Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 09, 2018 - 8:00 am

Baker Lake prepares to vote on alcohol access

Public meeting ahead of Jan. 22 vote was to take place tonight

Eligible voters in Baker Lake will vote in a January plebiscite on whether to lift liquor restrictions in their community of about 2,000. (FILE IMAGE)
Eligible voters in Baker Lake will vote in a January plebiscite on whether to lift liquor restrictions in their community of about 2,000. (FILE IMAGE)

If you live in Baker Lake and want to learn more about the upcoming liquor plebiscite in your community, make sure you attend an evening meeting on the upcoming vote.

The Nunavut Liquor Commission had planned to hold public meeting from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the community hall to discuss possible changes to the current community liquor status—from a restricted to an unrestricted, or (open,) system—although due to stormy weather that meeting was set to be postponed.

Less than two weeks from now, on Jan. 22, voters in this community of about 2,000 will check a box for “yes” or “no” to this question: “Are you in favour of ending the current system of liquor restriction in Baker Lake and having an unrestricted system where only the general liquor laws of Nunavut apply?”

If 60 per cent or more of the votes cast say “yes,” the current system of liquor restrictions in Baker Lake will be abolished, and the Baker Lake Alcohol Education Committee will be abolished as well.

Under an alcohol education committee, you have to apply to the committee to seek approval to bring liquor into Baker Lake. The committee may place restrictions on the purchase or even deny the application.

Once you have obtained permission from committee members, they fax approval to the Nunavut Liquor Commission and an order may be placed.

If more than 40 per cent of the votes say “no,” the current system of liquor restriction in Baker Lake will continue.

To vote, you have to be a Canadian citizen, 19 years of age as of Jan. 22, and a resident of Baker Lake for the 12-month period prior to Jan. 22.

The advance vote takes place Jan. 15 at the Jessie Oonark Centre from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the voting day slated to take place at the centre Jan. 22, also from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you can’t vote on either of those days, you can obtain a proxy vote from Elections Nunavut at 1-800-267-4394.

Voters in Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay came out strongly in 2017 in favour of the establishment of beer-wine stores during May 1 plebiscites in their communities.

These two communities, along with Iqaluit, Taloyoak and Grise Fiord, are now guided only by the general liquor laws of Nunavut with respect to buying alcohol.

Other communities with alcohol committees include Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset, Chesterfield Inlet, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Kugluktuk, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Repulse Bay, Resolute Bay and Whale Cove.

To trigger a plebiscite, Nunavut’s Finance Department, which oversees the liquor commission, must receive a petition with at least 20 signatures.

But not every plebiscite results in restrictions being lifted. Two years ago, in a liquor plebiscite, voters in Gjoa Haven opted to remain dry.

Gjoa Haven remains one of Nunavut’s six dry communities, where alcohol is completely prohibited. The others include Arviat, Coral Harbour, Kugaaruk, Pangnirtung and Sanikiluaq.

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(6) Comments:

#1. Posted by Beer n Wine on January 09, 2018

Alcohol committees have to go and every Nunavut community needs a Beer n Wine Store…you hear that Gjoa, Coral, Pang and Arviat?!!

#2. Posted by Realist on January 09, 2018

Has restricting alcohol stopped consumption? Didn’t think so, because it’s been tried and failed before. Why learn from other’s actions when you can arrogantly try what has already proven ineffective.

#3. Posted by Set an example on January 09, 2018

Now is the time for baker lake to set a good example. Vote yes, but take the time to think about showing that you can use alcohol, in a more civilized way. Start promoting zero tolerance to the nuisance behaviours that are killing our communities. Get stricter on the consequences of drunken behaviour. Zero drunks in public places for example. Stay inside somewhere if you drink alcohol. Don’t be roaming around the roads, in stores, and driving drunk over there to bother your ex, or your sister! Or her husband. Vote yes to having full access to alcohol, but make it your responsibility to use it in safe environment. Vote yes, but demand firmed bylaws to deal with the idiots, that make it bad for us all.

#4. Posted by kitikmeot on January 09, 2018

These alcohol education committee’s denies all alcoholics to resort to some sort of alcohol consumption.  It’s more than likely homebrew  
or listerine, anything with alcohol for that matter. This deeply shows in a community of the Kitikmeot.

#5. Posted by Bootlegger on January 09, 2018

Time to put your neighborhood Al Capone out of business

#6. Posted by none of your business on January 09, 2018

I have seen so many deaths and so many violence on alcohol in my own home town baker lake, baker lake ajuqtis to drink, only to smoke weed thats it, but i know some people are pure sober,

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