169 liqour stores have extended operating hours as of today.
It’s now easier for British Columbians to buy a bottle of wine or case of beer when they’re picking up a carton of milk, but good luck trying to figure out if your favourite beverage costs the same today as it did yesterday.
A case of Molson Coors Light beer is now 93 cents more than it was yesterday, but the Stella Artois price drops seven cents.
The provincial government’s new system means prices on the shelf don’t include taxes, so consumers must now wait until they pay to find out prices because that’s when taxes are included.
Price comparisons are also confusing, depending on what list you use as a source. For example, a breakdown provided by the government indicates a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream is going up two cents, but a private industry list shows it will actually cost five cents more… and depending on the size of a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey, it could be two dollars cheaper or almost $2.60 more.
Justice Minister Suzanne Anton insists most products STILL cost the same, but the NDP disagree.
“Between March and April, the prices are generally the same within a couple of per cent either way.”
However, NDP critic David Eby says more than 20,000 wholesale prices have actually risen more than 1% and 1/3 of those prices jumped higher than 5%.
“The government’s made it more difficult for consumers to figure out what’s going because what’s consistent is that prices are consistently up.”
Eby is also suggesting changes have been made because the Liberal government wants to make government liquor stores less profitable… so they can eventually be privatized.
Starting today, government-run liquor stores will also be allowed to open on Sundays and holidays, as well as stay open later.
Of the 196 stores, 169 have extended their operating hours and 134 will now open on Sundays, but all stores will be closed this Sunday because it’s Easter.