The village of Fort Simpson voted to remove liquor restrictions that have been in place for several decades.
The results of the plebiscite found 175 votes in favour of removing the restrictions, 58 opposed to the removal of restrictions and seven rejected ballots.
The vote was run by the Government of the Northwest Territories department of Finance and was held on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Community Hall. The plebiscite followed COVID-19 restrictions, requiring everyone who entered to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.
Mayor Sean Whelly says the vote took place after a group brought forward a petition with around 150 names asking for the restrictions to be removed.
“I am not particularly surprised by the vote,” he says.
Whelly adds some of the older members of his community have alleged the current rationing system can encourage daily drinking.
Going forward he says he hopes to work alongside the Líídlįį Kúę First Nation in establishing more alcohol programing in the community to address possible issues.
In a news release Caroline Wawzonek, minister of Finance, says she will begin implementing the results, but adds it may take a few weeks for regulations to take effect. In the meantime, the restrictions are still in place.
The daily purchasing limit restricts buyers to either:
- Three 375-ml containers of spirits and 12 containers of beer
- Three 375-ml containers of spirits and two bottles of wine
- 12 beers and two bottles of wine, or
- 24 containers of beer and one bottle of wine.