B.C. mulling booze sales in movie theatres
The minister in charge of B.C.'s liquor laws says there's a valid argument to be made that if you can buy alcohol at a Canucks game, you should be able to drink at a movie theatre.
Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman, whose portfolio expanded to include alcohol and gaming regulation last week, says his staff is already considering ways to relax the rules around booze sales at cinemas.
"I've given instructions to get some changes to me so we can look at them and see how they would work," Coleman told reporters Monday, adding that he expects to hear back by the end of the week.
Coleman previously had purview over liquor regulation in the early 2000s, when the minister says he stripped hundreds of "absolutely ridiculous" licensing rules.
"When we looked at liquor the first time around, you couldn't get a liquor license for a par three golf course," Coleman said. "Under the rules, you had to have three Canadian-certified par four holes."
The minister says he wants B.C. regulation to focus on four issues: over-service, underage drinking, overcrowding and illegal sales.
The question of whether to serve liquor at movie theatres has come to the forefront in part thanks to squeaky wheel Corinne Lea, owner of the Rio Theatre, who says her business isn't sustainable without a mix of licensed and unlicensed events.
Lea applauded Coleman's quick action and said she's excited to see changes come to B.C.'s antiquated laws.
"Until Rich Coleman became minister we were getting no response and that just made us get louder and louder," Lea said. "Everything he's said so far makes sense, I just hope we don't have to wait too long for it to be written into policy."
Film critic Jim Gordon agrees, saying booze sales may be just the remedy theatres need to boost ticket sales.
"As a film critic, I'm all for that because I can see a day… where I'll be reviewing movies that are just On Demand or on Netflix, because fewer people are going to movies every year," Gordon said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Penny Daflos