liquor privatization

9:00AM
Printer-friendly version

If Canadians ever needed proof that narrow politicking interferes with sensible consumer choice, they need look no further than the byzantine “reforms” on the sale of beer, wine and spirits proposed by Ontario, and one restrictive “reform” recently enacted in British Columbia.


2:00AM
Printer-friendly version
Much of Canada’s current approach to liquor retailing has its roots in Prohibition-era attitudes towards wine, beer and spirits.

2:00AM
Printer-friendly version

It’s been two decades since the Alberta government exited the business of selling beer, wine and spirits to consumers.


2:00AM
Printer-friendly version

Twenty years ago the Alberta government swiftly and boldly threw open Alberta's markets in beer, wine and spirits. The result has been a success story of intense competition, added convenience and thousands of new jobs.

Other provincial governments have never imitated the Alberta accomplishment. But that has much to do with local politics and mythmaking from vested interests, not facts.


2:00AM
Printer-friendly version

When Ontario opposition leader Tim Hudak recently released a position paper that mused about reforming how Ontarians buy their beer, wine and spirits, the usual nonsensical non sequiturs were quickly offered up by those opposed to private liquor stores.

I’ll get to the myths about private booze shortly. In general though, state-owned enterprises almost invariably mean losses for taxpayers, consumers or both.

A good example of the latter is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) itself, which runs the Ontario government liquor stores.


2:00AM
Printer-friendly version

Anyone who recently visited Alberta for the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede might have noticed something unusual about the province: not a single government liquor store.

Alberta does have a plethora of private stores, unlike say, Ontario, where I once drove around Cambridge for what seemed forever to find any shop, government or private, to buy wine for a dinner with relatives.

If you’re lucky, your politicians will one day imitate Alberta. To that end, here’s how Alberta’s private sector model came about.