Monday, October 6, 2014

Cardston Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposal To Lift The Alcohol Ban In Their Community By A Three-To-One Margin

It is estimated that around 80 percent of the 3,500 or so residents of Cardston, Alberta, Canada are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So it comes as no surprise that on October 6th, 2014, voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to lift the alcohol ban in their community. The strength of the No vote was greater than I expected -- 1,089 against and only 347 for it, despite the fact that Mayor Maggie Kronen, who's LDS, supported the proposal. Direct consumption of alcohol is proscribed by the LDS Word of Wisdom.

If this and another related measure had both passed, it would have lifted the ban on the sale of alcohol at restaurants with a meal, at the golf course, or the recreation facility; it would not have legitimized liquor stores. But even if passed, the ban would not have immediately been lifted; it would simply have given the local government permission to ask the Province of Alberta to amend Cardston's liquor laws. Proponents, led by Cardston Citizens for Positive Progress, claimed lifting the ban would be good for business and give visitors more options for buying alcohol, while opponents, spearheaded by the Cardston Values Alliance, feared lifting the ban would weaken the traditional values which have made Cardston attractive to families. A blog entitled Cardston Plebiscite portrayed the controversy as one group of faithful Mormons contending against another group of faithful Mormons.

A second related proposal was also rejected. In response to the question "If the province would amend legislation to allow limited access in our area, are you in favour of restaurants and/or recreational facilities within the Town of Cardston selling alcohol?", 956 voted No and only 456 voted Yes.

A third proposal for Sunday sports was also rejected, possibly because it was perceived to breach the commandment to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. In response to the question "Are you in favour of allowing sporting events to book Town operated fields and facilities on Sundays?", 960 voted No and only 481 voted Yes.

LDS Church Headquarters took no public stand on these issues. Visit the Cardston municipal website for the remaining plebiscite results.

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