Business imperative

Earlier, we exclusively reported the head of the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch took a six-day, $8,155 business trip to Bordeaux and London this past June - tacking on a 12-day United Kingdom vacation for himself at the end of that trip. So what does the minister responsible for the branch, Rich Coleman, think that travel was appropriate at a time of government cutbacks? We caught up with him yesterday and this is what he had to say.


Sorry, I'm not sold.

There are great wines to import if you have to import. Anybody try Washington State? Alaska? Quebec? I guess not.

Gosh, and some in Langley want him as the next Premier?

Profitable or not, I remain perplexed as to why the Province of BC is in the business of selling booze. The origins lie with the old blue laws, under which a paternalistic government acted to protect citizens from alcoholic excesses by restricting when and where you could drink, as well as who you could buy it from.

I remember when licensed restaurants had to shutter their windows on Sundays, when you couldn't carry a glass of beer from one table to another, and a host of other adsurd Victorian-era restrictions.

Those days are long gone. The Liquor Distribution Board and all its associated bureaucracy (including government liquor stores) should follow suit.

Fortunately Josef doesn't need to be sold. All he needs is a dark basement in his mom's house and internet.

Comments like yours clearly indicate a serious lack of information. The BCLDB does a great job. Anyone who goes into the liquor store for anything other than Lucky Beer knows that.

And Josef your silly attempts to undermine various political actors to prop up your girl are preposterous. Polak will never be Premier and as I've stated before, your support makes her look ridiculous so I suggest you stop it.

As anyone who travels to Europe on business can tell you - and I make 4-5 such trips every year - Mr. Chambers should be heartily congratulated on very efficient money management on this trip. Six days for a little more than $8,000 is probably less than most private sector travellers would spend. Given the strong euro, the inflated rates that hotels charge during conferences, and the cost of meals and travel, I don't know where he could have cut costs. If you know, please share it with us all - it would be greatly appreciated and a valuable piece of investigative journalism.

The Bordeaux trip is a business trip, and the government should not stop doing business where it can, especially during an economic slowdown. Yes, we have great wines in BC and western Canada and the US, but does that mean that we turn a blind eye to other offerings from the Old World? I don't think so. And as a taxpayer, I know that the relatively more expensive wines that Mr. Chambers might order from Bordeaux likely have higher prices when they get here to the BCLBD outlets, meaning higher margins, and more net contribution to the BC treasury. I'll drink to that.

I don't travel to Europe (I only care for Britain and can't afford to go at the moment) and my office is nice & bright thank you.

Oh and I haven't had a touch of booze in a long, long time.

Greed, self-entitlement, spoiled, out-of touch, overindulgent. Would these words ever be used to describe an owner in a small business?

Six days, $8,000. It is a hard sell to convince Mr. & Ms. Ordinary Taxpayer that reflects efficient money management, particularly because those ill-used chumps might both spend a month there for similar money. (And, we do.)

I would place a bet that both Jim and Rick believe that BC's minimum wage, stalled at $8 for eight years, is still too high.

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