NSGEU President Joan Jessome is questioning the Government’s real motive in bringing forward changes to the Liquor Control Act. “What Bill 134 proposes is to remove the sale of liquor from the current legislative framework that protects our communities and hides these decisions behind the closed doors of Cabinet far away from public scrutiny and accountability”.
Jessome noted that the changes are explained in the Bill as permitting the sale at licensed premises of liquor for consumption away from the premises as authorized by the regulations made by the Governor-in-Council, “In so doing, it is taking future changes to the Liquor Control Act out of the hands of the Legislature where all viewpoints of Nova Scotians can be considered and hiding decisions behind the closed doors of Cabinet.
“Currently if any Government wants to make changes like the ones proposed, it has to be done in the Legislature, where there are three opportunities to debate bills as well as the hearings of the Law Amendments Committee where every Nova Scotian has an opportunity to speak.
She indicated that the Liberals running for election in 2013 said: “A Liberal government will not privatize or sell off the NSLC, nor will we change the manner in which alcohol is regulated in Nova Scotia.” She wonders: “Where is that commitment now? This Bill could drastically change the way alcohol is regulated as well as how such decisions are made in the future. Worse still, they just want us all to accept that these decisions are best made behind closed doors? I don’t think so.”
Jessome also pointed out: “We first heard of this through the media, and we have also heard that the NSLC was surprised as we were. I am left to wonder who was actually consulted on this legislation. It is very telling that this Bill was brought forward by the Minister for Business, not the Minister Responsible for the Liquor Control Act.”
“This is a very slippery slope and I ask that this plan be shelved until all stakeholders across Nova Scotia can be consulted,” concluded Jessome.
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotian’s count on every day.
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