Privatizing liquor sales not a good idea
The Progressive Conservative government has once again brought legislation forward to privatize liquor in Manitoba with the introduction of Bill 9.
Privatizing the sale of liquor, increasing locations where it can be sold and putting no limits on what kind of liquor can be sold is bad news for our province as a whole and especially for our Notre Dame community.
First, this new law would allow beer vendors in our community to sell hard liquor, which raises security issues. After a string of assaults and thefts, public Liquor Marts implemented safety measures, such as secured entrances and photo-ID requirements. These steps dramatically reduced thefts and assaults in public liquor stores. Unfortunately, private beer vendors in Notre Dame saw no such security requirements, despite the fact that over this past year we have seen plenty of violence at these locations, including thefts, assaults and the killing of a young beer-vendor worker and customer. Allowing beer vendors to sell hard liquor will only further incentivize theft and crime.
In other provinces where liquor has been privatized, we can track the evidence of increased social harms. For instance, addictions experts say that a readily available supply of liquor contributes to more substance-abuse issues, meaning that more locations result in worse outcomes. In places where liquor sales are privatized, there is evidence of more sales to underage youth and people with substance-abuse issues.
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries employs over 2,000 workers with good-paying jobs and benefits that support families and communities across the province. Privatization will put these jobs at great risk. Other jurisdictions saw workers lose on average of one-third of their income when working at private liquor stores.
In addition, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries contributes $322 million to our province to help pay for hospitals, schools and roads. Currently, 11 cents from every bottle sold in a public liquor store goes to pay for the services we rely on. The PCs move to privatize the sale of liquor will remove that funding from our health-care, education and infrastructure systems while increasing social harms in our communities.
For more information on the campaign to stop the privatization of liquor stores, please see the Manitoba Government Employees Union website: keepingliquorpublic.ca
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office for more info. You can call 204-788-0800, reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come see us at 849 Notre Dame Ave. I look forward to hearing from you all.
Notre Dame constituency report
Malaya Marcelino is the NDP MLA for Notre Dame.