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Thread: Retail booze in Nunavut? Proceed with caution.

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    Retail booze in Nunavut? Proceed with caution.

    EDITORIAL: Nunavut May 03, 2013 - 7:08 am
    NUNATSIAQ NEWS
    Despite its sometimes questionable recommendations, last fall’s report of the Nunavut Liquor Act Review Task Force got at least one thing right: that Nunavut’s destructive relationship with alcohol is rooted in culture, specifically “drinking culture.”

    By this they mean the widespread veneration of the 60-ounce plastic jug of vodka — by large numbers of binge drinkers who consume liquor as if there were a prize at the bottom of the bottle.

    “Our recommendations place major emphases on efforts to change the drinking culture…,” the task force said.

    By “culture” they mean learned behaviour: what people actually do in their lived lives. Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse are not genetic or confined to any particular race. They’re rooted in unhealthy practices that people learn and then transform into rigid habits and destructive addictions.

    The people of Nunavut aren’t alone in this. Binge drinking and chronic alcoholism fester throughout the world’s northern regions. Russia, Finland, Norway, Alaska, Ireland, the United Kingdom and many other places also suffer from dysfunctional drinking cultures.

    Substance abuse isn’t genetic. It’s rooted in learned behaviour. And that’s why the task force recommends using the levers of government to change the drinking culture.

    To that end, they urge harm reduction, not prohibition. They’re stated goal is two-fold: to promote moderate drinking and to reduce bootlegging by eliminating incentives that motivate the buying and selling of illegal liquor.

    But the Government of Nunavut, and MLAs, must exercise caution in carrying out its recommendations. Regardless of what the government may decree, these deeply-rooted practices won’t change overnight.

    For starters, after this fall’s territorial election, the GN will look at experimental retail sales of beer and wine from either or both of its warehouse outlets in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet. This is aimed at reducing bootlegging and promoting moderate drinking.

    If the GN goes ahead with this, they must prepare for a backlash, especially in Iqaluit, where many residents will resist the retail liquor sales.

    Second, the GN must prepare for the possibility of increased, rather than decreased consumption. People can binge on wine and beer as easily as they can binge on vodka — and the early consequences of such an early experiment may not be pretty to look at.

    The task force also recommends the eventual creation of a Nunavut Liquor Corp. that would hold a territory-wide monopoly over all Nunavut liquor sales, wholesale and retail — and a near-total ban on legal liquor imports from outside Nunavut.

    We hope the GN considers all this with the utmost care.

    Read the rest Here.

    I think this has the potential to do a lot of good in the long run, but at first, I think things are going to be a little crazy.
    What are your thoughts on this article?

  2. #2
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    Nunavut steps closer to easing alcohol rules
    Proposed changes to territory’s Liquor Act headed for committee review
    A CBC News North Article

    Nunavut is one step closer to selling alcohol directly to customers in some communities.

    Amendments to the territory’s Liquor Act were introduced this week in the Legislative Assembly.

    There are four proposed changes:

    a pilot project to have liquor stores open in the territory.
    stiffer fines for bootleggers: $25,000 for a first offence, and up to $50,000 for a second offence, which is in line with a task force recommendation for larger fines.
    increased amounts of liquor a person can import: three litres of spirits or nine litres of wine, or 26 litres of beer.
    the Liquor Revolving Fund could be used for alcohol education campaigns.
    “As the minister responsible for the liquor act, I’m not just going to open liquor stores without talking to people. There would be community consultations, talking to community councils and other groups to see how they feel about it,” said Finance Minister Keith Peterson.

    Some MLAs don't agree with simply amending the Act. They said there should be a new one.

    Keith Peterson, the minister responsible for the Nunavut Liquor Commission, said he won't introduce changes to the Liquor Act without consulting with residents. (CBC)
    “When our government started, they had said that the Liquor Act would be reviewed in the Tamapta mandate. Communities were consulted, yet the whole act is not being amended,” said Louis Tapardjuk, Amittuq MLA.

    The bill passed second reading Thursday. All cabinet members and three regular MLAs voted in favour. Three MLAs voted against, and four abstained from the vote.

    The bill is now heading to a standing committee for review. The committee has 120 days to report back to the legislature.

    -- For one thing, It probably will help communities who accept it in the long run. But for those that don't accept alchohol into the community it's only going to make it easier for them to acquire and import from communities that do sell it in stores. Any thoughts?

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