Two Nunavut communities to vote on allowing access to alcohol

Residents of Arviat will have the chance to vote in a Nov. 9 plebiscite that proposes changing the community’s liquor regulations from prohibited to restricted. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Two Kivalliq communities in Nunavut will vote on potential changes to their local liquor regulations.

Elections Nunavut will host plebiscites in both Arviat and Coral Harbour on Nov. 9. In each community, the ballot will ask voters if they want to move from a prohibited liquor system to a restricted one, where residents can purchase or import limited amounts of alcohol into the community.

For Arviat, the proposed limits would be 8.5 litres of beer (twenty-four 355-ml cans) or eight litres of wine (ten 750-ml bottles) every seven days.

For Coral Harbour, the proposed limits are 18 litres of beer or four litres of wine or one litre of spirits every 14 days.

Across the territory, there are currently six communities that prohibit alcohol—including Arviat and Coral Harbour—12 communities that restrict alcohol and seven unrestricted communities.

Under Nunavut’s Liquor Act, at least 60 per cent of a community’s eligible voters need to vote in favour of a change in order to enact the change.

To explain some of the requirements under the Liquor Act, the Department of Finance is hosting information sessions in both Arviat and Coral Harbour ahead of the plebiscites.

In Arviat, the department will hold two meetings on Oct. 29 at the John Ollie Complex: one at 12 p.m. and another at 6 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 100 people can attend each session.

In Coral Harbour, the sessions will run on Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the community hall, with the same attendance limit.

Although the plebiscites take place on Nov. 9, voters can cast advance ballots in both communities on Nov. 2. Residents who are away for both those dates can contact Elections Nunavut to apply for a proxy certificate, which allows someone else to vote on your behalf.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Preferences on

    Residents of Coral Harbour don’t seem too interested in wine over beer when comparing the amounts proposed by the two towns, Coral seems like more of a beer and spirit town while Arviat is more into the wines. Interesting to see.

    • Posted by Not a Math Whiz on

      I don’t know who came up with these amounts, but I’m guessing they’re not great at math.
      For Arviat, you can either get 24 drinks of beer or 50-ish drinks of wine.
      For Coral, you can either get 50 drinks of beer, 27-ish drinks of wine, or about 22 drinks of spirits. That’s if you can manage to find a one litre bottle?

  2. Posted by bring it on

    Prohibition doesn’t work.
    Take a look at the history, alcohol was prohibited in the USA about a hundred years ago.
    It only brought out the mafia and they got rich.
    Same thing in most communities in the North, bootleggers are taking a huge chunk of the money.
    People are afraid of change, get in line with the rest of the country.
    One of thing, it is almost certain those who come from prohibited communities tend to binge drink as soon as they head to the South.

    • Posted by AL CAPONE on

      The modern world will reach these towns sooner or later

  3. Posted by Prohibition or not on

    Prohibition or not people just can’t handle it. They go crazy. A hundred years ago, people were not as bad as we see in the north with prohibition or not. If you can’t handle it , don’t drink it, or if you bother others you get to pay the consequences. All this hundred years behind as the north is from alcohol! Is only to do with the numbers that can’t handle it. It will get worst as you allow the sales, mark thy words.. It’s not that hard to figure out.

  4. Posted by About time on

    I hope Arviat votes in favour of this and begins to emerge from the mists of time.

  5. Posted by Arviat guess on

    This is the time to stop buying expensive booze we can start ordering it for cheep price it time for a change vote yes X.

  6. Posted by Abraham Tagalik on

    Fighting fire with fire is always scary. Alcohol vs no alcohol which is better? that should be the question. If we asked all the kids they would certainly vote no but they can’t vote. This is a community changing event if you open up for less alcohol controls. I love the beautiful social fabric of a small town vs us in drinking town Iqaluit. Think hard vote with your hearts.

    • Posted by Alternate Reality on

      This picture you’ve drawn between the beautiful social fabric of non-drinking Arviat, and drinking town Iqaluit, isn’t reality though. Granted Arviat is a cozy, friendly little town. Still, there’s a thriving black market in there and plenty of drinking going on. I think it’s time for the community to accustom itself to moderate drinking, getting away from binging and paying huge costs for it.

  7. Posted by Remember this on

    Remember this. Opening up alcohol sales in any Inuit community , where there has never been such sales before will be at first devastating. Remember that in the beginning there will be lots of lost of life from alcohol that is not handled well. The lost of life will continue for years, before it tapers down a little, only to flare up time and time again. So, people’s lives will be sacrificed in order for alcohol to be tolerated many years down the road from the time sales are first opened. If you look at kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq in Nunavik, that’s exactly what is happening. Lots of death, it tapered down for awhile, only to periodically have pockets of deaths and even suicide, all in the name of it will get better over time. Yes it’s getting better, but the sacrifice is incredible. It’s like winning a war, but sacrificing the front line soldiers. Good luck.

  8. Posted by No imialuk pialuk on

    Imialukpuq pialukpuq piluqialukpuq, Vote no stay calm and just stay home sparking it up. Dont drink it up just burn it out and stay calm people. If you can vote “vote no”

  9. Posted by Social drinker on

    I too enjoy my drink from time to time, but with all the social issues these communities have with very little help, it’s like pouring gas on the fire to put it out, what programs will be in place to help these communities to improve the social and cultural issues?

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