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Canadian prohibition plebiscite, 1898

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A plebiscite on prohibition was held in Canada on 29 September 1898, the first national referendum in the country's history.[1] The non-binding plebiscite saw 51.3% in favour of introducing prohibition, although turnout was only 44%. A majority voted for its introduction in all provinces except Quebec, where 81.2% opposed it.

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.


  • Results 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4


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 also


  1. ^ Referendum The Canadian Encyclopedia

Further reading

  • Dostie, Benoit; Dupré, Ruth (2012). "‘The people's will’: Canadians and the 1898 referendum on alcohol prohibition".  
  • Smart, Reginald G.; Ogborne, Alan C. (1996). Northern Spirits : A Social History of Alcohol in Canada (2nd ed.). Ontario: Addiction Research Foundation.  
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