Both provinces are in the process of making a long list of changes to liquor laws, some of which have been in place for 50 years or more. Before I left Regina a year ago, I used to patronize a barber who was keen to offer his customers a barley sandwich.
Craig Zamonski’s shop is called Ragged Ass Barbers. The name came from a shop he had in Yellowknife, on Ragged Ass Road. He raised a few eyebrows in Regina with the name, and he was told that serving a beer was definitely not legal.
But Craig must have planted a seed in the minds of the bureaucrats, and he tells me that the rules will be changed, probably before the Labour Day Classic at Taylor Field. He says most of his male customers can’t wait to see it happen.
Manitoba’s overhaul of liquor laws may take a little longer because Greg Selinger is busy with more high profile items like the increase in the sales tax.
The premier is no doubt hoping that Manitobans have short memories. It was just two months ago that the province approved an increase of two dollars a dozen in the price of beer.
Manitoba is also making it easier to gamble. They’re allowing 500 new VLTs to be installed in existing locations, ending a moratorium that has been in place for almost two decades. Aside from helping out the hospitality industry, there is minimal justification for creating more opportunities to gamble.
Selinger summed it up this way, in an interview on CJOB this week:
“We don’t encourage people to go out and gamble, and if they’re going to do it, we ask them to do it safely and responsibly.”
In other words, governments are addicted to a number of things we used to regard as harmful, and sinful.
They’re addicted to the revenue, so be careful what you wish for.
I’m Roger Currie