Paul Okalik, Nunavut MLA, Quits Over Territory's Plans To Open Liquor Store


Mowich
Conservative
+1
#1

Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik hugs his son Jordan after being sworn-in as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit, Nunavut on April 1, 1999

A veteran politician stood up in Nunavut legislature and announced his resignation from cabinet Thursday in protest over the territory’s plans to open a liquor store.

Paul Okalik opened his remarks with a candid confession: “My name is Paul and I’m an alcoholic.”

Okalik, a former premier who recently served as minister of health and justice, said the birth of his children prompted him to stop drinking, saying he took his last sip of alcohol on June 11, 1991. And, as a recovering alcoholic, he said he could not stand by the government decision.

“I cannot continue as a minister under the current circumstances,” Okalik said.

A majority of Iqaluit residents voted in a plebiscite last year to open a beer and wine store. The decision rattled Okalik, who called it short-sighted given that Nunavut has has no treatment facilities to help people struggling with addiction.

“I cannot support an institution of selling beer and wine in my community, while we don't have the facilities to support those who may not be able to combat their addictions,” he said in his speech.

In addition to the health and justice files, Okalik also served the territory's consensus government — where politicians are elected as independent candidates — as minister responsible for the human rights tribunal, labour standards board, suicide prevention, and immigration.

Peter Taptuna, the territory’s current premier, accepted Okalik’s resignation and in a statement and thanked him for his “dedicated service” to cabinet.

‘I have my limits, and this was one of them’

In an interview with CBC News following news of his resignation, the longtime politician cited his principles as the motivating factor behind his decision to step down from cabinet.

“I’m following the parliamentary convention that we abide by, which is a cabinet system where if a minister cannot live with principles or the decision of cabinet,” the Iqaluit-Sinaa MLA said in an interview.

“And I have my limits, and this was one of them.”

Paul Okalik, Nunavut MLA, Quits Over Territory's Plans To Open Liquor Store

How refreshing - a person who actually stands by their principles. Nunavut's government lost a good man here - hope it might spark them to carefully consider his concerns over treatment centers.




 
darkbeaver
Republican
+2
#2  Top Rated Post
A bold principaled move.
 
gerryh
+1
#3
and because he's an alcoholic, and obviously doesn't trust that he can remain sober if alcohol is easily available, those that CAN drink responsibly must suffer. Oh ya, that's principled....not.
 
petros
+1
#4
Maybe just maybe he can be around liquor with ease but doesn't want to see others go through what he did?
 
darkbeaver
Republican
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Maybe just maybe he can be around liquor with ease but doesn't want to see others go through what he did?

I think he's a good honest man.
 
petros
#6
As he says:

“I cannot support an institution of selling beer and wine in my community, while we don't have the facilities to support those who may not be able to combat their addictions
.

He is right.
 
gerryh
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

As he says:

“I cannot support an institution of selling beer and wine in my community, while we don't have the facilities to support those who may not be able to combat their addictions
.

He is right.


and why hasn't he done something about it? He was once the Premier.
 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
#8
Alcoholism is such a deadly serious problem in the North that I have to applaud the man. It's dry right now for a reason, up there. Somebody is not listening.
 
petros
#9
They tried going the Prohibition and restricted route from when still NWT. 38 years there has been no sales of booze.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#10
Prohibition will not cure the problem.
 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Prohibition will not cure the problem.

Neither will opening up liquor stores in communities where they, themselves have decided to be dry.
 
petros
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Prohibition will not cure the problem.

That is why they want to sell beer. Less hard liquor binge drinking.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Neither will opening up liquor stores in communities where they, themselves have decided to be dry.

Should try reading the article. The citizens took a vote. Decided they are responsible enough to join civilized society. Anyone thinks there is no booze on the rez is living in some fantasy land
 
petros
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Should try reading the article. The citizens took a vote. Decided they are responsible enough to join civilized society. Anyone thinks there is no booze on the rez is living in some fantasy land

See above.

Try this article: Iqaluit hopes to curb alcoholism and binge-drinking by opening city's first beer store in 38 years | National Post
 
damngrumpy
No Party Affiliation
+1
#15
He wasn't intending to lead a movement to outlaw such sales he merely said he
can't support the move with no facilities to help people who will be hurt by such a
move. I agree with Gerry that not everyone should be denied access because of
a few but I do agree there should be services available to those who will be in meed
through a policy laid down be government. It was also a principled move on his part.
 
petros
#16
In some Nunavut communities, up to 95% of police call-outs are believed to be related to alcohol. At Iqaluit’s Baffin Correction Centre, between 90 and 95% of inmates received their sentence as a result of a crime committed while drunk. In 2001, only two years after Nunavut’s founding, justice officials reported that six out of seven of the territory’s murders had involved alcohol.
 

Similar Threads

33
36
BC Liquor Store Ads Race Issues
by dumpthemonarchy | Dec 31st, 2012
1
Gun Store Owner Open Fires on 3 Burglars
by Locutus | Aug 29th, 2012
24
BC Liquor Store Union BCGEU is Braindead
by dumpthemonarchy | Apr 7th, 2012