APTN National News
If Iqaluit residents plan to buy anything from Nunavut’s first beer and wine store, they’re going to need to register first.
That means giving their name and address to the government-operated store.
There will also be a daily limit of two bottles of wine or up to a 12-pack of beer.
The information will create a list so staff at the beer and wine store can monitor purchases, but that list can also be shared with the RCMP.
“The RCMP, under existing law, just like elsewhere in Canada, has the ability to ask the government for information for their own law enforcement purposes,” said Dan Carlson, assistant deputy minister of Nunavut Finance.
“The information that we have would be available to them, under the existing rules that law enforcement has, so they can come to us, and request it.”
There are reasons to be concerned about alcohol in Nunavut, as it leads Canada in crime per capita, according to Statistics Canada, with a rate of four times the national average.
The RCMP say 95 per cent of crime is alcohol related in Nunavut.
Critics question what the RCMP will do with the registry. Many think the RCMP will use the registry to monitor those with criminal offences ordered to stay away from booze.
“We shouldn’t have to register for a beer and wine store,” said resident Annie Angoyuak. “But the beer and wine store should have a list of people who aren’t allowed to drink, who have certain conditions, but that touches on privacy rights.”
But the liquor store won’t be enforcing court orders said Carlson.
“When the courts come out and ask, or tell, somebody they’re not allowed to do something, that responsibility is on them. We don’t want to get into the way of confusing that responsibility.
“We don’t want to suggest that we have the responsibility on behalf of the individual who has been to court. We also don’t want to shift that individual’s responsibility to our clerks,” he said.
Knowing there is no clear plan to enforce the court-ordered ban has some concerned.
“One of the points of having that list was to prevent well, guys who have those court conditions, and commit these crimes, and so on and so forth, to prevent that from happening. So, if they’re not going to check the list, what’s the point in having the list?” said resident David Whitmore.
The store is due to open in a couple weeks and the debate will not likely be settled before the first sales.
It may just be a work in progress.
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