The Stefanson government's privatization of provincial liquor sales went into overdrive yesterday with the introduction of Bill 30.
The new legislation provides a five-year pilot program, where select retail outlets will be permitted to sell some, or all, of the products carried by Liquor Marts. When combined with the government's other liquor privatization legislation currently making its way through the legislature (Bill 9), MGEU President, Kyle Ross explains how the two bills pose a very dangerous threat to Manitoba's public services.
“Currently, over $316 million in profits are generated every year from the public sale of liquor. That money pays for important public services like schools, hospitals, and highways. Privatizing more sales takes that money away from our services and puts it into the pockets of big out-of-province corporations like Sobeys, Superstore, and Walmart.”
At the same time, he says the introduction of Bill 30 re-opens the door to the community safety issues that plagued the province before secured entrances were put in place at Manitoba Liquor Marts in 2019.
“Secured entrances put a stop to the brazen thefts and violence our members were seeing on a daily basis. Now, Manitobans enjoy some of the safest liquor stores in the country.”
If the government is truly concerned with adding more convenience, Ross says the union is urging them to open more Liquor Mart Express stores like those currently located safely within many Manitoba grocery stores – an option that ensures the safety and security of staff and consumers, while keeping profits here in Manitoba to fund our public services.
“Manitobans appreciate the service and professionalism they get at Manitoba Liquor Marts. In fact, 93% of Liquor Mart shoppers said they were happy with the service they received last year. So why is this government so intent on fixing a system that isn’t broken?”
The MGEU is asking all Manitobans to send the government a message to keep liquor public and learn more about the risks of liquor privatization at KeepingLiquorPublic.ca.