One constant since the begining of the bumbling Stelmach administration has been a steady attack on liquor consumption from the provincial government. Almost anually the Progressive Conservatives would announce a new policy or tax modelled to socially engineer Albertans to reduce their enjoyment of a drink now and then. Perhaps it was an effort to distance themselves from the prior Klein administration that was led by a man known to imbibe now and then. The bottom line though is that it is an intrusive form of governance that does not fit with the Albertan laissez faire approach to most things.
One of the first things Stelmach did was mandate a pile of ridiculous regulations on business establishments forcing them to adopt minimum drink prices and even determined the volume of liquor a person was allowed to purchase in a bar at certain hours. The Progressive Conservatives had taken to micromanaging private business going as far as telling them what they must charge and how much of their product they are allowed to sell at a time. Mao would have been proud.
This brought about an end to drink specials and the time honored tradition of happy hour.
The next thing Stelmach did was the usual shallow tactic in trying to prohibit something; he announced a massive tax increase on liquor.
In Ed’s usual bumbling manner though, he totally failed in reading public opinion in Alberta. In the typical PC flip/flop he recinded the tax increases shortly after bringing them in due to a public backlash as people tired of his anti-booze crusade interfering in their good times. I remember well talking to a tired store owner trying to keep up with his pricing as the government tried to figure out what to tell private business what to charge customers. Along with the prohibitionism, Redford has mastered the PC flip/flop as well in her broken promises to set fixed election dates and to hold a judicial inquiry into our healthcare system but I digress.
As we all know, Stelmach’s inept management of the province led to his resignation last January. The election of Alison Redford led some people to hope for some change but it is becoming rather clear that we still have the same old free spending, nanny state that we had before. The only thing that has changed is the face at the front with perhaps a little more leftward spin. The social conservatism is still obviously alive and well.
Despite clear evidence that people with only .05-.079% blood alcohol are not causing any undue or extra accidents on Alberta roads, the Redford government still insisted on ramrodding Bill 26 through the legislature and onto Albertans. Using what essentially can be called a legal loophole, the provincial government has found a way to punish people heavily for a non-crime while leaving them with none of the process of defense that criminal law provides. It is almost reminicent of the Human Rights Commissions.
Why would the Progressive Conservatives go so far out of their way to antagonize Alberta businesses and citizens with a law that serves no visible purpose? Clearly we are no safer due to Bill 26. What we will see however is a reduction of drinking even one or two wines with meals as many people will fear the new punishments brought about by government against responsible drinkers. Others who do enjoy a drink with their meal will often simply stay home which of course will come at great cost to our restaurant industry. The goal of the government is simply to attack drinking whether it is done responsibly or not. This people is simply prohibition by stealth and harrassment.
Redford now wants to continue where Stelmach failed and is planning to bring in heavy taxes on liquor again. Not sure if we are at the point of flip or flop. What we do have is blatant social engineering however. Government plans to punish you further through taxation for daring to decide to enjoy a drink.
In Redford’s own words the other day on how her government will make choices on your behalf and will manage your life and decisions:
“Albertans are really sensible. They want to be healthy, they want to be safe and they want government to take some leadership and say: ‘You know what, we’re going to make some choices and these choices are going to be conducive to building a safer and a healthier community where we’re able to make sure we have good programs in place and everyone in society can thrive.’”
I have to call bullshit Alison. If you really thought Albertans were responsible, then you would not be trying to micromanage our personal decisions would you? We don’t need you to make choices on our behalf!
While dedicated, the ladies of the temperance movements soon discovered that lips that didn’t touch liquor were exceedingly unlikely to touch theirs.
I would have thought that people such as Alison Redford would have gained a great appreciation of the concept of beer goggles in her post-secondary educational years. I guess it just led to further bitterness.
It is ironic that Redford is considered a crusader for liberals when her government is clearly so dedicated to socially conservative efforts in social engineering.
Leave us our booze at least Alison so that we may drink away the pains of your inept government as you tax, borrow and spend away the inheritances of our grandchildren.