Debating a wine and beer store in Iqaluit: The cons

Good evening, I want to thank you for inviting us here, I’ll speak in English and I’m speaking on behalf of Noah Papatsie. My name is Noah Papatsie.

(Editor’s note: Residents of Iqaluit are currently debating allowing a beer and wine store to open. The community has not had a store that sold alcohol since the 1970s. The opinions are passionate. Here is an example of what officials heard at a recent public meetings in Iqaluit from resident Noah Papatsie who opposes the store. To read an example of someone for opening a store click here.)

APTN National News
Good evening, I want to thank you for inviting us here, I’ll speak in English and I’m speaking on behalf of Noah Papatsie. My name is Noah Papatsie.

First of all, I would like to say, I think the GN (government of Nunavut) should be more prepared with the numbers. It is needed to show that nothing is ready right now. We can completely hear that right now, people ask for some numbers and we don’t really hear anything. I’m pretty sure there’s three, four, five of you sitting up there, I can’t see you but I can hear everything. (Editor’s note – Papatsie is visually impaired)

I’m glad there’s a lot of Inuit speaking up here. I totally support the elders, very, 100 per cent.

I too went through a lot myself. I too myself went through alcohol. I too myself lost a son to alcohol. And I also lost a sister. And not only that, I keep losing family, cousins, each year due to alcohol. It keeps going on and on and on, ever since they last opened one up.

Right now, there is a lot of bootlegging, and you were wrong about the price. It’s not 180 bucks [for a 60 oz of vodka), it’s way more than that. People spend every little bit of their money, on this stuff. I know, because I’ve been on the streets myself. I know a lot of people who are out there who does it.  And I know a lot of people who smoke drugs.

This is on a cycle. It’s all about control. Who is gonna control who this time? I mean, people are being controlled by social services, you need signatures to get your money. Wow, I mean, this is all about control.

I totally support the elders, very much. If were going the direction in the way of their knowledge, and their tradition, if we’re going that way, we need to help each other, not away from it. We gotta listen to them . This is our Nunavut, not other people.  This is ours. If you want to be part of it, help, not criticize. We gotta work together to make things better.

Opening a beer and wine store is still going to create a chaos. Let’s put it that way, it’s going to create a chaos. People need to be prepared, everyone. That includes elders, children, mothers, fathers.

And there’s no facilities, people keep saying that. And that’s true. But when they open one up, there’s no more funding. Why? It [a treatment facility] was working out last time. Why didn’t anyone reach down and keep this open? Maybe today, things will be great? Maybe, maybe not.

I myself, I’ve seen it, I’ve used it, and I lost family from it. It’s out of control and there’s a lot of people who want to do what’s right. The thing is talking to each other, one another, listening to each other, helping each other, either way. And we can make a decision from there.

People should have gone to the elders first, before it even came here. Really. I support elders. I don’t see myself as a person with a disability, ever since my accident, I never stop, I kept on going. Because I wanted to. I wanted to help. So this si why I’m here today.

Thank you very much.

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