SPRINGHILL – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie is demanding the government conduct a full investigation into why Nova Scotians were charged higher prices one business day in advance of scheduled price increase without notice over the weekend.
Nova Scotia Liquor Commission outlets, Baillie says, charged customers increased prices a day a head of schedule during the Easter weekend, when outlets across the province were closed on Friday ad Sunday.
“The Dexter NDP must get to the bottom of the NSLC’s cash grab on Saturday, when customers were overcharged during one of the busiest days of the year,” said Baillie. “The Minister must explain why the NSLC stores were inconsistent with their explanations to customers about why the increases were happening early.”
The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for the Crown Corporation, Baillie says. Prices were set to increase April 1, but many customers unknowingly paid the increased price on Saturday.
In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson for NSLC explained a computer glitch increased the price on 1,000 products and fixing the problem would have shut down 105 outlets across the province.
If it was truly an error, Baillie asks why people weren’t told before they made their purchases.
“Rather than just gouging people, the NSLC should have been upfront about the overcharges and given people their money back,” said Baillie. “The Minister is accountable for the revenue that is brought in from the NSLC and she needs to come clean about how much extra money was inappropriately taken from Nova Scotians.”
According to the NSLC’s annual report, its expenses have gone from about $50 million to nearly $100 million in the last 10 years. Baillie has been calling for the Minister to review the entire NSLC structure.
“I’ve been calling on the Minister to review the entire way we distribute beer and wine in our province and look at models for selling beer and wine in corner stores and grocery stores,” said Baillie. “There’s no good reason that the NSLC’s expenses have doubled when our population has not increased and people aren’t buying any more product than they were a decade ago.”