As one who travels occasionally it has always been a downer to come back to Canada and see how backwards the liquor laws are in this fine country. It’s no problem to buy beer and wine in the supermarkets of Mexico and New Zealand, for example. Another little joy is to go to a great little restaurant in Auckland or Sydney and bring a long a bottle of your favourite wine. You pay the facility something called a “corkage fee” of a few dollars a person to compensate the establishment for its labour services in serving the liquid delight. It is extremely civilized somehow.
Meanwhile, the liquor business remains stuck in the relative dark ages in most of Canada. Some patches of light can be found in Alberta, Quebec and BC – provinces which are relatively more relaxed in regulating the choices of consenting adult liquor consumers. There is no tight liquor retailing monopoly run by joyless government functionaries. You can buy wine in corner stores.
Surprisingly, it seems almost revolutionary to learn that Manitoba’s NDP government is preparing to liberate the provincial liquor retailing landscape according to the Winnipeg Sun. It’s a wise and overdue move and will steal some no-brainer thunder that could have easily been delivered by the McFadyen Conservatives as they seek differentiate themselves to voters in the upcoming Manitoba election.