Monday, 21 January 2013

The Dexter Decision: Action or Inaction on NSLC versus u-vint operators.

The NDP Government, led by our Premier, Darrell Dexter, has a choice to make this week.  They have to choose whether or not to intervene in the NSLC’s request to the NS Supreme Court for a permanent injunction to close three small u-vint businesses.   And it is a choice.  This is not a criminal matter before the courts, it is a civil one.  No charges have been laid by the RCMP; no Crown Attorney is handling the application to the court.  But someone is making this move forward, and making decisions about how we were investigated, how and when to prosecute us, and how to best force us out of the market.  Who ever that is, works for the NSLC.  And the NSLC comes under the responsibility of the Department of Finance. 

Minister Maureen MacDonald, has the choice to exercise ministerial discretion over this matter.  She is not obligated to intervene, but as a senior member of  government, it is her responsibility to act in a fair and reasonable manner.  She can choose to consider just the regulations and ignore the inherent conflict of interest that exists in having the NSLC be both monopoly retailer and market regulator.

The Premier and all his Ministers can choose to consider the impact this has on three businesses that have been charged and how the business environment in the province is affected.

Actions Needed

Should the Minister and Premier decide to act, versus sit this out to see what happens in a court next Monday, there are things they can do. 
  1. Have the NSLC withdraw their application to the court;
  2. Have the NSLC cease any further legal action against u-vint operators until such time as the regulations and role of the NSLC in enforcement has been reviewed;
  3. Order a review of the legislation and regulations in light of both public policy interests and public opinion.  Work with industry participants, NSLC management and government representatives to establish clear rules and practises for the operation of u-vint services in Nova Scotia.
Taking action on this matter is straightforward. 

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