Sask. NDP concerned about auctions of SLGA store permits

With auctions to sell permits of SLGA stores beginning next month, the Sask. NDP is questioning the Government’s decision.

Lorri Carr, the Minister Responsible for the SLGA, has said the Government is selling 35 liquor stores due to a drop in revenue.

Nathaniel Teed, the Official Opposition SLGA Critic, said they have never supported selling off public stores.

“This is a Government that did not campaign on selling off crown assets in the last election. We believe despite Sask. Party mismanagement of this crown, the public liquor stores are extremely profitable,” he said. “They put hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue into hospitals, schools, roadways, they employ over 400 people with good mortgage-paying jobs, with benefits and pensions, we just see this as the wrong decision.”

Teed said that the Government will now have to find a way to replace the revenue that the stores brought in.

“Where is the Government planning to backfill this lost revenue,” he asked. “We’ve seen in the past that to backfill lost revenue from past decisions, they move to raise taxes and increase power rates, just like we saw in 2022. One has to imagine losing millions in revenue.”

Regarding the auction, Teed said he is concerned that private corporations will buy the stores outside the province.

“We’ve seen little to no stipulation on the small business allocation of those licenses. We’ve seen no stipulation of local ownership requirements for those licences,” he said. “They are going to go to the highest bidder, and my concern is that in that process, you are going to see private corporations from outside of Saskatchewan snapping up these stores.”

Teed continued that we would see a loss of revenue for the province.

“The larger operations, outside of Saskatchewan, have the deepest pockets. They can spend as much as necessary on these licenses. We’ve seen bidding on these licenses go up for as much as $850,000,” Teed added. “My concern is that we are sending those profits for this liquor to shareholders of private companies, as to before, we were seeing those profits return to the people of Saskatchewan.”

More from Play92