VIII SUMMARY OF FOREIGN SYSTEMS
1. Systems of License and Regulation, much as obtained with us formerly.
Great Britain has gone furthest in this direction having stringent provisions for licensing, stringent closing regulations and regulations as to the hours at which liquor may be sold. Progress has been made toward reducing the number of public houses and bringing about better conditions in such places. The chief difficulty in Great Britain today seems to be with respect to clubs. For whatever reason, whether bad economic conditions, high prices, education for temperance, or restrictions as to the hours of sale, or all of these things, the consumption of spirits has fallen off about half, and the consumption of beer has considerably decreased. By 1928 arrests for drunkenness had fallen to 29.6 per cent of what they were before 1914. But it is difficult to determine how far the British system of liquor control has been a decisive factor. This is the more doubtful because in France, where there are few restrictions, high prices and the rise of beer drinking have led to a falling off in wine drinking. Also, in Germany there has been a sharp decline both as to distilled liquor and beer, in which the cutting off of sale of spirits on pay-days can hardly have been much of a factor. Italy has been reducing drastically the number of licenses. Denmark regulates indirectly by very high taxes on spirituous liquors. This seems to have brought about a decline in the consumption of such liquors to one-sixth of what it was formerly. In Belgium, during the present year a national commission has been investigating the results of the alcohol restriction law. A. local option system has been adopted in Chile, and regulation of the stronger liquors has gone forward in a number of Latin-American countries. Poland and Esthonia also now have systems of local option.
2. Systems of importation, Distribution., and Sale by Government Agencies
Systems of this type are in force in Canada, except for Prince Edward Island. Each province has its own system, but in each there is some form of controlled sale by government stores, with local option, and prohibition of private importation of distilled , liquors from one province to another. Ontario has the strictest law, providing that spirits may be bought only by permit and then only in limited quantities and only for consumption in the buyer's home.1 Permits to purchase are required also in British Columbia, Manitoba and Alberta. Quebec does not require such permits, but limits the amounts of spirits procurable at any one purchase. The effect of this system of government sales is in controversy. The official figures of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Department of Trade and Commerce indicate that the total consumption of spirits in the Dominion as a whole reached its peak in 1921 and then fell to a low point in 1926, since which time there has been a steady increase, although the 1929 figures are still less than half of the figures for 1921.
In Russia, distilled liquor is now permitted to be sold in restricted quantities at special government stores.
3. Systems of Manufacture, Importation, and Sale by a Corporation or Corporations organized for that Purpose, under Control of the Government, and Regulation by a Commission adapted to Conditions as they Arise.
This is the Swedish System. Under that system government controlled private corporations have a monopoly of distribution and sale. A central corporation is the wholesale distributor, and retail selling is committed to local corporations. The general government chooses a majority of the directors of the central corporation, and the local governments have the same control over the subsidiary local selling corporations. A national board of control has general power over regulations. There is local option, but anyone who has the proper permit may bring in liquors for his own use where local sales are forbidden. Purchases may be made only by holders of permits (called motboks), the granting of which is strictly regulated. There are also strict regulations as to the serving of wines and spirits in cafes and restaurants. Beer of low alcoholic content may be made and sold freely. Norway now has a less complete and thorough system of local corporations of this general type.
4. Absolute Prohibition
Finland has prohibition except for beer of low alcoholic content, and has also a government monopoly of making and importing of liquors and alcohol for medicinal, scientific, industrial and religious purposes. Some years ago a government commission made a report upon the situation in that country which called attention to a very considerable development of smuggling, a three-fold increase in arrests for drunkenness, and a more than two-fold increase in crime. Only part of the latter was considered to have followed from the regime of prohibition, and the Commission reported that the increase in drunkenness would have been worse under the older system.