The BCGEU today launched a new website in its public awareness campaign opposing the privatization of the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) warehouse and distribution service.
The website, DontDropPublicLiquor.ca, explains the merits of the LDB system that has served British Columbians for decades. It also explains BCGEU proposals to increase LDB revenues to help pay for public services.
“It makes no sense to sell-off this important, revenue generating, public asset,” says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. “In the last five years, the liquor distribution and retail system contributed $4.3 billion to help pay for public services such as health care, education and highways. Next year alone, it will generate more than $900 million for public services.”
The government has presented no business case for the sell-off of the LDB. There was no public consultation on the privatization of the LDB and none is planned.
“The mix of rural agency stores, privately operated neighbourhood stores and government liquor stores with consistent province-wide prices, all supported by central distribution, works well for consumers,” says Walker. “The LDB system should not be fractured.”
In his review of government operations in Ontario, Don Drummond, former Chief Economist with the TD Bank, rejected the sell-off of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Instead, he called for the opening of additional public liquor stores and the full utilization of the LCBO’s purchasing power to improve profits and create additional revenue. The BCGEU is calling on the provincial government to take the same approach in B.C.
Also opposing the privatization of the LDB are private liquor store owners and some small brewers who say the sell-off will lead to higher prices for consumers.