For Immediate Release:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Privatization of Liquor Corporation Will Do More Harm Than Good

ST. JOHN’S, NL– Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) President Jerry Earle is warning against the privatization of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) on the heels of a position paper from the local chapter of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) calling on government to review the NLC with the goal of privatizing the crown corporation.

“It is no surprise that the CFIB is lobbying the government to privatize liquor stores as they are the ones who will reap the profits,” said Earle. “One of the biggest issues however is on the other side of the equation – the lost revenue to the provincial coffers. In the last five years alone, the province received over $700 million from the NLC. These funds are used to help provide the public services, like healthcare, that the people of this province depend on every day.”

The privatization experience in other jurisdictions across Canada has proven to be less than successful. For example, since privatization, Alberta has foregone over $1.5 billion in tax revenue, despite increases in per capita alcohol consumption. A review of Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan, found liquor prices were higher, on average, in the two privatized provinces – BC and Alberta. Apart from the economic impact, research shows that privatization of liquor stores has profound social and public health consequences. Recent reviews in BC, for example, have shown a much higher liquor law compliance and enforcement rate in public liquor stores (e.g. checking for I.D, not selling to intoxicated patrons, not selling to minors, etc.). Other jurisdictions have also experienced increased incidents of impaired driving and alcohol–related deaths after privatizing liquor stores.

“The CFIB is using a one-sided telephone poll of 114 of its own members – small and medium sized business owners – to argue for the privatization of liquor stores in this province. We are hopeful that the current government and the opposition parties see through this ploy for what it really is – an attempt to transfer public funds into private hands,” stated Earle. “Experience in other parts of the country has shown that privatization has led to lower government revenues, higher prices for the public, and increased social harm. Our union will do everything in its power to ensure that the liquor corporation continues to stay in the hands of the public for the good of the province.”

– 30 –

For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(phone) 709.570.2501  (cell) 709.631.9737  (e-mail)