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Allegations of underage drinking at recent Liberal party events have resulted in at least one establishment being slapped with a liquor licence suspension.
The Guild on Queen Street cannot serve alcohol from June 6 to June 9.
The establishment was served with a suspension of its licence after an investigation by the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission (PEILCC) into allegations of underage drinking at a wine-and-cheese social hosted in the building by the Brighton Liberal Association in April.
“It was reported in the paper and the inspectors went out and did a review and after doing that review, they felt there was enough evidence to warrant what the accusations were,” Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said in an interview Thursday.
“In this particular case those rules were not followed and there was enough evidence to warrant a suspension of the licence for three days.”
In April, The Guardian published a story detailing concerns raised by two members of the Young Liberals of P.E.I. who say they witnessed an excessive amount of alcohol being consumed by underage youth at a handful of Liberal party meetings and events.
One of those events was the wine-and-cheese social at The Guild, which was attended by a number of high-profile members of the Liberal party, including the premier, and members of the business community.
Bria MacCallum and Chelsea Willis told The Guardian in April drink tickets were given that evening to anyone who wanted them.
“No one asked for ID," Willis told The Guardian in April.
"There was 16-year-olds going up ... getting drinks and drinking them ... It's a safety issue for the event holders, for the establishments, because if they were ever caught, they would lose their licence."
Henderson said Thursday that’s just what has happened. Regardless of who was hosting the event, it is the responsibility of the licensed establishment to ensure liquor laws are upheld, he said.
“The reality is in these events, it has nothing to do with whether it’s the Liberal party or the NDP party of the Conservative party… it is the responsibility of the server to make sure that the rules of the Liquor Control Commission are abided by.”
The Guild is not the only establishment that will likely face penalties for the concerns raised by Willis and MacCallum.
The two young women also detailed a Liberal youth event at a downtown hotel where a keg of beer was provided to youth in attendance, some of whom were still in high school.
The Guardian has learned this and one other establishment were also investigated by liquor inspectors and may too face penalties such as licence suspension or a potential fine.
Henderson confirmed Thursday this will ‘more than likely’ happen.
“Those other locations were also investigated for the same accusations, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes back from the liquor control commission on what the (ruling) might be or if there was enough evidence to warrant a suspension.”
The Guardian has also learned The Guild was given the option to choose the days on which its licence would be suspended.
A staff member contacted by The Guardian declined to comment on this story.