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Prohibition's Legacy: The Emergence of Provincial Policing in Nova Scotia, 1921–1932*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2014

John Phyne
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, St. Francis Xavier University

Abstract

The Depression is usually cited as the reason for the origins of provincial policing in Nova Scotia. This neglects the period preceding the Depression. In particular, the struggle to enforce prohibition between 1921 and 1929 resulted in the centralization of social control in Nova Scotia. Provincial policing became the unintentional public policy success of the prohibition era. A centralized temperance inspectorate formed the foundation of provincial policing. Moreover, between 1930 and 1932, the Nova Scotia Police was established to enforce the Nova Scotia Liquor Control Act which, in turn, generated revenue on behalf of an emerging welfare state. In the final analysis, provincial policing was influenced by middle-class prohibitionists, but it ultimately reflected the interests of state bureaucrats.

Résumé

L'origine du contrôle policier provincial en Nouvelle-Écosse est ordinairement attribuée à la Crise économique. C'est là ne pas tenir compte de la période qui a précédé la crise. Il faut notamment considérer la lutte, entre 1921 et 1929, pour le respect de la prohibition qui s'est soldée par la centralisation du contrôle social en Nouvelle-Écosse. Le contrôle policier provincial devint bien involontairement le succès politique de l'ère prohibitionniste. Un corps spécialisé d'inspecteurs en matière de tempérance servit de base au contrôle policier provincial. De plus, entre 1930 et 1932, le corps policier de la Nouvelle-Écosse fut créé pour appliquer la Nova Scotia Liquor Control Act [Loi pour le contrôle des boissons alcooliques de la Nouvelle-Écosse (traduction non-officielle)], qui, par ailleurs, généra des revenus au profit d'un état providence en émergence. Finalement, si le contrôle policier provincial a subi l'influence des prohibitionnistes de la classe moyenne, il reflétait ultimement les intérêts des bureaucrates de l'État.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Law and Society Association 1992

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References

1. Although the province of Nova Scotia passed legislation for provincial policing in 1889, a permanent provincial police force was only established in 1930. See Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Policing in Canada (Ottawa: Supply and Services, 1986) at 36Google Scholar.

2. Others have argued that while prohibition failed, its advocates had success in contributing to social welfare legislation such as old age pensions. See Forbes, E. R., “Prohibition and the Social Gospel in Nova Scotia” (1971) I:1Acadiensis 11Google Scholar and Strople, M. J., Prohibition and Movements of Social Reform in Nova Scotia, 1894–1920 (M.A. Thesis, Dalhousie University, 1975)Google Scholar.

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6. Cohen's work deals with how alternative sentences contribute to strengthening rather than weakening state-directed social control.

7. For discussions of the “social gospel” movement in Nova Scotia, see Forbes, “Prohibition and the Social Gospel in Nova Scotia” and Strople, “Prohibition and Movements of Social Reform in Nova Scotia, 1894–1920,” supra, note 2, Gusfield, J. R., Symbolic Crusade: Status Politics and the American Temperance Movement (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1963)Google Scholar discusses temperance in terms of the “status politics” of a declining rural culture.

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11. Middle-class reform institutions such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty, Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor and the various city missions sought to alleviate the condition of the underclass by promoting middle-class values. See Fingard, ibid. at 117–86.

12. Ibid. at 191.

13. Ibid. at 117–86.

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17. Forbes, “Prohibition and the Social Gospel In Nova Scotia,” supra, note 2 at 25.

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29. Rum-running and smuggling were under the jurisdiction of federal authorities. Since the origin of the provincial police is more directly related to matters such as bootlegging, which lay under provincial jurisdiction, an emphasis will be given to the social control of such offences.

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41. Forbes, “Prohibition and the Social Gospel In Nova Scotia,” supra, note 2 at 30.

42. “Temperance Inspector's Report for 1920,” supra, note 36 at 1.

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44. Halifax Herald (27 February 1925).

45. “Temperance Inspector's Report for 1924,” supra, note 30 at 10. The rates of profit are derived from the figures in the table on this page.

46. Public Archives of Nova Scotia (hereafter P.A.N.S.), “Report of Liquor License Inspector,” Annual Meeting, January 1924, Antigonish County, Council Minutes, 1918–1934. The fines received would appear to be low given the high amount of licensed vendor sales in Antigonish. The Liquor Licence inspector, Henry DeCoff, stated that the 200- to 500- dollar fine acted as a deterrent to potential violators of the NSTA (p. 32).

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48. Grant, B. J., When Rum Was King: The Story of the Prohibition Era in New Brunswick (Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1984) at 33Google Scholar.

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50. Ibid. C-3.

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52. See Calder supra, note 32 and Robinson, D., It Came by the Boat Load: Essays on Rum-Running (Summerside, Prince Edward Island, 1983)Google Scholar.

53. Halifax Herald (28 August 1925).

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55. For details on this period, see Beck, J. M., Politics of Nova Scotia, Volume Two: Murray to Buchanan, 1896–1988 (Tantallon: Four East Publications, 1988)Google Scholar.

56. Temperance Inspector's Report for 1926” in J.H.A. (1927) at 6Google Scholar.

57. Ibid. at 6.

58. See McGahan, supra, note 31 at 115–30.

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60. Ibid. at 8–9.

61. Temperance Inspector's Report for 1927” in J.H.A. 1928 at 9Google Scholar.

62. The professionalization of the judiciary in Nova Scotia is discussed by Girard, P., “The Rise and Fall of Urban Justice in Halifax” (1988) 8:2Nova Scotia Historical Review at 57–71Google Scholar.

63. Forbes & MacKenzie, eds, supra, note 33.

64. Ibid. at 44.

65. Ibid. at ix, 53.

66. See Table 1.

67. P.A.N.S., “Report of Liquor License Inspector” Annual Meeting, January 1924, supra, note 46 at 29.

68. Only the period from October 1926 to September 1929 is covered. The period from May 1926 to September 1926 is omitted because Grant restructured some of the districts early in his tenure as Inspector-in-Chief. After September 1926, Pictou and Cumberland Counties changed districts. In May 1926, Cumberland was moved from District Four to Five, and Pictou from District Five to Four. This was most likely due to the Soy affair which is described below. By focusing on October 1926 to September 1929, there is a continuity in data.

69. These differences exist despite the fact Districts Four (64,534) and Seven (59,007) had similar populations. Figures are calculated from Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Seventh Census of Canada 1931, Volume 1, Summary (Ottawa: 1936) at 348Google Scholar, Table 1a: Population of Canada, by Counties or Census Divisions, 1851–1931.

70. Forbes, “Prohibition and the Social Gospel In Nova Scotia,” supra, note 2; Strople, “Prohibition and Movements of Social Reform in Nova Scotia,” supra, note 2.

71. Temperance Inspector's Report for 1929” in J.H.A. (1930) at 6Google Scholar.

72. If we include all the sales for the vendors in Annapolis County (Annapolis and Bridgetown) between 1926–29, the average sales each year are $217 per 1,000 population. In contrast, the figure for Antigonish County between 1926–29 is $4,070 per 1,000 population. Even if we assume (which is likely) that the Antigonish vendor serviced both Antigonish and Guysborough Counties (and include here the sales for the Canso vendor in 1927–28), the sales are $2,163 per 1,000 population. These figures are calculated with the assistance of data included in Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Seventh Census of Canada 1931, Volume 1, Summary at 348, Table 1a: Population of Canada, by Counties or Census Divisions, 1851–1931.

73. Halifax Herald (10 February 1927).

74. Temperance Inspector's Report for 1928” (1929) in J.H.A. at 14Google Scholar.

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76. Halifax Herald (7 February 1928, 21 February 1928 and 29 February 1928).

77. P.A.N.S., Enforcement of Temperance Laws in Nova Scotia 1926–1928., MG9 Vol. 327.

78. Halifax Herald (24 August 1926 and 29 July 1926).

79. Halifax Herald (1 July 1927).

80. Forbes, “Rum in the Maritime Economy During the Prohibition Era,” supra, note 34 at 41–47.

81. Halifax Herald (17 June 1929).

82. Halifax Herald, (21 September 1928, 5 October 1928 and 2 November 1928).

83. “Temperance Inspector's Report for 1928,” supra, note 74 at 5.

84. Forbes, “Prohibition and the Social Gospel In Nova Scotia,” supra, note 2; Forbes & MacKenzie, eds, Four Years With the Demon Rum, 1925–1929, supra, note 33; Grant, supra, note 48; Strople, “Prohibition and Movements of Social Reform in Nova Scotia, 1894–1920,” supra, note 2.

85. See Plebiscite Returns, October 31, 1929” in J.H.A. (1930)Google Scholar.

86. The correspondence between Rhodes and Starnes is contained in P.A.N.S., Rhodes Papers, MG2, Vol. 649.

87. Report of the Nova Scotia Police from January 1st to March 31st, 1932 and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from April 1st to September 30th, 1932” in J.H.A. (1933) at 10Google Scholar; P.A.N.S., Rhodes Papers, MG2, Vol. 650, 44-38921.

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89. P.A.N.S., “Regulations: Nova Scotia Police,” Rhodes Papers, MG2, Vol. 650, 38958.

90. Ibid.

91. Ibid.

92. “Report of the Nova Scotia Police for Year Ended December 31,1930,” supra, note 88 at 5. But, in his 1932 report, Blake expressed concern over the lack of funds to establish a training school. See Report of the Nova Scotia Police for Year Ended December 31, 1931” in J.H.A. (1932) at 11Google Scholar.

93. The conflict between the RCMP and local police is discussed in Talbot et. al. “Policing in Canada: A Developmental Perspective”. For a recent account of the differences between RCMP and municipal policing in the Maritimes, see Murphy, C. J., “The Social and Formal Organization of Small Town Policing: A Comparative Analysis of RCMP and Municipal Policing,” (Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, 1986)Google Scholar.

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95. See Reiner, supra, note 15, esp. at 1–47.

96. First Report of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, September 30, 1930” in J.H.A. (1931) at 6Google Scholar.

97. Remembering Rum-Running Days” (1975) 11 Cape Breton's Magazine 16Google Scholar.

98. “Report of the Nova Scotia Police for Year Ended December 31, 1930,” p 24. Taken from table entitled: “The Nova Scotia Police Summary of Cases Year Ended December 31, 1930”.

99. Figures are calculated from summaries contained in the annual reports of the Nova Scotia Police 1930–31, and the Nova Scotia Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 1932. See “Report of the Nova Scotia Police for Year Ended December 31, [1930] and [1931]” in J.H.A. ([1931] and [1932]), and Report of the Nova Scotia Police from Mounted Police from April 1st to September 30th, 1932” in J.H.A. (1933)Google Scholar.

100. “Remembering Rum-Running Days,” supra, note 97 at 17.

101. Constable R. C. Toner and D. C. Perrier, “Early Maritime Policing” P.A.N.S. V/F 282 No. 35.

102. Ibid. at 34.

103. Ibid. at 37.

104. See MacGillivray, D., “Military Aid to the Civil Power: The Cape Breton Experience in the 1920s” (1974) III:2Acadiensis 4564Google Scholar.

105. Beck, supra, note 55 at 118.

106. Ibid. at 120.

107. P.A.N.S., Rhodes Papers, MG2 Vol. 649. There is extended correspondence in this file concerning the impact of highways on public expenditures.

108. See note 40.

109. Halifax Herald (30 May 1929).

110. The Halifax Herald displayed photographs of all the motor vehicle police during periodic intervals for the balance of 1929.

111. Forbes, “Prohibition and the Social Gospel in Nova Scotia,” supra, note 2 at 33.

112. Beck, supra, note 55 at 131.

113. Ibid. at 133.

114. Forbes, supra, note 2.

115. Grant, supra, note 48 at 52. On 1 September 1927, the New Brunswick Provincial Police was established with 23 members. This increased to 56 by 1 May 1928. In 1927–28, 78.2% (n=799) of the cases before the police were under the New Brunswick Liquor Act. This exceeded the activity of the Nova Scotia Police. See Grant at 53.

116. See Forbes, E. R., The Maritime Rights Movement, 1919–1927: A Study in Canadian Regionalism (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1979)Google Scholar.

117. Report of the Nova Scotia Police for Year Ended December 31, 1930” in J.H.A. (1931)Google Scholar. Taken from table entitled: The Nova Scotia Police Summary of Cases Year Ended December 31, 1930 at 19–23. There were 547 cases related to provincial statutes other than the NSLCA, in 1930. And 91.6% (n=501) of these cases were under the MVA.

118. Third Report of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, September 30, 1932” in J.H.A. (1933) at 13Google Scholar.

119. Beck, supra, note 55 at 143.

120. Report of the Nova Scotia Police from January 1st to March 31st, 1932 and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from April 1st to September 30th, 1932” in J.H.A. (1933)Google Scholar.

121. Talbot et. al., supra, note 93 at 239.

122. The role of the RCMP in controlling the unemployed during the depression is discussed in: Brown, L. A., “Unemployment Relief Camps in Saskatchewan, 1933–1936” in Greenway, W. K. and Brickey, S. L., eds, Law and Social Control in Canada (Scarborough: Prentice-Hall, 1978) at 190218Google Scholar.

123. Report of the Nova Scotia Police from January 1st to March 31st, 1932 and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from April 1st to September 30th, 1932” in J.H.A. (1933) at 10Google Scholar; P.A.N.S., Rhodes Papers, MG2, Vol. 650, 44-38921.

124. “Report of the Nova Scotia Police from January 1st to March 31 st, 1932 and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from April 1st to September 30th, 1932,” supra, note 120. Taken from table entitled: Summary of RCMP Activity, April 1 1932–September 30, 1932.

125. Popham & Schmidt, supra, note 40 at 59.

126. Murphy found on the basis of observational data in one RCMP detachment that 68% of all police contacts with citizens were proactive, and 40% of such contacts were based upon liquor-related and motor investigations. See Murphy, supra, note 93 at 328.

127. The RCMP were not welcomed by the opposition Liberals. The Liberal's house leader complained in 1933 that 300 RCMP officers were not needed in a “law-abiding province.” He argued for a reduction in the force. See Beck, supra, note 55 at 146. In 1930, the Nova Scotia Police cost just over 5% of the budget but in 1933, the RCMP cost over 20% of the budget ($780,081). Despite this, the Liquor Commission had a surplus of $1,258,826, of which $576,926 was paid to the province. See First Report of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, September 30, 1931 at 11.; Fourth Report of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, September 30, 1934 at 9.

128. Baker, W., “The Miners and the Mounties: The Royal Northwest Mounted Police and the 1906 Lethbridge Strike” (S1991) 27 Labour/Le Travail 55Google Scholar; Marquis, supra, note 15; Rogers, supra, note 15; Field, supra, note 15; Reiner, supra, note 15; Monkkonen, Eric, Police in Urban America, 1860–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

129. Baker, ibid.

130. Ibid. at 90–96.

131. Marquis, supra, note 15 at 71.

132. Ibid. at 72

133. Field, supra, note 15; Monkkonen, supra, note 128.

134. Field, ibid. at 47.

135. Ibid.

136. Monkkonen, supra, note 128 at 51.

137. Ibid. at 55.

138. Ibid.