The Sask. Party government privatization plans for 40 liquor stores include 36 in rural communities. They generated $32.63M in revenue in 2014. This is a profit that will now go to the private sector and which we, the taxpayers, will have to make up.
What the Wall government does not want made clear are the financial and human costs to our rural communities.
We are told that about 150 employees earning about $6M in total wages, are losing their government jobs. How many will be exercising their seniority and move away from small towns already reeling from the loss of grain elevators, banks, post offices, school and hospital closures?
How many of those do not have enough seniority and their families will be separated from their government paycheques and will be facing minimum wages, or, no job at all?
While most of these communities will, no doubt, lose at least some families, the smaller ones will also end up with abandoned store buildings. There are no guarantees the privateers will use the existing government buildings. Abandoned buildings mean lost property taxes for communities already facing shrinking tax bases.
Residents in these towns, as a matter of protest, should consider letting businesses submitting RFPs (Request for Proposal) know that residents would not purchase liquor or other products from them, should they be awarded the license to sell liquor in their establishments.