1898 Canadian prohibition plebiscite

A plebiscite on prohibition was held in Canada on 29 September 1898, the first national referendum in the country's history.[1] The Liberal government had made an election promise in 1896 to provide an opportunity for Canadians to register their opinions about the sale of alcohol.[2] The non-binding plebiscite saw 51.3% in favour of introducing prohibition, although turnout was only 44%.[3] A majority voted for its introduction in all provinces except Quebec, where 81.2% opposed it.

Canadian prohibition plebiscite, 1898
29 September 1898 (1898-09-29)

Results
Response Votes %
Yes 278,380 51.26%
No 264,693 48.74%

Canada 1898 Referendum.svg
Results by Results by jurisdiction.

Despite the majority in favour, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier's government chose not to introduce a federal bill on prohibition. As a result, Canadian prohibition was instead enacted through laws passed by the provinces during the first twenty years of the 20th century.

A 2012 study found that religion was by far the most important factor in determining how Canadians voted, with Evangelicals favoring prohibition, whereas Catholics and Anglicans opposed it.[4] More urbanized districts were less likely to favor prohibition.[4]

ResultsEdit

Jurisdiction For Prohibition Against Prohibition
Votes % Votes %
Northwest Territories 6,238 68.8 2,824 31.2
British Columbia 5,731 54.6 4,756 45.4
Manitoba 12,419 80.6 2,978 19.4
New Brunswick 26,919 72.2 9,575 27.7
Nova Scotia 34,368 87.2 5,370 12.8
Ontario 154,498 57.3 115,284 42.7
Prince Edward Island 9,461 89.2 1,146 10.8
Quebec 28,436 18.8 122,760 81.2
Canada 278,380 51.2 264,693 48.8

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Referendum". The Canadian Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Harry Thurston Peck (1899). The International Year Book. Dodd, Mead. p. 153.
  3. ^ Alfred Emanuel Smith; Francis Walton (1898). New Outlook. Outlook publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 362.
  4. ^ a b Dostie, Benoit; Dupré, Ruth (2012-10-01). ""The people's will": Canadians and the 1898 referendum on alcohol prohibition". Explorations in Economic History. 49 (4): 498–515. doi:10.1016/j.eeh.2012.06.005.

Further readingEdit