Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Two years and counting | Main | Boycotting the Racists »

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Enough to drive you to drink . . .

Liquor store employees in Nova Scotia will soon be voting on a cushy wage increase.  A new deal was reached this week. As their union leader Joan Jessome put it, "The employer did not get any of the concessions they were looking for and there were quite a few of them." For those trying to follow, "the employer" here is a crown corporation run by the government of Nova Scotia.

It's hard to believe that in 2008 there are still antiquated state monopolies running liquor sales. It's a pan-Canadian shame. In Saskatchewan not that long ago, CTF found that the cost of running government liquor stores has soared.

There is another way. You get to keep all of the revenue, dramatically increase employment in the sector, dramatically improve product selection and avoid the pitfalls, public sector labour tactics and politicization of state run liquor sales: Privatize it. It worked in Alberta; It works in a lot of places - from Taiwan to Ireland to New Zealand. Politicians, union bosses and bureaucrats might drive us all to drink, but it doesn't mean they should be holding the bottle for us. . .

Posted by Liam O'Brien on January 24, 2008 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Enough to drive you to drink . . . :


Of course, you are right. But dude, Nova Scotia just finally made Sunday shopping legal, so don't expect private booze outlets any time soon. In NS, the Christian conservatives take being conservative about the day of rest and the vice of intoxication seriously!

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-01-24 6:23:25 PM

I was attending university in Nova Scotia during a few of the rounds on Sunday Shopping. . . while a few people used the "day of rest"/faith-based excuse, there were a lot more rather arbitrarily implying it was a "worker's rights" issue -- which is probably an even more arbitrary and silly line of reasoning. . . As for the state involvement in alcohol outlets, the problem isn't localized to N.S. Most provinces need to do some work on this.

Posted by: Liam O'Brien | 2008-01-24 7:22:31 PM

Actually I was sorta glad to come across this post. It shows that Alabama's state liquor system is not the only place where the state supports anti-competitive practices - for our own good of course.

Alabama did privatize it's liquor store system to some extent. It's running is contracted out to private companies - outsourced if you will. So now that contract is a natural reward from politicians who get campaign contributions.

So the lack of competition keeps prices high and choices limited. In the last year though there has apparently been a 'crack' in the system. A few other stores have recently been licensed to sell hard liquor. But their prices are 25%-50% more than the state stores. I asked why that was, and the owner explained that he has to pay retail to the state store ... so the monopoly remains intact. These stores now only make sales during the off-hours when someone MUST buy liquor and the State store is closed.

Posted by: NOTR | 2008-01-24 8:13:39 PM

I live in Alabama and that's a fair assessment of the situation. My local supermarket has a huge beer and wine section, but hard liquor is available only at the small stores. I wish I knew more but I don't drink so I have no need to buy alcohol.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-01-24 8:33:47 PM

I wish that the system was privatised in Alberta but although there are private retail outlets, there is still the Liquor board and its monopoly on warehousing. They still take their huge profit(taxes?) and leave the retailers to do all of the hard work.

Posted by: DML | 2008-01-24 9:15:24 PM

Everything is owned by government!! If you consider that taxation takes a percentage of everything you buy, then that percentage works as a pure profit for the parasite who takes no risk, does no work, yet still benefits if the business succeeds. I prefer MJ to alcohol because it denies the parasite (gov't) a profit.

Posted by: Veteran | 2008-01-25 1:49:45 PM

NS liquor stores used to be where retired cops and soldiers spent their twilight years. It's probably still considered a nice place to retire to.

Posted by: dp | 2008-01-25 3:55:39 PM

Regarding liquor stores in Alabama, isn't selling liquor at higher prices when state stores are closed more commonly referred to as bootlegging?

Posted by: TimR | 2008-01-26 9:45:00 PM

I prefer to refer to it as a market.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-01-27 12:19:08 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.