Tu Nehde-Wiilideh MLA calls on government to limit alcohol sales to combat bootlegging

Yellowknife RCMP seized this suspected bootleg booze earlier this month (photo courtesy of RCMP)

The MLA for Tu Nehde-Wiilideh says the territorial government must put the brakes on bulk buying at the liquor store to combat bootlegging in the Northwest Territories.

Tom Beaulieu says when folks buy a full case of booze from the liquor store – everyone knows that the bottles are going for resale – more often than not – out in the communities.

I believe the causes of alcohol abuse in small communities, some of the causes, can be attributed to bootlegging,” Beaulieu told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. “I think it is time for us as a government to look at ways of preventing bootleggers from running a thriving business at the expense of our citizens.”

Beaulieu says he’s not sure whether extending liquor store hours of operation or cutting back on them is a good solution necessarily, but he is sure getting rid of bulk buying would help.

“A person should not be allowed to buy cases and cases of hard liquor, take them home for after the liquor store hours are closed, and then they have it for resale. We put restrictions on the purchase of cannabis and the possession of cannabis. I think we can do the same with alcohol,” Beaulieu said. “We must find a way to prevent the bootleggers from going to the liquor store and buying all kinds of alcohol, and everybody knows it’s for resale, without affecting the average citizen who wishes to go to the liquor store and buy some wine or some beer or even some hard liquor for themselves, for their own consumption in their homes, so we must find a happy medium.”

He adds allowing bootleggers to buy unlimited amount of alcohol from liquor stores is not correct, and should be stopped.

In some states in the U.S. Midwest, limits have been put on how much cold medication you can buy at a time after authorities realized people were using it to make the illegal drug Crystal Meth.

Beaulieu’s comments come roughly one week after Yellowknife RCMP made possibly the largest ever seizure of suspected booze for bootlegging in the NWT at a city apartment.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.