Edward Arthur Lancaster
If nobody can operate outside at all, how can there be any mischief outside of the track? Does not the amendment cover that?
Subtopic: E. WILLS,
If nobody can operate outside at all, how can there be any mischief outside of the track? Does not the amendment cover that?
Mr. W. M. MARTIN.
If you allow the book-maker to operate on the track, you render it possible for him to supply information to any one outside.
But if any one operates outside, he becomes a criminal under the amendment as well as under the original Bill.
Mr. W. M. MARTIN.
I do not think I need go any more fully into that matter. It is said that the law cannot be enforced. Such an argument is always advanced against any legislation of this kind. I believe it can be reasonably well enforced, and I am corroborated in this view by the evidence of many distinguished police offi-
cers. For instance, Inspector Duncan, at page 187:
Q. Suppose that a law is passed which will make all hook-making, whether on the racetrack or off it, illegal, will there he any difficulty of enforcing other criminal laws, having regard to your experience?-A. I think there would he no difficulty at all if that was done.
Inspector Archibald, at page 226:
Q. Then if you had a law that was in plain Anglo-Saxon and easy to understand, forbidding betting on the race-tracks through the book-maker, would it be possible to reasonably enforce that law?-A. Tes.
Bernard McMahon, chief of police of Hamilton, at page 338:
Q. Then, Inspector, you do not see any difficulty, or rather you would not apprehend any difficulty, in enforcing a law against book-making, if such a law were enacted?- A. If it were passed in such a way that it was made workable. For instance
These police officers all agree that the law could be reasonably well enforced as well as any similar law.
There has been a good deal said in the House and in the corridors and outside the House regarding the extent of public sentiment which exsits in favour of this measure. I believe that public sentiment throughout Canada is ^largely in its favour. We have had that expressed by the farmers of Canada through the 'Farmers Journal,' we are also aware that the majority of the principals of agri-ciiltural colleges are in favour of the Bill; we know that the Dominion grange, trade and labour congresses and the churches support it. It has been said that the agitation has been largely created by clergymen. Well, I see no objection to a clergyman taking 1 part in a movement of this kind and exercising his influence in its favour. I would just as soon be approached by a clergyman in support of the Bill as by a horseman or lawyer against it; and during all the time the Bill was before the committee, I never had any representation made me by a clergyman, verbally or in writing, asking me to use my influence. On the other hand, I did have influence brought to bear on me by horsemen in western Canada and lawyers who were appearing before the committee to oppose the Bill. The business men of British Columbia, as appears by the evidence and letters sent to the committee, the Minister of Inland Revenue, the hon. members for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan) and also Victoria (Mr. Barnard), are in favour of the measure. We have had public opinion [DOT]further instanced by the various petitions presented to parliament. I did not myself have more than two or three petitions from the riding I represent, so that evidently there is not much agitation there in Mr. W. M. MARTIN.
favour of the Bill. As regards the objection that public opinion has been largely stirred up by clergymen, I am disposed to give the majority of the people credit for having minds of their own and for knowing what they did when they signed these petitions.
I have considered the Bill as well as I could with the evidence before me. We heard a great mass of evidence in the committee. I have read the most of the evidence since the committee ceased its sittings, and can only come to the conclusion, that inasmuch as the opinion of the vast majority of the people appears to be 'in favour of the Bill and inasmuch as I consider the measure in the interests of the community as a whole, it is my duty to support it.
Mr. S. BARKER (East Hamilton).
I have no intention of going exhaustively into the details of this Bill, or its object, but desire to confine my remarks to a few facts of which I have personal knowledge; and in that connection I wish to take this opportunity of beginning by a few general observations. I have listened with some interest to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Martin) who has just taken his seat. As I understand him, and as I understood the hon. gentleman who moved the second reading (Mr. Miller), they take a very broad and general objection to any thing in the nature of betting. Betting in the abstract is a sin, a moral wrong. That I understand to be the broad question which is really before this House. Well, I may say that, as a member of this House for a few years, I have had a little experience of betting in the abstract. In each of the contests "which I have run, I have been met invariablv by very goody goody gentlemen on the opposite side of politics who were always ready to bet two or three to one that I could not be elected. Of course, they were quite moral in their views. They were not trying to make money by their betting. Nothing of the kind. They were simply offering a bet- but with wliat object? To create an improper influence upon the electors. That is what they were trying for. I have had bets against me, and I only mention these, because I know a little more about bets against myself than I do about bets against other gentlemen. And I know that these bets were offered, not for a legitimate purpose-speaking as a sportsman would speak of a bet, which is the groundwork of a bet on a horse race-but with the deliberate purpose of defrauding; and I doubt whether there is one hon. gentleman in all this House who is going to vote on this Bill, who would say that he is innocent of any attempt of that kind. I believe that man after man in this House has encouraged
betting to influence people in their opinions and get them to vote contrary to their belief and their conscience. Then we have insurance agents. The hon. gentleman who moved the Bill (Mr. Miller) has left the House, and I am sorry, because I would like to ask him about the eight or ten insurance men, canvassers, who go to a young and enterprising business man, each of them telling a different story and all of them lying more or less about the facts they represent. These gentlemen represent to every man they desire to insure that his life is uncertain, that it is a thing to bet upon, and that he ought to insure in such a company. And we have one man representing several companies who will say to his agents: Bring all your bets to me and I will see that you get your commission. I wonder whether the hon. gentleman who is at the back of this Bill has ever done that sort of thing. Of course, that is not immoral, that is business. But the bookmaker who goes into that sort of business openly and avowedly is a scamp. But is the insurance agent a scamp? God forbid, they are all hon. gentlemen, good business men. The other man, however, is a rogue and a rascal. Then we have the broker. I wonder whether, on either side of the House, there is one man who has never dealt with a broker. Who is the rascal? The man who is a broker or the man who deals with him. If I go to a broker to enter into a transaction by which I make money, that I am not squarely entitled to, am I less a sinner than the broker, or is the broker less a sinner than I, provided we both know what we are doing. Here you go into a race-ground and you come in contact with the professional book-maker. He is putting his skill, judgment and knowledge, his calculation of chances against your money and you know it. He offers you a bet and you take it. Is he more of a rascal, is he a greater rogue than the broker who leads you into' a transaction or the insurance agent who makes you insure in one company instead of another? Where do you draw the line? Are you going to say that it is unlawful for one man to take one chance and it is morally as well as legally right for another to take another chance? I wonder if these gentlemen on _ both sides who have been displaying their knowledge and their powers of moral suasion upon this subject have ever thought of this? I have been very much struck with the language of a minister of the gospel, a minister of Christ, on this subject, and I would like to ask hon. gentlemen in this House, as men representing six or seven millions of people to quietly consider what this gentleman tells us. I take some of the evidence, and I must say at this stage that I really do consider it a lamentable thing that in a matter of this kind, involving large amounts 2064
of the money of honest and honourable men, we should be asked to deal with evidence covering 500 or 600 pages with such little opportunity for reading as has been afforded us. I voted on the question of this being printed in French, not because' I sympathized with the gentleman who wanted it printed in French, but because of his words preceding that there had been1 no time to read the evidence even in English. I think it is an outrage upon decency that we should be forced to a consideration of this subject-very trifling perhaps, very' unimportant, to many men of this House, but very serious indeed to' many men not in this House-under these conditions. Now, what does this minister of Christ say? The counsel asks him:
Q. You are down here doing your utmost to pass this Bill on behalf of what churches in Canada, I would like to know it?-A. The church of England, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational, the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada, the Dominion Grange, and Farmers' Associations.
Q. And have these churches authorized you to press their Bill which will allow individual betting?-A. No-
Mark this-they have not authorized that.
-for a Bill which will suppress professional betting.
Mark the distinction-not authorized as to a Bill allowing individual betting, but to suppress professional betting. There is casuistry for you. Here is a man representing the churches, a man who is a min-iter of Christ, the highest calling to which a man can give himself, and he declares that he is not authorized to advocate a law putting down individual betting, hut to advocate a law prohibiting professional betting. One would thnk that a man objecting only to one class of betting did inot object to the other. That is what I, as an ordinary person, knowing a little of the English language, would take to be the true meaning.
Q. Well then are you authorized by these different churches which you have mentioned to press for the Bill as drafted, that is what I want to know?-A. I think I am, yes.
If it had been the hon. member for South Grey, or the hon. member for Begina (Mr. W. M. Martin) what answer would have been expected? But what is this gentleman's answer?
I think I am, yes.
There is the stalwart minister of the gospel. These hon. gentlemen opposite are absolutely sure, but the minister of the gospel is not quite so sure. But we in this House are to make the rigid law of the land what this gentleman only ' thinks.'
Q. Are you or are you not?-A. I think I am.
Do you get any expression of that kind from these gentlemen who wish to make this the absolute law of the land? ,
Q. Have you any authorization?-A. I think I have.
This is the stalwart soldier of Christ. This is no politician.
Q. Well, where is it?-A. In the resolutions that are before you, that are before the committee.
Q. You think these resolutions give power to advocate the Bill as drafted by Mr. Miller ? -A. I think so.
The hon. member for South Grey (Mr. Miller) has no doubt about it, but the witness, who is on oath, is only able to say:
' I think so.'
Q. Do you see any harm in life insurance? -A. No.
. Q- Do you see any harm in buying stock in the stock exchange?-
And here comes the valiant soldier of Christ again:
A. You would need to be more particular before I would answer that.
Here is a man who is giving his evidence upon oath, and presumably knows what he is talking about. But he would not like to commit himself to what these gentlemen opposite would swear by.
It would depend on whether there was a profit.
bing the people, and pocketing the money, and here is their profit-and they show the balance sheet of the club. That land has increased not by reason of horse-racing, but by natural increase in value, and is worth some $30,000 more than was paid for it. It might have been bought for a Salvation Army pleasure ground or for the Reverend Dr. Shearer, or for the hon. member for Grey (Mr. Miller), and it might have been left there without a stump being extracted, and that property would be worth to-day three times what it was worth then. The hon. gentleman would be horrified if he was charged with gambling in getting that money, he would say it was a fair and legitimate profit on the purchase.
The late Mr. Hendrie, a well known citizen of Hamilton, a wealthy man, a lover of horses, a man who had the interest of Hamilton at his heart, and who never made a bet so far as is known, on a horse or anything else, put a considerable sum of money into the purchase of this property with eight or nine other gentlemen, having in view the offering of part of that property to the city of Hamilton for use as an exhibition ground, intending to use the other part of it as a race-track, to promote the happiness and pleasure of the citizens and improve the horse business. That is what that fund was for, and those gentlemen spent their money. It happened that the city of Hamilton at that time did not think that the property was going to be valuable as it has turned out to be, and they would not buy it. If they had done so, the city would have been very much ahead to-day -but I suppose that would have been gambling. These gentlemen spent a very large sum. I was not interested in that concern, and I do not profess to give the absolute figures, but these gentlemen spent something like $100,000 in making there one of the best tracks in the country, a double track, in putting up stands, and stables, and a club house, and what was the result? They were ahead of their day, and instead of making an enormous sum as one would imagine from the speech of the hon. member for South Grey, they lost about $75,000.
Some of the partners got faint-hearted and they wished to retire, and the concern was taken over, and the gentlemen who had heart enough remained, and they got others to join them, and they formed another company composed of most of the men who were in it at first, and they turned it over to the new company at less than one-half of their money. I was one of the new concern, and being a man of non-gambling proclivities, I was one of a group who paid $40 and agreed to pay $60 more for one share, and the rent of that property was about one per cent on the capital. That is not such a wonderful thing as the result Mr. BARKER.
of this marvellous gambling. I doubt very much if the member for South Grey would invest $50 with tire possibility of getting such a return; I doubt very much whether these clerical gentlemen who talk about gambling would have taken an interest in it under the circumstances, even though it were not for racing purposes, but for the advancement of the Christian church. The directors of that association worked hard without compensation; they worked in the interests of the city, and in the interest of the farmers in the neighbourhood until between 300 and 400 horses would be brought there for some weeks each year, using up the oats and the hay produced by the farmers in the neighbourhood, and filling up the hotels and bringing American money into Canada. I have heard it said that there has been no great protest from Hamilton, and my own view is that the great majority of the people of Hamilton believe it is a good thing, and they do not question so much the morality of it from the point of view of the Rev. Dr. Shearer. I can tell you that some of those who paid only part of the $40 first instalment for one share did not think it worth the risk to pay the remainder of the $40 and to remain liable for the $60, so they forfeited their shares. Evidently they did not think there was much profit to be made out of this great gambling concern. I have never received one cent of dividend for the little money I invested, but I think the citizens of Hamilton would regard their track as one of the institutions of Hamilton which did a great deal to build up the city and to bring it to the attention of the -world by the advertising it got from the thousands of people who came to the races every year. I thnk if there was a straight vote in Hamilton the people of that city would vote it had been a good thing. There are people, who perhaps give as little thought to it as some gentlemen on the other side of the House have given to the question, and who might be opposed to it. But just as the exhibition in Toronto is looked upon as the event of the. year, so the Hamilton races are looked upon as one of the attractions of the city; that business is benefited; and the belief is that, conducted with proper restrictions, it is a good thing for the city. As at the Woodbine, so at Hamilton, order and decency are maintained at the races. Special detectives are employed, and if any scamp should appear on the ground, he is taken off at once, and the magistrate very soon sends him out of the city. When the hon. member (Mr. Miller) introduced this Bill, he told us a cock-and-bull story, which he now has apparently dropped, about a boy of 12 years, who on the street cars coming from the Woo.dbine boasted of the money he had made in betting on the races. I told the hon. gentleman that it was impos-
sible a boy of 12 'could get into the grounds at Hamilton or Toronto unless he got over the fence or under the fence, and any way he would never get within half a mile of the betting. Then again, if a jockey, or the owner of a horse, or the trainer of a horse be guilty of improper conduct, the men in charge of the races, who are paid salaries of $75 a day for their services, would report such person, and whether he be owner or jockey or trainer, he would be ruled off the Hamilton track, and as a result he would be ruled off every race-track in the United States. What better guarantee of fair-play could you have? There is no track in England, visited by the King or any other man in England, that- is conducted with more care, more honesty, more effort to have everything beyond suspicion, than the Woodbine, the Montreal track and the Hamilton track; and I defy any man, whether it is the gentleman who has introduced this Bill, or any other member of this House, to put his finger upon _ one transaction from the first day the Hamilton club opened to this hour, that is not to the credit of that club.
Hon. CLIFFORD SIFTON (Brandon).
My hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller) has brought my name into this discussion and has intimated that it is my duty to assist him in conserving the morals of the people of Canada. I have to sav to my hon. friend that I am perfectly willing to join him in dome anything that will promote the moral well-being of the people of Canada if my judgment accords with his in Tegard to the measures to be adopted to that end. Since something like 22 years ago I was first elected in Canada as the representative of some of mv fellow citizens, I have never consciously failed to vote where I had the opportunity for any measure which seemed to me to. be designed to promote the peace, welfare and good government of the Dominion of Canada or that part of it with which I had to do. In speaking of a measure of this kind, there are a great many considerations which are pertinent to the subject. There are a good many other considerations which may be dragged into the debate which are not really pertinent to the subject. There are a great many points of view from which the subject should be looked at, if a careful examination is to be made and an intelligent conclusion is to be reached. And let me say that, in the very few words which I wish to address to the House upon this subject, I speak with a full sense of my responsibility not onl5r as a member of the House, but as a citizen, and as the father of a family of sons, some of whom have reached years' of manhood, and whose welfare in the future is much more important to me than anything elsp that can possibly happen in this world. Therefore I think I have as complete a sense of responsibility in speaking of this question as it is possible to have. The measure which has been brought before us has been brought in a somewhat peculiar way. It is promoted by an association or collection of gentlemen whose avowed object is to promote moral and social reform in the Dominion of Canada. There have been some things said of a somewhat unkind character in regard to these gentlemen and their efforts. I do not desire to be understood as endorsing any gibes or attacks which may have been directed against these gentlemen. It may be that in some respects their methods are not all that they ought to be. It may be that sometimes they are injudicious. Nevertheless it seems to me that the work which they have in hand of endeavouring to promote moral and social reform in the Dominion of Canada is a laudable and praiseworthy work. They have been before this House asking for legislation on a former occasion. They came some sessions ago with a proposition that we should pass legislation respecting the observance of the Lord'3 Day. On that occasion they were able to convince the government that it was the duty of the government to stand as the sponsor of the legislation; and I think that the spirit in which the government and the members of the House on both sides met those gentlemen^ in connection with that legislation wasj highly creditable to the House, and showed that the sympathies of the House were almost unanimously with these gentlemen in their endeavours to promote moral and social reform in Canada. Thev have not on this occasion apparently been able to convince the members of the government that the government should stand as sponsor for the legislation which they propose. For my part, I regret that they did not succeed, at least to some extent, in impressing their views on the government, because we think that some legislation is necessary, and it would have been more satisfactory to us if the. government had been able to see its way clear to introduce a moderate measure which could have commanded the general assent of the members of the House. That, however, did not come about, and they have adopted what is their undoubted right of getting their legislation introduced by a private member, who has devoted himself zealously and with praiseworthy capacity and industry to promoting the object he had in hand. The Bill has been brought before us, and it has gone before a committee for investigation, and the committee has held what appears to have been a very thorough and impartial investigation. We have heard the evidence discussed from various standpoints since the House
met to-day. My hon. friend from Grey has given us a very full and thorough review of the evidence. If I were to say anything with regard to that, it would be to suggest to my hon. friend that possibly a more unbiased review of the evidence would have been more convincing to the House. I do not suggest that my hon. friend was consciously unfair; but one could not listen to his discussion of the evidence without feeling that he was laboriously extracting those portions of the evidence which tended to support his con-[DOT] elusion without giving due and proper effect to the evidence of a contrary character. We had a review of the evidence from another standpoint given bv my hon. friend from Northumberland (Mr. Mc-Coll); and again my hon. friend from Regina (Mr. Martin) has gone pretty extensively into the evidence. I have no intention of following them in such a review. I only desire in a very few words to express what seems to me, as an unprejudiced onlooker, to be the effect of the evidence given before the committee, and I think I approach the question with as little prejudice as it is possible for any one to have on the subject. I can hardly be accused of any undue sympathy with gambling. I have been in the habit of attending horse-races for the last 30 years or thereabouts, and of taking my family when they desired to go; I. never could see that it did them anv harm. I have never bet a dollar on a horse-race, have never bought a pool, have never been interested in a race to the extent of a copper; I have never played a game in which a dollar was at stake; so that I am as free from any sympathy with gambling as it is possible to be. I cannot plead that my freedom comes from any deep-rooted feei-ing that gambling is immoral. It has rather seemed to me to be an exhibition of stupidity, and I have not felt it necessary to indulge in that particular form of stupidity.
There are some things which, it seems to me, have been very clearly proven by the evidence before the committee. I am not going to discuss the evidence but- simply to point out what appears to me to have been conclusively proven by it. In the first place it appears to me to have been proven conclusively that the English thoroughbred horse is the basis of the improvement of all light horse breeding throughout the whole world. It has been shown that in every portion of the world where a systematic or intelligent attempt is made to improve light horse breeding, that has been done by the importation of English thoroughbreds, the product of racing and racing alone. Then I think it has been shown, not only that racing has developed the English thoroughbred, but that racing Mr. SIFTON.
alone will keep him in his present condition and quality. It has been shown further that the stoppage of book-making upon Canadian race tracks will have the effect of doing away with the conduct of racing by reputable men who engage in it as a sport and expend their means for that purpose. Racing, as the hon. member for Grey (Mr. Miller) truly says, will not be stopped, but racing conducted by men of means will be stopped. It will get into most disreputable hands and the last stage will be worse than the first. I think it has been shown that if the Bill should pass in its present form, the importation of high-class thoroughbreds from Great Britain to Canada will be practically stopped. Further, that our present position which has lately resulted in a very large number of thoroughbred horses being placed for service throughout the Dominion practically free of charge, and without any assistance from the government, will be totally destroyed if racing be put an end to.
But, leaving the horse breeding question to one side, there are other things w'hich appear to me to have been very clearly shown. In the first place, it has been clearly shown that tipsters' advertisements and the advertising of information and the soliciting of betting and wagering is a source of great evil ankfi ought to be stopped. I think it has been further shown that the pool-rooms conducted away from a race-track are a serious evil. Also that the hand-book- betting is a serious evil, which comes within the general -definition of gambling not as an adjunct of sport, but in itself pure gambling, and I am of the opinion that the general' sentiment of the House would be to put a stop to that. I think it has been shown conclusively that when racing is permitted to be carried on for a considerable length of time, for such a length of time that the races cease to consist in real trials of speed, but are simply devices for the purpose of furnishing gambling facilities that constitutes a generally admitted evil and ought to be stopped.
These are therefore four distinct evils which I think have been exposed clearly before the committee and which I think the general sentiment of the House will agree, ought to be prohibited by legislation. I wmuld have thought that that having been shown and there being evidently a clear and definite opinion on the part of almost all members of this House that legislation for the prohibition of those evils would receive a general, an almost unanimous assent, the promoters of the Bill would have seen the desirability of accepting legislation which would do away with these admitted evils and let the matter stand for the present. I am quite satisfied that if I had been in the place of my hon.
friend from Grey (Mr. Miller), if I had been promoting this legislation, if I had been on that committee and had seen the evidence produced, proving that these evils existed, and had seen that the House was ready to accept legislation which would be of the most drastic charactec and do away with those evils, I would have thought that that was enough for one session and would have advised a trial of that legislation to be carried through with the unanimous consent of parliament. It seems to me beyond doubt that that would be the common sense, reasonable and moderate course to adopt.
Going a step further, has it been shown before the committee that in racing, carried on in what we may call the best possible way, as for instance, during the first week of racing at the Woodbine track- has it been shown that the betting on such occasions is such an evil as to demand drastic legislation by this parliament for putting an end to it. I submit there is not a scintilla of evidence before the committee which shows any such thing. I believe it can be said by any reasonable man that when you undertake to take out from the general body of evidence anything applicable to that class of'racemeeting such as I have described and endeavour to make out great evils resulting from the conduct of such races, you have utterly failed to prove any such thing. But admitting for a moment that I am not entirely correct in that, and that there is reasonable ground for difference of opinion upon it, then what is the proper course for this House to adopt? What is the principle upon which criminal legislation, under the British system is based. The principle of all our criminal legislation is this, that it is the crystallized or, if you may so call it, the sanctified common sense of the community. It is the expression of the general assent of the community that such and such an Act ought to' be condemned. Therein lies the strength of our criminal law. The strength of our criminal law lies in the fact that, under the British system, what we may call freak legislation is unknown. It never has been admitted that it is the duty of a British legislature to decide moral questions for the British people. It is the right of the British people to settle moral questions for themselves, and for 150 years they have never admitted the right of any secular body to settle moral questions for them, or to regulate their conduct. It is the right of the individual, the liberty of the individual, and the only way he can develop character is by exercising the right to decide moral questions for himself. If you look through our criminal law during the last 150 years, you will not find in a British colony or
the British parliament itself, any case in which a certain act or certain class of acts, commonly indulged in by a large and reputable section of the community, has been declared criminal by an Act of parliament forced through by a narrow majority, and in the face of strong opposition. I do not think you will find such a case. Now this same question has been before the British parliament within the last few years. What was the method adopted to ascertain what would be the best way of dealing with it? It was sent to a special committee, and the matter was carefully examined into. We too have done that. But when it came before the House for legislation, wa.s any attempt made to pass a law which would confiscate private property, or declare to be criminal acts not recognized as being criminal by- a large section of the community? Not at all; the legislation proceeded upon careful and conservative lines. An Act was drawn by Lord Davey, perhaps the greatest lawyer whom England has produced in the last hundred years. I have a copy of the Act, and in clause 3 we find it expressly provided:
Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to any ground used for the purpose of a racecourse for racing horses or adjacent thereto on days on which races take place.
That is the principle upon which the British parliament, after careful and thorough consideration on the part of a special committee, arrived at as a sound principle for British legislation. They do not think it safe or judicious, by a majority if it could have been got, to declare that that which was being done constantly by respectable, reputable citizens of the country, and in regard to which they recognized no moral culpability whatever, should it be branded as a crime without general consent on the part of the community to such a declaration.
What is the basis upon which the administration of the criminal law must rest? The general consent of the community that an act which is forbidden by the law is an act which ought to be forbidden by the law. And if you depart from that principle what results? The result is that you bring the law into contempt. And I put it to the House, and I put myself in the judgment of every member of the House whether in favour of the Bill or not. If this should, be made law, would not one law of the parliament of Canada, at least be brought into contempt with a large section of the community? They would not respect the legislation, they would not regard it as legislation, which the circumstances called for or which parliament had passed in the exercise of due wisdom, and due care; and the result would be that that support which all good citizens give to the law would not
be given to the law passed under these cir
eumstances. I do not know that it is necessary for me to elaborate that argument, but I desire to follow it just far enough to point out that if you once lay down the principle that because any particular section of the community regard a particular act as being morally objectionable, the section of the community which objects to that act can come to the parliament of Canada, and demand that the ^act referred to shall be declared to be a criminal act, you will open the doors to a class of legislation which will lead you to ends you cannot foresee. You will have introduced into this House a class of discussions in the carrying on of which there can be no possible fixed principle. My hon. friend from Regina (Mr. W. M. Martin) says that the only question we have to decide is whether the members of this House are in favour of book-making upon race-tracks or not. I respectfully submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that that is not the question. It is not a question of whether I, or any hon. member here, happens, in his own mind, to be in favour of book-making or of race-track gambling as it may be called-not at all; the question is whether there is a necessity in the interest of the peace, order and good government of Canada that these things shall be prohibited. The question is whether it is our duty, in the exercise of our powers as the parliament of Canada, to make that a criminal offence. What I may think, or what any other hon. member may think personally as an individual has nothing to do with the case. We are not sent here to carry into the criminal law the particular views we may have with regard to any particular thing that is being done by our fellow citizens. If we undertake to legislate within these lines we shall find ourselves involved in all kinds of confusion.
There is one other consideration which I desire to present. This legislation is of an altogether peculiar and unusual character. I doubt if my hon. friends who are supporting this Bill can show a single case in the last hundred years in Great Britain, or can show a single case in the history of the criminal legislation of the parliament of Canada, in which an Act of parliament has been brought in without any public agitation, without any public demand, which practically confiscates a large amount of private property and brands as criminal acts which are constantly being performed by some of the best citizens of the Dominion. I do not think a precedent can be found for such legislation. And I desire to call your attention to the fact that there isi not even the excuse of a public demand. We are here, two hundred and twenty-one members of the House of Commons; "there is not a single one of us, I believe, that Mr. SIFTON.
ever heard this subject discussed on the political platform in the last general election. I venture to say it was not mentioned. Certainly, I never heard it, nor have I ever found anybody who did. We never heard of a member of the House of Commons being asked to pledge himself upon this subject. I have never heard of a public meeting being held for the purpose of discussing this question and hearing the arguments, pro and con. There has been no opportunity for the people of Canada to come to any reasoned and considered opinion upon this subject. My judgment is that the people of Canada have not come to any reasoned or considered opinion upon this subject at the present time. Then, look at the press. Read the newspapers for the last two weeks while this matter has been before the committee. There has been, here and there, a perfunctory article in favour of my hon. friend's Bill, there has been here and there, an article in opposition to the Bill. But nobody who is at all careful as to the statements he makes could, I think, make himself responsible for the statement that there has been in the press of Canada anything in the nature of a concerted demand that this legislation should pass. Is it my hon. friend's position that we should plunge into this extreme, drastic legislation without evidence that the people of Canada have formed an opinion upon it or that they desire it to be passed, without any indication in the press that there is a public opinion on the subject, without any evidence of public opinion except that most evidently manufactured by those who are agitating in favour of the Bill? So, it seems to me that all these considerations point to the conclusion that it would be the part of prudence, common sense and judgment for this House to hesitate before they pass this into law. I have consented to become the seconder of the amendment which my hon. friend (Mr. Me-Coll) proposes to move in Committee of the Whole, conceiving that the common sense and good judgment of the House would see that when legislation is passed which will amply and fully deal with the evils which have been shown before the committee to exist, that will be a sufficient measure, and that it would be unwise and altogether discreditable to our judgment and common sense to go further at the present stage. I hope, without extending my remarks further, that my hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller) and the supporters of the Bill, before the discussion goes too far, will see that it is the part of wisdom to accept the proposition which is made, and allow this discussion to be sealed by a compromise of that kind.
Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton).
I have listened with much interest to many of the speeches delivered on this important question. I merely rise to give a hearty
approval to the Bill now before the House. Some of the statements of the hop. member for Brandon are very wide of the mark. He says this question was not debated on the public platforms in the last campaign, and, therefore, it should not be discussed in parliament now. Let me ask him: Was the Naval Bill discussed on the. public hustings in the last campaign, a measure of such vital importance to this Dominion? And yet he is a supporter of the government that is trying to force that Naval Bill through the House. Again, he says there is no public demand for this measure. Evidently the hon. gentleman has * not taken the pains to examine the public press for the last year, he does not know' that public meetings in its favour have been held in different parts of the country, or he would not have made such a statement. This has been a live question throughout the country for more than a year, and during the last campaign it was uppermost in some of the counties. He says this legislation is of such a radical nature that he could not think of supporting it. Well, from what I understand in hearing the hon. gentleman discuss the Bill, the only objection they have to it is to that clause which prohibits the bookmaker to carry on his operations on the race-track. When you come to examine the amendment which has been proposed by the hon. member for West Northumberland (Mr. McColl) you will find that it will not be in the public interest to pass it. Let us examine clause 228a that has been taken from the Davies Betting Bill in the old land:
Every one is guilty of an offence who frequents or loiters in streets or public places, on behalf of himself or of any other person, for the purpose of book-making or betting, or wagering, or agreeing to bet or wager, or paying or receiving or settling bets.
This clause is taken back on the following page so far as betting on race-tracks is concerned, and the latter part of clause 235 says this:
The provisions of sections 226, 227, 228 and 235 of this section shall not extend to any person by reason of his becoming the custodian or despository of any money .... provided that no such race-meeting shall continue for more than twelve days.
A number of race meetings last year did not continue that length of time. Twice twelve days a year would be twenty-four days a year for each race meet. If you take the five race meets that are in the Canadian Racing Association, including Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Fort Erie and Windsor, and if you reckon twelve days for each of the five race meets in the spring, you have sixty days, and if you reckon five weeks in the fall of the year you would have sixty days more, that is
120 days. As there are only twenty days allowed already, they are precluded from having a race on a certain track within twenty days after the race closes. Supposing the first race had been held at Montreal, the racing association there would be able to go back to Montreal and hold their first race twenty days after their last race was held there; and in that way you would have continuous racing in the province of Ontario and some of the other provinces for 120 days. In addition to that, if you had a racing association in the eastern provinces that would cover say five race meets, and another racing association in our northwest that would cover say twelve race meets, you would have race meets practically throughout the year in some' other part of the country. We find that the committee has thoroughly investigated this question; they have gone to a great deal of trouble, and have gathered a remarkable amount of information, and they have reported the Bill favourably as a consequence of their investigations. As I have already remarked, the only objection that seems to be made to the present Bill is that clause which prohibits the bookmaker from carrying on his operations on the race-track. Now, I think that clause is in the general interest of the public. Take for instance, the clause with regard to elections. I know one riding in which [DOT]men who are interested in the race meets in that part of the country took up their quarters in a hotel, and they formed a betting pool. They then induced certain persons to go out and see men supporting the Conservative candidate giving them ten, fifteen and twenty dollars to bet against the Conservative candidate, and by betting against him they would be permitted to keep to themselves the amount of money they would make. I know one poor man in that riding that was not able to make such a bet. He bet up to $300, and he stated that the money was not his own, but it came through the betting pool that was formed in the hotel. I could explain how these men carried on their nefarious work, and I trust that this Bill will be framed in such a manner as to cover their case. The hon. member for Braridon also says that this is unfair legislation, that the British Criminal Code would not allow it to be enforced in that country. What about the Sabbath observance law in our country? Let him go to the United States and see how a Bill like this, has been adopted in different states of the union. Let him go into the state of New York, or Michigan, and see how the people are devoted tj legislation like this. Let him go into the state of Illinois, or into California, and he will find practically the same legislation in operation to-day, and he will find that
the enlightened people in those states are alive to the necessity of legislation like this. I have only to say, ir. conclu-ri'.n. that I shall give the Bill my hearty support.
Mr. J. W. MADDIN (South Cape Breton).
'there seems to be some misapprehension in the minds of certain hon. gentlemen as to what the functions of parliament are in regard to legislation of this nature. The hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) says there is no precedent for a Bill of this kind, that the Anglo-Saxon race have always looked after their own morals and have accepted dictation from no one within the last 130 years. Let me say to, my hon. friend that parliament does not exist for the sole purpose of building transcontinental lines or of improving the grade of live stock; it has other obligations resting upon it, and these obligations have been acknowledged by parliaments from time immemorial. The morals of the people have been the subject of legislation ever since we have had a law-making body. Parliament in the old country and in this country has legislated with regard to bigamy, polygamy and gambling, and has even made it an offence in England to gamble in private houses. The courts of Great Britain have gone so far in construing the statutes in regard to gambling in public places as to hold that a boat, a tent, a railway carriage, an omnibus, were public places within the meaning of the Acts. Has not this parliament before now legislated with regard to the morals of the people of the country? Was it not in 1878 that the Canada Temperance Act was consolidated? Have we not in the different provinces liquor licenses for the regulation of the sale of intoxicating liquors, with a view to restricting drunkenness? Why is it that the saloons in Ottawa are closed betwe. n 7 and 11 o'clock on Saturday nights? They are open during these hours in the old country. Is it not the duty of parliament to legislate along the lines of social and moral reform? When the editor of the Toronto ' Qlobe ' returned from the old country and wrote up his views of English life, what did he state? That the race was becoming degenerate, that the street^ were crowded with hollow-chested degenerates, and he depicted slumdom. I shall quote some opinions as to the cause of these slum conditions before I have finished, and it will be for us to say whether in this young country of which we are so proud, having the start it has and the race it has, we will maintain that race as it is, and even improve it, or allow it to degenerate as the English race has degenerated in the last 50 years. The hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) said he heard nothing about this matter at the last general election. Nothing was said at the last election Mr. ARMSTRONG.
about the naval policy of Canada, about the Duilding of a Canadian navy at all, yet a Bill was brought up in this House without consulting the people, and has already passed this House. ,
Among the objections raised to this Bill are that it interieres^with the breeding of first-class horses. Horse-racing does not affect the development or improvement of the breed of horses. The hon. member for Brandon says that according to the evidence before the committee of this House, if this Bill passes, horse-racing will go out of the hands of respectable gentlemen and find itself in the hands of a disgraceful element. In the province of Nova Scotia we have a number of race-tracks. Entering the province there is one at Amherst, one at Spring Hill, one in Halifax, four in the county of Cape Breton, one in New Glasgow, and I think one in Kentville, and during the years racing has been carried on there the book-maker has been unknown, he has not yet got in his work in the province of Nova Scotia, and I hope that after this Bill comes into operation it will be difficult for him to maintain a foothold there. The horse-racing of Nova Scotia is as well conducted as that in any part of Canada, and it is carried on there without the assistance of book-makers or anything of that kind. The gentlemen who conduct the races in Nova Scotia are the equals of those who conduct horse-racing in) any other part of Canada.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.
Is it trotting or running in Nova Scotia?
It seems a very good paying game. I think the government, as soon as they have time, will have to take into consideration whether the law should not be altered. These remarks were called forth by a book-maker who had been summoned, producing a handful of sovereigns, _ and suggesting that it would save time for him to pay the fine at once without the evidence being heard.
Lord Chief Justice (Lord Alverstone) said:
Sport never ought to be of necessity associated with gambling or betting. Those who had to do with the administration of the law knew that there was nothing in their great towns, and he was afraid in the smaller ones, too, that brought more people in the humbler walks of life to misery and ruin than the betting agents.
Mr. Justice Bucknill said:
This betting curse, which is being carried on in a shocking manner, has got to be put down with a severe hand, and, as far as I am concerned I will do so to the utmost of my power.
John Hawke (Hon. secretary National Anti-Gambling League) said:
Gambling is becoming a worse evil and a more serious cause of poverty than drink.
Eight Hon. Henry Campbell-Bannerman
I long ago formed the opinion that betting and gambling come next to drink (and doubt even if they are below it) in the measure of the curse they bring upon society.
In view of these opinions from the most distinguished jurists and social reformers in Great Britain, experience has brought them in personal contact with the sad conditions that exist, and which have been so well depicted by the Reverend editor of the Toronto ' Globe,' no hon. member of this House can shirk his responsibility by saying that the chief of police of Montreal says there is no evil consequence, or very little evil consequence from betting. Why, Sir, I was in Montreal last August, and September, and I was in the police court there when pickpockets in groups of four and five were arraigned before Judge Leet, as they were taken, not from the race-track, but from all the public places in the city, and it was Judge Leet's duty to send them back to their haunts of crime in the United States. The hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) has spoken about sanctified common sense, but in view of the opinions I have cited from these distinguished English jurists can any one say it is sanctified common sense to demoralize the young generation of this country in order that the breed of horses may be improved. Is it sanctified common sense to improve horses in Canada at the price of demoralizing the youth of our country? I submit it is not I support this Bill for the reasons I gave Mr. MADDIN.
on the second reading, and the reasons I give to-night, and I hope and trust that it will become part of the criminal law of the country.
Motion agreed to, and House went into committee on the Bill.
Do I understand that we are going into committee now?
We are in committee.
It was very quickly and ' abruptly done. There is nothing gained by it. I move that the committee rise and report progress.
It is rather early. I think we might rise for the evening at about half-past eleven.
The discussion has been cut off very abruptly. I do not blame anybody. I supposed that the debate would have been adjourned between 11 and 12 o'clock.
Mr.- FIELDING. I think tne hon. gentleman can speak in committee.
Yes, but not with the same force or effect.
If we report progress now, the effect will be to leave the matter in the same position to-morrow. If any hon. gentlemen wishes to speak he can speak in committee.