NEWS: Nunavut February 25, 2014 - 12:11 pm

Three Nunavut hamlets vote to keep liquor restrictions

Arviat, Chesterfield Inlet and Kugluktuk maintain status quo


Residents of three Nunavut communities voted decisively on Feb. 24 to keep local restrictions on alcohol imports.

In Arviat, residents voted by a large majority, 509 to 226, to retain a longstanding prohibition on the sale and possession of alcohol products.

Kugluktuk and Chesterfield Inlet voted by smaller majorities to keep current restrictions in place.

A majority of residents in each community voted against dropping all restrictions on wine, beer and spirits, with Kugluktuk voting 230 to 180 against dropping restrictions, and Chesterfield residents against, by 38 to 25 votes.

Nunavut’s Liquor Act requires all decisions on the restriction of alcohol sales be made within the territory’s communities.

At least 60 per cent of those who cast ballots must vote in favour of proposed changes to alter restrictions.

The three communities filed for plebiscites with the Nunavut Liquor Commission.

Only 20 signatures are needed from eligible voters to call for a plebiscite, which is administered by Elections Nunavut.

Kugluktuk’s restrictions are set by a locally-elected alcohol education committee, which sets weekly limits on alcohol consumption for each household.

These amount to one 60-ounce, one 40-ounce and one 26-ounce bottle of spirits, 24 beers and 4 litres of wine.

These amounts are decided through applications for import permits, according to Marion Love, director of the liquor commission.

Chesterfield Inlet also has an alcohol education committee that reviews all orders for liquor in the community, and decides on permits.

The Nunavut Liquor Commission reports to Nunavut’s minister of finance, which is responsible for the Liquor Act, and decides on the call for alcohol plebiscites.