Privatizing liquor stores would be a positive

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Editor:

Regarding the plan to privatize liquor stores in the province. I read that Mr. Neufeld though that the province would be foregoing all the profit that it is making now and will be in the future. I think there are a few issues besides foregone profits to consider.

The first is how these profits are made and if perhaps they may be excessive. I moved here to Saskatchewan from Alberta in 2009 and found that any liquor, wines and beer were appreciably more here than in Alberta. With the monopoly situation that exists in retailing in the province, the prices can be raised without the fear of competition that would perhaps lower the prices.

I was in Alberta when the Conservatives under Ralph Klein privatized the retail sale of liquor, wine and beer. If the wholesale distribution of these had also been privatized, the buying public would have benefited with even lower prices and more availability and selection than they already did.

Another positive factor that would be introduced is that towns that don't have a liquor store would get them. This would benefit not only the town residents, but also the other businesses there. Many communities in the Southwest find it hard to even retain a grocery store and other businesses. If grocery and convenience stores could also sell liquor, then maybe they could remain in business. Friends of mine live in a community whose grocery store shut down last spring. They must now go over 15 miles to pick up groceries.

By keeping the grocery store running, everyone would benefit; the town itself, the local customers and the local economy.

Another assumption that Mr. Neufeld makes is that the province would lose all this "profit" to private business. Usually with most businesses it takes years to turn a profit. Private business profit should not be viewed as a dirty word, but rather as a necessity. It is necessary to cover the risk of investment, but also to cover future business reverses and shortfalls.

Supply management in any part of the economy causes stagnation failing businesses and higher prices. We have seen the results of this in the marketing boards that restricted supply to increase prices. When I grew up in Alberta there were local dairies all over the place. Now there is hardly any, with prices of dairy products much more than in the United States.

Excess profits also means excessive prices and reduced demand and shifted consumer spending from other products, thus affecting the whole economy. Local profits usually mean local spending and a more vigorous and active local economy.

Bert Thomson - Gull Lake

Geographic location: Alberta, Saskatchewan

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