Mormon Town in Canada Won’t Budge on Alcohol Sales

Cardston residents overwhelmingly voted against the sale of alcohol in their hometown
Cardston residents overwhelmingly voted against the sale of alcohol in their town. (@calgaryherald)

EspañolOn October 6, the residents of Cardston, Alberta overwhelmingly voted against a proposal to lift the town’s ban on the sale of alcohol. Founded by Mormon settlers in 1887, Cardston has prohibited the sale of alcohol within its borders for the last 109 years.

The majority of the town’s 3,500 residents belong to the Mormon faith, which forbids the consumption of alcohol, as well as coffee and tea.

Local business owners have expressed concern that they are losing business to other surrounding communities that permit alcohol sales. They pushed for a non-binding plebiscite to allow for limited sales of alcohol at restaurants, golf courses, and recreational facilities.

The final results of the vote, however, revealed only 347 residents to be in favor of the proposal, while 1,089 rejected the new policy.

Ernest Watts, an Australian who moved to Cardston over 50 years ago, says the decision to vote down the proposal was not necessarily motivated by religion. Although a Mormon himself, Watts says he likes Cardston “the way that it is” and was worried the town would lose part of what has made it special if the ban were lifted.

Marilyn Williams, also a Mormon, indicated a change in alcohol policy would not affect her own personal beliefs one way or the other and supported the proposal. “I agree that the restaurants and the golf course should be able to because they lose thousands of dollars every month,” she said.

“So I’m for alcohol in the restaurants, but not to be sold in liquor stores on the streets. I don’t drink and make my choice. I don’t shop on Sunday either, but the stores are open.”

Cardston Mayor Maggie Kronen was not surprised by the outcome of the vote. “I am not surprised, because at the end once the people have had the chance to really consider the outcome of the prohibition law, it’s very difficult to have a middle ground,” she said.

She further stated that she believes this issue is now put to rest, and that the town would need a new generation of voters before their alcohol policy is put to a vote again.

Besides the alcohol ban, other voting issues included adding fluoride to the town’s water supply and whether or not residents can be allowed chickens in their backyards.

Source: Calgary Herald.

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