Behchokǫ̀ to Hold Liquor Plebiscite

September 23, 2016 - Behchokǫ̀, Northwest Territories
Behchokǫ̀ to Hold Liquor Plebiscite 

Council for the Community Government of Behchokǫ̀ has agreed to hold another Liquor Plebiscite with the intent of removing all alcohol restrictions in the community. 

Says Chief Clifford Daniels, “The topic has come up in couple of our recent public meetings, and Council has discussed the Pro’s and Con’s of lifting the Liquor Prohibition. Responding to the comments of our residents, Council believes it is again time to hold a plebiscite.” 

Chief Daniels added “A plebiscite was held in 2009, but the question wasn’t clear, and it was almost a situation where No was Yes and Yes was No. Council wants to make the question very clear this time and we are working closely with the Liquor Enforcement department to hold this new vote.” 

The decision to repeal Behchokǫ̀’s liquor restrictions is something that only the GNWT can do, so Behchokǫ̀ Council must make application to the GNWT to hold a plebiscite to lift the ban. If the result of the plebiscite supports the lifting of the ban, then the GNWT will start the process. Says Chief Daniels, “A formal letter was sent to the Minister requesting a community plebiscite to take place, but approval for the vote has not yet been given nor has a date been selected. I have asked our Administration start updating our Voter’s List in preparation for approval if and when it comes.” 

Currently Behchokǫ̀ is one of four Tłı̨chǫ communities that have liquor bans. If Behchokǫ̀ is successful with the request for a plebiscite and the vote supports the lifting of the liquor ban, removal of the alcohol restriction will not happen immediately. The Minister must bring new legislation to the Legislature to repeal and lift the liquor ban, and that could take several more months.

Says Chief Daniels, “Certainly Council will follow the decision of our residents, but I also think that it is time for our residents to be treated like those in Yellowknife and Hay River, and have access to alcohol in our community. There will always be a few who abuse alcohol, and we deal with them now even though we are supposed to have a community-wide ban. The vast majourity of our residents are mature enough to handle liquor responsibly when they are visiting other communities where there is no ban. I believe that they can also behave responsibly in their own homes.

Media inquiries please contact:

Chief Clifford Daniels

Community Government Behchokǫ̀

Phone: (867)-392-6385

(867) 446-6465 (Cell)

Larry Baran, SAO
Community Government of Behchokǫ̀
Phone: (867) 392-6500 or
(Cell) 867-446-0092

 

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