Liquor Act changes watered down

The Yukon Liquor Act is being stirred, not shaken. Amendments introduced by the government could make distilleries legal.

The Yukon Liquor Act is being stirred, not shaken.

Amendments introduced by the government could make distilleries legal.

And that’s about the only anticipated change.

Still, (pun intended) making stills legal is welcome news for Yukon Brewing Co.

The company recently explored adding liquor to its beverage line, which is currently restricted to beer.

The dream was put on ice until the last obstacle — the whole legal thing — had been cleared.

“Now that it has, we can get this project back on track,” said Yukon Brewing president Bob Baxter.

Baxter’s looking to buy a still.

The “sky’s the limit” to the beverages he could produce, he said.

But both opposition parties feel the latest cocktail of changes to the liquor act lack punch.

A comprehensive review of the act, including public consultations, was conducted under former Liberal Premier Pat Duncan’s government.

The latest changes are a quick amendment that has avoided the hard work needed to change the act, say the Liberals.

The NDP say that review started before Duncan, under — wait for it! — the NDP.

And they’re calling on Liquor Corp. Minister Jim Kenyon to come clean with some numbers.

Liquor and beer consumption rates in the Yukon dwarf the rest of Canada.

The government says tourists boost the numbers.

The NDP disagrees.

“The tourists don’t have a huge impact on liquor consumption in the Yukon,” said Cardiff.

He accused Kenyon of refusing to break down the stats as a way to cover up just how much we drink.

“You would know if there is a problem,” he said.

The Yukon Liquor Corp. is expected to make about $9.1 million in sales and taxes from booze this year.

Landlord tenant act(ion)

The New Democrats are calling for a review of the “outdated” Landlord and Tenant Act.

Changes to the act, last revised in 2002, are “long overdue to make the legislation more understandable, more accessible and more responsive to the needs of both landlords and tenants,” reads an NDP motion.

It notes that under the current rules there is often no way to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, effectively depriving both sides of legal protection.

And it calls on the government to outline minimum housing and health standards, and a mechanism for solving landlord-tenant disputes.

Last year, the News analyzed the act and found holes compared with other jurisdictions in Canada.

Unlike Ontario — where an independent body can receive complaints from both sides and issue legal orders — the Yukon consumer affairs office can arbitrate disputes only when landlords and tenants both agree to participate.

The office can issue orders to landlords or tenants in such a situation.

But if one side refuses to participate, the office is rendered powerless.

Climate change

in motion

They rarely do it.

But this week, the legislature unanimously agreed to pass a Liberal motion — calling for the government to take immediate action on climate change.

Cardiff ‘the man’

Mike Stack credits NDPer Steve Cardiff with helping him get a lake-like puddle on the old Annie Lake road pumped dry.

Cardiff raised the issue in the Yukon legislature on Monday.

On Tuesday, after a long wait filled with letters and phone calls, the puddle — which was more than 120-metres long and a half-metre deep — was pumped by Highways and Public Works.

“Steve was the man of the hour,” said Stack.

His work, along with Stack’s constant barrage of phone calls and pressure, led to action, said Stack.

Incorrect information appeared in Wednesday’s story about the puddle.

Stack has been applying for work on the road under the Rural Roads Program.

That program is funded by the Yukon, not Ottawa, as reported Wednesday.

Tooting the Horne

On Thursday, Liberal justice critic Inverarity got more strange answers from Justice Minister Marian Horne.

Inverarity and Horne are newbies to the legislature.

But Horne is already a minister, and is paid $79,624 a year.

She struggles to answer questions.

Inverarity asked Horne about his recent proposals to extend the period to file a human rights complaint from six months to two years.

Horne didn’t read from a prepared statement to answer, as she usually does.

“Our government is concerned about the Human Rights Act and the ability of Yukoners to present their concerns to the board,” she said.

She paused.

“We are addressing this and it is going before a board of …”

She paused.

“This is only one part of the problem with the commission and it is going to be investigated fully.”

She sat down.

Inverarity is diplomatic about the situation.

“We’re both new,” he said before conceding frustration.

“I would think that after this period of time that the Justice minister would be better informed,” he said. “She’s got a whole staff, where it’s just me here.

“I can ask the questions; I’m not getting the answers that I’m looking for.”