That 6.7 per cent increase in the floor price of a case, bottle deposit excluded, has nothing to do with supply-and-demand, production costs, overhead or distribution expenses. Instead, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario sets minimum prices as part of its "social responsibility" mandate established in 1993. Translation: If alcohol is too cheap, you may abuse it. But documents obtained under Ontario's freedom-of-information law show that the Ministry of Finance, not the LCBO, pressed for higher beer prices – raising questions about the arm's-length relationship between the two bodies.
Holey Moley! You may think that this is all a bit of complainery but if beer is, as Statistics Canada indicates, a 3.2 billion dollar sector of the Ontario economy in 2006 (as opposed to the 2.5 billion the Star indicates) then a 6.7% revenue grab by the state owned monopoly that regulates prices represents up to a $214,000,000 cash grab if the minimum price were also to translate (why wouldn't it) to upward pressure on all beer pricing. Let's be clear: if the price increase represents no increase in costs but is only on the direction of the provincial Finance Minister who receives all LCBO profits at the end of the day, then that is all it is- a way to effectively tax without introducing a law to authorize the tax. Great.
And just before Christmas as well. Nice present for yourself as well as all Ontarians.