Today, the Manitoba Liberal Party detailed their reckless plan for privatizing Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries. Vowing to sell the Crown corporation as soon as possible, Liberal Rana Bokhari admitted the plan would result in job losses and wage cuts, and would be implemented regardless of the harm it would cause Manitobans.
Bokhari also maintained that the Liberals are opposed to the construction of the new downtown Winnipeg headquarters for Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries. The Manitoba NDP supports the project as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize the inner-city. It is projected to bring over 400 more people downtown each day, generate cost-savings of $23.6-million over 20 years, and have an economic impact of $46.6-million.
“The Liberal Party needs a reality check,” said Ron Lemieux, NDP candidate for Dawson Trail. “Their ideological fixation on privatization would only hurt workers, reduce wages, and raise liquor prices. Moreover, the Liberals' ill-informed plan to cancel the new Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries headquarters would cost the government millions due to legal and economic ramifications through job losses and investment opportunities.”
Admitting that existing Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries stores are a “great business model”, the Liberal leader promised to implement the plan without further consultation. “This is the model we've committed to, and this is what we're going to do” said Bokhari.
When questioned about the harm this would cause employees, Bokhari decided to “call it what it is”, acknowledging that the plan “very well may” put public employees' wages and jobs at risk. When questioned about layoffs, she asserted that job losses would be offset because employees would have the opportunity to purchase existing Liquor Marts.
“The Liberal Party is out of touch with the priorities of Manitobans,” added Lemieux. “The NDP supports modernization, not privatization, of our Crown corporations. The existing model is for the benefit of consumers and communities, and the revenues it generates are invested in social programs and awareness campaigns that help prevent abuse.”