Topic: Canadian Army
Permanent Force Messes Permitted to Open on Sundays
Toronto Authorities Grant Army Request
Ottawa Citizen, 7 June 1949
Permanent force messes in Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario have again been authorized to sell liquor on Sunday and at any time during the day or night, The Citizen learned yesterday.
Navy, army and air force messes had ceased to sell beer and liquor on Sunday since early March when Defence Minister Claxton ruled that "all service messes will obey the laws of the province." His action was brought about as a result of news stories stating that Ottawa police and liquor authorities were going to "crack down" on local reserve messes which were open on Sunday because some of them had allegedly been selling liquor to minors.
Deputy Minister Sauve had earlier blamed misbehavior of juveniles on liquor which had been served to them in reserve force messes.
Official sanction for active force messes to reopen was given by LCBO authorities in Toronto after representations had been made to them by Defence headquarters officials.
Legal authorities at Defence headquarters drew attention of the Ontario government to the fact that permanent force personnel are not allowed to drink liquor in their rooms and that their barracks constitute their homes. Civilians, they said were permitted to drink in their own homes any day of the week and any hour of the day or night. A soldier, sailor or airman, they argued, should be entitled to the same privileges with due regard to barrack regulations.
The Ontario government apparently saw the light and amended its liquor regulations to permit active force messes to make beer and liquor available to service personnel seven days a week, day or night, without regard to the provisions of cocktail lounge license conditions.
Relaxation of the regulations applies only to the permanent force messes, a defence headquarters spokesman told The Citizen and only because the mess constitutes a serviceman's home. Reserve force personnel living at home do not come under the amended regulations because they have the privilege of drinking in their own homes.
Reserve navy, army and air force messes will, therefore, remain closed on Sunday, it was stated.
Three Affected Here
Three service meses in Ottawa and district which have been authorized to re-open were serving liquor last Sunday. These were Rockcliffe airport, Beaver barracks, on Metcalfe street, and Gloucester street mess for officers.
A spokesman for one of the messes told The Citizen: "We are prepared to control sale of liquor and see that no minors are served and that there is absolutely no abuse under privileges granted. If anyone shows the least sign of becoming obnoxious, he will be expelled —but there has never been any signs of this sort of behavior on a Sunday."
Officers commanding reserve force units in Ottawa told The Citizen they had received no word regarding authority to re-open messes on Sunday for the sale of liquor.