Dominion Alliance: Total Suppression of the Liquor Traffic.

The US had the Anti-Saloon League. And Canada its Dominion Alliance. To be more specific, the Dominion Alliance for the Total Suppression of the Liquor Traffic.

Dominion AllianceThe temperance movement began in Canada in the early nineteenth century. It was largely local. And it began in the eastern provinces. The movement began slowly. But it gradually gained momentum.

By 1875, there was a desire to propose a law banning alcohol. A convention was called involving those eastern provinces. It decided that a Dominion Prohibitory Council be formed. That it should include all the provinces in the country.

The next year, the Council met and formed the Dominion Alliance. Provincial groups overlapped with the Alliance. So they joined with the Alliance.

Dominion Alliance
Stills seized during Prohibition in BC.

This central body was the Council of the Dominion Alliance. It was composed of officers of the provincial groups. It also included members of other temperance groups. That included the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and church temperance groups.

It drafted a bill that became the Canada Temperance Act. That act is also known as the Scott Act. It gave local areas the outlaw the sale of alcohol. In other words, local option.

Increasing industrialization led people to cities. But the water was often contaminated. People made tea or coffee, which required boiling water. Or they drank alcohol.

Dominion AllianceBut some people drank too much. That was not consistent with industrial work. Many owners came to believe that prohibition would increase productivity.

Alcohol abuse was seen as largely confined to indigenous peoples and the poor. But when it effected middle and upper income people, temperance sentiment increased. 

By the late 1800s and early 1900s, the temperance movement became very strong. All provinces experimented with prohibition. They kept it for varying lengths of time.

Dominion Alliance