Two Nunavut communities say no to looser liquor rules

Turnout high in Pang, low in Rankin


Voters in Pangnirtung and Rankin Inlet said no, in local plebiscites held Oct. 26., to proposals that would have loosened alcohol restrictions in each community,

In Pangnirtung, voters rejected the idea of replacing the total prohibition of alcohol with controlled access through an alcohol education commitee.

In that vote, 375 voters, about 70 per cent, cast ballots against the idea. Only 159 voters, about 30 per cent, said yes.

This means Pangnirtung will remain a dry community, a status that’s been maintained for at least three decades.

Voter turnout was high in Pangirtung: 85 per cent.

In Rankin Inlet, voters cast ballots on two questions.

The first asked voters if they wanted to allow the direct sale of beer in the community.

Fifty-two per cent of voters, 217 in all, said yes to the idea, while 48 per cent, or 197, said no.

The second question asked voters if they want the Nunavut Liquor Licencing Board to allow dining room licences in the community.

In that plebiscite, 220 voters, or 53 per cent, said yes, while 195 voters, or 47 per cent, said no.

But each of the Rankin Inlet initiatives failed to meet the required 60 per cent margin that is required to change local regulations.

This means the status quo will continue in the community.

Turnout in the community was poor — only 31 per cent of voters took part in the Rankin Inlet plebiscite.

Communities may hold liquor plebiscites when 20 or more eligible voters ask for one in a petition, and the minister responsible for the Liquor Act, usually the finance minister, gives consent.

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