Alberta’s liquor product selection has grown from 2,200 in 1993 to more than 31,000 today.
The private sector typically provides better hours, better selection and more convenience for customers.
The province’s debt interest payments are estimated at $956 million this year.
If Canadians ever needed proof that narrow politicking interferes with sensible consumer choice, they need look no further than the byzantine “reforms” on the sale of beer, wine and spirits proposed by Ontario, and one restrictive “reform” recently enacted in British Columbia.
Its been two decades since the Alberta government exited the business of selling beer, wine and spirits to consumers.
Twenty years ago the Alberta government swiftly and boldly threw open Alberta's markets in beer, wine and spirits. The result has been a success story of intense competition, added convenience and thousands of new jobs.
Other provincial governments have never imitated the Alberta accomplishment. But that has much to do with local politics and mythmaking from vested interests, not facts.
When Ontario opposition leader Tim Hudak recently released a position paper that mused about reforming how Ontarians buy their beer, wine and spirits, the usual nonsensical non sequiturs were quickly offered up by those opposed to private liquor stores.
Ill get to the myths about private booze shortly. In general though, state-owned enterprises almost invariably mean losses for taxpayers, consumers or both.
A good example of the latter is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) itself, which runs the Ontario government liquor stores.
Anyone who recently visited Alberta for the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede might have noticed something unusual about the province: not a single government liquor store.
Alberta does have a plethora of private stores, unlike say, Ontario, where I once drove around Cambridge for what seemed forever to find any shop, government or private, to buy wine for a dinner with relatives.
If youre lucky, your politicians will one day imitate Alberta. To that end, heres how Albertas private sector model came about.