Evidence of meeting #50 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was wines.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

March 27th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, witnesses, for coming today.

First, to Ms. Martinez, I was in Alberta at the time when the industry was deregulated. I was just wondering if you could very briefly tell us some of the things that happened.

I know the industry grew, consumer choices went up, prices went down, availability of hours for liquor stores increased—

4:40 p.m.

President, Alberta Liquor Store Association

Ivonne Martinez

That's right.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

If I'm wrong on anything....

I was a criminal lawyer at the time, and all the things that people said about drunks on the streets getting alcohol at all times didn't happen. My understanding is that in fact nothing changed with regard to problems with alcohol.

Did anything bad happen for consumers?

4:40 p.m.

President, Alberta Liquor Store Association

Ivonne Martinez

In terms of increased sales?

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

In terms of increased privatizing in Alberta.

4:40 p.m.

President, Alberta Liquor Store Association

Ivonne Martinez

The only part that was privatized was the retail side of it.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Yes.

4:40 p.m.

President, Alberta Liquor Store Association

Ivonne Martinez

The liquor still was regulated.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

That's what I'm talking about.

4:40 p.m.

President, Alberta Liquor Store Association

Ivonne Martinez

Absolutely.

There used to be 230 stores, I believe, in Alberta before privatization. Right now we have 1,200 stores out there.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

There were lots of choices and a lot of positive feedback as a result of that.

4:40 p.m.

President, Alberta Liquor Store Association

Ivonne Martinez

And a lot of access in Canada to alcohol from all over the world.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

I understand.

In fact, some people say I have a perfect life. I was born in Kelowna, British Columbia; I sleep in Quebec; I work in Ontario; I pay taxes in Alberta. It works really well.

4:40 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

My question really is this. I think, from my perspective, the financial aspect for Alberta liquor stores would get better. I mean, we have the lowest-cost liquor in the country. If people are able to order it from Alberta, and order online, why wouldn't they order British Columbia wine from Alberta?