A hot button issue

The province's public liquor stores are big money makers for the Campbell administration. Despite increased competition from the private competitors, the liquor distribution branch is still estimated to take in $810 million in fiscal 2007/08. But it seems the government doesn't want any help boosting that business.

Late next month, the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union - which represents branch workers - is planning to roll out a "Shop Public" advertising campaign, encouraging British Columbians to buy their booze from the public rather than the private sector. But, in an interview with Public Eye, branch senior communications program officer Katherine Jeffcoat says employees won't be allowed to wear buttons promoting the campaign.

Said Ms. Jeffcoat, "We have a strict employee uniform policy. And our employees are free to wear whatever they choose when they aren't at work. However, we they are at work they're expected to abide by uniform policy - like most other employers in B.C." And that means they're not allowed to wear "anybody's button." So there.


This kind of ruling is standard fare throughout all federal government employment. It's not unusual there. In fact, it's only in the last ten years or so that the federal government has stopped trying to tell its employees that they cannot have bumper stickers or lawn signs during elections.

I don't get it...if the province is making so much money from public liquor sales, then why the sudden advertising push to do more?

Even more confusing, since the push seems to be coming from the union. What do they have to gain by greater liquor sales?

More jobs.

Andrew Eiseenberg, tell me you are asking these questions with a straight face.

Just why wouldn't anyone with a pea or more for a brain want to see more revenues flow to government when our public health care and education and other priorities are being squeezed out of existance?

Perhaps the question is why would government willingly give away all the other potential profits by allowing the private beer and wine industry to even exist?

I suspect the answer again is profits, but not for government, not for health or education, but for the private operators and the Liberal Party of BC.

BTW, imagine the government liquor stores pay sttaff decent wages with benefits, which then filter back into the community to help small business, increase tax revenues etc. and they still earn a tidy profit of more than $800 million.

Meanwhile, the private operators pay minimum wages, vertually no benefits and return very little to the local economies.

Why are you asking again Andrew??

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