The Rise and Fall of Prohibition in Canada

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, March 1995

download word file, 11 pages 4.3

Downloaded 119 times

'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.'

- Areopagitica

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...