The Canadian Football Act of 1974

Interesting tidbits regarding the Canadian Football Act of 1974, introduced for the preservation of the CFL, and prevention of further invasion from foreign professional football leagues.

The Canadian Football Act (1974) was a proposed Act by the Parliament of Canada in April 1974 designed to give a government-protected monopoly over professional football in Canada to the Canadian Football League. Although it was never signed into law, the move by the government eventually compelled the World Football League's Toronto Northmen, a team that was originally set to play in Toronto, to move to Memphis, Tennessee in the United States as the Memphis Southmen.

Today, there is speculation that a similar act will develop if the National Football League tries to expand to Toronto and thus threatens the Canadian league's existence.

The Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts currently play in the city and have in the past been protected from American competition. The World Football League intended to place a franchise in Toronto known as the Toronto Northmen, but then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau threatened to pass a Canadian Football Act to prevent such a move. The WFL backed down and moved the team to Memphis, Tennessee, where it became known as the Memphis Southmen and later the Mid-South Grizzlies in a failed bid to join the NFL.

*Designated C-22.
-Introduced by the Minister of Health, Marc Lalonde.

-Claimed it would try and protect the Canadian Football League, would allow the CFL to grow and develop its own distinct character

-Of the mayors of the nine CFL cities at the time, only three were against the Canadian Football Act. They were the mayors of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, also the biggest cities of Canada then and now, with two of them hosting teams from leagues that played a different code of football. Montreal played host to one of the World League of American Football teams, the Montréal Machine, in the early 1990s after their CFL team folded in the late 1980s. Toronto were hosts to an Arena Football League team for two seasons, the Toronto Phantoms.

-After the bill passed second reading in the Canadian House of Commons, it was given to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, where it effectively died after the Northmen moved to Memphis.

-Clause 6 in the act stated that no person that owns, operates, or manages a team in a league foreign from the CFL shall play in Canada. Subsection 2 stated that no player or member of the said team shall play in Canada, therefore if the bill passed and became law, it would effectively kill teams like the Northmen.

*These facts were gathered from the actual debates held in the House of Commons from April 10 to April 28, 1974.

That means if it was enacted, we could arrest the Bills, their coaches, their owner,the visiting team and probably anyone who abetted them, the next time they come up here to play. Imagine that !

It will be interesting to note what, if anything, the neo-administration may do to oppose/restrict a potential NFL to Canada invasion.
Will a similar Act be introduced into Parliament?

I would imagine the legal wranglings would be quite extensive and complex, and could remain in appellate for years, long enough to breed trepidation in the minds of foreign franchise investment/expansion.

Let's not forget the Senate Bill introduced to ban the NFL in Canada. The CFL will be well protected, the NFL will never be allowed to operate in Canada:

2nd Session, 39th Parliament, 56-57 Elizabeth II, 2007-2008

BILL S-238

An Act respecting Canadian professional


WHEREAS the game of Canadian foot-
ball, with its unique rules, has existed longer
than the American version of football and is
played nowhere else in the world;

WHEREAS Canadian football’s traditions
are witnessed annually in the Grey Cup
game, with the trophy of the same name hav-
ing been donated by His Excellency the late
Governor General Earl Grey in 1909 to sym-
bolize football supremacy in Canada;

WHEREAS Canadian football at the pro-
fessional level is represented by the institu-
tion known as the Canadian Football

WHEREAS professional Canadian foot-
ball is an important cultural industry and the
Grey Cup game and events surrounding it
form a significant cultural event that contrib-
utes to the bonds of nationhood across

WHEREAS the Canadian Football
League generates thousands of jobs and mil-
lions of dollars in economic activity annually
in Canada while providing sporting mem-
ories and inspirational heroes for millions of
Canadian football fans;

WHEREAS the granting of franchises by
organizations established to promote profes-
sional sport, the trading in the contracts of
players and the recruiting and allocation of
players have become a significant factor in
the commercial intercourse between Canada
and the United States;

WHEREAS the incursion of the National
Football League into Canada from the
United States would threaten the continued
existence of the Canadian Football League;
AND WHEREAS it is in the national and
public interest that an effort be made to
protect this Canadian institution from the
encroachments of the National Football
League or any other foreign league upon
Canadian soil.

[url=]http://postmediaprovince.files.wordpres ... ls-238.pdf[/url]

Oh, Phil Lind will say who cares about this bill, doesn’t matter. Just like in one minute he can give lots of money to the Buffalo Bills, an American company, but then say his rivals are doing the same and cry foul. That’s Phil for ya.

[i]Lind said CTV and Canwest overextended themselves with billion-dollar acquisitions and a bidding war for American programming, incurring their large debts.

“Most of the money CTV and Global spend on programming goes straight to Hollywood,” pointed out Lind.[/i]

[url=] ... sters.html[/url]

Wouldn't you just love to sit in on Rogers board meeting listening to a few elect and having a sales pitch givin' to you , on how to lose millions on NFL TORONTO series and sign the next deal with NFL BUFFALO and then go to your Canadian subscribers for a rate increase on your cable and communications

Philly's got to be an awesome salesman or scares the crap out of a few people. ( look at the marketing machine at work for the Jays with the TO media , the ball team may not even have to hit the field this season - some are saying they have already won the World Series )

I know it's always about money and ego.

Well, the Jays have won the winter season according to the Wall Street Journal so I guess they are starting off on the right foot with yes, as you say gem, on the marketing machine front at least. :wink:

Which MLB Team Won the Winter?

[url=] ... lenews_wsj[/url]

Is it time to resurrect the Canadian Football Act?
New MLSE President Tim Leiweke is now on record as stating they would like to bring an NFL team to Toronto..

[b]Bringing the NFL to Toronto would also add to the MLSE brand and Leiweke would like to add that to the stable of teams.

"It is a safe bet to say we'll have some role there, to be determined, but that's on our radar screen," he said. "I know the league well and if we can help in that, we will certainly try to help."[/b]

He has to say that to make MLSE continue to be very relevant and at a time when Braley is going to be after a new stadium in Toronto with the Jays putting grass in. This is exactly what I would expect from Leiweke in his new position. Of course it would be on his radar screen. So are possible life forms on the many radar screens around the world, life forms on other planets. :wink:

Anyways, it'll be interesting how much more MLSE talks about this and if they are talking to others ie. Rogers to make the radar screen seem more probable. Also, will they use the Grey Cup in any way to help get funding for a new stadium similar to how Toronto used it to get a baseball stadium?

So if a group of wealthy Canadian business men want to start a "The Canadian League of American Football" with 100% of its teams in Canada, that would be forbidden?

Montreal had the Montreal Machine of the WLAF for a few seasons in the 1990s while the Montreal Alouettes/Concordes "took some time off". The season ran from March to May. I assume that's ok if the seasons do not overlap and there's no team in the city.

The fans are voting with their attendance in Toronto in favor of the 11-man game when the Bills visit.

If the liberal government would just stay out of everyone's business and let the markets be free....

Some people might argue that there should be no protectionism by Canadian governments in any business type operation. I agree there are many angles to this issue.

psst - it's a Conservative government, and one that has no particular interest whatsoever in letting markets be free when foreign companies are involved.

Also, as an addition to these comments...

The only reason Canada has a financial sector is because near the beginning, banking and insurance companies were forced to hold their Canadian assets in Canada, they could not be held back in London or New York/Chicago. This caused a lot of foreign companies to pull out and a growth in Canadian companies to develop. If all protectionist measures were immediately abolished, say goodbye to basically any Canadian owned business, our banks, although sizeable and solid are pretty tiny in comparison to the world's largest, who might like to get a foothold into the Canadian banking sector, you could also say good-bye to all noteable resource companies as those would quickly be gobbled up by Chinese/Indian/American/European concerns (some state-owned, who may have a different goal than the typical run a business in order to profit motive).

Completely liberalized investment (or cultural) rules is overrated. They only work if you are a dominant world-power, which Canada, as a middle-power, is not. This is why no conservative government has truly pursued such measures even though it would be in the realm of their political ideologies.

Expand to 10 teams in Canada and expand the active game roster to 46 players and I'll be happy enough.

I love this game even though so far this season the games have been lacklustre overall as a few folks are sounding off about in another thread, but guess what?

There are 15 more weeks of football plus the playoffs so get over that too!

Just goes to show that for approximately 40 years, the "dream" :roll: of having NFL football in Canada has barely gone past the talking stage. NFL Toronto is a failure. I'd say that means that Canadians don't want NFL football in Canada. :thup:

Not lackluster at all to me Paolo but that's just me. Now that MLB "All Star" game last night was lackluster, mind you I find baseball very boring to watch. Turned off last night's game after about 3 minutes of watching, had had enough. :wink:

The Canadian Football Act of 1974 is the only good thing Trudeau ever did for Canada IMO. But it was enough to scare the Northmen out of Toronto. The fact that the owner Johnny Bassett was a Conservative wouldn't of had anything to do with Pierre's decision. :wink:

This new CEO of MLSE sounds like another American BlowHard who needs to be educated on a few things about Canada, the Leafs history and the CFL.

As an American I'll admit also openly and often that we sure do have a great too many of those already, so by all means keep him and "re-educate" him by any and all means necessary! :lol:

Then maybe we can send up a few more to Toronto from Florida too? :stuck_out_tongue: