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

Air quality in Lower Mainland to hit ‘extreme risk’ as wildfire smoke settles in

Smoke is pouring in from the interior B.C. and fires down in the U.S.

Langley seniors complex invites public to butterfly release

The Aug. 30 event is a fundraiser for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

VIDEO: Child airlifted to hospital after crash in rural Langley

Jaws of life were used to cut off the roof of a car and free its occupants from a two-car accident.

LETTER: Medical care in Langley and beyond deplorable

The shortage of family doctors shouldn’t exist. Who’s really to blame?

LETTER: Langley has water in its chemical supply

A homeless man in Langley questions what’s being put into the public drinking water.

VIDEO: Mustang Roundup in Langley attracts car lovers from all over

A car show dedicated entirely to one model of Ford drew admirers and collectors to George Preston Recreation Centre.

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

A massive cloud of smoke hangs over B.C. and Alberta due to wildfires

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

In response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis labeled the misconduct “crimes”

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

The pilot project provides seasonal workers with up to five more weeks of benefits

Trump rages on Mueller following Times report

Trump takes to Twitter calling Robert Mueller “disgraced and discredited”

BC Wildfire crew rescues lost puppies

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Most Read