Thursday, February 12, 2015

New column day

Here, on how the Saskatchewan Party's manipulative consultation designed to push liquor retailing into the private sector only managed to highlight the fact that our current system is working just fine.

For further reading, the consultation materials are here, including the survey results here (PDF). And even though those don't include the thousands of people who expressed their support for keeping liquor public, they indicate little interest in a larger number of retail locations or increased hours of availability - which of course represent the main difference in pursuing a plan aimed at letting private operators open up where and when they see fit.

As a bonus, I mentioned in the column that more than a few comments submitted with the survey called out the slanted nature of the questions. The below is far from exhaustive, but it offers a sampling of how even the people who took the time to engage in the government's process recognized that it was rigged from them outset:
I don't believe that the statement regarding health care and education is accurate, where would they get the resources without having the money from liquor sales. The profit each year that the government makes on liquor sales does go back into those areas. I don't believe that Mr Wall and "his government" will take any notice of what the public wants and will privatize stores because that is what he and "his government" have always wanted. I do not want the government owned stores privatized, if I did I would be living in Alberta!!!
This survey has an agenda. It was very, very poorly written if neutrality was the goal. I strongly suspect Sask Party interference in the question formation. It is guiding people to dismiss public liquor stores...

"Increasing the ability for the government to reinvest in other priorities (i.e. health care, roads, education, etc.)"

We PROFIT from these stores. This question implies they are a distraction. You invest in LBS, make profit, spend that on roads etc. Just... this was a disappointing experience. My voice feels unheard because I know it's written to trick people into making certain selections that actively work against their actual beliefs. Just a waste of time the way it's currently written. For shame.
I feel that our liquor stores are making money, the question of [priority] in spending is irrelevant!!
When detailing the idea of changing to a private liquor retailer, ensure to show the public how much profit was brought in by the current system and where the money went. For me to save $50 a year on alcohol vs having to increase my taxes due to less revenue is not that important.
There is nothing to indicate that the current public liquor stores are inefficient or losing money. The revenues that are earned support the building of roads, hospitals, and social services; it's important to share the risks of going to a private system with the public and the potential for increased taxes in order to fund those foundational community pieces. The issue of public liquor stores is a red herring; we need to focus on building a better province that has a sustainable future tax base. Our growth should be planned, sustained and something that we can count on...this issue is a kneejerk response to a non-existent problem.
I found this survey very biased towards private liquor stores. If you are going to ask for our opinions there should not be so many loaded questions. A few of the questions felt like i could not give an answer that was appropriate to my views.

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