Tuesday, July 01, 2008

do away with liquor monopolies.

Shannon Kari has an interesting article in the National Post today detailing provincial governments' stubborn dismissal of any attempts to liberalize alcohol sales laws.

"Despite studies that indicate a private retail system would increase government revenue by eliminating the cost of operating retail outlets and does not lead to problems with alcohol consumption, there is very little political will to make changes.
The opposition to change is steadfast even when the beliefs about the dangers of a private system are debunked by a government study. The Ontario government rejected the findings of a $600,000 study it commissioned in 2005, the same day the report was issued.

The Beverage Alcohol System Review panel concluded the province could generate an extra $200-million annually, enough to build a new 300-bed hospital each year, if the government allowed private retailers to sell alcohol. A private system would increase choice and lower prices for consumers."

Granted, "it would generate more government revenue" is my least favourite argument for any changes to government policy - just more money for to fund the "idle hands" projects of governments in almost every case... but I'll go with it if it will get the job done.

Life would be more convenient, prices would be better for consumers, and comparisons to other systems suggest there would be no real effect on liquor consumption - Nova Scotia has the highest alcohol consumption in the country... and the most stringent liquor laws. New York state has 8 times the liquor stores and nearly the same alcohol consumption as Ontario.

And is anyone really naive enough to think that the liqour control board of Ontario (sounds a lot less appealing than "LCBO," doesn't it?) stops underage drinking?

What would seem more Canadian than to celebrate July 1st with a trip to the grocery store to pick up some meat for the BBQ and a six pack or some coolers for the fridge? It's time to end this antiquated and draconian practice across Canada. In the words of a Alabaman activists' group, "free the hops!"


Hugh MacIntyre said...

I recently came back from Europe. In Austria there was a grocery store that sold half litre cans of beer for 45 cents each. And yet I don't recall seeing the streets full of drunks...funny that. Its almost like when people are treated like responsible adults they act like responsible adults

Janet said...

Its almost like when people are treated like responsible adults they act like responsible adults


PJO said...

Hi Janet,

I just saw your many astute comments to news items I'd posted over at Bureaucrash and wanted to say hello and thanks!

Fortitudine said...

An increase in the rate of alcoholism isn't a good reason to continue regulating the industry anyway. It's embarrassingly paternalistic. Adults will consume what they will consume based on their own rational judgments and any government interference in the area would be not unlike a father forbidding his son or daughter more than two drinks at a dinner party. Canadian citizens of legal drinking age are capable of making their own decisions. They can vote but they can't be trusted with beer? Absurd.

Privatizing the liquor industry would lead to more choices, lower prices, and happier consumers. Seems pretty straight-forward to me.