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Advocacy Update – 2015 Liquor Reform

Since April 1st there has been a lot of talk about liquor reform. Christy Clark, Suzanne Anton and the BC Liberals brought forth a new model that was meant to “level the playing field” and was supposed to come without any major impact on consumers. Much to our (lack of) surprise, the numbers are in and the verdict is not good.

Two months after the reform was brought in, here is the cut and dry of it all:

  • 55 beer products deceased in price;
  • 19 beer products showed no change in price;
  • 94 beer products increased by less than 1%;
  • 219 beer products increased between 1% and 5%;
  • 123 beer products increased between 5.01% and 10%; and,
  • 74 beer products increased by more than 10%.

Or boiling it down in simpler terms:

  • ~10% of Beer products have dropped in price.
  • ~3% of Beer products have shown no change
  • ~87% of Beer products have increased in price.
The important number: 87% of the beer found in your local liquor store has seen a price increase. That doesn’t seem like a level playing field, especially not for the consumer. I realize that there are impacts on the liquor industry (which in my personal opinion aren’t positive either) but CAMRA’s focus is on how this is going to affect you, the consumer.

 

This is the second such reform that we have seen in the past year. You may remember John Yap and his (un)happy hour reform that was brought in last June. If not, here is a little refresher for you. You don’t have to read much to see how mishandled that whole situation was. But, CAMRA members across BC came out in droves and started writing in to the MLAs and the Premier telling them how upset they were. Lo and behold, we started seeing a shift in their stance (while still nowhere near where we would like to see.)

 

What is the lesson that (un) happy hour taught us? Rocking the boat works! This liberal government has a history of mishandling liquor reform and using double speak to mask their true intentions. Don’t believe that they knew prices would increase? Consider this, included in the new reform was a change in regulations to actually remove tax from the sticker prices in store. This is a blatant attempt to give the illusion of a lower cost when, in fact, the till price would be significantly more. The average consumer, however, just assumes “Tax is Tax” and doesn’t do the math on how much more their till price is in comparison to their sticker price.

 

This is exactly why the BC Liberals feel like they can do this. British Columbia has accepted this as fact. They just say “Our government doesn’t have our best interests at heart. That’s just the way it is.” I say NO! We are better than that, we are smarter than that and we can (and will) show them! While the government has said that this issue is closed, we have just begun to fight. It’s time to start making noise, beer drinkers of Vancouver! You work hard for your money, and want to reap the rewards of everything that you do! It’s time to start writing! Here is the plan of action (for now) :

 

1) Write to Suzanne Anton, Christy Clark and your local MLA; their addresses can be found below.
2) Write in to me and let me know your thoughts! Our Vancouver Executive Team will be meeting to discuss our own advocacy campaigns. You may have some ideas of campaigns to show Vancouver’s displeasure with the reform; if so, I want to know! I can be reached at pres@camravancouver.ca, on twitter @davidjp87 or you can comment on this article and I’ll see it! You can also contact Vice-President Kerry
3) Join in on any campaigns against this. Keep your eyes on our Twitter, Facebook and newsletter for any information pertaining to it.

 

We are already seeing resistance in the community to this new reform. West Coast Liquor Kerrisdale sent this tweet out:
I gave them a call and Ben Treen (@BenTheCicerone) explained that this was a big move for them and felt like an important one. He is as sick as we are of seeing the government take advantage of a very passionate niche in British Columbia’s booming local industry and culture. I, for one, applaud Ben and his team for doing this! Remember, you get a 5% discount on your purchases there with your CAMRA card, so go out there and show your support! Of course, if any other Vancouver suppliers are taking similar initiatives, please get in touch with me and let me know!

 

The boat is rocking, let’s see get these Liberals to start having to bail a bit of water out while we are at it!

Christy Clark
premier@gov.bc.ca
PO BOX 9041
STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC
V8W 9E1

Suzanne Anton
suzanne.anton.mla@leg.bc.ca
112-2609 E. 49th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V5S 1J9

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