North

Iqaluit residents vote 'yes' to proposed beer and wine store

Residents of Iqaluit voted in support of the opening a pilot beer and wine store in the Nunavut capital, in a non-binding plebiscite held Monday.

Plebiscite results find 1,126 to 326 in favour of store

As part of the Iqaluit liquor plebiscite on Monday, citizens were asked, 'Are you in favour of a beer and wine store opening in Iqaluit?' (Jordan Konek/CBC)

People in Iqaluit voted 1,126 to 326 on Monday in favour of a proposed beer and wine store in the Nunavut capital, a "yes" vote of about 77 per cent.

The first-of-its-kind plebiscite asked a simple "yes" or "no" question: "Are you in favour of a beer and wine store opening in Iqaluit?"

Fewer than half of those on the voter's list cast ballots. In all, 1,462 city residents voted, representing just 40 per cent of those eligible.

Nunavut chief electoral officer Sandy Kusugak said she was surprised by the low turnout as the plebiscite was the talk of the town. As she put it, you would have to be under a rock not to hear about it.

"People might not have an opinion about a politician [but] they really do have their opinions on booze and polar bears and fish," she said.

Tania Scott, the returning officer for Elections Nunavut, said Iqaluit residents should keep in mind the outcome of the plebiscite is not the final decision.

Instead, it's meant to help gauge public opinion on the retail sale of beer and wine in Iqaluit.

She said at the end of the day, it's up to cabinet to make the final decision.

The proposed store would require customers to set up an account, and it would cap sales at one case of 12 beer and two bottles of wine per day.

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