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Liquor laws hurt business

It's time for the province to review its confounding liquor licensing laws.

It's time for the province to review its confounding liquor licensing laws.

Good ideas, some that are crucial to the survival of a business, are consistently shot down based on arbitrary and absurd rules, some of which were written during the prohibition era.

Vancouver's hallowed Rio Theatre nearly went belly up this year when it was caught in liquor licence limbo. More recently, a Vancouver entrepreneur tried to open an establishment that caters to video game fans, but the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, drunk on its own power, told him to choose between serving food and drinks, or letting people play video games. Makes perfect sense.

Park Royal is pitching the idea of a VIP, grown-up oriented movie theatre that would serve wine in North Vancouver, and the city's Corner Store is hoping to serve its loyal customers drinks in a licensed environment this summer - the latter may be in luck, but the former is looking at long odds.

Despite grassroots campaigns, media backlash, and even bureaucrats admitting the laws make no sense, the provincial government has shown scant interest in updating its B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

One would think this would be an easy, cheap and popular pre-election gift from the floundering B.C. Liberals. (Those would be the B.C. Liberals who constantly remind us they are the party of what they call "free enterprise.")

No one is asking for brass taps to be installed at public water fountains. All we're asking for is a sober second look at our antiquated legislation.

Cheers to that.