Greater availability will lead to greater abuse

With reference to Tom Fletcher’s column on liquor prices (Nov. 26), Tom has as usual missed the main point

With reference to Tom Fletcher’s column on liquor prices (Nov. 26), Tom has as usual missed the main point.

Although he is consistent with his pro-Liberal government, anti-union message, he fails to understand the basic premise behind the liberalizing of our liquor laws.

Historically, governments have struggled with controlling alcohol consumption. We have seen the whole spectrum of attempts from total prohibition to wide open availability and aggressive marketing.

In the past, British Columbians recognized some regulation was necessary and took the middle road of partial control through well-regulated government liquor stores.

I chaired an alcohol abuse task force for three years with senior representatives from all the relevant provincial departments and non-profit agencies. We examined and explored all relevant abuse factors and found “availability” at the top of the list. Lack of funds for enforcement in liquor licensing and control was also a big issue – this has not changed.

There have been several attempts first by the Socreds and then by the Liberal government to privatize alcohol sales but, reason prevailed and the present system was preserved.

However, in spite of government liquor licensing bringing in important tax dollars for many social services, pressure from special interest profit-seeking groups persisted.

Finally the Liberals saw a way to accomplish their objective and embarked on a process of eroding alcohol controls. Firstly by slowly introducing a number private liquor stores and then by conducting a survey that gave the public one side of the story, a modernizing and convenience message.

They failed to listen to a wide range of organizations that want to keep the present level of liquor licensing control. They omitted to explain or recognize studies that established: a recent spike in gambling addiction was caused by more availability to gambling via slot machines, casinos etc; A much higher percentage of juveniles are accessing alcohol through private liquor stores (kids on minimum wage serving kids); A UVic and Prevention Research Center in Berkley, Calif. study that found more alcohol related deaths attributed to private liquor stores in B.C. and elsewhere.

So if Fletcher wasn’t so interested in union-bashing and would use his column to provide balanced, useful information, he could have explained the more expensive and wide spread government makes alcohol, the more illegal alcohol will be made – resulting in more alcohol-related problems, less revenue and far less control.

Anthony Mears

Oak Bay

 

Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

Oak Bay’s Logie Lea house designated heritage

Owner will age in place in new lot on Linkleas

Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

Victoria museum’s efforts bolstered by B.C. repatriation grant

Big Lonely Doug among largest old-growth trees now on protection list

B.C. to protect 54 old-growth trees, but critics say it’s not enough

Family to recreate Tod House photo 119 years later

Reunion features 64 descendants of 1890s Oak Bay home

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read