Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#LiquorLeaks turns into a #LiquorFlood

Another day, another booze controversy in British Columbia, where it seems as if government liquor policy is drafted on the back of a napkin at a loud bar after a couple rounds of bending elbows.

Prince George-based Pacific Western Brewing (purveyors of, ahemScandal Ale) has threatened to lay-off staff and shut down for a month if it hits the 160,000-hectolitre threshold where a tax penalty kicks in. This could ruin Christmas for members of the brewers' union and their families. But the threshold was raised to 400,000 hl, based on this Nov. 14, 2012 Liquor Distribution Branch memo. This could, according to some reports, save BC Liberal-donor PWB $10 million a year.

Liquor minister Rich Coleman claims the memo was sent out in error. Knowing how Deputy Premier Coleman micro-manages his vast cabinet portfolios, I find this exceedingly difficult to believe.

PWB is not only a client of Patrick Kinsella's Progressive Group lobbying shop, but it was also a supporter of the long-running, but ultimately unsuccessful, Exel Logistics push to privatize LDB. The following is from page 6 of the Business in Vancouver-revealed, Oct. 6, 2009 "Project Last Spike" memo by vice-president Scott Lyons to his superiors:

Exel reached out to the following key industry participants to sell them the value of this initiative to their business, and they are onside:
Tim Crowhurst, Executive Director Import Vintners Association of BC -
Kim Hackstad (sic), Executive Director of ABLE (Pub Association)
Lorne Valinski, Executive Director Spirits Canada-BC Division
Mark Von Schellwitz, Vice President, Canadian Restaurants Food Services Association

Kazuko Komatsu, President and CEO President of Pacific Western Brewing Company (left, with 1998 Order of B.C. medallion)
But there are bigger stories, folks.

First of all, the entire online library that once was for the eyes only of LDB bidders has been liberated from government files via Business in Vancouver (and the intervention of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner). Warning, it is twice as long as War & Peace. You might call it Hops & Grapes or Drunk & Sober. Here is the story and the link, in the first paragraph, to the entire set of documents. 

Secondly, did you know that the government kissed and made up with Telus over the $40 million B.C. Place Stadium naming rights fiasco? Instead of a consolation prize -- making the "Future Is Friendly" company the official or exclusive supplier or sponsor of telecommunications and technology -- the government cut a very big cheque and paid Telus a handsome sum of your money for the goods and services installed at B.C. Place. Except, neither the government nor Telus wants to tell us how big the payment was for this supply-only deal. Read about it here.

If the government was proud of saving money, it would have issued a news release in August when this happened.

It didn't save money and it didn't issue a news release.

1 comment:

GeeBee007 said...

Coleman has always kept liquor and housing as thats where the hidden slush fund money comes from.

I'm sure he hasnt paid for a meal or a drink in years - and it shows - a walking billboard for the heart and stroke foundation.

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