Majority supports alcohol restrictions in Arctic Canadian community of Baker Lake, but motion falls short

The hamlet of Baker Lake in the Arctic Canadian territory of Nunavut. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

There were not enough votes to move to an Alcohol Education Committee system

Residents in Baker Lake, Nunavut, voted to move forward with introducing liquor restrictions in a plebiscite held Monday — but the idea did not gain enough support to meet a key threshold for imposing them.

Of those who voted, 182 people, or 54 per cent of the turnout, voted to move to an Alcohol Education Committee, which would decide who in the community may consume, possess or purchase liquor, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

However, the Liquor Act requires at least 60 per cent of voters to change the status of a community.

“At this time, there will be no changes to the liquor system in Baker Lake,” said Minister of Finance George Hickes.

“I want to thank the residents for voting in the plebiscite.”

The results mean there will continue to be no restriction on the consumption, possession, purchase, sale or transport of liquor in the community.

If the community wishes to revisit the matter in the future, residents can petition to request a new plebiscite.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Police make raids across Montreal as part of investigation into alcohol, drug network selling into Arctic Quebec, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s six-year slump in alcohol sales ends, Yle News

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