The Iqaluit wine-beer store plebiscite: a primer

Here’s what we know so far

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Iqaluit's liquor warehouse. If the GN decides to go ahead with their proposed wine and beer store for Iqaluit, the store would likely occupy space in this building. (FILE PHOTO)


Iqaluit’s liquor warehouse. If the GN decides to go ahead with their proposed wine and beer store for Iqaluit, the store would likely occupy space in this building. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated March 24, 2:25 p.m., with contact and polling station info)

Elections Nunavut has just released more information about the April 20 Iqaluit plebiscite on the Government of Nunavut’s proposal to open a wine and beer store.

Here’s what we know so far:

What’s the question?

It’s simple:

“Are you in favour of a beer and wine store opening in the City of Iqaluit?”

The plebiscite will ask voters to mark their ballots either Yes or No.

Who is eligible to vote?

You must be a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years of age as of April 20.

You must have been a Nunavut resident for the 12 months ending April 20 and a current resident of Iqaluit.

Who’s running the plebiscite?

Elections Nunavut is organizing and supervising the vote.

The returning officer, Tania Scott, has set up an office at building 607, the BRCC building. It’s open from 12 noon to 7 p.m. each day.

You can reach the returning officer at 222-0839 or by email at IqaluitRO@elections.nu.ca. The fax number is 979-2929.

You can also get voting information from Elections Nunavut at 1-800-267-4394.

When can you vote?

Voting day is April 20. The Iqaluit polling station, at the cadet hall, will open at 10 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Elections Nunavut will run an advance poll from April 13 to April 17 and voters with limited mobility may cast ballots in a mobile poll April 13.

What is the proposal?

The Government of Nunavut proposes to open a store that would sell wine and beer only.

No coolers or distilled alcohol of any kind would be sold there.

The store would work like this:

• a limit of one case of 12 beer and two bottles of wine each day for each purchaser;

• customers must set up a permanent account at the store;

• photo ID would be required for all purchases; and

• the store would operate six days a week from Monday through Saturday, open each day from noon until 7 p.m.

May people from outside Iqaluit buy wine and beer at the store?

Yes, people from communities outside Iqaluit may buy wine and beer at the store for consumption within Iqaluit.

But people who want to bring wine or beer back to their communities must observe whatever restrictions apply in their community.

That means if there is an Alcohol Education Committee in their community, the committee must first approve the purchase.

Would the plebiscite result be binding on the GN?

No, it wouldn’t. The plebisicite is non-binding.

But the plebiscite result — along with other factors — will influence the GN decision on whether to open the store.

If the GN decides to proceed, the earliest possible date for starting up the store would be the late summer of 2015.

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