All liquored up

Back in October, Public Eye told you former finance minister Gary Collins had been named a trustee with the Liquor Stores Income Fund - the largest owner of such stores in Canada. But Mr. Collins isn't the only provincial Liberal who has had a stake in British Columbia's private liquor store business - a business that has financially benefited from regulatory changes made by the Campbell administration.

Until recently, Patrick Kinsella, who is arguably the most powerful party backroom boy in the province, was a trustee with the Liquor Barn Income Fund and director with Liquor Barn GP Inc. - which operated 19 stores in this province. According to a directors' circular, dated April 25, 2007, Mr. Kinsella also owned 2,500 fund shares, with an option for a further 5,000. But the Liquor Barn was bought out by Liquor Stores on June 8.

At the time of the purchase, Liquor Barn planned to "continue to grow the business with a focus on store acquisitions in British Columbia where the business environment enhances the Fund's competiveness." Liquor Stores also intends to "build on its market position" in this province "by adding new stores through acquisitions and new store developments.” Mr. Kinsella hasn't returned a phone call placed yesterday
morning seeking comment.

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