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 57 Vict. Illicit Liquor Traffic, North-West Coast. 1219
Certified copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved by
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 18th January, 1894-
The Committee of Council have had under consideration a communication addressed to
the Honourable the Attorney-General by the Honourable Levi W. Myers, United States
Consul at Victoria, dated January 10th, 1894, representing that citizens of south-eastern
Alaska had recently made complaint that intoxicating liquors are smuggled into that territory
in large quantities from Fort Simpson ; that these liquors are sold to and consumed by Indians
and indigent whites, greatly to the detriment of the public peace and the advancement of the
entire community in civilization ; and further, that the source of supply being outside the
jurisdiction of the Alaskan authorities, they are powerless to grapple with it, but must look to
the Government of this Province and of the Dominion of Canada for the relief sought; and
stating that the officials of Alaska will be glad to co-operate in any effort made to curtail the
hurtful traffic.
In connection with the above communication, the Committee remark that the cause of
complaint is not confined only to the neighbourhood of the boundary line between Alaska and
this Province, but is existent and has been for years, throughout the whole north-west coast
of the Province, the inlets upon which and the islands adjacent thereto, inhabited by large
numbers of Indians, having always afforded a home for those engaged in illicit liquor traffic.
The Committee also remark the great expense and trouble occasioned the Province in the
administration of justice and the preservation of order among the Indians located upon that
coast, and in this connection would advert to the expedition dispatched last March, upon the
Dominion Government Steamer " Quadra," to allay a threatened uprising and tribal war
between the Oweekayno, Bella Coola, and Kimsquit tribes.
The Honourable the Attorney-General also informs the Committee that not only do
rumours of uprisings and complaints in regard to the liquor traffic and general order among
the Indians frequently appear in the public press, but that the same are from time to time
forwarded to his Department.
In connection with all the above matters, the attention of the Committee has been called
to the basis of the agreement which resulted from the conference of the late Honourable John
Robson with the Dominion authorities, on his mission to Ottawa in October, 1887, under
which the cost of the administration of justice and the preservation of peace among the Indians
was assumed by this Province. In partial performance of this agreement, the " Indian Act"
was amended in 1888, by the addition thereto of section 132, and an Order was passed thereunder by His Excellency the Governor-General in Council, on the 12th day of March, 1888,
directing that after the month of October, 1887, the moieties of liquor fines which, under
section 94 and sub-section 2 of section 100 of the "Indian Act," chapter 43 of the " Revised
Statutes of Canada," are payable to the Beceiver-General on account of the band in respect to
one or more members of which the offence of selling an intoxicant was committed, be, in the
case of British Columbia, paid over to the Treasurer of that Province.
Certain matters, however, though their performance was not definitely promised by the
Dominion authorities, remained open to further discussion, and were promised due consideration, and prominent among them, in relation to the circumstance above detailed, was the
proposition to place a Federal Revenue Cutter in the waters which wash the north-west coast
of the Province, for the prevention of illicit liquor traffic and the protection of our fisheries, 1220 Illicit Liquor Traffic, North-West Coast. 1894
The Committee consider that the time has now arrived when the cost of carrying out its
share of the above arrangement has reached such proportions that the further consideration
by the Doninion of matters previously left in abeyance, with a view to their immediate performance, is absolutely indispensable if the Province is still to undertake the duties above
It is to be remarked that almost the entire annual expenditure incurred in the district
north of Comox, is caused by the presence of Indians, and the necessity of the appointment of
constables and other officers to preserve order among them.
That the privilege of receiving the moieties of fines levied under the " Indian Act" is no
compensation, for this is evident, as it is estimated that the cost to the Province merely for
the maintenance of prisoners convicted under the Indian Act to the payment of a fine, but
who undergo imprisonment in default of payment, greatly exceeds all fines levied and paid
under the said Act.
Viewing the whole facts of the case, the Committee are of opinion that the only condition
upon which the Province can continue to annually expend large sums in districts entirely
inhabited by Indians, is the assumption by the Dominion authorities of the duty of patrolling
the waters of the North-West Coast of this Province, and would urge that immediate steps be
taken for the purchase and equipment of a vessel suitable for that service, and which should
be of such a build and speed as to cope with the well designed craft which are employed in
illicit trade in these waters.
The Committee advise that a copy of this Minute (if approved) be transmitted to the
Honourable the Secretary of State for Canada, for the information of the Dominion authorities.
Victoria, 17th January, 1894.
Deputy Clerk, Executive Council.
(Receipt of the above was acknowledged by the Secretary of State on the 27th of
January, 1894.)
victoria, b. c.:
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.


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