And Down The Memory Hole We Go …

The L-P’s Will Chabun dug up a column in the Calgary Herald, quoting University of Saskatchewan professors taking the mickey out of Alberta’s privatization of its liquor stores. Apparently, the creativity of the marketplace has meant … higher booze prices for Albertans and lower revenues for the Alberta government.

Funny. Why have we never seen this story in the Leader-Post or the Star-Phoenix?

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

14 thoughts on “And Down The Memory Hole We Go …”

  1. You should really read the stories that you link to. It’s in the second paragraph:

    “‘Alberta’s privatization has not been a success,’ Colin Boyd, a professor of management in the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan, recently wrote in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.”

    Not everything is a big, bad media conspiracy, no matter how much you want to believe it to be true.

  2. Perhaps before you attack the author, you could consider that indeed, the LP and the SP did not run this exact editorial from the Calgary Herald. They did run an op-ed piece penned by Boyd in January of this year, though. Here it is. Semantics are a bitch, aren’t they?

  3. Funny you should bring this up just as I come back from Alberta and all its many liquor stores.

    From what I saw, prices for spirits (the ones I was looking at anyway) were generally $2 to $6 cheaper than in Sask. But maybe that’s just a function of bottle return and GST not being included in the store price as the linked article indicates, I can’t say for certain.

    I will say that the gin selection at the stores I visited is a fair bit better than here.

  4. @Katie

    If we’re concerned about semantics — the study of meaning in language, in case you’re wondering — then you should note that I didn’t say either paper had published the Herald column. I was merely pointing out that the column, at least all of its data and much of it commentary, is based on something that first ran in the StarPhoenix.

    Also, if we’re concerned about semantics, the Herald piece is a column, not an editorial.

    Again, if semantics is something you’re concerned about, consider that I was commenting on the semantics of the post — the implied meaning being that somehow the LP and the SP had been hiding or ignoring this information and it took a newspaper in another province to provide it.

    I agree, though. Semantics are a bitch.

  5. From the Herald piece….

    B.C. playwright John MacLachlan Gray, writing recently in Swerve Magazine, says Alberta liquor stores are both pricey and ugly: “Thanks to privatization, (Alberta) retail outlets now resemble slum minimarts staffed by bikers, and the prices vary from steep to steeper.”

    Apparently, John was only in Alberta for the booze. If he’d looked around he’d have noticed that all retail is run out of slummy or soon-to-be-slummy minimarts. And I’m not sure that’s a critique that can only be leveled at Alberta. Has the guy never been to Surrey?

  6. Touché. The last line of the article is “Robert Remington is a member of the Herald’s editorial board.”, so it’s not an unreasonable assumption. Another thing that I found interesting is that the story was “Presented by Currie Barracks”.

    Another thing they said that contributes to the appearance of lower prices in Alberta is the fact that GST and deposit are not included in the price.

  7. Dechene you mad capitalist fool: I’m not at all confident the private sector here would carry more varied gin stock than most SLGA stores. Especially in Regina, which, with a few delightful exceptions, has an underwhelming entrepreneurial spirit to say the least.

    And also, you know that gin and I don’t get along. Nasty, nasty stuff.

    I should read Rosie’s link and see what all this fuss is about!

  8. Okay, I tend to agree with Mike: Rosie’s being a little bit conspiratorial. But that’s a damn good, interesting story he linked to. Wouldn’t mind more stuff like that in the LP, or prairie dog for that matter.

  9. (Then again I don’t read the LP thoroughly enough to say for sure it’s NOT full of such stories!)

  10. For shame, Stephen! You want your colleagues at the L-P to produce a better paper (ref. back to the restaurant reviews discussion), and yet you don’t read their product thoroughly so that you can hand them beefs/bouquets as deserved. I’m deeply disillusioned.

  11. I tend to believe that the Crowns — the businesses, the people in charge and the economic effects (good and bad) — are under reported. It’s odd that a U of S prof has to make the case for SLGA. You’d think the government would be inclined to boast about the benefits of its liquor business.

    Tangent: Does anyone know where one can buy dutch gin in Saskatchewan?

  12. Mike: This is going to sound snotty but… try Alberta. For Dutch gin, I mean.

    I seem to recall the SLGA used to carry a Genever of some sort not too long ago. But it came in a plastic bottle — a clear warning sign not to buy, so I didn’t. It’s since been delisted.

  13. I feel good that there are people like you too. Thanks for this great weblog of yours. Its surely going to get me to go to higher places!

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