Quenching your thirst under the shade of the beer tent could soon become a thing of the past at major municipal events in HRM.
The municipality’s 23 councillors are set to debate a motion tomorrow night that could lead to the elimination of all alcoholic products and advertisements at festivals, parades and other celebrations organized by HRM.
Coun. Gloria McCluskey (Dartmouth Centre), who put forward the motion, said she believes alcohol sponsorships glamorize drinking and send the wrong message to young people attending what are supposed to be family-friendly events.
“It’s been shown in many studies that the more youth are exposed to alcohol consumption or advertising, the more likely it is that they will start drinking at an earlier age,” she said. “I’m not out on a crusade against liquor, but we should certainly be able to provide a Natal Day or Canada Day party with other sponsors in place.”
But at least one councillor isn’t buying that argument.
Coun. Sue Uteck (Northwest Arm-South End) said eliminating alcohol sponsorship could lead HRM down a slippery slope.
“It’s absolutely absurd to target one group,” she argued. “Where do we stop? What if Cialis comes in and wants to sponsor the Family Day weekend? Are we going to object to that?”
The municipality pulls in about $100,000 a year from alcohol-related sponsorships, and Uteck said filling that gap would be next to impossible.
“You’ve got to take dollars where dollars are happening,” she said. “When DuMaurier dropped out of the jazz festival, it nearly killed it.”
McCluskey said she’ll be presenting facts and figures to support her argument, but if her motion is defeated she’ll drop the issue.
“I’m not going to lobby councillors about this,” she said. “If they can’t see the harm that this is doing, then that’s their decision.”