The question of the manufacture, the transportation, and the sale of liquor, excise, customs, and inland revenue, are all matters of Dominion jurisdiction, and the provinces have no authority to deal with them.
Will the hon. member submit to the House the name of any reputable temperance organization which says that this legislation is satisfactory? Will the hon. member deny that what the temperance people, and, in fact, public opinion in Canada, have been demanding for the last two years is the total prohibition of the importation, sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors? When we have reached a time when it is necessary for the Food Controller to cut down the amount of meat we shall eat, I think it is surely time to let up on whisky.
I was calling attention to the fact that if any province will prohibit the sale and use of liquor within its borders, the Dominion Government will prohibit the importation of liquor into that province.
I have forgotten the exact wording of the Clause, but it is to the effect that the importation can be prohibited if the person who is sending it in believes it is to be used in violation of the law. Of course, a wholesale merchant in Montreal sending liquor to New Brunswick would have no hesitation in saying that he did not believe it was to be used in violation of the law, but it would be used in violation of the law just the same.
grants licenses for the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, and the government railways collect freight for carrying it to places where the liquor is sold in violation of the law. If my hon. friend wants prohibition, let the Government stop the traffic at the fountain head. Do not let the current go into the province and then try to -stop it.
I am satisfied that the provinces have the power to prohibit so far as the manufacture, sale and use within the province -is concerned; there is no question about -that. The Minister of Justice supports me in that position, and with his consent I will place on record a few questions which I asked him on the subject only a few weeks ago.
I would greatly appreciate if you would advise me as to whether any province in the. Dominion has the power to prohibit the manufacture and sale of liquor within their boundaries.
Further, has any province of the Dominion the power to prohibit the circulation of literature or advertising which has the object of promoting the sale of liquor to its people?
Is the Dominion Government prepared to prohibit the importation of liquor into any
province that has passed an Act prohibiting the manufacture, sale or use of liquor in that province?
The minister replied:
Ottawa, August 1, 1917. Dear Mr. Armstrong:-
Replying to your letter of the 20th ultimo, I beg to say that in my opinion there is absolutely no question of the right of a province to prohibit the sale of liquor within its boundaries. As regards the manufacture, the Privy Council has never given a categorical answer to the question. This much, however, may safely be said, that it is within the power of a province to prohibit the manufacture when the conditions under which it is carried on are such as to make it a matter of local concern in the province.
In reply to your second question, in my opinion, the province has the power to prohibit the circulation within its limits, of literature or advertising which has the object of promoting the sale of liquor to its people.
In reply to your third question, the Dominion Parliament, at the instance of the Government, has already passed legislation prohibiting the importation of liquor into any province, to be therein used in violation of the law of that province. The effect of this is that It is a violation of the Dominion law to send liquor into a province to be sold therein in violation of the law of that province. And without further legislation on the part of the Dominion, if any province chooses to prohibit any other method of dealing with liquor than the sale thereof, as for instance, the use of it for beverage purposes, it will then be a violation of the existing Dominion law for any one to send liquor into that province, to be dealt with in violation of any such law.
The practical result is that any province that wants to prevent liquor being sent into it for use as a beverage, can attain that end by prohibiting the use in the province of liquor as a beverage. Such a prohibition on their part will produce the result that under the already adopted Dominion law, it will be an offence to send liquor into the province to be used as a beverage.
Chas. J. Doherty.
J. E. Armstrong, Esq., M.P.,
House of Commons,
Surely the statement as made by the Minister of Justice is sufficiently plain.