Vernon-Monashee MLA defends liquor process

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster insists there is nothing inappropriate about the government’s possible selling off of liquor distribution.

The NDP opposition has released documents that suggest the provincial government did not have a plan for privatization of liquor warehouses until it was approached by private sector interests.

“They can say whatever they like but the government makes the decisions,” said Foster of the NDP.

“There is no insider business going on.”

Mark Olsen, Vernon-Monashee NDP candidate,  is calling on Foster and his Liberal colleagues to reject the selling of parts of the Liquor Distribution Branch.

“This is proceeding without a business plan and without discussion with the B.C. beer and wine and restaurant industries, and without meaningful debate within the government,” said Olsen.

“The Liberal government has two options:  show that there is sound reasoning behind this privatization, or stop it – just say no.”

Olsen believes questions of transparency surround the government’s handling of the matter.

“If Eric Foster and his caucus colleagues allow this privatization scheme to move forward without due diligence, they’ll be making the same mistake they made when the HST was brought in,” he said.

“They will further erode public trust in government.”

But Foster defends the process.

“It’s open to anyone who wants to bid on it. How much more open can you be than an open call for proposals?” he said, adding that no decisions have been made.

“The whole purpose of this was to see what the best deal is for British Columbians. If the proposals received aren’t a better deal, it won’t happen.”


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