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A diverse big tent

When you’re a party that positions itself in the centre of the political spectrum, you attract a wide kaleidoscope of views from both sides of the political spectrum who nevertheless gravitate to the “Big Tent” party. My position on electoral reform and supporting PR is one such example, and another example is in a post that got overlooked last night because of the hour it was posted: Michelle argues that the Ontario government should privatize the LCBO.

I don’t particularly agree with that view, but I like interesting provocative posts, and she has obviously thought her arguments about this out, so I encourage others to read it and then discuss.

Personally, I dont see a lot of public hue and cry to do any privatization – it seems most people are content to support the status quo. I would argue that if there are ways to reform the LCBO to make it a bit less restrictive on what they carry (ie. more foreign wines, which is what Michelle appears miffed over and the cause of this post), that route should be taken, rather then abolishing it. As well, I’m not sure there is a big wave of public support for just anyone to be able to sell alcoholic beverages.

16 comments to A diverse big tent

  • A follow-up point:? My father, who lives in Alberta, happens to be visiting, so I decided to do some comparison, since I was in Ottawa about a month ago picking up some supplies.? Alberta didn’t come out too well.? For an identical 60oz bottle of hard liquor, he paid $6 more than I did.

    Further, he told me that of the seven liquor stores near where he lives, the best prices are at the one the government runs.? Other arguments aside, if someone tells you privatization of liquor sales is going to result in better prices, they’re lying.

  • Ah, a topic close to my heart!

    As a note, while Alberta has allowed private competition, it still has government-run stores as well.

    General impressions from my liquor shopping in both provinces is that regular prices in Ontario are cheaper, at least for what I drink.  Also, the last I drove over to Saskatchewan on one of my trips, the prices there were cheaper as well.

    Also, the selection in Ontario seems better in some areas.  Most of the little shops don't have the shelf space, and a lot of the other big box outlets seem to concentrate on higher volume products.

    Admittedly I'm a tourist to both places.  It's possible if I lived there, I'd be able to find what I was looking for in Alberta without much difficulty, but selected sales flyers aside, I buy my alcohol in Ontario when I have the choice.

  • "Don't take such offense, Glenn… it was merely a suggestion you leave your critique of her arguments at her site to see if she'd issue a response."

    This is true.

    I do take offense too easily. But I'm also trying very hard to contribute something positive to your blog, be respectful, and try to observe good manners.

    My intentions are the best.

    Glenn Fitzgerald.

  • slg

    The whole idea brings back memories of the US news media – another liquor story robbery in North Tonawanda – details at 11:00…hmmm.  Do we want that?
    Nothing wrong with the way it is – we've all managed to be able to get hold of alcohol.

    I can just see it – CTV breaking news – another liquor store robbery in City Canada (somewhere) – details at 11:00.  

  • Don't take such offense, Glenn… it was merely a suggestion you leave your critique of her arguments at her site to see if she'd issue a response.

    I certainly welcome discussion of it here.. but since the primary article is hers that I linked to.. debate at her blogpost is also a good thing to do.. particularly if, as you say, you claim to have found a weakness in her reasoning.

  • Scott writes:

    "Glenn… I'd advise you to leave your critique of her arguments over at her blog as well."

    Scott, I find your above comment utterly incomprehensible.  Here is what you earlier wrote in this blog entry.

    "I don’t particularly agree with that view, but I like interesting provocative posts, and she has obviously thought her arguments about this out, so I encourage others to read it and then discuss."

    So, I read her arguments and commented—like you plainly advised posters here to do.  If you had advised your readers to avoid commenting on her blog discussions, I would have followed thatrecommendation as well.

    What's wrong with using your own comments about what you want as a guide to post on this, your blog? I think you'd be grateful for my effort to be respectful.

    Glenn Fitzgerald

  • Ti-Guy

    <i>I hope that you have the common decency to apologize for your actions.</i>

    Well, hope springs eternal, eh?.  The actual topic of this post was privatising the LCBO.  If you got your Dipper panties into a twist because you don't like the term "Big Tent" being applied to Liberals, well, that's just too bad.

    Maybe you shouldn't read this when your Dipper blood is all angried up?

  • Ah, actual debate.

    No, Scott, of course the NDP is a big tent party, with many factions, as much or more that the Liberals. I mean, all one has to do is look at the Blogging Dippers to see the variety. Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Marxists, Communists, Left-Libertarians, etc… I'd say that the NDP has a similar amount of groups as the Liberals and Conservatives. Not to mention all of the different opinions that come from geography and the different provincial wings (especially the governing/close to governing one, which tend to take in even more groups).

    I'd contend that "Big-Tent"-ism is a necessary function arising from the First Past-the-Post system, if one wants a party that is going to get seats.

    Now if we had PR, there would be less of a need for Big Tents as they tend to be replaced with coalitions instead.

  • Heh.. I have problems Ti-Guy, if NBC Dipper is a troll, because he's one of my moderators at Progressive Bloggers. He's allowed to disagree with me, even if I think he's kidding himself if he tries to claim the NDP is a big tent party.

    KC – When have I ever deleted anything you posted here? I strongly disagree with you — that isnt a lack of toleration. And, if you get back into blogging and you post something interesting and provocative, I'd certainly link to it.

    Glenn… I'd advise you to leave your critique of her arguments over at her blog as well.

  • Frank

    Privatization means  a price rise. Doen't Alberta have those?
    Actually,  prices are lower in Alberta than Ontario.

    Check for yourself..this is just one store
    http://www.ldgroup.ca/flyer.cfm

    Compare that to the prices in Ontario
    http://www.lcbo.com 

  • So what, Ti-Guy? I can’t express my own opinion now??

    Scott is trying to claim that the LPC is the only “Big Tent” party by mentioning the opinion of a blogger that he does not necessarily agree but is in the same political party.

    I’m challenging this assertion on the other hand, by saying that many of the major political parties in Canada are “Big Tents”, with many different opinions in the same party, some of those opinions rather contradictory.

    So, I find it quite sad that you are trying to suppress discussion by name-calling as opposed to debating the rather valid criticism I have of Scott’s post.

    I hope that you have the common decency to apologize for your actions.

  • KC

    Geez.  I wish you had the same tolerance for my dissenting opinions. 

  • Ti-Guy

    You know…I find Northern BC Dipper to be nothing more than a troll.

    Anyway, I don't think there's a public interest in privatising the LCBO.  In the last three decades. I've seen the LCBO adapt to changing attitudes around the consumption of alcohol and, as snobby as this sounds, I've genuinely liked the approach to marketing alcohol that emphasises that drinking, along with food and socialising, is a part of the "good life" and not just the retail of what is, inarguably, the most destructive drug in our society.

    Contrast that with places where the retail of alcohol is privatised; you have the the lower-tier stores where buying alcohol is almost like conducting a drug deal and higher-tier stores where "the good life" is only something the rich can afford.

  • Privatization means  a price rise. Doen't Alberta have those?

  • Who are you kidding? Every major political party, like the NDP, Liberals, Conservatives, and Bloc, in Canada is a "Big Tent".

    Sounds like Liberal mythology and arrogance to me to claim to be the only "Big Tent" party.

  • Scott, I had to very quickly read Michelle’s piece.? But I can already see where the logic of her argument against public ownership of the Licquer Control Board of?Ontario (LCBO) breaks down.

    She assumes the premise that increased alchohol consumption provides the only rationale for public ownership. But she neglects the even more compelling premise for that ownership.

    That more compelling premise raises the entirely justified fear that private outlets may not guard against the sale of alchohol to minors. When I lived in Detroit, I saw the local Liquer store sell to young teenagers all the time.

    And the sales to minors seem to drastically soar once the small “mom and pop” stores also got in on the act of selling Liquer. As soon as their business suffered, some of the smaller stores would turn a blind eye to illegal sales to minors.

    Unless she addresses this more compelling premise for public ownership, the ability to restrict sales of alchohol to minors, her argument amounts to so much hot air. But I’ m just typing my off-the-cuff analysis of her comments. In my haste to read her entry, I may have missed a few other more salient points.

    I will return later and give her piece a more thorough reading. Is she looking at the issue from the narrow vantage point of her own eagerness to indulge in her own wine-tasting pleasure? Maybe.

    Glenn Fitzgerald.

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