stepped in and inaugurated its first official lottery in 1717 to redeem the state paper certificates. From that time on, many state lotteries were organized with great success, and in 1776 a permanent state lottery was established and functioned almost regularly until 1832. During its last thirty years, it produced an annual profit of $3,000,000. Since that time, after temporary exclusion, occasional state lotteries were instituted and this year a state lottery was run with great success and will be renewed next year.

In England, state authorized lotteries appeared as early as 1569. Later the state stepped in for its own benefit and from 1709 to 1824 the government conducted annual

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Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Gagnon

lotteries by which large sums were raised averaging yearly, between 1793 to 1824, about $1,500,000. Now the only permanent state authorized lottery in England, outside of charitable lotteries, is the Calcutta sweepstake.

Lotteries have been popular in almost all countries, Austria, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and even China. Now several countries have made lotteries a state monopoly, like Italy, Spain and Prussia. The most important lottery in the world is the "Christmas Gordo," at Madrid. In several cases the state owned Italian lottery is supposed to have, brought in as much as $20,000,000 a year.

A few moments ago, when I referred to the Senate, I heard some of my colleagues express a doubtful opinion about the wisdom of that body which gave a substantial majority in favour of the present bill. May I tell them that when I said that in England the state organized lotteries for the benefit of the state I was not colouring the truth at all. I would refer those who are learned in common law to one of the greatest legal minds of all times, Mr. Blackstone, and invite them to read his Commentaries on the Laws of England, volume 4, page 164, where the following will be found:

As state lotteries were for many years found a ready mode for raising the supplies, an act was made, 19 George III, chapter 21, to licence and regulate the keepers of such lottery offices. They were, however, suppressed altogether by 4 George IV, chapter 60.

Then Blackstone continues:

It was found necessary to pass a special act for the protection of those laudable associations generally called art unions, having for their object the promotion of a taste for the fine arts, and accordingly by 9 and 10 Victoria, chapter 48, any voluntary association constituted for the distribution of works of art by lot is to be deemed legal provided it be incorporated by charter or the deed constitu-ing the association and its rules have been given, submitted to and approved of by a committee of the privy council.

Then through you, Mr. Speaker, I direct this question to the house: If it is moral and legal in England to conduct lotteries for the benefit of art unions why should it be immoral or against the law to conduct lotteries in Canada for the benefit of hospitals? I should like to quote from an article which appeared in the Saturday Review of December 5, 1931:

Millions of dollars are going year after year out of Canada to war veterans in Newfoundland, to hospitals in Ireland, and to the winners of the Calcutta sweepstakes in England.

There is but one argument against sweepstakes or lotteries, and it is that it would encourage gambling. That we admit would be a cogent reason why they should not take place if it were possible to encourage gambling, but, fortunately or unfortunately, gambling has already reached such proportions that to talk of its encouragement is as ridiculous as it would be for a nigger to complain of the effect of the sun upon its complexion, and we venture to suggest that if sweepstakes were legalized not one single man, woman or child would for that reason start gambling for the first time.

. . . Moreover, those who are foremost in opposing the legalization of sweepstakes are by no means above the holdings of "lucky dip," and such like gambles, in their own churches and chapels. . . . For the first time for many years, we have a House of Commons alive to realities and determined to get something done. Leave it for the government to legalize lotteries for certain specific objects. In this way not only will some good work be carried on officially but our country will not appear quite such a fool in the eyes of the world.

It is not only gentlemen from the province of Quebec who support this bill. A few days ago I received a letter from the Good Fellowship Association of Toronto, which reads: Dear Sir:

At a meeting of this association it was decided to send the enclosed circular as to why we think you should support the sweepstake bill coming before parliament. It seems impossible to stop our people from taking a chance; then why not have it run fair and straight under government control and put a stop to the bootlegger who is making himself rich in running illegal sweepstakes. The social service at their meeting yesterday asked you not to pass the sweepstake bill. They evidently do not wish the money kept in this country and prefer sweepstakes being run in the illegal way now being done.

Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia are overwhelmingly in favour of the bill and we have had no reports from the other provinces.

Thanking you in anticipation of your kind support.

Yours truly,

C.Q.M.S. J. Carroll,

Secretary.

Enclosed in this letter was a resolution which contains some very good arguments in favour of sweepstakes, and I may say that this association is supposed to include in its membership many distinguished citizens of the province of Ontario. It is true that the royal commission in England reported not very long ago that a revival of lotteries in that country was undesirable. It does not necessarily follow however that we ought to adopt the same policy in Canada. In this connection I need only quote such opinions as I have indicated, the opinion quoted from the Saturday Review and those of gentlemen from the province of Ontario and elsewhere.

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Gagnon

Some fifteen or twenty years ago a great wave of public sentiment or opinion swept the whole of the North American continent against the sale of intoxicating liquors. One could not obtain a single glass of wine without exposing himself either to fine or to imprisonment. Surely no hon. member in this house will seriously contend that the standard of morals in Canada or in the United States was higher during the prohibition regime. I have no hesitation in stating that the regime of prohibition is the regime of hypocrisy, and one which generates abuses and which does not lead to any social or moral regeneration. The Volstead Act, which was accepted in the United States in 1918 was repealed by almost all the states of the American union. I am proud to state that in the Dominion of Canada my native province has initiated a policy of state control of liquor which has been accepted by all the provinces, successively. Hon. gentlemen opposite may claim credit for having initiated the policy. I state however that the idea was one which was accepted in 1893 by a caucus of the Conservative party in the province of Quebec, when the Hon. L. J. Pelletier, then secretary of the province and member for Dorchester, and later Postmaster General, moved that a policy of state liquor control be accepted. It has been stated that owing to the opposition of the late Cardinal Taschereau this policy was not put into force in Quebec. Be that as it may, but while the Quebec policy may have had and may still have defects in the mam it has been recognized as being based on a sound principle, and has proved to be beneficial to the state. In our province millions have been derived through the state control of liquor, and that money has been spent to help charitable and educational institutions.

May I now come to an aspect of the matter which to me seems amusing. I refer to that which I term the hypocrisy of the prohibition regime. In 1924 I spent a few weeks at Murray Bay, which is situated in the beautiful county of the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain). During that summer I happened to meet the former President Taft who, as hon. members know, was in 1924 Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and who for many years during the summer months had been a resident at Murray Bay. One of his secretaries happened to be living in the same hotel as I was, and in the course of conversation directed to a discussion of the evils of the regime of prohibition he stated that when he wanted liquor in Washington he used to call his bootlegger over the

phone. I leave it to your sense of humour, Mr. Speaker, to ascertain whether or not a law legalizing prohibition may be surely and effectively put into force in the United States of America when the secretary to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court simply has to phone his own bootlegger when he wants liquor. I leave it to your good judgment, sir, to determine whether such a regime is better than a regime of state control of liquor such as that now flourishing in all the provinces of Canada.

Now, sir, it seems to me that if lotteries are properly supervised and controlled by the state they could not be more harmful to society than would be the sale of liquor. I shall not go farther in my attempt to establish that the principle of lottery is sound, and that it is not conducive to immoral consequences. If we agree on that proposition how are we to proceed to legalize lotteries? Opinions on this point are divided. I share the views of those people who state that if in Canada we legalize lotteries we ought to keep them under our own control and organize a national lottery, the proceeds of which in a time of emergency should be used for national purposes. Some hon. members, however, believe that we ought to use them to relieve unemployment, and others hold the view that it would be better to use the proceeds from lotteries to help hospitals or other charitable or educational institutions.

May I in this connection refer to what was said by Premier Taschereau of Quebec when he spoke in favour of the bill before the legislature of that province. He said:

I would prefer, as far as I am concerned, that we have one great Canadian lottery under the direction of the Ottawa government. We wish Ottawa to create a national lottery like that in France. That would be better than having a lottery in each province because with provincial lotteries there will be competition betwreen them, and we don't know where that would lead. Whereas if we have a national lottery under the auspices of the federal government, I know that apart from being also honestly conducted, the profits will be divided between the provinces on a population basis to be used for charitable and educational purposes.

I have quoted those words to indicate that the Quebec legislature has studied the problem on a rather high plane. Mr. Taschereau concluded his speech in the Quebec Legislative Assembly in using such words as the following:-

If Canada is unwilling to set up a national sweepstake, let Canada permit the provinces to act as they please.

I know of no reasons why parliament should prevent the provinces from organizing lotteries

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Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Gagnon

within their own borders, if in fact no national lottery is set up. We must not forget that of whatever mind we may be in our opposition to the principle of the establishment of lotteries, tickets for the English, Irish and foreign lotteries are being sold everywhere in Canada, notwithstanding the provisions in our criminal code. Strange to say, I know an hon. member who sits not very far from me who, I have no doubt, will speak against the present bill and who, nevertheless, has in his pocket a ticket, on the English Derby to be run on June 6, 1934. I respectfully invite him to show his ticket when in a few minutes he rises to oppose my views.

Every year millions of dollars of Canadian money go abroad to relieve foreign institutions. Our money goes to Ireland, to Calcutta and to all places where there are sweepstakes. You cannot, by any arbitrary provision inserted in the criminal code prevent a man purchasing a ticket on the Calcutta or Dublin sweepstakes any more than you could prevent him having a glass of beer or wine under a prohibition regime.

May I now say only a few words with respect to the bill introduced by the hon member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Cas-grain). I would have no objection to voting for his bill which, in all respects, I prefer to the present one. On the other hand, I think we ought not to divide our forces. We ought to unite on the principle of the present bill which embodies the whole matter of sweepstakes. After the house voted in favour of the principle of provincial sweepstakes we could deal with sympathy with my hon. friend's bill.

At this point I wish to refer to the remarks of Premier Taschereau in the Quebec legislature. He spoke as follows:

At the same time, this article of the criminal code makes an exception, and I wonder who suggested it. It permits Canadians to take part in lotteries held in London under the auspices of the Art Union. It is not permitted to spend one dollar in Canada for a lottery, but millions may be spent, even to the last dollar, for lotteries in London. I have enough national pride to believe that we can do the same thing here.

I merely quote what Mr. Taschereau said in order to show that if an amendment to the criminal code was passed in 1900 permitting lotteries for English art unions it was not because of the Conservatives, because that measure was enacted under the initiative of Hon. Mr. Dandurand, the Liberal leader in the Senate. He voted to legalize sweepstakes in Canada to favour the art unions in England. I refer the house to what Mr.

Dandurand said in 1932, as reported on page 48 of the Senate Hansard. He said:

The Senate in 1900 passed a bill that restricted lotteries to those of the Art Gallery Association of London and one or two others, which I succeeded in having exempted. Those were the only exceptions from the operation of the criminal code.

If hon. friends opposite during the next elections want to make the people believe that we are not true Canadians because Canada favours the art unions of Great Britain, I hope they will remember that the father of that offspring was the Hon. Mr. Dandurand, the leader of the Liberal party in the Senate.

I think I have said enough to make known the views of my province with respect to lotteries. However, I should like to advance another argument in favour of a national lottery for national purposes. I have as my authority an article by Mr. Richard W. Scott which appeared in the Saturday Night of May 5, 1934. This is entitled "There's Money in State Lotteries." I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to note that we in Quebec are always pleased to be enlightened by Toronto when the occasion arises. The subtitle reads, "Here's an idea we could borrow from France, where state lotteries are used to reduce the national debt, satisfy the urge to gamble and actually promote thrift." The article reads:

The first English state lottery so far as can be ascertained was floated in 1569.

Mr. Scott then proceeds to explain that for almost two hundred years England continued to organize lotteries for the benefit of the state. He states that the usual method was to sell large blocks of tickets to contractors who in turn retailed them to the general public. Mr. Scott then goes on to explain what takes place in France. He says:

France, al-ways the great realist among the nations of the world, recognized very soon after the war that she must raise money in hitherto unheard of quantities and recognized also that even her thrifty people whether for good or evil enjoyed nothing so much as a gamble. France was already in the gambling business to the extent that she licensed gambling casinos, as we do race tracks, and took, again as we do, a "cut" on the total amount bet. What then was more reasonable than to ask her citizens to gamble directly with the government by means of a state lottery? France asked and her citizens accepted the invitation with almost unexpected enthusiasm. The French plan is here described because it seems most probable that if Canada does turn to the lottery in a desperate effort to restore her finances we shall adopt something similar to it.

Marianne is nothing if not practical. Are her people of a saving nature? Then encourage them to save. Do they also want to gamble?

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Mercier (Laurier)

Then combine saving with gambling in such a way that both will serve to give the government an ever-increasing supply of ready cash. It would seem to be impossible to combine these three desiderata but that is exactly what France has done and everyone, at least in that country, is satisfied with the result. In brief, France satisfies the great French appetite for an absolutely safe savings scheme by selling low denominational government bonds and, by linking a lottery chance with each bond, satisfies also the inherent desire of nearly every human to "take a chance."

The essential point of the scheme is that the bonds are charged in the government's accounts as bearing interest of (for example) four per cent, but instead of being paid at this rate bondholders receive only three per cent on their capital and the other one per cent is used as prizes given to holders of bonds which are determined by lot. Thus everyone is pleased. The frugal peasant is given a gilt-edged government bond priced within his slender means, the gambler has a chance to win ease and comfort even while saving his money, while the government finds a ready market for its bonds at an interest rate that is pleasantly low.

However, let us leave France and try to apply the scheme to Canada. Is it workable and if so how would it work? The best way to answer these questions is to set up a concrete example. Let us suppose that the government desires to raise $50,000,000 at a very low rate of interest and decides to apply the French premium-bond plan to a loan of this amount.

Instead of following the old practice of issuing bonds in denominations of $500 and multiples at 41 per cent, most of which would be bought by banks, insurance companies and a few rich individuals, the government would issue one million bonds with a par value of $50 each bearing interest at the rate of three per cent per annum and set aside a further one per cent of the principal each year as prize money.

Each bond would bear a serial number and once each year the government would determine by lot which bonds won prizes. In the case of a $50,000,000 issue, for example, this prize money would amount to $500,000 yearly which might be divided something like this:

1 first prize $100,000

1 second prize 50,000

1 third prize 25,000

10 fourth prizes at $10,000 each. . . 100,000

100 fifth prizes at $1,000 each 100,000

100 sixth prizes at $500 each 50,000

750 seventh prizes at $100 each 75,000

903 prizes total $500,000

Such a scheme for dividing the prize money is of course only advanced to show one of the many ways in which it could be done. Tt is not in accordance with the French plan which gives many and smaller prizes, but would, I think, appeal to those of us who now waste thousands a year in a vain effort to capture the capital prize in the Irish sweeps.

I advise hon. members to read that well-written article which is very enlightening on the utilizing of lotteries for the conversion of a national debt. It seems to me that the system used in France could be adapted to

Canada. As has been pointed out by Mr. Scott it combines the gambling and the sane investing elements and is not at all against public morals in the broader sense of the word. I am entirely in favour of the setting up of a national lottery for national purposes but if this principle cannot be accepted by the majority of this house, then I ask hon. members to permit the provinces to act as they see fit within their own limits. It is for these reasons that I gladly support the bill sponsored so cleverly and intelligently by the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser). The province of Quebec is very happy to support the views of the sympathetic population of the beautiful province of British Columbia.

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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LIB

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. J. A. MERCIER (Laurier-Outremont):

Topic:   HOSPITAL SWEEPSTAKES
Subtopic:   BILL TO LEGALIZE LOTTERIES WHEN CONDUCTED BY PROVINCES
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May 22, 1934