Better to admit you’re wrong than hide behind a “can’t comment, that’s before the courts.”
The provincial NDP have finally seen the light of day on U-Vints and brewing on-premises. The planned court injunction by NSLC has been dropped and new legislation will be drawn lifting the ban, as announced Thursday after three weeks of putting a couple of small businesses – including New Glasgow’s Water N’ Wine – in legal turmoil.
That's not to mention the unneeded expense for these stores – and government back-flipping suddenly to admit the law is outdated.
It would be hard to argue common sense prevailed – the government had egg on their face. When the NDP unadvisedly drafted a law allowing NSLC strong-arm privilege over private businesses helping customers brew their own, they had no idea it would spark a flashpoint.
While they rightly surmised a small percentage of the population use such services, they didn’t guess the population would recognize the tactic as picking on small businesses.
The government’s take on this issue – and that of NSLC – was sadly out of touch from the start.
The Canadian Press earlier this week carried interviews with some of the players and highlighted salient points.
Terri Mosher, a spokeswoman for NSLC, referred to this as a safety issue – “manufacturing unregulated product in a retail environment.”
Really. Then we’d better have a swat team shut down any cooking sessions involving the public, given the ever-present potential for food contamination.
Mosher also said the corporation was upholding the interests of law-abiding businesses wanting action against U-vints. But that should be strictly a business decision. Stores feeling disadvantaged by one with extra services generally know what they can do.
For the public, it's encouraging. Sometimes a groundswell of support can turn around misbegotten government policy.
The business community described this as another instance of a government bent on regulation and in the face of small business.
Maybe the NDP can do some soul-searching and see where else it’s gone wrong. Hard to say whether it would help them in the next election, but in the meantime, a change of tune might help unstick the brakes on the province’s economy.