May 22, 1934

LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

An hon. member says, the marketing bill. For the moment I do not want even to mention the marketing bill; I will confine myself to this measure. This bill is camouflaged with the word "hospital" and under the guise of "hospital" it is supposed that gambling will be legal for the Canadian people so far as raising money for hospitals is concerned. I should like to know who is behind this bill. What combination of interests in this country is behind this legislation and hiding behind the question of subsidizing and making contributions to hospitals by this method? It has been stated to-night by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie)-and I think it is correct-that about only eighteen per cent of the money contributed through such sources as this, sweepstake contributions and' prices for tickets, reaches the destination to which it is supposed to go. What becomes of the other eighty-two per cent? I will admit that some proportion of it goes for the prizes, but beyond that it is nothing more nor less than a racket. And it will be a racket in this country if this bill passes the house. Let me say that I am not pretending to be on any high moral plane in regard to gambling, out any hon. member of this house who has oeen a member of the banking and commerce :ommittee this session and has listened from lay to day to the evidence given before that jommittee by the general managers of the oanks will remember that in almost every nstance they have said that the world condition and the condition in which we find ourselves in Canada to-day is largely due to gambling. And this bill, to my mind, has to do with nothing more or less than legalized gambling. If the bill becomes law it will be the beginning of more extensive legalized gambling, and gambling is a disease. I am not going back to ancient history to prove that because I want to deal with present world conditions and present conditions in our own country. It is a disease. Once you get the germ it is pretty hard to shake it. If our young men and young women, the rising generation of this country, are told that it is legal for them to spend their money, to gamble in sweepstakes for the maintenance of hospitals-and if they have not got it themselves they will borrow it or

get it in some way-you are to my mind building on a wrong foundation for the future of this country.

So I cannot support this bill. It is possible that I might favour some kind of bill for sweepstakes. I am not going to spend the time to say what kind of bill would suit me; I am not absolutely opposed to the sale of sweepstake tickets, but I am opposed to the sale of sweepstake tickets under the guise of contributions to hospitals.

I am sorry if I have delayed the house at this late hour but I wanted briefly to put myself on record, and I hope if it comes to a vote to-night that the bill will be defeated.

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

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Melville):

Mr. Speaker, I shall take only about seven or eight minutes-

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

An hon. MEMBER:

Cut it in two.

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

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

It seems to me most strange that at this time we as a deliberative body composed of some 240 members supposedly capable of leading our electors and others in any direction for the general benefit of our country should be actually engaged in discusing the pros and cons of affording greater facilities for gambling, of which surely in all conscience we have too many already in Canada. That to me is an amazing thing. And then the reasons given! "The prohibition of gambling does not prohibit." Does the prohibition of murder prohibit? And because it does not would you abolish the law against murder? What arrant nonsense people talk. Does prohibition of anything prohibit? It never has and never will prohibit entirely, but it will not mend matters to open the doors wider and let them go to it. The hon. member for East Hamilton (Mr. Mitchell) of whom I think so much, is in favour of it because it gives him a thrill! Would he carry that to its logical conclusion and say that all thrills should be sought and encouraged? The murderer is given a thrill. The man who breaks into a bank gets a thrill because he beats the law. There is a thrill in getting past the law. But that is a dangerous doctrine to follow. There are thrills and thrills, and there are some that we must avoid if we want to escape the penitentiary. I expressed the view last year that I was proud of the fact that all our leaders in both chambers were against this kind of thing-sweepstakes legalized. They are not very audible about it to-night, and that may be the part of wisdom as leaders, but I know where their hearts are. I know where they were last year, and I have no reason to believe that, they are anywhere else this year. I am proud to think that even

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Bennett

if their leadership is not very audible or visible it is nevertheless there. Who could listen to the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie), especially one sitting on the other side, and not be moved with the desire to follow such leadership in a matter of this kind? I have no desire to be thrown in contact with my hon. friend any more than is necessary, but I am not going to shy away because he leads, do not make any mistake about that, especially in a matter of this kind. I have had the opportunity since coming to Ottawa of having for nearly nine years under the Department of Agriculture had the supervision of race track gambling. I do not suppose there is any race track gambling in any part of the world conducted more decently than it is in Canada, if it can be conducted decently. It is supervised by the police. I know the example that form of gambling is to so many; I recited it last year, and I am not going to repeat it. Nor am I going to talk much longer, only to make one other remark, about regulating gambling.

We have heard a lot about regulating. Can you regulate a rattlesnake? Can you regulate poison? Can you regulate many of these vicious things for which the only cure is- well, something else much more drastic? Restrain it more by circumscribing its activities; penalize it more if possible, instead of opening the doors to it. I am astonished at the so-called arguments used, especially those relating to hospitals. Yet, Mr. Speaker, there are many good men who do it-that is the misfortune of it; if it were only the scalawags that liked gambling it would not be so bad, but the world is full of good men and women who engage in it; there is no question about that. But that is all the more reason that those of us who see it otherwise should make our views stoutly known.

I do not think my ten minutes are up yet-

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Seven, it was to be.

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

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Then I will shorten it. When I think of the high and upper source from which this bill has come I am reminded of the old but true saying that "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do." If I had a hundred votes, yea, a thousand, they would all be recorded against this gambling bill.

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)

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

It devolves always upon whoever happens for ,the moment to lead the house, when a matter is under consideration that is not party or political in the broad sense, to make a few observations upon the question which is to be dealt with. In January of this year a discussion took place between the premiers of the provinces and members of the federal executive regarding lotteries and sweepstakes. The government indicated to those present that an opportunity would be given, without any whip being used or any control exercised from a party standpoint upon the members, to express freely their opinion with respect to the matter in hand.

I have only this to say, that as far as my personal view is concerned I am unalterably opposed .to this legislation and shall vote that it be given the six months' hoist. I shall not dwell upon the reasons which induced me to arrive at that conclusion. Suffice it to say that recently, 1932 to be exact, a book was published by a very well known author in which the whole history of lotteries was reviewed at great length and the reasons given why it was found essential in 1823 to pass a statute by which lotteries were made illegal in Great Britain. The law became effective in 1826. In France they passed an act by which lotteries were made illegal; it was not until more recent times, in fact not until the days of Clemenceau and Briand, that the act was amended, and it was only in 1933 that the present provisions of the law were enacted by which state lotteries were made legal.

My reading induces me to believe that the lotteries which began in a small way in England in the sixteenth century, the proceeds of which were utilized to build the British museum, to establish the colony in Virginia, to carry on operations of a public character in connection with the payment of the debt and to raise public money, were in the very nature of things frequently, if not always, surrounded by conditions which could not be supported. This book, Lotteries and Sweepstakes, by L'Estrange Ewen, published in 1932, reviews every lottery in Great Britain from the beginning until the end, and the various chapters dealing with the history of this question certainly are worth reading from any possible standpoint, whether of the history of the race, of its tendencies, of its instincts, or of the development of public morality. However you may look at it the fact is that this book is intensely interesting as the history of three hundred years or more. The conclusion at which the author arrives is one to which I think attention might be directed. I have the fullest sympathy with those who do not share my opinions; they have their reasons for their views and they sustain their convictions on grounds which doubtless they think quite as strong and as

3320 COMMONS

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Bennett

cogent as any reasons I could give as to why I do not support this measure. At page 353 of this book I find these words:

The determination of whether an action is right or wrong is dependent upon the setting up of a uniform standard of morality applicable to all classes in all circumstances, and as the moral theorists have not yet come to agreement on that matter, no attempt will be made in this practical volume to determine in which category of human endeavour participation in a lottery falls. It will be agreed by most students of moral science that the majority of actions upon which personal advancement depends contain elements which may be deemed vicious by the most exacting critic, and. disregarding the views of visionaries, it will be conceded by everyone that it is impossible to eliminate all incentives to evil without at the same time destroying many possibilities for good.

That is the conclusion at which the author arrives, to which I think most of us will agree. There is no absolute rule of right or wrong with respect to this particular matter. Each man must answer that question in the light in which he reads the evidence of the past and the history of days that are no more. That is the only way in which he can arrive at a conclusion, but when I am asked to exercise my vote as a member of the House of Commons of Canada to say that we shall legalize that which has brought the misery to the human race that games of chance and lotteries have brought, I propose to exercise my vote against any such thing. I cannot throw the weight, the prestige and the power of the state into legalizing these lotteries. Here is the epitaph that, after centuries of effort in Great Britain, was prepared by Hone with regard to lotteries, when they ceased to have legal existence in Great Britain:

In Memory of THE STATE LOTTERY the last of a long line w'hose origin in England commenced in the year 1569,

which, after a series of tedious complaints, Expired on the

18th day of October, 1826.

During a period of 257 years, the family flourished under the powerful protection of the

British Parliament: the minister of the day continuing to

give them his support for the improvement of the revenue.

As they increased, it was found that their continuance corrupted the morals, and encouraged a spirit

of Speculation and Gambling among the lower classes of people; thousands of whom fell victims to their insinuating and tempting allurements.

Many philanthropic individuals in the Senate,

at various times for a series of years, pointed out their baneful influence without effect His Majesty's Ministers still affording them their countenance and protection.

The British Parliament being at length convinced of their mischievous tendency,

HIS MAJESTY GEORGE IV, on the 9th July, 1823. pronounced sentence of condemnation on the whole race; from which time they were almost neglected by the British Public.

Very great efforts wrere made by the Partisans and friends of the family to excite

the public feeling in favour of the last of the race, in vain:

It continued to linger out the few remaining

moments of its existence without attention or sympathy, and finally terminated its career unregretted by any virtuous mind.

My reading induces me to believe that every condemnation contained in that epitaph is supported by ample evidence. If I were to sit upon a jury I would have to find that the evidence against lotteries far outweighs any support that can be found either in the past or in the present. To argue that stock and mining exchanges constitute gambling may be and probably are correct to some extent, but to ask the state to establish a lottery, with various annuities and prizes to be awarded to those who are successful in the draw, it seems to me is but to offer one more incentive to the growing tendency not to realize the obligation that rests upon one and all to make some contribution, by real work, to their own fortunes and to the state.

I need not dwell upon the matter at length. What I have said so frequently I repeat, that on the balance of testimony as I see it and read it, and from what I can ascertain from the effect and influence of games of chance upon the minds, the thoughts and the habits of men; from the pernicious influence and the insinuating tendency to induce men to cease to work, as is pointed out in Palgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy, quoting from a well known statement made in the House of Lords by the Earl of Chesterfield of that day, the effect is ruinous upon the individual. From the moral standpoint,* from the standpoint of the attitude of the individual towards society, towards his fellow and towards his country, I have no hesitation

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Mackenzie King

in saying that the evidence seems to me so complete that any jury of twelve men should find against lotteries, whether they be state or otherwise.

To introduce the hospitals into the matter of course is something that does credit to those who are anxious that our philanthropic institutions should be maintained. I happened to be in Dublin the day after one of the drawings took place. I know it is true that large sums of money went into that lottery from various parts of the world; it is true that we can advance the narrow argument that by this means we may keep in Canada or in one of the provinces substantial sums of money that might be utilized for some useful purpose. But if we established nine lotteries in Canada under the provisions of this act what would be the effect upon the people of this country? I do not believe there are ten men in this chamber who will say that at this time we should establish a national lottery in Canada. Therefore if we should not establish a national lottery, whether for hospitals, for the state or for any other purpose, can we justify the establishment of lotteries in a single province or in all nine provinces for any purpose that may be named? If we establish lotteries in three provinces and not in the other six what will be the result? The money from the six provinces will go to the three provinces, and so far as that is concerned it makes no difference whether it goes to the three provinces or somewhere else, in view of the way in which the money is expended, since only eighteen per cent of the total takings go to the hospitals which are used as the bait to secure the support of the public.

For these reasons, without reviewing the matter at length, I can only say that I must record my vote in favour of this bill being read this day six months hence, and I do so with as strong a conviction as I have ever held upon any public question in connection with which I have had to make a choice.

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING

(Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the house is anxious to vote on this measure before eleven o'clock, and for that reason in what I have to say I will be very brief. In a word, I find myself in entire agreement with the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett). My convictions in the matter are quite as firm, as profound, and as sincere as are his own. I have opposed similar measures when on previous occasions they have been introduced, and on this occasion not only do I agree with the arguments presented by the Prime Minister but in addition I hold to the view expressed this after-; noon by the hon. the Secretary of State (Mr. Cahan) that this particular measure is ultr^ vires.

I was somewhat surprised to see that one other member of the ministry seemed to take, a different view with regard to the all important matter of jurisdiction. Perhaps hon. gentlemen opposite will not wonder that hon. members on this side feel they have reason for the doubts they entertain at times as to, the certainty and unanimity of view existing, in the ministry itself on questions of constitutional procedure and jurisdiction.

May I say of this particular bill with respect to hospital sweepstakes, the hospitals themselves do not wish to have the measure, passed. I have in my hand a copy of an official letter addressed to the Prime Minister by the Secretary of the Canadian Hospital Council, of which body the right hon. gentleman himself is honorary president. In this communication very strong reasons are given as to why the House of Commons should not pass this particular measure. I shall not take the time of the house to read the communication. I need only say that it sets forth in no uncertain terms many of the arguments which have been presented to-day.

As the Prime Minister has said, the principle to be decided with respect to this bill is as to whether or not this house shall endorse legislation which tends to further gambling practices. I believe, in private, gambling should not be encouraged between individuals, and I hold there are even stronger reasons why those who have to do with the shaping of public opinion should not further or countenance any measure which, by statute, would publicly encourage gambling. At this particular time in the affairs of our country and the world I feel there are additional reasons why parliament should frown upon any course of behaviour which is likely to make for more in the way of uncertainty in, the lives of our people and the affairs of our country. What we require in the affairs of individuals and of the nation is less of uncertainty and more of certainty; less of instability and more of stability; less of reliance on chance and luck, and more reliance on judgment and effort. There is no doubt that much of the distress of the times has come about through excessive speculation during periods of prosperity, and far too many people, with respect to their own affairs, have got into the, habit of relying upon chance and gambling in one form or another rather than upon prudent action and reason.

3322 COMMONS

Hospital Sweepstakes-Mr. Mackenzie King

One feature in particular I very much dislike about this measure is that it attempts to effect under the guise of what is laudable something which is otherwise indefensible, a tendency with respect to legislation which is becoming far too general in this House of Commons. We have witnessed the same kind of procedure with respect to not a few other measures. Relief measures introduced to assist the unemployed have been made the means of enabling the government of the day to do away with that control which parliament should at all times have over taxation and expenditures. To meet the alleged necessities of an emergency, the government has taken to itself power to enact almost any measures in the name of peace, order and good government. Other measures, such as the one nominally to regulate marketing, have in reality to do with the restricting of imports and exports. We have had titles introduced in this country, for the purpose we are told of fostering loyalty; in reality they serve mostly to satisfy the weakness of human vanity. This measure introduced in the name of charity in order to assist hospitals, as a matter of fact, is simply the thin end of the wedge of an effort to increase possibilities of gambling, a tendency which at any time should not be encouraged by legislation.

Therefore I am in entire agreement with those who have opposed the measure, and shall most certainly vote for the amendment to give it six months' hoist. If by any chance the amendment should not carry, I shall vote against the bill itself.

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

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Royal (Mr. Jones). Had I voted, I would have voted for the amendment.

Questions

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

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. YALLANCE:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Wilson). Had I voted, I would have voted for the amendment.

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

James Warren Rutherford

Liberal

Mr. RUTHERFORD:

I was paired with

the hon. member for South Essex (Mr. Gott). Had I voted, I would have voted for the amendment.

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

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

I was paired with the

hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden). Had I voted, I would have voted for the amendment.

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

Franklin Smoke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMOKE:

I was paired with the hon.

member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot). Had I voted, I would have voted for the amendment.

Motion (Mr. Fraser) as amended agreed to.

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

At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Wednesday, May 23, 1934


May 22, 1934