B.C. Liberals roll out good-news booze stories to divert attention from BCTF checkmate

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      Justice Minister Suzanne Anton has declared that B.C. liquor producers will be able to sell booze, wine, cider, and spirits at farmers markets.

      Naturally, the news has been welcomed by the B.C. Association of Farmers' Markets. It's probably also being cheered in the premier's constituency of Westside-Kelowna, which is a centre of B.C.'s wine industry.

      Today, Anton showed up to make the announcement at a Vancouver farmers market with John Yap, parliamentary secretary for liquor policy reform, and Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson, who's the minister of technology, innovation and citizens' services.

      Given the size of B.C.'s wine and growing craft-beer industries, there will likely be lineups of liquor-sector entrepreneurs wanting to rent stalls at these markets. (This link provides more information about how stalls are currently allocated at Vancouver Farmers Markets.)

      This announcement comes shortly after the B.C. government set minimum prices for alcoholic beverages, opening the door to the return of Happy Hour in bars across the province. 

      "Allowing licensees, such as pubs, restaurants and lounges, to alter their liquor prices throughout the course of the day is a pocket-book friendly change for British Columbians that will help the industry attract customers at times when business may typically be slow," the government stated in a news release trumpeting the change.

      So why all the booze announcements over the past 24 hours?

      That's easy to explain.

      The B.C. Liberal government needed to shift attention away from its decision late Friday (June 20) to capitulate to the B.C. Teachers' Federation's request for mediation to try to end the teachers strike.

      The BCTF had clearly put Education Minister Peter Fassbender in a corner after he had at first refused to agree to this.

      From the teachers' perspective, it was checkmate as far as winning the war for public opinion. That's because it appeared that teachers wanted to settle but the bad old government was up to its old tricks in trying to provoke more labour unrest in the education sector.

      No doubt, the premier's spin doctors were huddled in a room trying to figure out what good-news announcements could be rolled out on a Friday and a Saturday to get the media to cover any story other than the one involving teachers. It's no surprise they settled on booze.

      Anytime there's a loosening of liquor policies, there's no shortage of businesspeople and average Joes ready to go on the TV news to laud the changes.

      It makes it sound as though the politicians in charge are listening to the public.

      Whether B.C. Liberal politicians are listening to the public with regard to the teachers strike, however, remains an open question.


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      Jun 21, 2014 at 5:29pm

      Sure I can read about booze and the public markets..a bit of a momentary distraction BUT We wont be fooled or distracted for too long.

      Public education is under attack, bare bones budgets don't equal a quality education for every BC child. Bring on the mediator, wake up to what we as parents and teachers know - public education needs skilled and well paid teachers and specialists, class sizes and composition DO MATTER, learners need safe and good facilities and resources, and we need to rebuild our public education system.

      Save Vancouver

      Jun 22, 2014 at 9:21am

      LOL, sure all policy initiatives that were underway are supposed to grind to a halt while the BCTF holds your kids hostage!


      Jun 22, 2014 at 9:30am

      How can you print this crap?


      Jun 22, 2014 at 11:05am

      We could combine the two issues and let the wine and craft beer be made available at the BCTF picket lines.


      Jun 22, 2014 at 11:43am

      Jeez Stephen, bit of a stretch thinking these two things are related. But I wouldn't expect any less from the paranoid staff of the straight. Paranoia will destroy ya!!

      What a crock!

      Jun 22, 2014 at 12:04pm

      The government has the BCTF reeling. Mismanagement of strike funds, failure of many teachers to prepare themselves to go without pay cheques couple with ridiculous and unjustified salary demands has left the BCTF whining for mediation. In short the government doesn't need to distract anyone, they can rub the ineptitude of BCTF leadership in the faces of misguided supporters along with the conditioned herd of "educators" in the loosest sense of the word. We hear over and over how tough it is "preparing" for classes but the problem appears to be that many teachers are incapable of preparing for their own future let alone preparing students for reality.

      Alan Layton

      Jun 22, 2014 at 12:36pm

      You write like someone who is scared.

      An Interesting Fact

      Jun 22, 2014 at 2:06pm

      BC seems to have gotten worse with the relaxation of alcohol regulation. For the golden days of prohibition!


      Jun 22, 2014 at 9:16pm

      “Save Vancouver”: The BCTF is not responsible for the cuts that have caused a decade's worth of labour strife. That falls entirely on this provincial government. Clark, Fassbender, et al. have spent years engineering labour disputes and fighting court decisions for political gain. They, not our teachers, are the ones holding our kids “hostage”, as you put it


      Jun 23, 2014 at 8:58am

      not to mention the happy hour announcement is bullshit it begin with. it's not giving consumers a break. it's keeping b.c.'s liquor prices the most-exepsnive in the country. and, in some cases, forcing bars to actually raise prices. average joes might be celebrating, but they have no reason to be.