At the beginning of August, our government began a review of our province’s liquor laws. The last time B.C. held a comprehensive review of liquor policy was 1999, and as times change, it’s important that we adjust our laws to keep them in line with our values.
When it comes to alcohol, we always need to make sure that we keep a healthy balance between economic and social interests and the need to ensure safety and the best interest of the public. That’s why it’s important to listen to stakeholders and to the general public, and to consider their ideas and opinions as we think about changes to our liquor laws.
That’s why the guiding principles of the review include ensuring that government revenue is maintained or increased, that the health and social harms caused by alcohol are minimized, that the review is transparent and evidence-based, and that all our obligations under collective agreements and trade agreements are respected.
Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap, who serves as parliamentary secretary for liquor reform, is currently touring the province to discuss liquor policy with stakeholders, and will be making a stop here in Williams Lake next week.
MLA Yap also launched a new Liquor Policy Review website in mid-September, where everyone can get involved and share their ideas by joining online discussions, submitting comments by e-mail or mail, or participating in Twitter Townhalls.
The site has already been visited by more than 37,000 people, with almost 11,000 votes cast, over 1,100 comments, and over 1,000 e-mail submissions.
You can participate in the review process and learn about the issues in-depth, including reading MLA Yap’s ongoing blog on his liquor policy review tour, at engage.gov.bc.ca/liquorpolicyreview/. I hope you’ll take the time to share your thoughts and ideas!
Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.