Iqaluit’s beer and wine store to stay open permanently

Store opened in 2017 as a pilot project

Iqaluit’s beer and wine store will stay open permanently, George Hickes, Nunavut’s minister of finance, announced earlier today. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Nunatsiaq News

After a three-year pilot project, Iqaluit’s beer and wine store, which is managed by the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission, will stay open permanently.

Finance Minister George Hickes made the announcement earlier today.

“The goal of opening the Iqaluit beer and wine store was to reduce consumption of hard alcohol, encourage responsible drinking and combat bootlegging,” Hickes said in a news release.

“The decision to keep the store open permanently allows us to continue moving towards long-term harm reduction.”

During the pilot project, which launched in 2017, the commission conducted two public opinion surveys. It also consulted with various Government of Nunavut departments and organizations in Iqaluit about the store’s impact on the community and the territory.

The latest survey, conducted from Feb. 15 to March 15, 2020, received 832 responses, 760 of which were usable. The results were pulled from those usable responses.

The survey was available in all four of the territory’s languages. Of those 760 responses, two were in Inuktitut, nine were in French and the rest were in English.

Nearly three out of five, or 59 per cent, of respondents were not Nunavut Inuit. In total, 88 per cent of the respondents lived in Iqaluit.

When asked whether the store had a negative, neutral or positive impact on the respondent personally, 16 per cent said it had a negative impact, 43 per cent said it had a neutral impact and 36 per cent said it had a positive impact.

When asked whether the store had a negative, neutral or positive impact on the community, 37 per cent said it had a negative impact, 25 per cent said it had a neutral impact and 26 per cent said it had a positive impact.

According to the survey, 75 per cent of respondents said they wanted the Iqaluit store to remain open after the three-year pilot project ends.

Rankin Inlet is also set to open a permanent beer and wine store later this year, making it the second in the territory.

The NULC has also released the most recent survey results and a report on the pilot project.

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

    I for one enjoy the convince of a W&B store but as a lifetime Iqaluit residence, BUT I will say the W&B store has done more harm then good for most us Inuits. We have been abused both physically and Mentally ever since we were colonized and have nothing or next to nothing in treatment or support to deal with the way we have been treated. Now our GN hand us down a W&B store with no help in site and for what? and WHY? not for the better good for us traumatize Inuits.

    • Posted by The Native on

      I am not sure how old you are but I am pretty sure you weren’t around for colonization. Start taking responsibility for your own actions.

  2. Posted by Colin on

    Now if the GN could shift their priority and move just as fast as they did on consultation, reports and studies to get this beer and wine store done and move to treatment mental health care, it badly needed in this territory.
    When the GN has a goal it can actually get it done but unfortunately the priority was this beer and wine store and not what is really needed.
    Treatment and mental healthcare should of been a priority over this also a elders facility so that our elders do not have to be sent down south.

    • Posted by Logic on

      Different people and different departments involved. Its not a matter of prioritizing one over the other.

    • Posted by Money Matters on

      It’s a lot easier to get a beer and wine store implemented than it is to have a mental health facility operated and/or improve mental health care.
      The beer and wine store shifts sales away from mostly permit sales in Iqaluit and alcohol sales coming in from Quebec, to most of the sales being done out of the store in Iqaluit. I don’t know exactly how the financials all work out, I’d say at the worst this comes at a very small cost, but rather it likely results in a net positive for the GN.
      Building a mental health facility is a huge expense, and results in huge ongoing expenses. Is it something that everybody, including the government, would like? Yeah, definitely. But it’s a whole different ballgame.

      • Posted by Harry on

        Whole different ballgame! It’s the same game just different priorities, what does the the GN really want to do? It really shows in what the GN has done and what it is not doing. Priorities within GN dictates what the GN will do and not do. It’s pretty simple really.

        • Posted by I see a Dunning Kruger on

          It’s not simple at all, and you should be wary when people make sweeping claims about how simple things are, especially when they provide no detail or obvious insight whatsoever.

        • Posted by Money Matters on

          I see you clearly missed my point. You can have something that’s a lower priority be done before something that’s a higher priority for certain reasons. In this case, the reason this priority (open a beer and wine store to reduce consumption of hard alcohol, encourage responsible drinking and combat bootlegging) is done before opening a mental health facility is because the cost is essentially nil for the store, compared to millions for a MH facility; and the capacity for the store (a warehouse, some low-skilled workers, and a couple sale terminals) is there, whereas it’s not for a MH facility (skilled workers that Nunavut does not have).
          If in your own life your top priority is to get a university education, but you can’t yet do it because you need to save up $50,000, it doesn’t mean you turn down a free online course in the subject you’re interested in because it’s a lower priority. Sometimes it’s about feasibility and accessibility.

          • Posted by Harry on

            And yet the rcmp reports a alcohol related calls have increased and the effects on families from alcohol,
            Also please stop blowing hot air with your examples of priorities, it’s a bunch of bs, we need a government and city to really look at what is needed in Nunavut to work on improving lives not making it more convenient to buy alcohol.
            It is really that simple and it doesn’t have to be made complicated, priorities have to be made and moved on, unfortunately the priorities have been the other way around.
            Now with dealing with more and more alcohol related calls have a knee jerk reaction to try and fix it.

  3. Posted by Roy Donovan on

    Cabbies love it thought. Back and forth from the beer store all day along. GN should just put in a bus stop for extra revenue.

  4. Posted by Inuk on

    “The goal of opening the Iqaluit beer and wine store was to reduce consumption of hard alcohol, encourage responsible drinking and combat bootlegging,” Hickes said in a news release.

    I’m not sure if the store reduce the consumption of hard liquor or not, seen very little things done to encourage responsible drinking. It may have combatted the bootlegging in Iqaluit, but it has certainly helped bootlegging in other communities. The GN needs to do something about keeping the alcohol out of the dry communities and have better control over the controlled communities for alcohol.

    Finance Minister George Hickes, how about using the profits from the B&W store for a rehabilitation center in Nunavut, or use that money for to help Nunavumiut to help people in need of mental health help.

    • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

      Not going to happen, the dominating society have been treating us very bad right from the start, first colonize then religion, dog slaughter, relocate and force us to life a life of abuse with no support what so ever. It leads for us the turn to substance abuse and this is how they deal with it. They treat us so bad we turn to substance abuse and give us easy access to Beer & Wine with no form of help for us what so ever. They hand a road to destruction and making us ride shotgun.

      • Posted by No support? on

        The things the Canadian Government has done to Inuit in the past are inexcusable, but I would never say the Canadian Government provides no support to Inuit. Nunavut receives over a billion dollars in Federal support every year.

        • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

          And yet for a developing country we live in third world conditions, food insecurity, housing insecurity Oh and no matter what condition you are in, U go health center or hospital up here U are given Tylenol, how many family and friend do we need to lose before the doctors or nurses take us seriously? How many have died or better yet how many of us have lose a love one due to lack of good health care system?

          • Posted by A thought on

            For someone that seems so angst ridden about the colonizers, why do you care about their health care system? Just use traditional healing methods instead.

  5. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    And all of this certainly helped the young woman, who looked 50 but I don’t think she was that old, who sat down in front of Northmart around 830 last night with an open bottle of vodka. Let’s not do anything about the bootleggers, let’s open a beer and wine store and feed them something different and make our own money. Is the GN so blind they don’t see the people walking home from the B & W store openly drinking their beer? Is the GN so blind they don’t see people drunk and fighting each other? And if yo are concerned yes I did call the RCMP to do something they shouldn’t have to do. One o f the officers who came by had a trick full of drunks. Five calls in a half hour. Yes Nunavut wants the same rights as everyone else. So sad. We are going further down hill

    • Posted by Smile on

      I agree with this comment. I didn’t see anything about the drastic increase in calls to the RCMP since the beer store opened. Or about the fact that many people who hasn’t drank in years have become daily drinkers. As if people whose lives are a hot mess are going to fill out a survey. As if their children are going to fill out a survey.

        • Posted by Calling it logic ? on

          I’m sorry but your logic is flawed, if you were up to date on any reports relating to alcohol incidents in Iqaluit you will see that the latest RCMP report shows increases in alcohol related calls.
          Maybe if the council was up to date on reviewing the reports it would not have come to a tie breaker where the former employee that helped to sell the idea of having a beer and wine store broke the tie. Just doesn’t add up and it really doesn’t look good for Iqaluit.
          It’s like a bunch of teenagers deciding what Iqaluit needs.

  6. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    o my many friends in Rankin Inlet, Be forewarned about what is to come.

    • Posted by Rankin Guy on

      What’s to come? Good times and being treated like an adult who can buy a legal product?

      Thanks for the heads up!

      • Posted by Jack on

        It’s too bad a lot of them can’t act like a adult when they drink too much. It’s going to be a circus gong show. Rcmp will be busy there too, feel for the families and the kids.

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