Back in mid-September, when BC Parliamentary Secretary John Yap announced a total review of BC liquor laws based on public and stakeholder imput and then put up a website to gather comments, I thought, he’s either crazy or a genius.
What better way to get the public involved with changing liquor laws than to go all social media with it?
But how crazy to have to sift through thousands of comments in order to make recommendations to Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.
I would not like that job.
The deadline for comments is midnight on October 31. Boo! That’s Halloween.
Comments So Far
The comments are posted in reply to eleven blog posts written by Mr Yap in the last six weeks. As of noon on October 30, there were a little over 3,000 comments, and those are just from the public.
On the stakeholder positions page, there are about 140 comments from everyone from MADD to Vancouver Writers Fest, some of them in multiples.
In my comment to John Yap, I decided to ask for a total abolition and liquidation of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.
Why? There is something inherently wrong with the provincial government competing with private industry and it has to stop. As of this writing, my comment has received 5 ratings of 5 stars.
Read my comment here or below.
My BC Liquor Policy Comment
I believe the best thing the province can do to reform liquor laws is to sell off the Liquor Distribution Branch and get out of the liquor business entirely.
While somewhat socialist, Canada is still a capitalist society, and it makes no sense for the government to compete with industry. Giving businesses and consumers a hard time in the distribution and sales of liquor is an obsolete way to control people’s urge to drink. Overcharging for booze doesn’t stop alcoholics from drinking, it only leaves them with less money to eat.
Regulate liquor sales, maybe, but stop monopolizing liquor distribution and sales in BC.
I’d like to see the province sell distribution licenses to the top 8 bidders and sell them all the current LDB warehouse inventory. These distributors could then set their own price points for bottles they import.
Then, sell licenses to retailers, and sell each BC Liquor Store and its inventory to the top bidders. Then, tax the store’s sales at the current rate.
By shutting down this bureaucratic behemoth known as the LDB, the province will save a ton of money. Selling off its assets will reap hundreds of millions of dollars that would be better used for social programs. The BCLS employees who are absorbed by distributors or retailers may not make the same kind of money, but at least taxpayers would not be subsidizing them.
Privatization of the LDB is not my bright idea. The provincial government thought of it last year and I wrote about it at: http://tastingroomconfidential.com/bc-liquor-distribution-branch-to-sell-out/ . I think the deal fell apart when it became clear how few interests would benefit. But it’s still a good, government-shrinking idea if implemented competitively.
Mr Yap, please abolish the LDB and sell off its assets. British Columbians are ready for a modern, competitive liquor industry in BC.
But that’s just me.
You, dear reader, have until midnight tonight to make your voice heard about what, where, when and how you drink in BC.
Will it make a difference? Who knows, but you have to admit that harnessing the power of social media is a damn modern way to shape public policy. Why not take advantage of it?
Please tell me what you think, and Happy Halloween!