Businesses cite benefits but police, reverend raise concerns
Plans to "modernize" Saskatchewan's labour laws may present new issues, according to Moose Jaw officials
The provincial government’s plan to “modernize” liquor legislation is receiving a mixed response from the Moose Jaw community.
Among the more than 70 proposed regulations are measures that will enable the sale of alcohol in theatres, spas and salons; allow strip-tease performances and wet clothing contests in bars and taverns; and other changes aimed at “reducing red tape.”
“We’ve always wondered what it would be like to offer clients a glass of wine,” said Melissa Chelsberg, owner of Revolution Hair Studio, who added that she would definitely apply for a permit to serve to her customers.
“I have heard about other salons in the U.S. and elsewhere they do that, and we’ve always thought it would be a good idea.”
But not all business owners intend to take advantage of the new regulations.
Dave Hill, manager of Bugsy’s Irish Pub, said strippers and wet T-shirt contests aren’t going to be welcomed in his establishment.
“I’m sure there’s a market for that kind of stuff,” said Hill, “but that’s just something that we wouldn’t be entertaining.”
The regulation changes are also an issue of some contention among other city officials.
“My initial observation (of the regulations) led me to believe that there will be more alcohol available to more people more often,” said Sgt. Cliff Froehlich of the Moose Jaw Police Service.
“In the police world, that means more alcohol-related calls.”
Froehlich said increased availability of alcohol could lead to more bar fights, fights in residences, domestic violence calls and impaired driving charges, and “some adjustments will have to be made by police” as a result. Particularly problematic for Froehlich was the lack of training mentioned in the documents, he said.
“I didn’t see anything in there about all (new) staff being trained ... I’d like to see something that addresses overserving,” he said.
“To me, it’s a comment on our society and culture at this time that having alcohol is becoming more and more important to getting people to come out to events,” said Rev. John Kreutzwieser of Emmanuel Lutheran Church.
“What is it telling us about ourselves that alcohol is becoming a substance that determines why we go to a place or not?” Kreutzwieser said.
“That should give us pause as a society.”
“We’re in a time, especially during the festive season, when we’re trying to curb alcohol-related crimes,” said Froehlich. “Making more alcohol available to more people ... will lead to new issues.”