Hon. C. W. G. GIBSON (Minister of National Revenue):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement with reference to an announcement recently made by the premier of Ontario concerning the ration of spirits in
that province. Colonel Drew referred to the difference in the amounts authorized by the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and stated:
There may be some good explanation for this striking contrast in ration, but there can be no doubt of the effect of this situation upon the minds of those who come in contact with it.
Under P.C. 11374, the wartime alcoholic beverages order, the provinces are restricted to receiving each year for sale seventy per cent of the spirits which they received during the year ended October 31, 1942.
Each province receives the same percentage. All are treated alike, and there is therefore no foundation for any suggestion of discrimination.
Although this fact is well known, efforts are constantly being made to create an impression that Quebec is receiving preferential treatment over other provinces, particularly Ontario. The following table gives a comparison of spirit and beer consumption in these two provinces during the year ended October 31, 1943, the first complete year under the restriction order: *
Domestic Imported Total (proof (proof (proof
gallons) gallons) gallons) Ontario... 942.640-33 207.178-81 1,149,819-14
Quebec.... 959,948-69 203,698-51 1,163,647-20
Delivered under 90 per cent quota (gallons)
It will be noted that although Quebec received 13,828 proof gallons of spirits more than Ontario, Ontario consumed over nine million gallons of beer more than Quebec. Expressing it in another way, Quebec received 1-2 per cent more spirits, while Ontario received 32-4 per cent more beer.
One obvious reason for the discrepancy in the ration between, provinces lies in the variation in the number of permits issued. I observe from a recent advertisement of the liquor control board of Ontario that in January, 1943, when the permits issued by the province totalled 155,295 the monthly ration was 160 ounces. According to the same source, in March, 1944, the province had issued 1,282,938 permits, and the ration at that time was 26 ounces. I do not know how many permits are outstanding in Ontario at the present time. In one Ontario city a man has recently been prosecuted for having no less than 63 permits. The best answer to Premier Drew's allusions to the relative ration of Ontario and Quebec seems to be
made by the chairman of the Ontario liquor commission, who says in the advertisement, "It is a problem in simple arithmetic," and goes on to state that:
The increase in the number of permits and the extent to which permit holders are purchasing spirits each month makes it necessary to reduce the amount which can be purchased by permit holders in Ontario.
Attempts are also being made to becloud the issue by drawing attention to the stocks of spirits which are held in warehouses. As far as the federal government is concerned, there has never been any suggestion that the restriction placed on the consumption of spirits was attributable to a shortage of supply. The Prime Minister made it clear in his speech of December 16, 1942, that the restrictions were being imposed to ensure a total w'ar effort, and the reasons which he advanced at that time are not only valid to-day, but as the hour of our greatest trial approaches they possess added significances
Subtopic: RATIONING OF BEER AND SPIRITS-ONTARIO AND QUEBEC-STATEMENT OF PREMIER DREW