New Campaign Provides Compelling Reasons to Keep Manitoba’s Liquor System Public
Jun 07, 2019
The MGEU is running a new radio and online campaign about the benefits of keeping Manitoba’s liquor sales public.
Recently, the Manitoba Government sent a mandate letter to Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries directing the Crown Corporation to “engage with the private sector to identify opportunities for increased participation in the liquor retail and distribution sectors.”
For MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky, the letter was a clear signal that the government is laying the groundwork for more liquor privatization, so she responded with a letter of her own to the Minister of Crown Services, and requested a meeting with the Minister over a month ago. To date, the Minister has not responded to that request.
Gawronsky says it’s important that the Minister and Premier take the time to talk with her about the issue because there are many benefits to keeping liquor public for Manitobans.
“Our current system does an excellent job of balancing great selection, competitive pricing, and social responsibilities. It’s important that Manitobans understand that our Liquor Marts belong to us all, and the revenue they create stays here in Manitoba to pay for things like health care, schools, and roads. The PST cut means less money for public services, so it just doesn’t make any sense that the government would be looking to cut another source of revenue to deliver our vital services.”
In 2017, profits from Liquor Marts generated over $280 million for Manitoba’s public services. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries also invests $12 million a year to help fund addictions treatment and promote responsible drinking. Gawronsky fears the government’s privatization push will pour millions of those dollars into deep corporate pockets outside Manitoba, instead of staying here working for Manitobans.
That’s the key message in the MGEU’s latest radio ad, which reminds Manitobans about the importance of keeping our liquor sales and distribution public.
The union has started an online petition against liquor privatization and, with a provincial election likely just around the corner, Gawronsky says the time is right to talk about the issue.
“Let’s remember that this is the same government that ran on a promise in the last election ‘to protect public services and the people who provide them, and to keep public services public.’ Since then, they’ve cut services, laid off employees, privatized Churchill’s Liquor Mart and now, judging by the Minister’s letter to Liquor and Lotteries, I’d say they’re moving even further away from that commitment.”