Letters: Alberta run worth liquor savings

Dear Editor,

Earlier this year, two brides-to-be from Prince George – to protect their identities, we’ll call them Thelma and Louise – made a run for the Alberta border and cheaper liquor.

Thelma and Louise are each getting married this summer, and both weddings are set to be huge bashes, with hundreds of guests coming from across Canada.

To save money, the brides borrowed a van and drove east. Nine hours later, they were in an Edmonton Costco, purchasing dozens of cases of beer, wine, and spirits.

The pair loaded the van all the way to the roof. It was so heavy, the vehicle sagged on its suspension as the women drove back to Prince George, past the unsuspecting wildlife in Jasper National Park.

Careful not to speed, the brides managed to avoid any attention from the RCMP.

“Not sure what they would have thought if they had caught us,” laughed Thelma.

Even with the cost of gas and a day off work, the total estimated savings for each bride: close to $1,500.

“Or a good start on a pretty nice honeymoon,” joked Louise.

Thelma and Louise aren’t the only British Columbians looking east for cheaper alcohol, where Alberta’s lower liquor taxes help keep prices down.

Take a $15 bottle of wine, for example. In B.C., we pay $7.11 for the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) markup tax, 60 cents in other LDB fees, and 94 cents in Provincial Sales Tax – a total of $8.65 in taxes. That means British Columbians, when they buy a bottle of wine, actually pay more in taxes and markup than for the actual drink itself.

In Alberta, a $15 bottle of wine faces only $3.45 in provincial taxes and government markup, meaning you get a lot better wine for your $15 in Edmonton and Calgary than in Enderby and Coquitlam.

WineMarketing.ca offers a B.C. tax calculator where British Columbians can put in the B.C. Liquor Store cost of a bottle of wine and see how much we’re paying in taxes. A nice, $50 bottle of wine, for example, is 68 per cent taxes and markup.

Despite the higher taxes and prices, the B.C. government’s recent announcement of 73 potential liquor reforms fails to offer a single nickel of tax relief to consumers.

Worse, it entrenches policies like minimum prices, a favourite hammer of the B.C. government.

Minimum prices schemes have made the province’s much-ballyhooed happy hour rollout a failure by artificially forcing beer and wine prices up again.

Things could get even worse. Wildly exceeding its legislated responsibilities and taxing abilities, the City of Victoria is now trying to add its own nickel-per-drink tax.

This would set a frightening precedent: imagine every city across B.C. slapping local taxes on your beer and wine. And if you think that tax would hold steady at a nickel per drink, ask yourself this: how often do local governments cut taxes? How often do they raise them? We all know which way this would trend.

So British Columbians keep paying more than we should be at the liquor store, more at the pub, more during happy hour.

As the movie version of Thelma and Louise famously said, “You get what you settle for.”

If British Columbians want to quit overpaying for a drink, we have to quit settling for government treating us like children and over-taxing our drinks.

Jordan Bateman, Langley (B.C. Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation)

Just Posted

Aldergrove Kodiaks drown Whalers 6-3

Aldergrove Junior hockey team secure in PJHL playoffs spot next month

Langley classical musician nominated for Canadian literary award

Cellist Ian Hampton is in the top five finalists for the RBC Taylor Prize.

Overtime heroics help Giants to victory State-side

A Langley-based major junior hockey team earned another victory, 5-4, this time over the Americans.

Extreme weather alert lifted in Langley

Gateway of Hope shelter lifted the advisory on Jan. 17 due to improved weather conditions.

New executive director takes the helm at Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce

Previous executive director resigned after not seeing ‘eye to eye’ with chamber president

VIDEO: Langley grocer serves up breakfast to neighbouring school

Willoughby Elementary students and their families could enjoy a free breakfast on Thursday morning.

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Two images by Vancouver Island photographer picked among National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read