Liquor reforms give people freedom

Thanks to a host of reforms regulating liquor sales and consumption, I won’t have to hide my drink in a travel mug at music festivals.

This summer my plans include kicking back in an open field, drink in hand, as I watch band after band take the stage at one of the many music festivals on my to-do list.

Thanks to a host of reforms regulating liquor sales and consumption in B.C., I won’t have to hide that drink in a flask or a travel mug.

The restriction on booze at festivals was the first of more than 70 reforms that caught my attention.

The recommendations came through the B.C. Liquor Review final report, led by MLA John Yap, which took information, research and opinions from across the province.

Recommendations include removing fencing at festivals, hockey games and special events so that patrons can wander through the festival, rather than be fenced in.

It allows families to remain together, rather than having one parent at a time go off to have a drink.

Parents and children would also get to stay together at a pub, which, under the recommendations, would let children in up until a certain hour.

Being child-free, this made me shudder at first glance. But if I see it from the point of view of my friends with kids – whose children I find adorable even when they’re pitching fits – it offers them more choice in restaurants in a more relaxing environment than some “family-friendly” establishments.

Other highlights include loosening the restrictions on vineyards and breweries to offer tasting areas, or to sell their wares at farmers’ markets; ability for bars and pubs to offer “happy hours;” and offering liquor sales within grocery stores.

The report calls for expansion of the Serving It Right program to train more people in the responsibilities of serving alcohol, and administration changes around special occasion licences.

The B.C. Liberal government accepted all 73 recommendations but the timeline on implementing all of them, especially liquor in grocery stores, might take a significant period of time as the province consults with stakeholders in the community.

I’ve often heard from police officers and paramedics that if they could ban one drug it would be alcohol.

I don’t doubt that the substance contributes to social problems in our community – social problems that could be better solved through education, rather than prohibition.

Making people walk across a parking lot and conduct a second transaction on their credit card will not dissuade someone bent on buying a mickey of Potter’s rum.

I might one day be able to do what I did in Europe last summer – have a beer by the waterfront.

It felt like a moment from a movie, where I found myself sitting in the sunshine on the stone walkway next to the Weser River in Germany. As I updated my travel journal while I watched pedestrians, cyclers and the odd vehicle weave and dodge each other, off to my right two young men were also enjoying the afternoon with beer in green bottles that caught the brilliant sunlight. They talked quietly while they drank in public, and when they were done, they put their bottles in the recycling receptacle and left. It seemed so … civilized.

The regular rules still apply – being drunk in public is still an offence, whether you’re sitting on a park bench or stumble out of a nightclub.

But as public parks – unless in the course of a festival or event – are not under consideration for allowing alcohol under these latest liquor reforms, so we all will have to continue to fly to Europe for that privilege.

editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Governance top of mind as Nanaimo council works on its strategic plan

Council working with facilitator to develop draft plan, public consultation still to come

Maple Sugar Festival features family fun, francophone-style

Maple bar drinks will be poured through ice luge at festival showcasing French Canadian culture

City of Nanaimo needs a new garbage truck due to population growth

New automated truck comes with price tag of $430,000

NDSS senior girls win Vancouver Island basketball championship

Nanaimo District wins first AAA girls’ Island title in 29 years

WEB POLL: What’s Nanaimo’s worst intersection?

ICBC stats say the old Island Highway, Bowen Road and Norwell Drive is the worst. What do you say?

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Vancouver Island petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

Woman, off-duty cop in serious condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

‘A little baloney’ in PM’s claim about solicitor-client privilege on SNC-Lavalin

The Conservatives and NDP want Trudeau to waive that privilege so Wilson-Raybould can offer her side of the story

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000

But most analysts see a limited market for foldable-screen phones

Most Read