Liquor vote: can’t end confusion on ballot again in 1965
1965 The Globe and Mail pg. 5
Can’t end confusion on ballot
Board of Control decided yesterday it could do nothing to cut away the confusion on a ballot for a liquor vote to be held in West Toronto Jan. 3.
Because of legal technicalities the ballot may only ask the voter whether he is favor or against local option. Both the drys and the wets say this will confuse voters who are more familiar with modern plebiscites that ask whether a voter favors the sale of liquor.
But W. R. Callow, City Solicitor, told Board of Control yesterday that the city would have to use working set out in legislation that applied at the time West Toronto was annexed to the city in 1909.
Prior to annexation, West Toronto had passed a bylaw making the area dry because of riotous behavior of cattle drovers. It insisted the bylaw remain as a condition of annexation.
Mr. Callow said only the Ontario Legislature could change the wording, “If we alter it in any way we would be letting ourselves open for someone to attack the vote. The law just bristles with contention as it is.”
Controller William Archer suggested adding the explanatory words after the questions that would let the voter know that a vote in favor of local option means he is against the sale of liquor. He suggested the Legislature could be asked later to validate the change.
Mayor Philip Givens opposed the suggestion saying the drys and wets will make sure their supporters know what they are voting for, “I wouldn’t want to go to all the trouble of an election and then have it invalidated because we played with the wording.”
The Jan. 3 vote will require only a straight majority to repeal the old bylaw. But the wets will then have to win a plebiscite with 60 per cent in favor of liquor before liquor can be sold in the area.