Now is the time to sharpen your keyboards and gird your faxes

The provincial government is up to its old tricks of secret negotiations and denials until the deal has been signed. Remember BC Rail?

Now it is putting the BC Liquor Distribution Branch on the auction block. There has been no consultation with the public about the need for sell off one of the few remaining government assets that bring money into Provincial coffers.

The same venture in Alberta resulted in an increase in costs to the consumers there because of an increase in rates charged to the brewers. Are there any safeguards against an increase in prices in BC?

As members of CAMRA it is time to speak up and let the government know our concerns.

Please take a few minutes to write a letter in your own words expressing this concern to the Minister, Rich Coleman, copy your MLA, the  Premier and also Maurine Karagianis, the opposition LDB critic.

Time is critical with this as the government is fast tracking the process. Initial RFPbidding closed June 29 (just 2 months after making a public announcement about the project) and a short list of 4 bidders was announced July 20. The final selection will be announced October and the deal signed by March, 2013.

All eyes are focused on the pipeline debate at the Premier’s conference. This issue will be conveniently swept under the carpet if we don’t speak up now and speak up loud.

Here are a few points you might want to include in your letter.

  • – There has been no consultation or discussion with consumers or with the Craft brewing industry.
  • – The Government is selling off the publicly owned assets and operations of a ministry branch without any business plan or cost benefit analysis given out for public examination.
  • – There is nothing in place to ensure no price increases will be charged to the consumer as a direct result of this privatization.
  • – The government is required to operate in the best interests of the people of British Columbia but a private corporation is not.

As a call to action please include these points as what we, the consumers of craft beer in British Columbia, see as necessary before any further steps are taken by the government in the RFP process:

  1. Conduct a study to provide objective data showing how this move will impact the craft beer consumers of BC
  2. Make public a business case and/or cost-effect analysis
  3. Have a full and meaningful consultation with both the private and public sectors of the province in regards to the planned sale and privatization of the Liquor Distribution Branch warehouses and warehouse distribution system.

Here’s an example of putting it together in a letter. Use this as a basis for yours if you wish but please make a few changes so this doesn’t end up looking like a form letter campaign.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

L.M. Blaseckie
1030 Wollaston Street
Victoria, BC
V9A 5B4

 July 27, 2010

Honourable Minister Rich Coleman 
Ministry of Energy and Mines, 
Parliament Buildings,
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

 Honourable Minister Coleman,

I am writing to express my concerns about the privatization of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB).

The entire process is taking place behind closed doors; there has been no consultation with the concerned consumers of BC. There has been no business plan or even a cost benefit analysis presented to us as explanation for why it is being undertaken. This is a publicly operated asset being sold without any input from the public that owns it.

You have refused to consult with BC beer and wine producers. As a consumer of craft beer, I am especially disturbed by the deliberate exclusion of craft brewers, an important stakeholder in the BCLDB.

Where is the study of the impact this move will have on me and my fellow craft beer consumers? We represent a significant section of the electorate, Mr. Minister, and we already pay a premium to drink locally made, fresh craft beer.

You have a fiduciary responsibility to all British Columbians, Minister.  The BCLDB does require reform and streamlining but it must be done in the clear light of day with transparency and input from all the stakeholders.

Suspend this process now, Mr. Minister, until a proper consultation process with the public and with industry can take place.

Produce a sound business analysis or, at the very least, a cost benefit analysis to justify the dismantling of a service to the consumers of British Columbia. Conduct a study to provide objective data on the impact this will have on the beer consumers of B.C. Provide concrete proof that any contract with a private interests will include protection of our rights as consumers.

Sincerely,

  L.M. Blaseckie
1030 Wollaston Street
Victoria, BC

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Write your letter and actually mail it to the Minister’s office. Email a copy to Maurine Karagianas and fax a copy to the Premier’s office.  Or call. Contact your MLA, regardless of their political party and let them know this is important to you. .

Honourable Rich Coleman

Minister of Energy and Mines

Room 128,

Parliament Buildings

Victoria, BC

V8V 1X4

Phone: 250 387-5896

Fax: 250 356-2965

Email: rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca

__________________

Premier Christy Clark

Legislature Office:

Honourable Christy Clark,

Premier

West Annex

Parliament Buildings

Victoria, BC

V8V 1X4

Phone: 250 387-1715

Fax: 250 387-0087

Email: premier@leg.bc.ca

___________________

Maurine Karagianis

Legislature Office:

Maurine Karagianis

MLA Esquimalt-Metchosin

Opposition Critic for BCLDB

Room 201

Parliament Buildings

Victoria, BC

V8V 1X4

Phone: 250-387-3655

Fax: 250 387-4680

Email: maurine.karagianis.mla@leg.bc.ca

To find your MLA go to:

 

To Find your MLA go to:http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm

 

 
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