Saturday, 19 January 2013

Nova Scotia’s NDP Government Gives the Go Ahead to NSLC to Crush Small Businesses

This week marked our first month’s anniversary of taking over the Wine Kitz New Minas store as new owners. On Wednesday, January 9, we were served with legal papers saying that the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission (NSLC) was seeking an injunction against us in the NS Supreme Court two days later that, if granted, would have forced us to close our store. Our business, and two others in the province, was selected for prosecution in an attempt to intimidate all stores offering u-vint services to cease doing so.

The NSLC operates with the full authority of the government of Nova Scotia, and on Thursday the Minister responsible, Maureen MacDonald stated that while u-vints are legal and common in other parts of Canada, they would not be legalized in Nova Scotia. She told the media that companies providing this service should be prosecuted.

Given our situation, we felt there was no alternative but to try to resolve this matter with the NSLC and on Thursday we voluntarily closed our in-store wine making operation and stopped offering the service. As a result, we were removed from the NSLC’s request for an injunction on Friday. The judge gave the other two stores named in the action an extension until January 28 to allow them time to seek appropriate legal representation.

From a small business standpoint, the closing of our in-store winery for any extended period will be catastrophic, and may well lead to the ultimate closure of our store and the loss of our investment. When we were served with papers this week, we were in the process of obtaining premises and hiring staff for another store in Digby. These plans are now on hold.

We are new residents to the province, and new to this business, but we came here with the intent of earning a living as small business owners in rural Nova Scotia. What we have been faced with this week shows that the province does not provide a business climate for people like us. All we can do is take on the fight to operate our business, protect our investment, and have the law that prohibits u-vint services and grants the NSLC such extraordinary powers to prosecute small business struck down.

Gail J. Smith & David M. Cvet
Wine Kitz New Minas
January 12, 2013

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