New bar application unfairly targetted
I attended the community consultation meeting in regard to the proposed Uvagut liquor licence application.
My opinion is that this new application is being unfairly targetted because of problems related to overdrinking within our community. Some established bars have been charged with over-serving and faced the consequences.
Many residents have judged the proposed bar guilty even before having had the chance of serving one drink. Some people cannot handle or manage drinking alcohol. We can choose to drink or not drink. We can chose where to drink. We can bring in a set, allowable amount of liquor travelling or by obtaining an import licence for personal consumption, or buy it from a bootlegger. You can drink as much as you want in a private residence. If you drink in an establishment that has a liquor licence, then expect to be subject to liquor regulations and their own policies.
The courts have decided that owners, managers and servers all have a duty to manage the serving and consumption of alcohol to their patrons. The establishment has a responsibility to the individual and to the community to not over-serve. If a patron has been over-served and has either injured himself or others — that establishment is liable for damages. This has led to the introduction of the smart serve program. The server is fully knowledgeable about the law and the potential negative effects of drinking alcohol. Much was said about freedom of choice and drinking responsibly.
Alcohol is a contributing factor in violence. Remember the victims of alcohol abuse — many have suffered because someone chose to drink and lost control. Some drink because they have problems, however drinking also has and can cause problems: battered partners, abuse of elders and children, no money for bills or food, poor job attendance and poor performance, job loss, drunk driving, fetal alcohol syndrome, homicide, and suicides.
The Liquor Act regulates the importation of alcohol, volume, business liquor licence applications (new and renewals), conditions, fees, fines, monitoring and enforcement.
Yes, an individual has to take responsibility for their actions. However, the Liquor Act must balance the right of the individual and keep in mind that controls need to be put in place to protect our societal well-being.
All bars, whether new or established must clearly demonstrate that not only will they comply with the regulations or face fines, suspensions, or the revoking of their liquor licence, but they must also put in place policies that reflect responsible alcohol management for individuals and communities.
Drinking establishments are the easiest to regulate. Alcohol abuse outside of the bars and restaurants will continue and what are we going to do about that? Iqaluit has many well-established bootleggers who have profited from this trade for many, many years. Very few are persecuted by the RCMP or shut down by community action. the proposed new bar is an easy target and refusing its licence is not solving the problems related to alcohol abuse within this community.