This article in the Ottawa Citizen begs a certain question:
...the recent Drummond report on the province’s fiscal woes reveals the LCBO only has about $400 million in assets. However Drummond shows that in 2010-’11, the LCBO had a net income of $1.6 billion. Obviously the profit at the board is in moving booze, not hard assets. Furthermore, I’d prefer that revenue have an outside chance of landing in health care or education rather than in the back pocket of Joe from Joe’s Liquor Mart. Furthermore, LCBOs are clean, safe and diligent about enforcing carding or refusing to sell to the inebriated. Joe … he’s another matter.
The recent Drummond report is a study setting out proposals to get this province's fiscal house back in order. As a cornerstone of the North American auto industry, Ontario has been hard hit by recession and incurred large debts to manage the crisis. So, I have no issue about not selling off the milk cow that is Ontario's government store, the LCBO. I just wonder why we only have to have just the one milk cow. And would it kill us to milk a goat once in a while, too?
I have never understood the need for the government store to be a monopoly. It reflects a theory that hints at a meaning of government as well as the nature of being human in community. But most of all it screams of a lack of confidence. If all the benefits of having the biggest booze buyer in the world down the street are true - and many are true - what is the harm in opening up private sales? Do we really think that "Joe's Liquor Marts" and other backhanded unfounded slurs really reflect the marketplace? Why must my city of almost 125,000 have less than ten places to buy a six-pack? Could it be that selling good beer at the corner store without a closed staff-run committee approval process months long and mounds of paper work deep might actually prove its own separate worth when placed in competition to the LCBO?
Nothing is so convenient as a proof that does not need or even generate an example. Calling anything "better" always implies choice.