Gjoa Haven residents to vote on continued liquor prohibition

Plebiscite on Dec. 9 will offer choice between prohibition and restricted quantities system

Eligible voters in Gjoa Haven will vote this Dec. 9 in a plebiscite, in which they will be asked to choose between a restricted quantities system or a continuation of prohibition. (Photo by Clevelander96/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Nunatsiaq News

Gjoa Haven residents will choose between allowing restricted amounts of alcohol in their community or continuing with prohibition in a plebiscite this Dec. 9.

The vote, to be administered by Elections Nunavut, will be held at Gideon Qitsualik Memorial Hall. An advance vote will be held on Dec. 2 at the Gjoa Haven hamlet council chambers.

When voters go to the polls, they’ll be asked to vote yes or no to the following question:

“Are you in favour of replacing the current prohibition system in the Hamlet of Gjoa Haven and surrounding area with a restricted quantities system? In addition to the general liquor laws of Nunavut, the restricted quantities system would limit the amount of liquor that a person can purchase in or import into the community every 14 days to:

(a) one (1) litre of spirits;

(b) four (4) litres of wine; and

(c) eleven (11) litres of beer.

Right now, the possession and purchase of alcohol in Gjoa Haven are not permitted. For a change to occur, 60 per cent of voters must vote in favour of it.

In Gjoa Haven’s last liquor plebiscite, held on Dec. 14, 2015, a majority of those who cast ballots opted for the status quo.

In the 2015 vote, 232 people voted to retain prohibition, while 218 people voted to move to a restricted system under the supervision of an alcohol education committee.

Nunavut’s last two community liquor plebiscites were held in Kugaaruk and Sanikiluaq in February 2019.

On Feb. 4, 2019, 63 per cent of Sanikiluaq voters cast ballots in favour of maintaining prohibition there, while on Feb. 25, 2019, 54 per cent of Kugaaruk voters opted for a continuation of prohibition.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Prohibition does not work.

    not that I partake in smoking that brutal dope, but I think it has has some positive things since decriminilizing dope.

    look what criminilizing alcohol has done in Gjoa Haven. one $17 mickey sells for $100+ and a 60 oz bottle can sell for $500+.

    alcohol is already in Gjoa Haven. we know it, you know it. it is time to stop this paternalistic view of telling people what they can and cannot have. if someone wants to order a flat of beer to watch a hockey game or chill out with a nice glass of wine with dinner, go for it. it’s 2019.

    if you can choose to do that in Red Deer, Cornerbrook, or Hay River, you should be able to in Gjoa Haven

  2. Posted by John K on

    Prohibition. Does. Not. Work. Full stop. By maintaining prohibition you’re enriching criminals and wasting your police force’s time and money. When this policy continues to not work will you put the blame on Iqaluit like Pang did and demand that WE stop liqour from entering your community?

    Please make the right choice.

  3. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Prohibtion does not work, restricted quantities system will not work either too much sadness and anger in the community.

  4. Posted by Corner my brook on

    Prohibition does work. In inuit communities its the life saving event. Take a look at a few communities in Nunavik, since the beer and wine sales. Its become horrific. The number of killings as sky rocketed. Families, kids,homeless shelters. Big profits from the incredible high prices are building new co-op stores two times bigger, and in one community, building a co-op right beside the already built co-op just a few years old. People are moving quickly from life to graveyard . Daily announcements of funerals are common. Hey people, dont even bother having beer and wine sales in your community, boot legging is safer.

  5. Posted by Prohibition on


  6. Posted by Prohibition on

    Prohibition works for people that can’t handle booze well. Prohibition doesn’t work for people that can handle booze well. Think about why all these years booze was not available in the community to be sold. Think why thats so. Think about the fact that you are discussing the alcohol issues. All this is because theres a real life threatening problem with alcohol among you. Having boot leggers is illegal, but its still hard to get, and thats good. If booze becomes available in the community for sell, you will see devastation! Death in big numbers, abuses of children, you will pay the biggest price of your lifetime.

  7. Posted by No no no on

    It show be up to the RCMP, the doctors and nurses, and social workers whether alcohol should be sold in the community. They are the ones who will take the trouble that alcohol sales will cause. Just watch this unfolding. A big piece in the news a year down the road about out of control drunks. Shooting at each other like a war zone. And still not seeing themselves as having a problem. Not all people are equally tolerable to handling the drink. The drink belongs to those that not only buy the stuff, but value and make the stuff in a good way.

  8. Posted by Bobby on

    Enjoying a few cans of beer on the weekend is always good. Others will say this and that and blame someone else(bootleggers) on how terrible a person is when they drink. Some can handle it, some lose control, but playing the blame game is just a reflection of who that person really is. If they wanna vote for Trudeau and then say he’s not doing his job, they should only blame themselves for voting for him in the first place… see how crazy that is?

  9. Posted by childhood innocence on

    Let the children and babies vote… Ask the kids who are too scared to go home when people are drinking, or who already get abused. Ask those who have been molested, or raped by a drunk… Ask those who lost a loved one to violence, because someone got drunk and angry and did something crazy…
    Were not just voting for ourselves, were voting for our babies, and children… Were voting for their future and what kind of life we want for them to grow up in. Do we want them to be like us, and have the same problem we did? Or do we want them to be a better life?

  10. Posted by Look at Kug on

    Look what’s going on in Kug after their liquor Committee was abolished.

    The booze is now running rampant through the town. People all hours of the day are walking the streets hammered and completely out of it. People are protesting the rcmp because there are so many calls about people abusing family members. People are dying, suicides are common again. Booze isn’t good for a lot of people who can’t handle it.

    Only the people of Gjoa will have a day in their future. Time will tell.

  11. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    Gjoa Haven only pretends to have prohibition. Nothing further from the truth.

    • Posted by Jeff on

      Sounds about right CC. Not. One. Community. In. Nunavut. Is. Dry. Regardless of vote outcome GH will rock on!

  12. Posted by Moses Totalik on

    I think due to the fact of alcohol entering the dry communities, illegally. Is a huge problem in Nunavut communities. The criminal rates and suicide rates are at a significant percent, due to alcohol.

  13. Posted by MARKEY DAN on

    Another plebiscite for alcohol consumption in Gjoa Haven
    Fair enough, it is up to the residents to vote and take
    responsibility for their actions.
    Their is a public meeting with “experts ” , flying in & out of
    course. Where are our own highly paid resident experts when
    they are needed ? MMIWG now is the time for help !

    At the public meeting on Monday 18 of November, I would
    like to see a list of people who have requested this plebiscite,
    So we know who to blame if the town goes wet !
    Why the heck not.

    • Posted by Good point! on

      Good question lets see who is asking for alcohol to be allowed in a town where there is not enough police right now, no shelter/safe house or no alcohol and drug worker, and no support for those with addictions.

      Hoping people think of the elders and children when they vote. There seems to be a rumour going around that it is only beer and wine, they are not reading the part that the hard stuff can be ordered as well.

  14. Posted by A new low. on

    People in Gjoa have been using the suitcases of the elders they travel with to bring in alcohol and drugs, knowing they wont get charged. Elders are unknowingly being used. At least 3 elders have have “their” drugs and alcohol taken by the RCMP lately.

  15. Posted by Meeting Tonight on

    The public meeting to find out more about this vote is November 18 (tonight), from 6-9pm at the community centre.

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