Wine and beer on sale again in free Nunavut

News 7 September, 2017
  • AFP

    Wednesday, 6 September 2017 20:53

    UPDATE
    Wednesday, September 6, 2017 21:11

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    A shop selling wine and beer opened Wednesday in Nunavut, in the canadian North, the first in the territory’s predominantly inuit for more than forty years.

    A previous trade had been closed in the 1970s by the local authorities in the name of the fight against alcoholism, which is a real problem among the local population.

    Managed by the territorial government, the store opened its doors in the capital of Iqaluit, and “will sell beer and wine at affordable prices in order to fight against smuggling and excessive alcohol consumption and encourage citizens to drink responsibly”, said the minister of Finance, Nunavut Keith Peterson.

    The government of this vast territory, almost four times the size of France but populated by only 35 000 inhabitants, and was torn around this project in 2015, while inuit villages that still apply the strict prohibition of alcohol.

    The former Prime minister, Paul Okalik, resolutely against the project, had handed in his resignation in protest.

    “My name is Paul and I’m an alcoholic,” he said in announcing his decision. It was against the free sale of wine and beer for lack of a detoxification centre in Nunavut.

    Submitted to a referendum, the opening of the store had finally been ratified by a vast majority of the 7 700 inhabitants of Iqaluit.

    “When we go in the South, we can buy alcohol at any time”, said one of the first customers in the store, Ragee Adla, to the CBC. “You know, we are all Canadians. We need to be treated in the same way as any canadian citizen”.

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