(74 percent of people in Rankin Inlet voted in favour of allowing a beer and wine store to open in the community.)
APTN National News
The Nunavut regional hubs of Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay have overwhelmingly voted to allow for a beer and wine store in their communities.
In Rankin Inlet, 74 percent of voters selected yes. In Cambridge Bay, 82 percent of ballots cast were in favour.
Both communities are the central community of their region,
Rankin Inlet for Nunavut’s central Kivalliq region, Cambridge Bay for the western Kitikmeot region.
For most people, flights and cargo travel through these centres before reaching more remote communities.
The two join Iqaluit, where 73 percent voted for a beer and wine store in 2015. That store has yet to open, with a tentative plan in place to begin legal sales this summer.
The government has promoted the beer and wine store solution as harm reduction – hoping that legal alcohol availability will stem the tide of hard liquor favoured by bootleggers.
As proposed by the Government of Nunavut, the beer and wine stores will be heavily restricted.
Customers will be limited to 12 beer or two bottles of wine a day, and purchase records will be kept to enforce that rule.
The limits and claims of harm reduction were not enough for former Nunavut premier and then Justice minister Paul Okalik.
In March 2016, he left Nunavut’s cabinet, saying he could not support the government’s plan for legal beer and wine sales, unless they opened a treatment facility.
There is no alcohol rehab facility in Nunavut.
Any community in Nunavut looking to open a legal beer and wine store first has to have a vote like this one.
The votes are non-binding, and must be called if 20 residents sign a petition asking for a vote.