Easier access to alcohol isn’t our biggest priority

So let it be written…

We’ve got drive-by shootings happening willy-nilly in North Surrey, we’re finding pamphlets with pictures of eviscerated human fetuses in our mailboxes, and our public school teachers have become social workers.

We’ve got poor access to health care, splendid access to traffic gridlock, increasingly unaffordable groceries, massively unaffordable housing, a society that’s basically lost its moral compass and, oh yeah, there’s no end in sight to us being taxed up the whazoo.

Still, it is comforting to know that B.C.’s Liberal government is on the case. Cases, that is – of wine, spirits and beer.

I’m humming Pat Traver’s tune, Crash and Burn. "Turn into dreams the way you feel/You know it’s really all you need to pretend that it’s real…"

Hum, hum hum. You see, nothing is more important than better access to alcohol. Especially for alcoholics.

Not to mention the rest of us who are trying to forget all of the aforementioned above, including said government.

So it was, of course, April Fool’s Day when Susan Anton, B.C.’s attorney general and minister of justice, announced the "milestone event" that was allowing booze to now be sold in grocery stores. (See story on page 15.)

And Surrey, of course, was the first city to enjoy this "added convenience," as Anton put it.

Not that we don’t have any social problems here.

One week before her better-access-tobooze announcement, Anton was in town announcing the expansion of Surrey’s provincial courthouse, where, according to her government’s own literature, the most family cases – read strife in the home – are opened annually, province-wide. Surely none of those cases are alcohol-related.

Anyway, John Yap, parliamentary secretary for liquor policy reform, said of booze day, "Today is a great day in B.C." You weren’t signing the Magna Carta, guys.

For the record, I am not a teetotaler. I was known to unhinge my jaw and tipple the odd vat or two of Chivas during my misspent youth. But – and I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering this – does this government really not have anything better to do?

Of course it does. Anton says, triumphantly, that making booze available in grocery stores will offer shoppers "the added convenience of grabbing B.C. wine off the shelf, or taking their carts into a liquor store within a grocery store."

How’s about offering British Columbians the "added convenience" of better access to affordable housing, less crowded hospitals, and a litany of other good-government stuff too numerous to mention here?

Who wouldn’t drink to that? So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now. He can be reached via email at tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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