May 22, 1934

LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Does it mention the art unions?

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

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

You try to.

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

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

There is no penalty under the laws of Great Britain unless a prosecution can be sustained under the old act of 1802 which describes such a man as a rogue and vagabond. There have been a few prosecutions under that old statute, but it is now proposed, in a bill passed by the House of Lords, to adopt practically the same clauses as are found to-day in the criminal code of Canada in respect to lotteries. In England they have, I think, gone one step further than we have. I agree with the comment made this afternoon by some hon. member, I think my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth), disapproving very strongly of that clause in our criminal code in respect to lotteries which provides that any person may sue for and recover the amount of the prize from anyone who has succeeded in winning a prize.

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

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

Still more immoral!

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

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I agree that this provision is not an appropriate clause in our criminal law. In the British bill provision is made for

the forfeiture of any such prize to the crown. I think such an amendment would be most appropriate in the law of this country.

I am aware that there is criticism, which has been urged this afternoon in support of this bill, to the effect that our present law does not prohibit the operation of illegal lotteries in Canada. I am sorry to say that there is much truth in this statement. Hardly a week passes that I do not receive in the Department of Justice from some part of Canada advertising literature, tickets and the like, in regard to some so-called lottery which is being operated in some province of Canada. In my opinion many of those which are sent to me are absolute frauds; there is in fact no lottery. It is merely an advertising device to obtain money under false pretences. When these tickets and circulars arrive in the Department of Justice I send them to the various provinces where the operations are said to be carried on, because the house will understand that in Canada the administration of law, both civil and criminal, is under the jurisdiction of the various provinces and not of the federal government. In provinces in which the mounted police have jurisdiction, as they have in six of the provinces of Canada, I place these documents and tickets in the hands of the mounted police. In the other provinces where the mounted police have no jurisdiction I simply forward them to the attorneys general of the provinces. I have heard it stated that convictions resulting from prosecutions under the provision of the criminal code are very difficult to obtain; that few convictions in respect of lotteries are obtained; that there is little sympathy on the part of the magistrates of the country with prosecutions of that kind. I can hardly believe such a situation exists, but I think a little more effort on the part of the provincial authorities might bring a far better enforcement of the law than we have had in the past. The attorney general of Manitoba has been very active in regard to the suppression of illegal lotteries which have been carried on in the city of Winnipeg. In Winnipeg they have sweepstakes on the various horse races; they have sweepstakes on football matches; they have sweepstakes on the weather and on every conceivable subject. In conversation with the attorney general of the province of Manitoba last January he instanced a number of prosecutions which had been successfully maintained in that province, but he said that the problem was one of great difficulty. In Ontario I am aware that some convictions have been obtained in the last few months. In Ontario it has become very common to raffle articles of value, con-

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Casgrain

trary to the provisions of the criminal code. Our criminal code provides that in case of any church or charitable bazaar, articles of small value which have not been sold but have been offered for sale during the bazaar may be raffled, but it places a limit on the value of those articles of $50, and the raffle can take place only with the consent of the municipal authorities of the place where the bazaar is being held. I know that perhaps all over Canada, certainly in Ontario, the favourite subject of a raffle or sweepstake is a motor car. I understand that these cars, costing from $800 to $1,000, are raffled almost weekly throughout Canada. All these raffles are contrary to law. I would suggest that we give consideration to an amendment to the criminal code to increase the penalties for breaches of these sections of the law. The law to-day in respect to the purchaser of a lottery ticket provides for a penalty of only $20. I think that might well be increased, if the law is to be enforced. On the other hand we might also improve the lottery sections of the criminal code by providing that any prizes won in the sweepstakes or lottery should be forfeited to the crown and not allowed to go to the informer.

I am only expressing my own views in regard to the whole subject. I would advise anyone who really takes an interest in this question to glance through the evidence which was submitted to the royal commission in England and to read the whole of the report made by that commission. It is a very interesting report; it is good reading, and much of the evidence is of very great value. But the only conclusion that I can come to after reading it as fully as I have been able to do and giving it the best consideration I can is that it is the deliberate conclusion of the commission which conducted the inquiry in England that lotteries are economically unsound and in their operation degrading to the community.

For these reasons, which I have stated thus briefly, I propose to vote against this measure.

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. P. F. CASGRAIN (Charlevoix-Saguenay):

Mr. Speaker, as I have a bill on the order paper called Bill No. 83, an act to amend the criminal code (lotteries), which very likely may not come up this session, I think it is my duty to tell the house how I intend to vote on this bill.

I am somewhat in the position of the hon. members for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) and St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), and I can also make my own most of the arguments that have been brought forward by the hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Gagnon) and

the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre). At the present time we have in this country so many lotteries that are operating apparently illegally and taking so much of the money of our good Canadian people that it should be our duty to try to make the best of it and induce our people to keep their money at home. This was one of the arguments advanced when the bill was brought up in the Quebec legislature, and I think we should all give careful consideration to the measure passed unanimously by both houses of that province.

When the present bill was introduced I examined it with some care, and to my mind it did not seem to go far enough in order to reach the object I had in mind, that is, to help our educational and charitable institutions. I also had some such doubts as were expressed this afternoon by the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan), who said that it would not help us to put this measure on our statute books because we might create some problems in connection with the legislatures. At the same time we are not removing the impediment that exists in the shape of section 236 of the criminal code, which prohibits lotteries with the exception of those especially mentioned in the exceptions. For that reason I brought in Bill No. 83, which provides that the exemptions should include lotteries organized by the government of a province of Canada for educational or public charitable purposes under a law of the legislature of such province. I do not suppose I could say that the entire population of Quebec favours such a bill; undoubtedly there are some who, with my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) might object, but I think this house should take cognizance of the fact that both houses in Quebec were unanimous in support of the provincial act to which reference has been made. I think the criminal code should be amended in order to make it possible for a legislature, if it saw fit so to do, to pass a law organizing a lottery on its own account and conducting that lottery on a proper, equitable and just basis, using the resulting money for educational or charitable purposes.

For some time past there has been some agitation in the province from which I come because the government discovered that many sources of revenue were drying up. Succession duties were bringing in less money; other taxes were very high, and the government could not increase the taxes or find new methods of taxation in order to bring in the money needed for charitable and educational institutions. It is well known that the univer-

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. McGibbon

sity of Montreal recently was in great need of money, and that for some time it was feared that it would have to close its doors for lack of sufficient funds to carry on. I believe if this bill passes it should be amended, as was suggested by my Iron, friend from Dorchester and other hon. members. If they have in mind the amendment mentioned in the bill which stands in my name and to which I have made reference, I shall be glad to support that amendment. At any rate I think I am safe in following my hon. friend from St. James in voting for the bill itself, because I think it contains a principle to which the hon. members of this house should adhere. In voting for this bill I think we are doing something for the common people and at the same time helping our religious, charitable and educational institutions.

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

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PETER McGIBBON (Muskoka-Ontario):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a

few remarks on this bill from a little different angle than that from which it was approached this afternoon. I am more concerned with the possibilities for good, with the amelioration of the sufferings of humanity and the lessening of the economic wastage of the human machine through the instrumentality of this bill than I am with the methods or the disputed morality connected with it. That, sir, is my first reason for supporting the bill. My second reason is that I am no respecter of persons or classes, and whether we like it or not this practice is legalized in Canada to-day. During this very day, and within the last few hours, at the Woodbine race track in the city of Toronto sweepstakes or their equivalent have been operated. That practice is made legal by a vote of the House of Commons and the Senate of this country. On my way to Ottawa yesterday I was very much interested in a leading editorial which appeared in the Toronto Mail and Empire, containing a description of the opening of ithe Woodbine track. If I may be permitted to intrude upon the time of the bouse for a few moments I should like to read that very beautiful description:

Toronto is again off to the races. The Woodbine track, at Saturday's opening, was thronged with people from all classes of society. In the members' enclosure one encountered most of his friends from this city and many from outside places. Everybody seemed to be there, including His Excellency the Governor General, Lady Bessborough, Lieutenant Governor Bruce and Mrs. Bruce, Premier Henry and Mrs. Henry. The public enclosure was as tightly packed as a box of sardines. From the grandstand the spectator looked out over acres of headgear wedged closely together. The crowd is said to

have been the largest in four years-that is to say, since the onset of the depression. We thus have fresh proof that the community is recovering from the economic crisis, and that it is still much given to the sport of kings.

The scene was as brilliant as ever. There were the packed enclosures, the beautiful greens* ward, hemmed in by the fine oval track and the waters of lake Ontario, with the famous Nova Scotian Bluenose running before the fresh breeze off shore. The custumes of the ladies and the scarlet tunics of the Royal Canadian Dragoons lent colour to the brave show. Sunshine prevailed for most of the afternoon, and the crowd was in festive humour as it enjoyed the opening events of the season's sports.

That, sir, is what is legalized to-day by the parliament of Canada and enjoyed by the people of this country. I am not complaining; I have enjoyed it many times myself and I hope to have the privilege of enjoying it again in the future. But, sir, on the very next page of the same issue of this newspaper, published in the city of Toronto, I read the following:

For keeping a common gaming house in Alexandria park, * William McQueen and Nathan Rensler were each fined $100 and costs by Magistrate Browne in Saturday's police court.

McQueen, described by the magistrate as the goat, was sentenced in addition to fourteen days in gaol without any alternative. Austin Ross, defence counsel in the case, said all betting operations for a week would be transferred to the Woodbine where there are plenty of silk hats and silk stockings.

I rise to protest against discrimination in the rights and privileges of our people. Inside the walls of the Woodbine or of any other race track in Canada you may, if you wish, go, bet your last dollar, and take the consequences. I am not defending that practice. But outside of those walls, if you dare to imitate the habits and customs of the rich who frequent the race tracks you may be treated as these men were treated, namely, receive sentences and terms in gaol. That is one reason I support the bill now before the house.

I say to the people of this country that they must either cancel the privileges which in this house have been granted to the rich, or grant equal privileges to the man who is able to bet only one or two dollars on the races. Betting on the sweepstakes is to-day a fact. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are paid annually in bets, and all that money is going out of the country. I should very much prefer to have the money stay in Canada, if it must be spent, than to have it go to foreign countries. The bill simply states that if they wish and if they are willing to take the responsibility the provinces may do so and so. I do

3306 COMMONS

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. McGibbon

not know why the House of Commons should hold a club over the provinces, as a father would hold a stick over his child, and say, "You cannot do so and so because you are not capable of managing your own affairs." I should prefer regulated evils to unlicensed evils. In handing this privilege to the provinces we are not taking a stand either for or against betting. We simply say to them, "This is your privilege, and under the law of Canada we give you the right to exercise the privilege which as integral parts of the dominion we think you should have."

But I have not risen to speak on that aspect of the bill. I say quite frankly that that feature of it does not interest me. I am not interested in gambling or in sweepstakes, and I have very little interest in racing, although in times gone by I have had race horses. I have risen to exercise the privilege granted me to-night in this great sounding board of federated Canada to draw to the attention of the people of our country the greatest wastage this country has ever known or will know, namely the economic wastage of the human machine. I believe if the house and the country will listen to me for but a few moments I shall foe able to prove that we are not conscious of the extent of that wastage. I shall be very brief, and shall attempt to outline in but a moment or two the hypothesis upon which I predicate my remarks. I refer to the value of human life. According to those who have spent time, money and talent working out values of human life we learn that a child at birth is valued at $10,000. At fifteen years the person is valued at $14,150; at twenty-five years, $32,000; at fifty years, $17,510; at sixty years, $8,500 and at seventy years, nothing. Predicated upon those valuations I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the great wastage this country is suffering every year, and I shall point out that by the expenditure of certain money there is the possibility of saving vast sums of money.

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

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

Is not the hon. member making a mistake when he refers to people of seventy years? I should think a man is just reaching maturity at that age.

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

Peter Robert McGibbon

Mr. McGIRBON:

I suppose I should apologize to those who have reached that age, but statisticians say that their value to the country is nil. I should like now to draw the attention of hon. members to the wastage I have mentioned.

Statisticians tell us that two per cent of our population are continuously nil. That two per cent at a reasonable salary, which I have

put down as $1,000 per year, indicates an annual loss through preventable sickness of $180,000,000. I submit that that is a considerable sum, especially when we realize that a great deal of this loss could be prevented. We have continuously ill 54,000 adult males and 54,000 adult females, making a total of 108,000. Taking an average wage of $2,500 for the males and $1,000 for the females we have an annual loss or wastage in earning power due to sickness of $189,000,000. If we add to that, as we must, medical care and hospitalization at $19 each per year we find we have another $2,052,000 added to the wastage.

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

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Before the hon. member proceeds further I must call the attention of the house to the fact that the time allotted for the discussion of private and public bills has expired, and unless consent is given we must proceed to consideration of the orders of the day.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I asked, and I think the house granted, that the orders of the day should not be proceeded with until this bill had been considered. Therefore the order of business now properly before the house is this bill, from the Senate, which was to engage the attention of the house, by consent.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carry on.

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

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

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

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Donations.

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

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

Donations have fallen

practically to zero. Ini a moment I shall read a letter which I received from the president of the Red Cross in Ontario to the effect that they can get no money with which to carry on their work. In times past I have gone to the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Murphy) and to the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to ask that the Indians in the north be looked after. Those Indians run wild just like the cariboo and the deer; they suffer and die by the scores, yes by the hundreds and thousands, from tuberculosis and other diseases. They receive no care or medical attention and hospitalization. Why? Because the people who have the responsibility have no money. The federal Department of Health looks after the health of ten million people but this government votes only $500,000 per year for that work. I know the British North America Act stands in the way; the provinces say they have no money, the municipalities say the task is impossible and the federal government say it is not their obligation. When some institution comes along and says they will raise so many million dollars per year for hospitalization, when I know that hundreds and thousands are dying from want, when I know that hundreds and thousands are suffering from disease and the country is losing the vast sum which I indicated, something over $800,000,000 per year, then I say if we cannot get money from the municipalities, from the provinces, from the federal government or from private donations, why not accept it from those who are willing to go out and get it for us? I do not think there is any legitimate answer to that. I have heard none. The betting on sweepstakes is going on anyway and we need not try to be moral about it. We are not one bit better or one bit worse; all that we are asking is to turn this money into channels which will save the health and lives of the people of this country.

Let me show the house some of the possibilities. In 1880 the average span or expectancy of life was forty years, but to-day through medical science and medical care it 74726-209

has been raised to nearly sixty years; I think the correct figure is 59-2 years. That means that an additional fifty per cent of time has been added to the lives of the people; approximately twenty years of life has been added to the lives of ten million people. Based upon reasonable earning powers you then get a figure which my arithmetical ability can hardly reach. And we have not yet attained the limit. It is recognized to-day that seventy years is not an unreasonable expectancy of life for the people of this country to reach even in our day and generation. If proper finances were supplied to the organizations which are working for the extension of human life, the results would be staggering. It has been estimated that $2.50 spent through the proper channel would increase the expectancy of life from five to seven years. What is gained? You spend $2.50 and you get the income of a man or woman for from five to seven years. This offers the greatest possibility for increasing the wealth of this country which can be obtained through any channel of government activity. Yet the municipal, provincial and federal governments are absolutely dead, not only to the possibilities of the future but to the wastage of the present. I should like to read a little article which appeared in the Manchester Guardian. This was written under the name of " Artifex." It reads:

Whereas the publication of the names of the winners in a recent Dublin sweepstake occupied a whole page of a London newspaper on two consecutive days, the same space in every issue extended' over four and a half years would be needed to publish the names of those who won nothing.

What is the good of our trying to fool ourselves? These things are going on right under our eyes and hundreds of thousands of dollars of Canadian capital is being sent out of the country every year. Canada is just that much the loser.

If I may intrude further upon the time of the house I should like to read a letter which I received last year from the head of the Red Cross in Ontario. I do not think I need dilate upon the good work this organization is doing. It is an institution which stands alone in this country. It is the friend of all governments, both in peace and in war, but above all it is the friend of the sick and needy. It pushes its outposts back to the frontiers; it looks after the crippled, the sick, the halt and the blind, but it has to go out on the streets of the cities in order to gather its money. This is a letter that I received last year when this bill was up for consideration in this house:

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Cantley

Dear Dr. McGibbon:

At a meeting of the Canadian Red Cross (central council) held in Toronto on Thursday and Friday last the question of where the money was coming from to carry on Red Cross work was given very serious consideration. What with the grants from the government being cut down very materially and the inability of the patients to pay for their hospital care promptly, if at all, the revenue has been cut down quite a substantial amount.

The need for hospital care is even greater now than in the past, possibly due to the state of affairs in the country at large. Our Red Cross outposts are going to suffer a great deal unless we find some new means of procuring fund's, and this can hardly be expected from those who have been contributing in the past, because many of our subscribers have had their salaries reduced, others have lost in various ways and still others are out of employment entirely. In addition to the above, the government have found it necessary to increase taxation. to many of whom it will mean that they cannot contribute to the Red Cross and other charitable work.

The question of sweepstakes was brought up at the central council meeting last week and the statement was made that millions of dollars were sent out of Canada each year in connection with one sweepstake or another. One delegate present, who is in a position to know, stated that two hundred and ninety-eight thousand' dollars had left one office in Montreal in the last sweepstake.

Think of it

$298,000 from one office in Montreal in the last sweepstakes. The letter goes on:

It was rather surprising out of a group of about thirty delegates present that there was very little objection raised at the suggestion made to have the Red Cross Society of Canada handle a sweepstake for the hospitals. This may come as a surprise to you and may not at the start appeal to you. However, in asking several persons for their opinion of the subject since last Thursday, it has been rather surprising to find that while some were against the proposition on the start, when they learned the facts of the needs, they were inclined to favour the idea.

I do not want to weary the house by reading more. The letter shows that the central council of the Red Cross Society of the great province of Ontario has come out in favour of this bill. Why? Because the thing is going on anyway, for one reason; but mainly because they cannot get the money they require to carry on the great work which has been delegated to them and which they are interested in and want to perform.

The debate on this bill has gone on all afternoon and this evening, and I do not wish, Mr. Speaker, to encroach further upon the time of the house. But before sitting down I want to appeal to members of the House of Commons and the people of Canada to consider the great wastage of over eight hundred million dollars per year that is going

on in this country, a large part of which could be saved, and in the light of that not to put any unnecessary obstructions in any channel through which funds may pour into the coffers that will help this society to bring peace, comfort and happiness to the great bulk of the people of Canada.

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

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMAS CANTLEY (Pictou):

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

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):

Mr. Speaker, the question before the house, the second reading of this bill to legalize sweepstakes, has undoubtedly been ably presented by those who are in favour of the measure and their arguments have been set forth very clearly. No doubt the viewpoint which they hold is one that is held by many people in Canada. I differ, however, from that point of view, and I think it is incumbent upon me to present to the house a point of view that I know to be held by a very large number of Canadian people.

I should like to congratulate the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) upon not living up to his promise when he undertook to speak against this bill. He said that he was not going to discuss the moral aspect of it, but I am happy to say that he did and that he placed himself on record as believing that this measure would lead to the moral degradation of the people. It is that point of view that I shall present perhaps more strongly than the economic point of view, although like the Minister of Justice I hold very emphatically the opinion that the economic consequences of such legislation as is proposed in this bill would be disastrous to the Canadian people.

The bill now before the house comes to us from the upper chamber, a body that is animated by no partisan or sectional interests, a body that is supposed to represent the mature judgment of the Canadian people. We are not, however, necessarily governed by the opinion of the upper house, although the fact that this bill has been passed by that chamber entitles us to treat the legislation with a measure of respect. I trust,

74726-209 J

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Brown

therefore, when I see fit to dissent from the conclusion reached by the other chamber, I shall not be deemed wanting in respect to that eminent body, but if I should seem to be so wanting I trust it will be understood that I consider the question before us of more importance than simply the preservation of the amenities of debate.

The bill under discussion is important also for the reason that it comes with the endorsa-tiom of one of the provincial legislatures. Naturally, when a bill comes so endorsed it is incumbent upon the members of this house to pay due consideration to the recommendations of that body. This is a confederation of provinces and the action of the province must of necessity be given consideration. When a province indicates its desire to deal with questions that it believes to be entirely in its own interests, we have a right, if the unity of confederation is to be preserved, to pay attention to its demand. On the other hand, if we are to preserve harmony in our confederation, no one province has a right to force upon the dominion a condition of things that is abhorrent to a great number of its citizens, and unless very strong reasons can be advanced for accepting the judgment of Quebec as governing the attitude of this house,^ I maintain it is the interest of the great majority of the Canadian people that should determine the matter. Perhaps we will give more consideration to that question when the bill proposed by the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain) comes before us.

The bill now under discussion is important because it proposes a new departure in financing of public undertakings. Hitherto our public institutions, our social organizations, have been maintained by voluntary contributions or by public taxation. It is now proposed that they should be maintained by lotteries. Many and various schemes have been devised to pull us out of the depression. Some of these are avowedly experimental and the experiments will very likely be cast aside. But this is a new proposal; it is proposed that we take a chance on getting out of the depression by establishing an institution for taking chances.

Before dealing with the arguments that have been advanced in support of the bill I should like to make some reference to an attitude that has been taken in some quarters toward those who have been opposing this measure. I rather hesitate to do this, but at the same time in view of statements that have been made in certain sections, I think it is desirable that we should call attention to the matter. Objection has been taken to the

fact that the Social Service Council has made representations to parliament in regard to this question. The Social Service Council is a very eminent body; it is described as the federal council of churches and other organizations for the promotion of social welfare. I see that three out of the four leading officers are clergymen. I should be the first to resent any attempt at clerical domination of parliament; I believe a church controlled state and a state controlled church are equally inimical to the well being of Canada, but that is no reason why a body such as the Social Service Council should not make its representations to parliament just the same as any other organization might do. What have we received? We have recommendations from the Good Fellowship Association and another from the National Sweepstakes Petition Association. Another comes to us anonymously. We receive these petitions and we treat them as we see fit, but we acknowledge the right of these people to come to parliament and present their views. There, is no reason why the Social Service Council or any other body of a public nature should not present their views to parliament without being told, as practically they were in one quarter, to mind their own business. I hope, Mr. Speaker, I am not wanting in respect for other people's opinions. When a man says in regard to this bill that it provides for simple, unadulterated gambling, and sees no moral or economic evil consequences in that, well, I cam respect his honesty of conviction, much as I regret that any person should hold those views. But when he brings forward arguments to support his position, when he advances reasons why we should pass this bill, we have a right to examine his arguments and reasons as to their validity and see whether they are sound.

In the meantime I wish to express my own conviction that the effect of this legislation would be to undermine the moral and economic well being of our country. I agree with Horace Greeley who said many years ago that the darkest hour in any young man's life was when he first thought he could make a dollar by any other means than squarely earning it. Undoubtedly there are many factors that have combined to bring about the present depression, but I think we will all agree that one of the chief factors was the gambling craze in stocks that swept over the country in the years preceding it. The get-rich-quick craze has been that bane of our civilization. The message that ought to go out from this parliament to the young men of Canada should be not to seek wealth and satisfaction

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Brown

without rendering a proper equivalent; that true prosperity depends on the exercise of the old virtues of industry and thrift; and we ought also to send out to them the message that this parliament considers it its duty so to frame legislation to give men of industry and thrift a chance to reap their proper reward.

I got into conversation the other day with a man I hoped would be sympathetic with my point of view, and I was rather surprised when he indicated otherwise and spoke of this bill as providing a chance for the poor man to indulge in a little gamble. He said there are not very many rich men who would indulge in it in this form, but this would give an opportunity to the poor man. Here we touch again the economic question. Is it wise for us in these times of hardship and distress to encourage men to take a chance on sweepstakes? Is it wise for us to encourage men who ought to be spending their money in providing for the wants of their families, men who are perhaps themselves on relief, to spend the few dollars that may come into their [DOT]hands in buying sweepstake tickets? After all, Mr. Speaker, let us put this matter to the personal test. I say to any business man: Would you put in a position of trust any young man that you knew to be a bettor on races, any young man that you knew to be continuously putting his money into sweepstakes? Would you do it in your own business? You know perfectly well you would not put in a position of trust a man who is addicted to the vice of gambling.

The argument of provincial rights has been advanced. That is perhaps one that will not be given as much weight to-day as it would have been given thirty years ago, for we are beginning to recognize that one of the fundamental weaknesses of the British North America Act is that it puts within the jurisdiction of the provinces many things that might more properly be dealt with by the federal government. However, that is a matter that perhaps we shall be able to deal with more fully when we come to the other bill which will probably be before us.

Another argument which I do not think has any weight or validity is that we should extend the opportunities for gambling because we already have gambling institutions. I do not propose to justify any discrimination between rich man and poor man, but if any one thing is wrong, as evidently those who use that argument concede there is a measure of evil in .this practice, it is no reason why we should wipe out discrimination by extending the privileges to the poor man. Let us

rather curtail the privileges of the rich. Then the argument is advanced that because we have betting on horse races and make exceptions in regard to certain things, we should open the door still wider. For my part I am opposed to all those exceptions. Someone says: W'hat about stock gambling? Well, let us remember that the transfer of stocks from one man to another is not necessarily an evil-

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

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri):

What about

gambling in wheat? [DOT]

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

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

The selling of wheat is not necessarily an evil. I am willing to concede that evil practices have grown up in connection with the stock market, and the wheat market if you like. But that is not the question we are dealing with; we are dealing with sweepstakes, lotteries. If any hon. member wants to bring forward a bill to get rid of the evils connected with the stock exchange it will receive my hearty support. It is a matter of regret to me that some of those who are opposed to this bill will even admit that there is validity in that argument. I regret that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods-worth), not only this year but last year and the year before, referred to that argument as something that tempted him-he did not use that expression this year, but last year he did-almost tempted him to vote in favour of the bill. Why will the hon. member give countenance and encouragement and comfort to the enemy by even suggesting that -there is validity in that argument?

But the argument upon which the supporters of this bill mainly rely may be stated thus-it was urged this evening by the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley): all life is a gamble; we are constantly taking chances; farming is a gamble; business is a gamble; we are never sure of anything; therefore why should we not take a chance on the turn of the wheel or the throw of the dice or the drawing of a ticket out of a hat?

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

May 22, 1934