Clark Government decides to keep new drink prices secret

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March 20, 2015

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Liberals have reneged on repeated promises to release the pricing for beer, wine and spirits in government stores to the public today, says New Democrat spokesperson on liquor David Eby.

“Releasing the retail price information would have ended a long-standing debate about whether or not the B.C. Liberals’ new wholesale beer and wine tax would raise prices for beer and wine drinkers, and for restaurants,” said Eby.

Eby has been working closely with the hospitality industry, retail, brewers, distillers and wineries who all say prices are going up. However, B.C. Liberal Attorney General Suzanne Anton has repeatedly said prices won’t change significantly, and some prices are going down.

“If prices were going down, the B.C. Liberals would be holding a parade in front of the legislature, because New Democrats have repeatedly told them in question period that prices were going up,” said Eby. “But instead of a parade and a press release, the premier has decided she’s keeping retail prices secret, and she’s breaking the promise to make prices public for everyone to examine.”

In a Frequently Asked Questions section of the “Doing Business with the LDB” website, the government promised that the BCLS (BC Liquor Stores) would publish retail prices for wineries, stores, brewers and distillers to examine and compare with existing prices on March 20. The new prices will be in effect April 1, and restaurants and industry are having difficulty planning their budgets without this critical information.

ABLE BC, the advocacy group for private beer and wine stores has issued a statement to their members, saying “Despite repeated announcements that the LDB would be publicly releasing the Period I (April 1, 2015) government liquor store retail prices on March 20, ABLE BC has just been informed by LDB General Manager, Blain Lawson, this is no longer the case. […] We are deeply frustrated that the LDB will not be sharing this information with industry.”