Tanya Ongahak is the assistant returning officer for the local option liquor plebiscite that was held Monday. Voters ultimately chose to return to a restricted alcohol system. (Photo by Barb Adjun)

Kugluktuk voters opt for return to restricted alcohol access

Turnout for Monday’s plebiscite tops out at 38 per cent

By Nunatsiaq News

Kugluktuk will again restrict access to alcohol in the hamlet.

In a plebiscite Monday, voters there chose to reinstate rules that limit how much alcohol a person can bring into the hamlet every two weeks.

Elections Nunavut posted the results hours after the polls closed Monday night.

Voter turnout was 38 per cent of eligible voters, or 287 total votes in the community whose total population is approximately 1,400. But 66 per cent of those voters opted for restrictions, which exceeds the 60-per-cent threshold that was required for change.

Total votes in favour of restrictions were 190, while 97 people voted to keep the status quo. Four ballots were rejected.

Now, people in Kugluktuk will be allowed to import 1.775 litres of spirits and either 48 355-millilitre cans of beer or other liquor with less than eight per cent alcohol content or 3.75 litres of wine on a biweekly basis.

Kugluktuk voters chose to scrap alcohol restrictions in the hamlet less than four years ago. Those restrictions had been in place since 2007.

Nunavut’s Liquor Act allows residents in any individual community to choose whether  they want to restrict access to alcohol. The restrictions are divided into three categories — prohibited, restricted, or unrestricted.

Prohibited communities include Arviat, Coral Harbour, Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk, Pangnirtung and Sanikiluaq.

Restricted communities are Arctic Bay, Kinngait, Chesterfield Inlet, Clyde River, Sanirajak, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Naujaat, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Resolute Bay, Whale Cove, and now, Kugluktuk.

Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Grise Fiord, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, and Taloyoak are unrestricted.

Kugluktuk’s plebiscite was instigated by a resident who told Nunatsiaq News she is worried about violence and other damage alcohol was doing to her community, so she circulated a petition that garnered 167 signatures.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly reflect how much liquor a person in a restricted community is allowed to import on a biweekly basis.

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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by 3 more years on

    3 more years until the next plebiscite and this whole scenario can play out again.

    • Posted by freedom of choice on

      That’s how democracy works..

  2. Posted by Al Capone on

    Neighborhood bootlegger must be happy, more income.

    • Posted by Bootleggers on

      It actually got much more difficult for bootleggers. They can no longer legally order several cases of booze a week for resale. Not to say this will stop all bootlegging, but it at least will take more effort and resources.

  3. Posted by Umingmak on

    Very, very disappointing. Colonialist, racist liquor restrictions back in place. Bootleggers are celebrating.

    • Posted by Dave on

      So, when the people of the town get to vote and have it their way, their choice is still racist and colonial.

      Your comment reveals a lot more than you realize.

    • Posted by Predictable on

      Umingmak, your comment reminds me of a meme that goes something like: “Everything I don’t like is a ______” <– insert whatever, for you, 'Colonialism'

      I agree with Dave, your comment says a lot.

    • Posted by uninformed on

      What does racism and colonists have to do with a community plebiscite?

  4. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    Well don to the people of Kugluktuk.
    Now let’s start turning in the names of the bootleggers and drug dealers (family or not) to the RCMP.
    If we truly want a cleaner, more sober community, we need to get rid of the people who are poisoning our families, our children, and neighbours.

  5. Posted by Kugluktonian on

    We need a municipal/territorial police force to enforce these restrictions. These are only specific to this community and territory. RCMP are here to enforce federal laws. And alcohol is not restricted or prohibited, federally.

    • Posted by Bylaw on

      Bylaw officer job to do this ?

    • Posted by lol wrong on all levels on

      The RCMP are hired by the Government of Nunavut to enforce the laws of Nunavut along with Federal laws. By-law officer should not ever be involved with enforcing Nunavut laws, full stop.

    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

      Bootlegging is illegal anywhere in Canada. RCMP is in fact responsible for enforcing Nunavut’s territorial laws.
      Turn in the bootlegger. Let the RCMP do what the GN contracts them to do.
      For the sake of the elders, the children, all families, and our neighbours.

  6. Posted by How much do bootleggers charge where you are? on

    I think where I am the last I heard (a few months ago) was $120 to $160 for a mickey. 375 mL of vodka. Igloolik.

    We all have burner emails for anonymous stuff. Unless NN goes to expose IP addresses.

  7. Posted by nochange on

    So here is what happens now for this community…. -> 1st a little while a spike in bootlegging. -> 2nd a “calm-down period” where the community gets better. -> 3rd a plebiscite again where everyone thinks it’s good and they change the rules again.
    This community can’t make up it’s mind what they want… Should have a plebiscite to stop snow machines because they cause problems.
    Oh well time to start buying more legal marihuana more I guess.

  8. Posted by Confused on

    Would be nice to see this happen in the other unrestricted communities.

  9. Posted by mikhangry4tendies on

    This goes against the charter of rights, and i would challange it. Stop babying people in Nunavut. more people should be challenging the Government AND INUIT ORGS!!! to provide more access to mental health and treatment centres across NU.

    • Posted by Law expert on

      Nothing beats coming to the NN comments section to hear from our nation’s top constitutional law experts.

      • Posted by Yuppers on

        Yes you are right!! You get the actual article then the news begins. Great job NN

  10. Posted by Reflection on

    It’s time people reflect on why a vote is needed in the first place. Look at the reasons there’s big concern about alcohol in the community. Reflecting on the impact needs to be highlighted more. If things were so good , life would be moving along at a comfortable pace , alcohol included, but it’s not. Think not only about yourself, think about the children, the health of the community.

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