Private liquor stores benefit a few owners, but no advantage for families and communities

"Saskatchewan liquor stores have earned $1 billion for the people of our province in the last five years," Bymoen pointed out. "Why would we want to turn revenue from liquor sales over to out-of-province, private businesses?"

Regina (07 Nov. 2012) - Opening the door to private liquor sales in Saskatchewan will benefit a small number of private owners, but there is no such advantage for Saskatchewan families and communities, according to the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE).

"Government needs to rethink its decision to open three new private liquor stores in the province, because privatizing liquor sales in Saskatchewan is not in the public interest," said SGEU President Bob Bymoen.

"Our government-operated liquor stores generate revenue for Saskatchewan citizens, offer competitive prices, and help ensure that liquor is sold in a socially responsible manner," Bymoen said. These were conclusions reached by recent independent research from the Alberta-based Parkland Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, Impaired Judgment: The Economic and Social Consequences of Liquor Privatization in Western Canada, released last week, showed that Saskatchewan public stores had lower prices than private stores in Alberta and British Columbia. It also found that Alberta lost $1.5 billion in tax revenue from liquor sales following privatization.

"Saskatchewan liquor stores have earned $1 billion for the people of our province in the last five years," Bymoen pointed out. "Why would we want to turn revenue from liquor sales over to out-of-province, private businesses?"

Premier Brad Wall says government does not want to bear the cost of building new stores, but the reality is that our public liquor stores are revenue generators for the province," added Bymoen.

"Money from liquor sales should go to pay for our schools, hospitals, roads, parks and policing. When liquor sales are turned over to private business, the profit goes into private hands. How does that benefit Saskatchewan people?" he asked.

"If our province needs more liquor stores, the public system should be expanded, so that profits stay in Saskatchewan and are used to benefit Saskatchewan people," Bymoen concluded.

More information: 

Impaired Judgment: The Economic and Social Consequences of Liquor Privatization in Western Canada

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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