Letter: Writer registers strong opposition to M’Chigeeng liquor store proposal

There is a long history of alcohol being used as a tool of colonization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an open letter to those in decision-making positions at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

To whom it may concern,

Further to your survey seeking community input about introducing liquor services to M’Chigeeng through LCBO, as an elder in this community whose family has always been here, I am writing to register my strong opposition to this.

There is a long history of alcohol being used as a tool of colonization in M’Chigeeng which I call upon in opposing the idea of bringing LCBO to our community:

1) Since early relations, non-Natives have used alcohol to take advantage of us in many ways including taking our land.

2) Alcohol was used by non-Natives to judge and control us. For instance, the government prohibited our use of it and then said if we wanted to use it, we would have to give up our Nativeness and become Canadians; we would have to enfranchise.

3) The RCMP, with the authority to police our use of alcohol, entered our homes at will, destroying what little furniture we had while searching for alcohol.

Whereas before they brought it to us to take advantage of us and then later, they used it to control us, enter our homes and try to assimilate us, now they want to bring it into our community again. Why?

Further, the impacts of alcohol and other substances in our community are profound. It has brought many forms of violence. It has caused addictions. It creates more risk for our youth. M’Chigeeng does not have the adequate resources as it is to provide treatment for those suffering from addictions or violence or to build effective prevention. Why would we allow a liquor service to be brought right into the heart of our community when there is so much suffering brought by alcohol already?

Liquor services in our community will not improve our lives. It will take money out of our people’s pockets and put it into LCBO’s. Also, there are services, such as banking services, that would be better for us. Since alcohol has been used in different ways in history against us, we have to ask, why is this service being offered to us? Why now? Who really benefits from having an LCBO service in the grocery store? And what will the costs of those benefits be to our people? 

Those who use alcohol recreationally and responsibly can continue to get it as they always have; doing so will not bring harm to then. I am speaking about ensuring we make decisions that keep us strong. Bringing LCBO into our community will not do this.

Nahaaw, mii sa iw,

George Corbiere

M’Chigeeng