Arlooktoo will chair new Nunavut liquor board

Former NWT deputy premier Goo Arlooktoo is the chair of the recently appointed Nunavut Liquor Licencing Board.

Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — A new bar proposal in Iqaluit was instrumental in prompting the Nunavut government to set up the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board sooner rather than later.

Goo Arlooktoo, the former deputy premier of the Northwest Territories, is the new chair of the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board.

Finance Minister Kelvin Ng said that prior to the Uvagut bar proposal, made recently by a group of Iqaluit residents, the Nunavut government did not place a high priority on appointing the board's six members.

"Now that there is a proposal we need a board. But before that it wasn't seen as a priority," said Ng.

The new board will be chaired by Goo Arlooktoo of Iqaluit, who represented the consituency of South Baffin the last NWT legislative assembly and who served for four years as deputy premier. Arlooktoo lost his seat in a stunning upset last February 15.

Now that the board has been appointed the new cocktail lounge application will be one of the first issues addressed by the new board, Ng said.

"The plan is to co-ordinate an orientation session in the last week of September for the new board and get them oriented to their responsibilities," Ng said. Once the board is up and running, it will have to address the bar proposal and also look at the broader issue of access to alcohol.

Ng says he's received a petition from people in Kugluktuk asking him to address the red tape people have to go through to import alcohol from Yellowknife.

Ng says that because of the division of the NWT, Kugluktuk residents buying alcohol from Yellowknife now need an import permit.

"It's created a bureaucratic nightmare for some people," he said, adding that some people find the permit fee to be burdensome.

He also said the issue of whether to have an open retail liquor store in Iqaluit will also have to be addressed soon.

Regular board members include Thomas Kudloo of Baker Lake, Raymond Kamookak of Gjoa Haven, Pat Angnakak of Iqaluit, Albert Ehaloak of Cambridge Bay, and Thomasie Alikatuktuk of Pangnirtung.

Ng selected board members from a list of nominees provided to him by MLAs and from members of the public.

"They are all generally speaking people who are well-respected in their communities, and known for their decision making and fairness," Ng said.