Since February, when Liberal Finance Minister Kevin Falcon dropped the bomb that the Provincial Government were going to sell off the province's two liquor distribution centres, and with them, the province's warehouse distribution system, it seems everyone associated with the local liquor industry has been voicing concerns about how this is going to negatively impact the BC liquor landscape.
The Alliance of Beverage Licensees of BC, who represent more than 1,000 pubs, bars and private liquors stores has come out against the privatization. The BC Government Employees Union has come out against the privatization. The NDP have come out against the privatization, with NDP alcohol critic Shane Simpson stating in the BC Legislature "the whole process is tainted". CAMRA BC, on behalf of craft beer consumers, is about to officially come out agianst the privatization. Heck, even the mostly inert Craft Brewer's Guild of BC have gotten in on the action and gone public with their displeasure of how this will negatively impact the province's alcohol industry.
This sale is being fast-tracked, with the Request For Proposals (RFP) deadline coming up June 29th. The government hopes to have this whole sale wrapped up and signed by March 2013.
The simple fact is that it looks like the Liberals are ramming through the sale, which most likely is going to result in higher prices for alcohol consumers, without consulting those directly impacted or doing any sort of case study on how this move will be advantageous and impact the BC alcohol industry.
I wrote a post a while back which highlights connections between Liberal insiders, our country's large national breweries and those vying to be the successful bidder but there are much more competent, and in-the-know-and-connected journalists than myself shedding light on all the cloak-and-dagger, shady, back-room goings-on in regards to this process.
Probably the most comprehensive and in-depth coverage I have found is provided by Bob Mackin, on his 2010 Gold Rush blog, with his series of posts called #LiquorLeaks.. The whole incestuous, sordid, complicated mess is being laid out for all to see and if you have any interest in how this move by the Liberals is shaping up, I would give Mackin's blog a read. He has gained access to many sensitive documents and memos that really highlight how this privatization process may rival the BC Rail scandal and in fact has many of the same players.
The Province newspaper columnist Michael Smyth has also written quite a bit on the subject and exposed that cabinet minister, and the man ultimately responsible for the LDB, Rich Coleman, cannot 100% guarantee consumer prices would not rise with privatization. Smyth, in another column, also highlights how the Liberals have even stooped to 1950's- McCarthy-style "red baiting" and Communist bashing in attempts to discredit NDP and deflect attention away from the facts.
I know I am not really enlightening anyone with new information here, but I wanted to point those who are interested towards some informative sources and resources. I hope you take the time to read through the material, especially Mackin's posts and take the time to voice your concerns to Rich Coleman and LCLB General Manager Karen Ayers.