SAINTS PRESERVE US
A Double-double Hit
Alcohol, like many goods and commodities people sell to one another can be harmful to the user, or those in their orbit. A list could be infinite: cigarettes, firearms, Lawn Darts, power tools, medium-fat smoked meat sandwiches, ABBA records, pot… The sale of alcohol in
heavily regulated, a hangover from 19th century temperance movements
and Prohibition. Because of the nature of our federation of provinces, pretty
much a petty turf war for jurisdiction, except for the big, expensive stuff
Ottawa should fund, rules and regulations are inconsistent from coast, to
coast, to coast as prim, well-meaning, albeit intolerant hands must always be
tied and then wrung in red tape horror. Canada
the government privatized retail
alcohol sales while maintaining control of distribution and wholesale pricing.
Essentially, competing retailers cannot afford to compete with each other,
especially after consumer taxes are added at the till. I don’t know what the hell’s
going on in Alberta
(and nobody does), except that drinking there is really expensive. British Columbia , old Protestant,
Loyalist Ontario, mystifies me. There is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario
competing against a brewery cartel retail chain of shops, The Beer Store.
Yesterday, the sitting government of Ontario
announced that beer will now be available in grocery stores, but only in
six-packs and that that frothy booze cannot be scanned at the same cash
register as the rest of the cart. I miss the sophisticated, low-key convenience
of living in Ontario .
I could go into any corner shop or grocery store and buy a box of beer or a
bottle of wine. Still, the good stuff, a peaty, single malt or an Irish,
remained government issue, a special trip to a dedicated store. Montreal
A story: A friend of mine, a designer originally from the Maritimes, moved back east maybe ten years ago. We managed to hook up in
in 2009. He told me about the
previous winter. A storm was blowing in off the Atlantic, and the Gulf of St.
Lawrence side of the island wasn’t looking too good either. The CBC and the
RCMP combined to warn all residents not to travel, not to go to work, not to go
outside. ‘That was fine until the next announcement,’ he continued, ‘the liquor
stores (state-run) were closing early, just chaos everywhere after that.’ Charlottetown,
Granted, crown corporations are handed difficult and seemingly doomed mandates. Yet, it’s difficult to mess up a monopoly, really hard, especially when you’re controlling and re-selling an addictive product. In the sunny ways of post- Stephen Harper Canada, talk has turned to the impending legalization of pot. Every expert and pundit has weighed in on how to get a regulated dime bag to a customer. The consensus seems to be the utilization of ineffectual provincial liquor boards and their existing distribution networks.