The province recently announced that its liquor stores will be closing down, and that could have implications for the average Saskatchewan taxpayer.
The closure will affect 34 stores, including the one in Estevan on King Street. They will have to close their doors before March 31, 2023.
That means a good number of jobs going away, while also having less competition between liquor stores.
Robin Speer, the prairie director for the Canadian Taxpayers Association, says that the change will be better for Saskatchewan residents.
"Longer term it's going to save taxpayers money for sure. In 2022, I don't think that the people of Saskatchewan really need the government to help them find a bottle of wine or a case of beer. There are many private liquor stores, many different private businesses with lots of employees in Saskatchewan running successful liquor stores."
"By exiting the retail market, this will allow more businesses and more employees to thrive, and it costs taxpayers a lot of money. It costs the government a lot of money, and a lot of scarce financial resources to keep these buildings up, keep these outlets going when in 2022 this is obviously something the private sector can handle."
Speer believes that the government leaving the retail side will encourage more private businesses leading to more choices and potentially lower prices.
"With private sector retail, it allows consumers more choice, more options, there's competition certainly on products themselves, products and pricing. But the bottom line is the taxpayers are footing the bill to run government liquor stores that are competing against private stores, that just doesn't make sense in the environment we're in during 2022."
While the retail side of the business will be shutting down, distribution and warehousing will still be handled by the province.
Speer says that he'd also like to see that be privatized as well.
"I think longer term, just like the government is not needed to have retail liquor stores in 2022, I don't know that we need the government to warehouse and distribute liquor either. The government can certainly regulate liquor and they can tax it at some sort of reasonable level. Taxes are high, they could be lowered for sure to better compete with the US and Europe and other jurisdictions."