Allowing you to buy liquor at grocery stores compromises public safety, according to a coalition of mostly unions launching a national campaign today.
Keep Liquor Public targets alcohol sales at private stores in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and now Manitoba where the Liberals have talked about privatizing parts of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
The President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union Michelle Gawronsky says it’s about protecting jobs but also protecting your safety.
“They’re excellently trained in being able to card minors, to recognize that they’re minors and ensure that they’re not buying liquor,” Gawronsky explains” They’re also trained in how to recognize and deal with any intoxicated customers that come through the door.”
Gawronsky says they also have the support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck is also worried the plan could mean the loss of jobs.
“People can get liquor at later hours but they’re from places where people are making minimum wage and the cheques and balances just aren’t there. They also don’t have as much selection. Our liquor stores have a very broad-based selection and Manitobans are quite happy with that.”
The Manitoba Liberal Party wants to allow more places to sell alcohol and end the monopoly on sales by the government crown corporation.
“The crown would still regulate the liquor but the retail system part of it would be privatized,” explains Johanna Wood, candidate for Fort Garry-Riverview. “All of the organizations involved in this campaign are well-respected and we want to assure them that they have nothing to worry about.”
Wood explains that if the Liberals are voted into power, they would consult the organization in the coalition to make sure their voices are heard on the Liberals’ proposed model.