One more stab to the heart of an oenophile


About a year after moving to Pond Inlet in 2000 I went to see the doctor for a check up. My blood pressure was down and so was my cholesterol. “What have you been doing?” she asked. “These results are very good.”

I replied that I had been doing some volleyball coaching and had been drinking red wine relatively frequently, for I had discovered ordering on-line.

What a blessing indeed this was. Simply place the order on-line, give a credit card number and voila! a week or two later it arrives by Canada Post, a well packaged four-litre box of Shiraz or Carmenère, two good choices.

Well the jig is up. The authorities have now discovered this government money grab opportunity and breach of bureaucratic procedures and are sure to shut it down right away.

My heart sinks and I’m saddened but moreover I’m angry. I’m angry that we’re double-taxed on the already inflated price of freight and goods we buy in Nunavut and I’m angry that the GN wants even more money on that bottle or box of wine which isn’t even available from the Nunavut Liquor Commission.

This isn’t just about the health benefits of wine and it’s not about my right to enjoy wine in my own house. It’s not about the problems and damage caused by over-indulgence of alcohol and it’s not about the fact that dope is the substance of choice in most Nunavut communities where alcohol is hard to get.

It’s not about the bootleg bottle I can buy anytime of the day in Iqaluit and it’s not about people who drink their faces off when they get to Iqaluit from a dry or restricted community and then go home and vote for no booze in their community. It’s not even about the bottle of Aqua Velva chased down by a cola or the hairspray and 7-Up.

It’s not about Iqalungmiut having to pay gratuitous freight charges on their purchases of beer from Rankin Inlet and vice-versa when there is a warehouse in both communities and it’s not about all that money going to the airfreight companies.

It’s not about the liquor inspectors, many new to the North, who sit in licensed establishments gawking at Inuit women waiting to write them up for that little-too-loud laugh, nor is it about waiters cutting off the Inuk man after two beers while ignoring the white man’s revelry.

Maybe it’s about all of the above.

Nunavut needs to put in place liquor laws and policies that will encourage education and responsible drinking. Quasi-prohibition doesn’t work any better than prohibition. It only makes the problems worse.

Duncan Cunningham
Pond Inlet

Government of Nunavut, Employment Opportunities
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