Reaction to the proposed liquor retail changes announced by the government is mixed.
The union that represents liquor store workers calls the plan reckless.
Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU) is calling for an independent analysis of the financial impact of future privatization.
“How much revenue will Saskatchewan people be losing, and how will it be replaced?” said SGEU’s Donna Christianson. “Or will families be facing cuts in services to make up for the lost income?”
SGEU believes small town Saskatchewan will be particularly hard-hit if the government carries out the plan and wages are lost from the local economy.
Christianson works at the liquor board store in Watson, one of the 40 slated to be privatized.
“This is my home where I have a house, and I pay taxes, I buy my groceries, I buy my liquor and I put gas in my car and those kinds of things,” she said.
RESTAURANTS WELCOME GREATER SELECTION
Restaurants Canada didn’t get everything it was looking for in the proposed changes. The group was hoping its members could buy booze at the wholesale price, but that won’t happen.
Dwayne Marling speaks on behalf of the group and welcomes the fact that restaurants now have greater freedom and selection and won’t be limited to what is on government store shelves.
“Under this new system, they will be able to purchase from anybody that is retailing liquor. They can negotiate a price with them so they can get a better price when they buy it by volume,” he said. “They will be able to they will be able to work with the private stores and have unique offerings.”
NDP CALLS LIQUOR A DIVERSION TO ELECTION ISSUES
NDP Saskatoon MLA Cathy Sproule called the changes, that won’t be implemented until after the election, “a diversion”.
“We should be talking about healthcare. We should be talking about schools and crowding schools and crowded ER rooms and longer wait times,” she said. “It is a bit of a diversion.”
A Request for Proposal process will be used to select who operates the 52 new private stores. However, no changes will be made until after the provincial election in April 2016.