Saturday, 19 January 2013

Voice of the People | January 16, 2013

The following are extracts from The Chronicle Herald, Voice of the People section, Jan 16, 2013 on the subject of small business in NS and the NSLC.

David K. Young, Lunenburg: Unacceptable harassment

The Jan. 14 editorial “Silly rules safe here” puts the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation vs. U-vint retailer issue in clear perspective. Cannot Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald see what is clearly unacceptable police-state harassment by NSLC of small business owners? One must wonder why the NDP government saw fit to grant NSLC such powers. I, for one, am outraged and hope that logic can prevail — at least in the courts.

Michael Pierce, Pictou: Support small business

The recent decision by the liquor corporation to try to close brew-it-yourself operations in Nova Scotia is yet another example of Gestapo-like tactics being endorsed by a government which supposedly represents the little people.

Liquor licensing in Nova Scotia, as in other Canadian provinces, is a relic of Prohibition days when governments decided they had the moral and legal obligation to control the sale of alcohol. In reality, it was and is a massive tax grab. In Canada, unlike in the U.S., it fell short of outright prohibition, but resulted in the establishment of liquor licensing boards and commissions which ensured that all the profit from the sale of alcohol went directly into provincial coffers.

In the 21st century, this premise is ludicrous. Alcohol is a commodity which should be subject to the same laws of supply and demand as any other consumable. There is no reason why there should not be privately owned wine, beer and liquor outlets, just as there are throughout Europe, the United States, and more recently in British Columbia and Alberta.

The mom-and-pop stores which allow the average person to brew beer and wine at a modest cost should not only be lauded, but promoted. It is about time Darrell Dexter and his colleagues got their heads out of the sand and instead of giving millions to private corporations, provided a modicum of support for their supposed constituents.

Gordon De Vries, Halifax: It’s all about tax

For over 40 years, I’ve been an occasional home brewer of wine and beer. Now a senior, I find the lifting of heavy carboys difficult and, with limited space in an apartment, home brewing is no longer an option. U-brew is the only way for me to continue my hobby; with the heavy lifting done for me, I can do the rest.

It’s time for the Dexter government to get with the times and simply treat Nova Scotians the same as the residents of our neighbouring provinces. The spin that they are trying out, regarding protecting our health, is a non-starter; it’s all about tax. The NSLC does every-thing in its power to push product out the door with bright new stores, sales and promotions, and then it wants to talk about health. Give me a break.

Leave the U-brews alone and let us enjoy our simple little pleasures like the majority of other Canadians.

Charles Lindsay, Halifax: Nanny-state attitude

As a long-time NDP supporter, I was dismayed to hear Maureen MacDonald admit that she was content to keep on the books a provincial law (on in-store wine making) whose purpose she could not explain. I had always thought of the NDP as a party of reasonableness and fairness, yet here we have a minister irrationally supporting an unfair law that serves no useful social or economic purpose (other than maximizing the monopolistic powers of the NSLC) and discriminates against small businesses in an area of operation that is perfectly legal in several other provinces (including both other Maritime provinces).

Doesn’t the minister realize this is the kind of nanny-state attitude that undermines those of us who generally argue that government is good for you?

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