Liquor sale

Denial of Nass liquor licence has government speaking out both sides of its mouth.

IT’S ironic that at the same time the provincial government has been scouting for ways to increase the sale of alcohol – perhaps the selling of craft beers and wines at farmers markets or even moving liquor stories inside of grocery stores, etc. – it has turned down an application by the New Aiyansh convenience store in the Nass Valley to open what’s called a rural agency store, a mini form of a provincial liquor store.

The irony is that while the provincial government will be more than happy to tell us why it should increase the sale of alcohol elsewhere, it won’t say why it won’t permit the sale of alcohol at all in the Nass.

It did solicit opinions from people in the Nass as part of its evaluation of the New Aiyansh store’s proposal but says releasing those opinions is too sensitive for small communities.

And the store itself did receive a letter from the province saying there was too much opposition to the idea.

It’s not as if there isn’t access to alcohol already in the Nass. By many accounts, a thriving bootlegging industry exists, one fed by purchases made at liquor stores elsewhere.

If the province doesn’t want to be viewed as moving legal liquor closer to those who sell it onward illegally, then it should say so. It could spark a wider discussion about the use and  abuse of alcohol in the first place.

For now, however, there’s a distinct whiff of paternalism in all this. It brings to mind that old saying: Do as I say but don’t do as I do.