its a beginning

This week, Jim Kenyon, minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corp., announced warning and suspension letters issued to local bars and restaurants…

This week, Jim Kenyon, minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corp., announced warning and suspension letters issued to local bars and restaurants will be available online.

It’s not a groundbreaking move — the information is routinely available in other jurisdictions — but Kenyon and the Yukon Liquor Corp. deserve credit for making the information readily available.

Posting liquor-inspection reports online is a positive stride toward making the Yukon government more transparent and accountable.

At best, it means establishments flouting the laws will be publicly exposed and held accountable for their negligence.

Alternately, those following the rules will get credit by being conspicuously absent from mention on the website.

And it’s an excellent first step in curbing illicit activity downtown.

In his announcement, Kenyon bragged about the number of licenced-premise checks the liquor corp. completed in 2005 and 2006.

“In the fiscal year 2005-06, there were 1,343 inspections made. So far, in the fiscal year 2006, there have been 1,667 checks,” he told the legislature.

That’s great.

But what happened in 2004-05 when there were just 784 premise checks, according to the liquor corporation’s annual reports.

According to Kenyon’s figures, this year’s total should double that pitiful number and surpass inspection rates from years past — from 1999 to 2003 there were between 1,100 and 1,750 done yearly.

And inspections are only the beginning. Bars that regularly flout the laws should be shut down for a day or two. Or a week. That would send a message that scofflaws are not tolerated.

To date, such follow through is sadly lacking.

But to make it happen, Kenyon will need more liquor inspectors. At last count the liquor corporation had just one for the whole territory.

So there are profound problems still to be solved.

But Kenyon has taken a first step.

We hope it heralds a new, tougher approach to enforcement in the territory.