Last night, statements came out of The CAQ regarding alcohol sales in Quebec, specifically the "monopoly" held by the SAQ.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec wants to do away with SAQ's current reigning status on alcohol sales, and are more than ready for the government to liberalize the alcohol market in the province.
CAQ added that if they come into government this fall, they will quickly hold meetings to figure out how exactly they can go about achieving this.
The idea is that the alcohol market would open up to smaller, individual merchants to sell.
Consumers in Quebec could benefit from a greater choice and lower prices if SAQ's monopoly on alcohol sales in Quebec gets the ax.
Though, Parti Quebecois has slammed their statement and called it purely political, arguing that prices here in Quebec are already competitively low when compared to other provinces such as Ontario.
Now, this just makes a ton of sense to me - and to be clear, I'm siding with the CAQ on this one.
I have been lucky enough to have lived in many Canadian provinces over the past decade, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that alcohol prices in Montreal are in fact cheaper than that of Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and B.C.
With that said, one of the things I love most about Quebec is the option to buy beer and wine at the Depanneur or grocery store... and I would love to see this option expanded beyond these few alcoholic items.
In other provinces across Canada, this is not an option. Anyone from Ontario will agree with me that The Beer Store hours are absolutely ridiculous!
Luckily for me, growing up in Winnipeg we at least had beer vendors (that would actually stay open well past 11 p.m., but whatever).
It is always trying when you need to rush to the SAQ before closing, and just miss the cut-off only to scramble and find the next one that might be open an hour later. This is a struggle I have had, and I'm sure many others can sympathize with.
I'm sure plenty of people will think there is an issue here simply because alcohol will become more attainable. Then again, I don't think these people truly understand just how attainable alcohol already is in Quebec, unless you've lived or traveled elsewhere.
Side note - Quebec is also the only province I'm aware of that you can drink openly with a picnic or food around town. This is not a common practice in Canada.
Maybe the move is purely political, but then again - it totally worked for Trudeau when he promised to legalize Marijuana, right? I see nothing wrong with this.
In fact, I think this could be fantastic for the little guys!
Let's be honest, SAQ may have to bite the bullet and lose out on some revenues, but this won't ruin them! Especially seeing as they want to get their foot in the legal weed door very soon.
All things considered, from my relatively politically ignorant self... I don't mind seeing SAQ lose out on their exclusivity for alcohol sales in Quebec.
I'd much rather go to my local dep lady, she's awesome.