ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED | SEPTEMBER 27, 1924 | CANADIAN COUNTRYMAN
Every Ontario woman has a chance within the next month to render an outstanding service to her country, to her own community, and to every child. Will she grasp the opportunity, or will she leave it to someone else, and perhaps thus lose the benefit for herself and for the whole province?
On October 23rd the Ontario Government asks the people to again express their opinion on the question of Prohibition. The questions on the ballot paper are: - “Are you in favour of the continuance of the Ontario Temperance Act” “Are you in favour of the sale as a beverage beer and spiritous liquor in sealed packages under Government control?” The Government announces clearly that the only way to mark the ballot will be to put an X behind the one you favour. Any other mark on the ballot such as saying Yes or No, or answering both questions, spoils it, and the ballot is not counted.
The O.T.A. has done a world of good in Ontario, and if we who believe in it and its strict enforcement were as busy showing up its accomplishments as its opponents are in showing up infringements of it, we would have the world convinced of its value to the country. The whispers of death that have been circulated about it are the work of those who have found it inconvenient to be deprived of their selfish indulgence, and those who are enriching themselves by ruination of others. It is a ghastly thought that there are those in the province who are trying to force the Government to give them the legal right to debauch our young men and our young girls, to rob little children of food and clothing, to take from a wife a good husband, and send her back a maudlin sot or some worse type of homewrecker, and all this to enrich themselves.
According to the experience of many observers in other provinces, Government sale produces a worse condition than even the old license system and the bar. It does not even put the bootlegger out of business as some claim for it. We think too much of the honourable office of Government to have it stoop to act as distributor for the brewers and distillers, which it literally is obliged to do under Government sale.
One of the Police Commissioners of Victoria, B.C. says: - “The Government policy is to alcoholism the people for profit. It is a policy of saturation rather than control.”
In another city of B.C. a member of the Liquor Control Board advocates the dotting of the city with liquor stores, kept open all night. He says, “Now that we are in the booze business, we might as well get in good and plenty, for that is the only way to compete with the bootlegger. According to the press of B.C. it is the bootleggers’ paradise, and hundreds of places sell liquor openly and flagrantly in defiance of the law.”
Mrs. Nellie McClung says from close observation: - “Great numbers of citizens of B.C. say they would welcome back the hated bar in preference to Government sale, because -
- Women would not frequent bars as they do the Government liquor stores.
- It would be easy to convict for violations of the law under private sales system, for the Government would then have no reason for protecting them.
- There would be more arrests for drunkenness. No business wants to penalize its own customers, and when the Government is the liquor seller the town constable finds the dual capacity most confusing” He usually gets out of it by doing nothing.
In the democratic system of Government we have in Canada, the members of the Government are sent there to represent us, the people, you and me. Thus whatever they do is done by us, through our representatives. If the Government is ordered by the people’s vote on Oct. 23rd to manage the liquor business by Government sale, then naturally you and I are liquor sellers. But as respectable citizens we absolutely decline to be in a business that can only thrive by demoralizing men and women and robbing children.