Who needs red tape, eh?
It’s so bothersome…. like when it involves public safety. That’s why we elect governments that are so keen on deregulation, like the BC Liberals who are currently in the process of deregulating liquor sales, closing government stores and shifting sales to the private sector.
Here’s how good that old red tape reduction has been in Canada…
“viewed from a public-safety perspective, the (deregulation) model is much more problematic. It results in a dramatic reduction in regulators’ first-hand knowledge of what is actually happening at the firms whose practices they are supposed to be overseeing on behalf of the public. This invites serious risks that unsafe operating practices will not be identified and addressed until a major incident occurs. The food-contamination episode at the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., last summer, and now the Lac-Mégantic disaster, stand out as examples of these problems.”
That’s from the Globe, who just seem to have woken up to some of the small problems associated with thirty years of deregulation. But it sounds so sexy to pop off those little red tape items: like shooting the teddy bears at the fair as your boyfriend grips your arm a little harder each time that pop gun goes off.
But let’s get real. People dead? A town destroyed? Isn’t that just a bit too high a price to pay to make it easier for the private sector to make more money?
So let’s move on to another place where it really hurts: liquor sales.
BC is getting ready to shovel the piles of money into the hands of grocery stores and other large industry players while raising the cost to the health care and policing systems, not to mention dealing another blow to small businesses who mistakenly believe they can compete with Mr. Loblaw in a deregulated market.
Look who pays the bills over at BC Lib Inc. You just know that the real money will be made by Sobeys and the other big operators, not the mom and pop operators who will get those 12:15 AM sales to the “are they 19 or just 18? Geez, I haven’t made a dime all day… that means 19 for now…” group.
That’s just not enough to stay alive against the mega discounters. Have you bought vodka at a US Costco lately? At their price point you can stay drunk all the time. That’s tough to compete against.
More importantly, that’s not the only problem. The fact is that there are no regulatory changes that will keep the costs down for the average taxpayer. The real story is that in many other jurisdictions that got rid of government red tape and privatized liquor sales, revenues went down and costs went up on the government side. More importantly, very expensive social problems like FASD increased.
FASD does not come cheap, especially when it remains untreated. BC will be no exception. As some liquor gets cheaper, opening hours increase, limits are forgotten by “amateur regulators”, enormous social problems linked to alcohol increased in many jurisdictions that deregulated and privatized liquor in North America.
Eliminating red tape sounds so sexy. At the end of the day it has cost quality of life and taxpayer’s money far beyond the estimates. Our governments lied to us when they tried to spin red tape removal as a good thing, particularly when it comes to liquor.
This isn’t just a belief. Many of us have direct experience with these problems. Extended bar hours increased alcohol consumption for too many. FASD is one result. There is no worse addiction and a kid in the womb can’t be blamed for his exposure to this one.
This is not about individual responsibility. It’s about a society that thinks it can get cheap and easy liquor without the associated problems. And it is wrong.
It’s been a long time. But I’ve been pretty sick and haven’t been able to put digits to the pedal. I’m hoping to get some more work in so here’s crossing my fingers. I really miss it and there is so much to write about.
For example do you really think the Mayor of Toronto should be… you know… Mayor? And coaching troubled kids. Hey, we’re just getting shit faced…