Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Edward P Crapol


Between 1920 and 1933, no issue in Canadian-American relations proved more contentious or more intractable than prohibition. While American enforcement authorities and diplomats repeatedly sought the assistance of the Dominion government to stop the flow of liquor across the border, not until 1933 did Canada acquiesce to American requests. In the meantime, Canadian brewers, distillers, rumrunners, and bootleggers were more than happy to assuage the parched throats of their American neighbors.;By examining the geographic, historical, political, economic, social, and cultural fabric of the bilateral relationship in the Pacific Northwest borderlands, this study takes a regional approach to explain the intractability of the prohibition problem. It seeks to explore the complex interaction and relationship between common Canadian and American citizens, such as the bootleggers, tourists and temperance workers, as well as local government officials who contribute to the more common, day-to-day Canadian-American relationship. It also seeks to explain why British Columbians generally advocated cooperation with the United States in advance of more eastern Canadians.;The answer is found in the unique relationship shared by Canadians and Americans in this region who, by geographic necessity, often had more in common with their counterparts north or south of the border than they did with their respective sovereignties to the east. Indeed, the central paradox of prohibition in the Pacific Northwest is that the very heritage that had enabled a smuggling economy prior to prohibition also advocated Canadian and American cooperation in the later enforcement against the illicit liquor traffic. After a particularly sensational hijacking and slaying of a Canadian rumrunning crew in 1924, and then again after royal commission investigating the Canadian Department of Customs and Excise discovered evidence of widespread corruption at the highest levels of the Dominion government, British Columbians began to recognize that, whatever the profits, enabling rumrunning no longer served Canada's best interests.



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