In response to proposals in Ontario and New Brunswick to privatize liquor retailing Finance Minister Steele has declared that Nova Scotia would not be pursuing the idea. He argues that the price that could be achieved is not adequate compensation for the revenue stream that would be foregone.

But Bill Black of New Start Nova Scotia argues there is a version under which the Minister could keep his revenue and still make a profitable sale. The province could sell retail outlets with the conditions that the NSLC would continue to set wholesale and retail prices, the purchaser would continue to pay to the government as a tariff the same percentage of sales the province currently receives, and the pay and benefit levels of existing NSLC staff will be protected.

In Missed Opportunities, Black argues that it is the responsibility of government to use our limited financial resources to get the best possible education, health care, community services, and regulatory environment. Selling liquor is not exactly a core function. Outsourcing these sales can free up more funds for the things that matter.

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