Fort Simpson votes to scrap decades-old liquor restrictions

·1 min read

Residents in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., have voted in favour of lifting restrictions on how much liquor a person can buy in one day.

A plebiscite was held on Thursday in the community, and an advance poll was held last week. Of the 240 votes cast, 175 were in favour of removing the restrictions, or 73 per cent. Fifty-eight voted against.

About 33 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.

"The preparation of the regulation to remove the restrictions will take several weeks, and it should be noted that the restrictions at the liquor store will remain in place until the regulation has been registered," wrote N.W.T. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek, in a letter to Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly on Friday.

The village's current restrictions — which date to the 1980s — say vendors cannot sell more than this amount of liquor to one person in one day:

  • 1,140 ml of spirits and 12 355 ml containers of beer.

  • 1,140 ml of spirits and 2 L of wine.

  • 2 L of wine and 12 355 ml containers of beer.

  • 24 355 ml containers of beer and 1L of wine.

Whelly has said the liquor restrictions create some unique problems in his community, such as a long line of people filing into the liquor store every day at 3 p.m. like clockwork. Others sell their services outside the liquor store, offering to go buy more bottles for someone else.