Wednesday, July 16, 2014

happy hour

the ndp's response to my letter of complaint to the liberals with respect to their happy hour legislation:

Hello Rebecca,
Thank you for copying me on your email to the Premier et al.

Small pubs, bars and restaurants are being hurt by the latest happy hour initiative from Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals, making many small business owners wonder: is the government completely inept on the liquor file?

By adopting the highest minimum liquor prices of any province in Canada, the Liberals have created a situation where many pubs, bars and restaurants are finding it necessary to raise their regular prices to meet the new minimums, let alone think about actually implementing a happy hour.

The minimum $5 price point for a 20 ounce pint of beer will work for a downtown Vancouver bar with a regular price in the $8 range. They can lower their prices to create a special. But for many establishments outside of the Lower Mainland, or more moderately priced neighbourhood facilities that sell a number of beers for under $5, there is no opportunity to offer a special price. Instead, this minimum pricing will mean they have to charge their customers more.

Any review of liquor laws needs to balance the necessary and logical modernization of these laws with questions around health and safety. Minimum pricing makes sense, particularly to help address health and safety issues like impaired driving and over-consumption. However, we know that greater education and consequences for those who drive impaired is a larger need.

For years, New Democrats have called for a comprehensive review of liquor laws in this province. The B.C. Liberals finally made a start on this process in 2013, after nearly 12 years in office, but instead of a thoughtful and balanced review, British Columbians got a rollout of policies without any evidence of proper consultation and research.

These new minimum liquor prices were put in place without meaningful consultation. Now, it is time for the government to do the due diligence that has been missing throughout this liquor reform process and establish a price that is fair to everyone.

Regards,
Shane

Shane Simpson | MLA Vancouver Hastings
2365 E. Hastings St. Vancouver BC V5L 1V6 |604-775-2277 |shanesimpson.ca | Twitter | Facebook

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