Opinion mixed over privatization of liquor stores: poll

SASKATOON – A new poll released Monday has done little to settle the debate over the privatization of liquor stores in Saskatchewan.

The poll by Insightrix Research found opinion is split in the province over the divisive issue.

When asked whether all liquor stores should be privatized, 23 per cent said yes, while 34 per cent said the current approach of new stores being privatized with existing stores remaining publicly owned is the way to go.

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Those opposed to any privatization stood at 26 per cent, with 11 per cent having no opinion and six per cent unsure.

The poll also found 47 per cent said privatizing liquor stores would mean less money for health, education and highway spending while 52 per cent said private stores would offer better selection and 51 per cent said there would be better pricing.

Insightrix Research conducted the poll of 800 randomly selected SaskWatch panel members between June 3-6, with quotas set for age, gender and region.

The poll comes after Premier Brad Wall attended the grand opening of a private liquor store in Saskatoon on June 2.

Wall took the NDP to task for a resolution passed at its convention against privatizing liquor stores, saying there has been private liquor retailing in the province for years.

He also said he asked his MLAs to talk to people over the summer to get feedback on the issue of privatization which could provide a potential plank in the next provincial election.

Wall also stated that regardless of the results, the government will continue to be the sole wholesaler of liquor in the province.

With files from the Canadian Press

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