The Rise And Fall Of Prohibition In — страница 2

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muscles, troubles breathing, etc. … This aliment list is endless.8 It is now known that alcohol in moderation is not a direct cause of several of these claims. Even though many of the allegations against alcohol were on the extreme side, there is some merit to a few of the accusations. Much of this harm linked to alcohol consumption, however, stems from its abuse father than its simple use. Alcohol, during the years leading up to and including prohibition, presented itself to be a convenient scapegoat for society’s problems and woes. At a time when society was “stimulated by accelerating technical progress and jolted by the intensifying social problems created by industrialization, many North Americans were convinced of the need and the feasibility of reform.”9, it is

ironic that prohibition is deemed responsible for the advent of organized crime in Canada. Regardless of the pros and cons of prohibition, it cannot be denied that the Canadian response to prohibition helped make this nation among the largest liquor industries in the world, with distilled liquors being the sixth largest of Canadian exports. Temperance in Nova Scotia had a strong tradition dating back to Beaver River, Yarmouth. It was here, in 1828, the first temperance society was formed.10 Like the other temperance societies that followed, alcohol consumption was forbidden except for medicinal purposes. The influx of American temperance societies in the 1850’s affected the Nova Scotia temperance movement as their aim became a position of total abstinence.11 An influential Sons

of Temperance Society from the United States established its local division in Yarmouth in 1847. It was not until 1858 that this society opened a division in Manitoba.12 Both of these chapters resulted in a close connection with temperance workers between Canada and the United States. The Dunkin Act, passed in the United Provinces of Canada (Ontario and Quebec), of 1864 permitted the residences of Canada to declare their counties dry under prohibition by a local option. This system fell into disregard following Confederation but was brought back fourteen years later in 1878. At this time Canada passed the Canada Temperance Act (or the ‘Scott Act’ as it came to be known). The Scott Act provided individual localities the right to decide for themselves the advisability of

permitting the sale and/or making of liquor on presentation of a petition signed by 25 per cent of the electors. The result of such ambiguous legislation was a widely varying pattern of legality. Prince Edward Island went completely dry and Nova Scotia almost so by the early twentieth century. Despite its acceptance in the Maritime Provinces, the Scott Act was quite unpopular in Ontario and Quebec. Their dislike of the Act does not stem from a disapproval of prohibition; rather, that both provinces were in the process of trying to assert their provincial independence from Canada’s central government.13 The federal government could impede the making of alcohol within Canada and hinder its migration across national or provincial borders. Only the provincial government could

thwart the sale and transportation of alcohol within its provincial boundaries.14 Such dividend responses caused much indecision on both the provincial and federal level, making definite, decisive legislation hard to realize and enforce. The Dominion Alliance, formed in 1876, became Canada’s first national temperance organization. The alliance was founded on “… the principle that … ‘the traffic in intoxicating beverages is destructive of the order and welfare of society, and therefore ought to be prohibited’.”15 This Dominion Alliance funded a prohibition movement that was vocal, well organized, and closely connected with the conservative and progressive components in society in the fight alcohol.16 Prohibition forces were not the only side of the prohibition debate

to be funded. The anti-prohibition movement was funded by liquor companies who obviously had massive investments in alcohol that they did not want to lose. Financing for this movement was provided through organizations such as civil liberties and citizens’ groups, designed to be fronts for liquor interests.17 In 1886, Nova Scotia has its own temperance act. The Nova Scotia Liquor Act, aimed at tightening liquor regulations in areas not already prohibitory under the Scott Act, was passed. This act entailed three subsets of licences: (1) wholesale, (2) shop for sale only and, (3) hotel for sale only to guests in rooms or at meals.18 While only a few licences were granted, this did not halt the sale of illegal alcohol very much. The anti-alcohol movement did not just focus their