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Inuk woman was not discriminated against by liquor store, adjudicator rules

A human rights adjudicator has ruled there is no evidence a woman was denied service at a Yellowknife liquor store because she is Inuk.

Yellowknife Liquor Shop clerks refused to serve Bessie Kahak because they thought she was drunk

Bessie Kahak says the Yellowknife Liquor Shop refused to serve her because of her race. A human rights adjudicator has ruled Kahak presented no evidence she was denied service because she is Inuk. (CBC)

A human rights adjudicator has ruled there is no evidence a woman was denied service at a Yellowknife liquor store because she is Inuk.

In a written ruling, the adjudicator cleared the Liquor Shop on Old Airport Road of the discrimination complaint.

On March 14, 2014, the Liquor Shop refused to sell Bessie Kahak two six-packs of beer. The clerk said he smelled alcohol on her and that she seemed evasive when he asked her questions.

Kahak left the store, but then her spouse, Donald Mercredi, entered. According to clerks who testified at a hearing, Mercredi was loud and aggressive. One said that when Kahak came back in, she was screaming.

Kahak and Mercredi suggested Kahak was denied service because she is Inuk.

Human rights adjudicator Louis Sebert said, as far as the discrimination complaint is concerned, it doesn't matter if Kahak was intoxicated or not. He said it could have been an honest error.

He said Kahak had presented no evidence that she was refused service because she is Inuk.

The Liquor Shop had asked to be awarded $5,000 to cover its legal costs. Sebert said the Human Rights Act only allows costs to be awarded in special circumstances, and this case was not one of them.

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