Monday, July 14, 2014

Dumb or Devious? BC Liberals' Happy Hour Raises Prices and Suspicions of Downing the Competition


Donnelly Group bus shelter and print ads went up quickly!
New rules mean less real price competition for big chains by small independents. Hmmmm.

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee column 

Tuesday July 8, 2014

By Bill Tieleman
"He was a wise man who invented beer."
- Plato, ancient Greek philosopher
Is the B.C. Liberal government really incredibly dumb, bringing in "happy hour" rules that actually increase -- not lower -- the price of beer, wine and cocktails by imposing new minimum prices?
Or have the BC Liberals actually rewarded some of their biggest financial supporters by reducing competition based on price, to the benefit of some of the province's largest bar and restaurant chains and at the expense of independent pubs?
A consumer group thinks the evidence points to a Machiavellian move hurting both consumers and smaller liquor outlets alike, by increasing prices for a pint of beer by $2 or more and a pitcher of beer up $5.
The entire liquor industry should be in an uproar over the June 20 introduction of minimum pricing making B.C. beer prices per ounce the highest in Canada at 25 cents, more than double the roughly 11 cent price previously, which was simply the cost of the beer itself.
That means a 20-ounce pint of beer now costs a minimum $5 plus tax.
But instead the brewing revolt is being led by a consumer group -- the Campaign for Real Ale Society -- and some small pubs and bars, while the big chains are either surprisingly silent or remarkably happy, with one taking out full page newspaper and bus shelter ads proclaiming "Prohibition is over."
CAMRA spokesperson Paddy Treavor says drinkers should be suspicious.
"I believe that the B.C. government either willingly -- or were duped by special interest groups -- into making prices higher," Treavor said from Powell River Sunday. "The big chains put their thumb on independent and smaller outlets."
"They don't want to have to compete with places that were offering $3.50 drinks -- now they can put the blame on the government for higher prices," he added.
Safely expensive
John Yap, the Richmond-Steveston MLA and parliamentary secretary for liquor reform to Attorney General Suzanne Anton who guided the changes, defends the higher priced happy hour on "safety" grounds despite no evidence previously lower prices were a problem.
"This is one of the most important public safety and health aspects of the recommendations that we brought in with the modernizing of our liquor laws," Yap told Global TV on July 4.
"We have not had rules on minimum pricing and now we introduced them based on our balanced approach on modernizing our liquor laws," Yap said.
I have my doubts about "balance" and "modernizing" being the reasons for higher priced happy hour, so I have filed a Freedom of Information request seeking all correspondence between Yap, Anton, their ministry and liquor interests to see if any communications took place prior to "unhappy hour" being introduced. 
Meantime, you can protest by joining my new Facebook page Fix BC Happy Hour, where over 1,100 people have already signed on for affordable drinks.

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7 comments:

ron wilton said...

Nothing this government undertakes is done with the common good uppermost in mind.

They are charlatans of the first order as their history has shown and nothing has changed since 'winning ?' the last election.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this concept of Happy Hour was not a major part of the NDP's strategy in the last election.

Whining over a price difference of 50 cents to$1.00?

In regards to the FOI, is there a submission to the Liqour Review from Bill Tieleman? If so, where is it so it can be read?

Is the NDP proposing changes to Happy Hour in terms of policy resolutions at their next convention? Is someone working on that?

DPL said...

Stay away from your usual drinking hole during happy hour and watch the price go down.

e.a.f. said...

if the big boys aren't complaining, they might just be benefiting.

Anonymous said...

Nor everything you disagree with is a complex plot. Sometimes its just a difference of views on public policy. Although I understand its much more exciting to believe there is a vast government conspiracy afoot.

Nestaken Squire said...

Bill, sorry I have been too busy to notice this important article.It certainly is an eye opener for the gentle voters to realize that Mrs. Family Guy only represents her family of big business that donated to keep the lieberal ship of fools afloat.You, I and others warned the voters they will pay dearly if these one percenters where re elected. The rich get rich and the working women and men are paying a price slowly but surely as in tax increases by one thousand raises and the few Friends are enjoying the cuts. The Queen in London must act and remove that witch in British Columbia who hurts the loyal subjects in our wonderful province.Finally, note and note very, very carefully, the few good liberal MLAs refused to run with the Lark banner and retired. I respected Mr. Abbot, Mr. Hanson, Mr Coal from N. Saanich, the gentleman from Chilliwack and the likeable man from PG.They were replaced by puppets of of the fearles leader who in turn is a puppet of her family of big business.Mr. Campbell resigned in disgrace as did Happy Harry who was the only MLA to support that Queen Bee S er. By the way, how much taxpayer money is been enjoy by the stupid nerd who resigned so a defeated MLA could return to the big house on Belleview. She and other belong in the BIG house as in crow bar hotel. Thank you Mr. Tieleman for reading and publishing my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

"Mrs. Family Guy only represents her family of big business that donated to keep the lieberal ship of fools afloat."

Just as the BCGEU and CUPE donates to keep the NDP candidates alive.


"You, I and others warned the voters they will pay dearly if these one percenters where re elected."

It was actually the 52 to 60% percenters.

"The rich get rich and the working women and men are paying a price slowly but surely as in tax increases by one thousand raises and the few Friends are enjoying the cuts."

Well that would be the 98 percenters. Anyone who earns a paycheque is a working man or woman.


"The Queen in London must act and remove that witch in British Columbia who hurts the loyal subjects in our wonderful province."

Where have you been? The Queen has no sovereign power in British Columbia and hasn't since 1936.

"Finally, note and note very, very carefully, the few good liberal MLAs refused to run with the Lark banner and retired."

A few good MLAs refused to run with Adrian Dix and retired too.

"I respected Mr. Abbot, Mr. Hanson, Mr Coal from N. Saanich, the gentleman from Chilliwack and the likeable man from PG.They were replaced by puppets of of the fearles leader who in turn is a puppet of her family of big business."

A but hypocritical isn't it? You slag the BC Liberals and yet praise a few who were previously BC Liberals.