Residents of small Alberta town reject alcohol sales in plebiscite

A ban on alcohol sales that has been in place since Alberta first became a province will remain in effect after residents voted overwhelmingly against the proposal in a plebiscite in the town of Cardston on Monday.

CARDSTON — A ban on alcohol sales that has been in place since Alberta first became a province will remain in effect after residents voted overwhelmingly against the proposal in a plebiscite in the town of Cardston on Monday.

The predominantly Mormon town, 240 kilometres south of Calgary, has been dry for the past 109 years. It was founded in 1887 by Mormon settlers.

The religion prohibits drinking coffee, tea and alcohol, and believes Sundays are holy and should be about reflection.

But local business owners, concerned they were losing business to other communities that allow the sale of alcohol, pushed for the non-binding plebiscite that would have limited the sale of booze to restaurants with a meal or at the local golf course or recreational facility.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of the town’s 3,500 residents, who are 80 per cent Mormon, rejected the proposal. The final results were 1,089 voting no and 347 in favour of the move.

“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,” said Cardston Mayor Maggie Kronen.

“At this point I would say this puts it to rest. I think perhaps you would have to have a new generation of people before that happens again.”

Throughout the day, a steady stream of residents made their way into the Cardston Civic Centre, located just a few blocks from the Cardston Temple. The gleaming granite monolith, built over 100 years ago on four hectares of land, is visible from almost everywhere in Cardston.

But the sale of alcohol didn’t seem to be a religious issue for some of those voting.

Ernest Watts, an Australian who moved to Cardston more than 50 years ago, was worried the town would lose part of what made the community special if alcohol was allowed to be sold.

“At my age, I like Cardston the way that it is and that’s the reason I’ve stayed here for 55 years,” said Watts, who is Mormon.

“If it passes there will be major changes in the town and the changes that would be coming if it did pass would be much like everywhere else. We just love Cardston for what it stands for.”

Watts said some of the business people would prefer it because of the extra money it would bring in. He was reasonably confident the proposal would fail.

“I’d be worse than shocked if it passed. I think I’d get on the booze,” Watts said with a chuckle.

But Marilyn Williams, who is also a member of the Mormon church, said she didn’t see what the big deal was all about.

“I agree that the restaurants and the golf course should be able to because they lose thousands of dollars every month,” Williams 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.”

Kronen said in the end, the Mormon beliefs at least played a role in the decision.

“It is really difficult to determine what motivated people one way or the other but I’m sure their faith and their values has something to do with it.”

Currently the two nearest communities where alcohol can be obtained are Fort Macleod to the north and Lethbridge to the northeast.

Just Posted

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Inflation accelerates as higher airfares, vegetable prices offset cheaper gas

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated to two per cent last… Continue reading

Paying down debt should be priority for low income workers, say experts

TORONTO — Investment planning can often be seen as a luxury for… Continue reading

Alberta couple wants cash and charges dropped in meningitis death of their son

CALGARY — An Alberta couple facing a second trial in the meningitis… Continue reading

Moose Jaw wants to challenge Norway for tallest moose statue title

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The City of Moose Jaw, Sask., is on… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Russian fighter jets collide over Sea of Japan crews eject

One plane crashed after its crew ejected safely, the other crew also ejected but they have not been found

Judge to deliver verdict in British sailor’s gang rape case

The alleged gang rape took place at a Halifax-area military base in 2015

B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

The government had estimated that it was a $200-million a year operation, instead estimates now peg the problem at $1 billion annually

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read