SEIU-West has reached out to the Minister of Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, Lori Carr to get clarity on the closure of public liquor stores and the impact the loss of revenue will have on funding for healthcare and education in Saskatchewan.
Dear Minister Carr,
I write to you to get clarity on the decision to close the SLGA liquor stores. SEIU-West’s interest in this rests on the ‘public good’ and the benefits from the profits that are derived from the sale of liquor in the province of Saskatchewan. As you know, these benefits include funding for healthcare services, investment in education, and the basics of roads/highways and various shared investment opportunities specifically derived from such profits.
In the last five years, what has been the overall revenue derived from the SLGA liquor stores across the province? Since private liquor stores have been introduced, what services/options do they provide that the public liquor stores do not? Specifically, do they sell pop, ice, snacks, or lottery tickets? What portion of revenue from the private liquor stores does the province of Saskatchewan derive?
Minister Carr, in the Legislature during the December 6 question period, you made a statement that the SLGA liquor stores had lost revenue to the tune of almost 96% since 2018. Do those losses coincide with the introduction of the private liquor stores? Did your ministry conduct any business analysis regarding the reason for those losses? You also predicted, at that same question period, that while SLGA was profitable ‘now’, you were anticipating losses in the coming years. What did you base that prediction on?
As the Minister of SLGA and a member of the Government of Saskatchewan, do you feel confident that the loss of revenues from the SLGA will be made up by revenues from private liquor stores? What information provides you with this confidence? How does your government intend to make up for that lost revenue to the General Funds of Saskatchewan?
Our concern is that the decision made about the closing of the SLGA will negatively affect the public services that the province provides. That the lack of revenue from SLGA will impact the investment in public healthcare, the quality of our public education and training, the community-based supports in childcare, addictions, crisis services, and group homes, and certainly the maintenance and development of improved roads and highways.
Certainly, the impact of this decision has had a devastating effect on almost 400 working people who have recently been provided with layoff and severance options. But beyond those immediate costs, there is also the cost of shuttering the buildings: lease penalties, sale of buildings, disposal of assets. What is the projected total cost of closing the SLGA liquor stores and how does the Government of Saskatchewan intend to post anything but a negative result coming out of this process?
I look forward to your earliest reply.