'Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon
the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by
licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and
Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a
free and open encounter.'
Canadian Temperance groups began to rally for prohibition
during the 1840's and 1850's. It was not until after World War
I began in 1914, that the temperance groups' support for
prohibition grew. A need for grain for the armed forces was
viewed as a major catalyst for Canada's Prohibition Law.
Although Canada's Prohibition Era only lasted two years from
1917 to 1919, it created the stage for many historic successes
and failures in Canada. This paper looks at the emergence,
successes, and failures of Prohibition of Alcohol in Canada.
Particular emphasis is placed upon Nova Scotia that, along with
Manitoba, scored a large majority in favour of prohibition
during the national plebiscite on the matter held by the Laurier
Federal Government in 1898.1
This national support of
prohibition, when provinces in Canada were only moderately in
favour, and Quebec strongly opposing,2 created an interesting
paradox in the shaping of Canada's history.
Though largely seen unfavourably today, prohibition did
have some partially successful facets in its overall focus.
Prohibition forces argued that alcohol led to an increase in
crime and other anti-social behaviours. Substantial reductions
in the amount of alcohol consumption and a decrease in the crime
rate were two measures of prohibition's success. Statistical
evidence supported prohibitionist's thoughts regarding crime and
alcohol. Following 1919, when the spread of alcohol control
expanded to the provinces, crime increased. In 1922, there were
15,720 convictions for indictable offences and in 1928, 21,720
convictions. This was an increase of 38 per cent...