At a time when the debate on the possible privatization of the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) has once again resurfaced, CUPE has just circulated a previously unseen interview with Gaétan Frigon, the former CEO of the SAQ.
Aside from heading the SAQ from 1998 to 2002, Gaétan Frigon is one of very few Quebeckers who has worked in the marketing of alcoholic beverages in both the public and private sectors, which gives even further credence to his comments.
In an interview given to urban radio station CKIA, Monsieur Frigon listed the reasons why he is against privatizing the SAQ. He indicated, with figures to support his argument, that the private sector could not make the SAQ profitable without increasing prices, unless the Government of Quebec were to decide to stop receiving the generous dividends the SAQ pays out each year.
He believes that Albertans came out on the short end when their liquor board was privatized a few decades ago. “Before privatization, Alberta had the lowest prices in Canada by far. The last time I was out there, their prices were pretty much on par with those charged in Quebec. There was no difference. This means when a liquor board is taken over by the private sector, you’ve lost control over prices,” stated Frigon.
Click on this link to see the interview with Gaétan Frigon.