Booze restrictions to stay in three Nunavut hamlets

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

The residents of three hamlets in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut have voted to continue to restrict alcohol in their communities.

Plebiscites were held in Arviat, Chesterfield Inlet and Kugluktuk on Monday.

Residents were asked to say yes or no to proposals that would see all restrictions on alcohol dropped.

In Arviat, with a population of 2,415 people, some 509 voted for the community to remain dry, as it has been for almost 40 years, while 226 voted to get rid of the ban.

In Chesterfield Inlet, which has 373 residents, 38 people voted against lifting current restrictions with 25 people voting for more access to alcohol.

In Kugluktuk, which has 1,492 residents, 230 people voted against changes to the current liquor restrictions, while 180 were in favor.

In that community, each household is allowed one 60-ounce, one 40-ounce and one 26-ounce bottle of spirits, 24 beers and 4 liters of wine every week. But the right to order those beverages is not guaranteed.

As in Chesterfield Inlet, a locally elected alcohol education committee reviews all orders. If applicants have had alcohol-involved incidents with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the committee will limit purchases or deny permits.

All three communities will keep the restrictions until the next plebiscite is called, and that won’t happen for at least three years.

The plebiscites require 60 percent of the vote to be in favor of changes before the liquor rules can be altered.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.