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Liquor Control and Licensing Branch Consultation – Liquor Consumption in Public Places

In mid-March, the provincial government opened up a public consultation on public drinking in British Columbia. Unfortunately, their call for commentary seemed to last just about 24 hours – and their document requesting interested parties and stakeholders send in suggestions seems to have completely disappeared from their archives.

We scrambled to get our leadership together and get a response in, but this was less than a month after the Vancouver AGM and amidst preparations for the provincial AGM. Add in the fact that this only came to our attention with a few hours in the allotted commentary time remaining, so our response did get in a bit late. However, it did get in; below is a message sent to the powers that be in regards to their public liquor consumption consultation. If anyone in the community happens to have a copy of this requested consultation in the records please do send it to me so we can post it publicly here and get this letter a bit more context.

That being said, I learned my lesson, from now on any Government documents made public pertaining to liquor, I will be sure to save a copy for myself in case they decide to remove them without a trace – as they seem to have in this case.

***

 

Hi Melanie,

 

I am the President of the Vancouver Branch of CAMRA BC, a consumer advocacy organization representing approximately 3000 consumers in the Greater Vancouver Area. I realize that this message gets to you a day after the indicated date for response, but we couldn’t convene our leadership together until very recently – as we just held our AGM. I believe including CAMRA’s voice, as a major player in representation of consumer rights would be beneficial to you, so please do take these recommendations into consideration despite being a few hours behind the scheduled response.

 

CAMRA Vancouver has always advocated for an easing of the public consumption laws in BC. As a group of individuals that are craft beer advocates and hobbyists, we are always encouraging of any legislation that would make it easier for our community to enjoy our hobby in a more relaxed fashion. The Vancouver beer community would absolutely welcome a provision such as this into our municipality – it is a great first step towards a more civilized and modern approach to moderate public consumption being the standard.

 

We are opposed, however, to the implementation of province wide hours to this provision as it does not take into account the intricacies of varying communities, their needs and their preferences. Citing the Greater Vancouver area as an example, an area near Commercial Drive in Vancouver would not have the same “hour needs” as in Maple Ridge. We believe that the laws that already exist in regards to excessive noise, public drunkenness and inappropriate public behaviour already cover any concerns that varying local communities may have in regards to noise/intoxication, etc.

 

We believing picnicking should be included by default, unless otherwise excluded. These are great community building events in which community members can get together and share the joys of local beer with their neighbours. There is an incredible stigma associated with beer drinking outside, that can be rectified by making it less restrictive form a legal standpoint. People are afraid of what they don’t understand – we believe that, given a bit of time, by seeing people enjoying a few drinks in a park at a picnic, public perception of this activity can be turned around significantly.

 

CAMRA Vancouver whole heartedly endorses a provision that puts less restrictions on how consumers can enjoy their drinks. We believe, that it is time the government view the average consumer (particular the craft beer consumer) as a responsible adult who can enjoy a drink at a public event without causing a scene. Countless communities across the planet allow for responsible drinking in public, and they have not dissolved into anarchy and chaos. In fact, some of these areas have the least amounts of problems with disorderly behaviour based on drinking. The excessive behaviour when drinking exhibited by some people in British Columbia is, in our view, a reaction to a resistance to change by the BC government (and Canadian government.) If our lawmakers are not willing to take steps forward, our society will not evolve and adapt and we will be left behind in the world-wide community.

 

To a certain extent, this provision is a step in the right direction, but we would be loathed to see additional restrictions added to it – this would simply be more of the “one step forward, two steps back” liquor attitude we have gotten from the provincial government over many years.

 

Sincerely,
David Perry – President, CAMRA BC, Vancouver Branch

 

 

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