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RCMP raid Booze Can again

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

SEAN McKIBBON

IQALUIT – Iqaluit’s RCMP raided the “Booze Can” twice on Easter weekend, seizing liquor and other items.

“We received two different pieces of information on two different occasions,” Sgt. Mike O’Mally of the Iqaluit RCMP said in explaining the reason for executing two search warrants on April 22 and 24. Both searches were conducted as part of an investigation into the illegal sale of liquor without a permit.

“We do them on a case by case basis,” he said.

The raids were the third and fourth on the property in Iqaluit’s West 40 area.

No charges have been laid in connection with the two latest searches, but the previous searches resulted in a charge of selling liquor without a permit against Joe Morneau, who owns the building. Two other men were also charged with buying liquor from an unlicensed establishment.

The charge against Morneau is slated to go to trial this summer.

Morneau has always maintained that the “Booze Can” or Explorers Club as it was first known operates as a private club and is merely a tenant in his building.

“It’s no different than the Legion, except the Legion has a permit,” said O’Mally.

He said the RCMP would continue to raid the club as long as they get information that liquor is being sold without a liquor licence.

Recently posters have been placed around town saying that the “Friends of Arctica Social Club is still open.”

Several years ago, in protest of the Quebec sovereignty referendum, Morneau and some friends held a plebiscite and voted to separate from Canada. They declared the West 40 building to be a new nation called “Arctica.”

The poster invites people to simply knock on the door. The poster doesn’t say where the Friends of Arctica Social Club is located.

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