Editor’s note: People in 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 Janet Brewster who is for the store. To read an example of someone against opening a store click here.)
APTN National News
I’ve been in Iqaluit for 10 or 12 years now. I’m sorry for being late, I’ve been following the feeds, the social networking feeds, while being a parent at home, cooking and putting my son to bed. I was really moved by the things a lot of people said, and spoke about.
One of the issues that kept coming up was the abuse, and the pain and suffering that alcohol caused. I don’t normally do this, but I felt compelled to come here to say, because somebody said ‘where are all these people who survived the 70s.
I was born in 1970, and it made me feel like I needed to come and say, I’m a childhood survivor of sexual and physical abuse, and alcohol didn’t abuse me, people did.
When we talk about, in this context, about whether we need a place for people to access alcohol, as opposed to having an addictions treatment centre, my feeling is that when we focus on treating addictions we’re not really treating the real issue, and that’s the underlying trauma that people are suffering, that could cause them to drink too much.
I drink. I drink responsibly. My children know I drink, my children are around me when I drink, I keep them safe. I teach them good drinking habits, by showing them responsible drinking. I’ve grown up all over the North and all over the South, I’ve lived just strictly among Inuit, I’ve lived in places where my entire neighbourhood was non-Inuit, and alcoholism was everywhere, addictions were everywhere.
Those types of issues don’t distinguish between communities. In every community, there should be access to alcohol. Do we have access to smoking? I don’t know if there is any correlation between smoking responsibly and drinking responsibly. We all have things that come at us every day that could affect our daily lives.
One thing I’m most grateful for is, there were times where I was put in situations where people were drinking irresponsibly, and were being abusive, and being abused. I was also put in situations where I was able to see people drinking responsibly. I got to see people make healthy choices. Without that, I don’t know if I would make healthy choices, but the option was there.
I learned by seeing the value of those healthy choices, and having the choice. Taking the choice away from people doesn’t solve the issue. If we want to talk about where would that money go, the tax money, all that sort of thing, we know that sometimes taxes pay for programming, sometimes they don’t, sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Denying people the opportunity to make healthy choices, to model healthy choices for their children, doesn’t make sense to me.
Thanks for listening.