“It’s strange that on the one hand, the government is asking MLL to generate more profit, while on the other hand taking away the corporation’s ability to do that by sending more profit to private retailers."— Michelle Gawrornsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (07 May 2019) — Mandate letters from the Manitoba government to Crown Corporations show that the government is looking for all Crowns to cut costs, some to become self-sufficient, and in the case of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MLL), increase privatization.
Manitoba government playing by the privatization playbook
The marching orders from Colleen Mayer, Crown Services Minister to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, tells the Crown Corporation to generate more profit for government coffers by finding ways to cut its alcohol purchasing costs. The mandate letter also directs MLL to "engage with the private sector to identify opportunities for increased participation in the liquor retail and distribution sectors.”
Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) responded today by saying, “It’s strange that on the one hand, the government is asking MLL to generate more profit, while on the other hand taking away the corporation’s ability to do that by sending more profit to private retailers. It’s very disappointing to see this government looking at even more privatization when we know they told Manitobans during the election campaign that they were focused on keeping public services public.”
Balancing act: public safety and pricing
Gawronsky said that Manitoba’s public liquor sales system is one of the best in the country at balancing price and selection with social responsibility.
“Our system is one of the best at ensuring alcohol doesn’t end up in the hands of minors or those already intoxicated. At the same time, revenue generated from our Liquor Marts is invested back into our public services, like health care and education. Privatizing more liquor sales is a step backwards. We need this government to focus on public safety, while generating funds for our services. That means keeping liquor public," said Gawronsky.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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