Hey, big spender!

Remember the big tip private liquor stores got from the provincial government last year? Of course, you don't. Because, as we reported earlier this week, the Campbell administration ignored past practice by not telling the public about its decision to cut alcohol prices for those stores. And now it looks like the industry didn't even have to ask the Liberals for that gratuity, which will cost taxpayers around $20 million annually. According to the province's lobbyist registry not a single representative from the booze business has signed-up to talk to the Liberals about that price break.

But that doesn't mean such discussions weren't going on. In an interview with Public Eye, Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C. past president Dave Crown confirmed his association chats "with government all the time. That's ABLE's job - to liaison with government and to deliver one strong message for the whole (private liquor store) industry to government consistently." In fact, Mr. Crown confirmed he's spoken to the Liberals in the past about reducing the price alliance members have to pay for liquor. So why then doesn't his name show up on the lobbyist registry? Well, Mr. Crown says he isn't paid for his work. And, under the Lobbyists Registration Act, that means he doesn't need to disclose his activities.

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