Are You Being Served?

Sometime soon the province will change the way we buy, sell, and consume alcohol. Those changes follow a 2013 review by the three-time Liberal MLA John Yap

January 2, 2014

By Petti Fong

Petti Fong How have your thoughts about alcohol consumption changed since this began?

John Yap It’s impressed me that most people I meet have opinions about liquor and liquor policies. It’s surprising sometimes. I think I know someone in my circle of friends and think they have certain opinions, and when we start chatting, I learn differently.

PF What’s an example?

JY I have some good friends I would have assumed would be open to modernizing and allowing greater access to liquor, but when we talked about the issue a real concern came out about ensuring minors are not allowed access.

PF The most consistent theme was British Columbians want to buy liquor at grocery stores. 7-Eleven did a pitch. Will we be seeing vodka Slurpees?

JY That’s probably not going to happen.

PF Is there a rural/urban divide?

JY There are some communities in rural B.C. that have enjoyed liquor availability in their grocery stores for many years. Research shows Greater Vancouver has overall lower consumption levels than rural British Columbia.
PF What was one idea that came out and you immediately thought ‘Not going to happen’ ?

JY I was on a radio show and a caller talked about licensing limousine and buses to have liquor served. I understand there have been cases of party buses and vehicles — that was one that, quite frankly, I don’t think would be appropriate.

PF You got in trouble over the issue of ethnic voters. How did that change your approach, and how do you keep politics out of alcohol?

JY In my travels, I’ve been able to assure people that what you see is what you get. In my case, my mind is truly open on this issue, and I really wanted to get a read on the pulse of British Columbians.

PF What did you learn about the way people drink?

JY Did you know there are healthy drinking guidelines? Most people I talked to were not aware. Health Canada declared that consumption for men is three standard drinks a day to a maximum of 15 a week with two days of abstention.

PF Are you a standard drinks guy?

JY I would classify myself as a social drinker.

PF When was the last time you had 15 drinks in a week?

JY I can’t recall. You certainly don’t want to do 15 in one sitting!

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