The NDP’s Liquor critic says new happy hour rules means the price of a drink for some will increase not decrease.
NDP MLA Shane Simpson says the province dropped the ball with its mandated minimum pricing forcing some establishments to hike prices.
“People weren’t talked to. It is creating problems. It is becoming more difficult. It is really just a lack of due diligence and a lack of proper process.”
Simpson says the fix was in on this process all along.
“The primary objective here from the beginning has been to at least retain if not increase government revenue from liquor sales. I am guessing that the minimum pricing reflects the need for them to increase revenue and as a result we have the highest prices.”
Attorney General Suzanne Anton disagrees saying plenty of people had a say in the biggest liquor law changes in BC history.
“”When parliamentary secretary Yap met with stakeholders he met with the health and safety people. We made a very firm committment to them that integrated with all the changes we are making would be provisions for health for preventing over consumption and for minimum pricing. That was done in consultation with industry, with health experts, with addictions experts. The price that we settled on we believe is the right one.”
However Anton wouldn’t rule out tweaking the new rules if they aren’t working out for BC businesses.
BC’s Chief Medical Health officers sees no problem if some establishments have to hike drink prices.
Doctor Perry Kendall says cheap booze can cause problems for some drinkers and incite violence and drunk driving.
“The recommendation, which came out of the centre for addictions research in BC, which I certainly support, is a minimum price of $3 for a standard drink, for drinks that are being consumed on the premises. So we are really happy to see that. Another measure that does restrict hazardous drinking is in fact raising the price of alcohol and linking it perhaps to the rate of inflation.”
Kendall says minimum pricing is a public safety move aimed at hazardous drinkers, mostly young people, who target cheap drinks.