Ditch monopoly, customers first

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Some years ago a local controversy brewed as Westville felt it was being relegated to second-class status. It looked like it might not get a cold-beer section in its new liquor store.

Well, as of Jan. 27, Trenton will be reduced to third class – no NSLC at all.

The reason given by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is a slump in sales in recent years – an understandable business decision. Also, the building is in need of substantial renovations.

Considering the nearest alternative is west side New Glasgow, the loss would appear no big deal for someone with a car or doing regular errands in one of the other towns. But what about the senior, or anyone who doesn’t have a vehicle? In fact, what about convenience?

Private retailers generally make decisions based on how they can reach more customers. Government-sanctioned monopolies, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about that, making such decisions a slam-dunk.

Nova Scotians are still awaiting the outcome of a move by the corporation last week to shut down on-premises brewing services at U-Vint operations – yet another example of the propped-up power of this provincial body.

A serious review of this anachronistic approach to alcohol sales is long overdue. This market, like any other, should be about providing good selection and serving customers.

Take a look at how it’s done in Alberta, where liquor stores are run by the private sector. Take a look at Quebec and Newfoundland where beer and wine sales are available in corner stores – a feature that could mean a huge boost for these stores. In addition, people in smaller communities can make a purchase close to home rather than being forced to drive to the next town. Nobody’s second class.

Study these other models, see what works well and what doesn’t.

Keep in mind, too, the province still reaps the revenues – from the huge tax markups on alcohol. But bringing in the private sector would at least spread the benefit of the retail aspect of sales.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation

Geographic location: Trenton, New Glasgow, Alberta Quebec Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Steven Haynes
    January 23, 2013 - 22:52

    Not that anyone cares but Uvints are illegal in both Quebec and Newfoundland. Just saying.

  • Johnny smoke
    January 18, 2013 - 08:31

    I see that the editorial staff at the Evening News is becoming delusional when they advocate the removal of the N.S.L.C. from the clutches of the Nova Scotia Government. Just the though of giving up that cash for life scheme and the opportunity to employ good union members at the loaded rate of some $55.00 bucks per hour would bring tears to our political class whose job it is to bestow heavenly manna on those deemed worthy enough to qualify. No there will be no change in the status quo anytime soon, not while at the other end of the financial pipeline millions are being poured into questionable and risky ventures by this government of neophytes. One can only hope that when the new gang takes over they will look upon this monopoly with less amorous eyes. Of course this will bring on the rath of the public service unions, but what the heck, it will give them something to do other than just standing in the way of progress as it is now.