20060119

Quebec monopoly investigates itself after claims of price-fixing

toast to the saq cheersThis week is shaping up to be bigger for news on the SAQ scandal then previously thought. In addition to the tidbit I introduced yesterday about American wine prices being affected, the president of the government agency has announced the launching of an investigation into weird wine pricing initiatives.

Of course one wonders how far an internal venture will go to satisfy the angry cries of the public or the die-hard defenders of privatization. Me myself, I'm voting for the cute "tchin tchin" image at left as the official logo of the 2006 SAQ price-fix self-probe.

In any case, as a result of these developments, I updated the post that I published in yesterday's space and, in addition, point readers in new directions today by offering the late-breaking news stories below:


  • CBC report

  • CBC business feed

  • 940 News indicates that those involved have been singled out

  • Marc André Gagnon gives more details on that (in French)

  • The Gazette brings up bilious voices on a separate policy, just for good measure:


  • "In 1998, the agency authorized the sale of regional alcoholic products at agricultural fairs and in public markets where farm produce is sold. That provision, regularly renewed, was liberally interpreted until someone tried to sell Quebec wine in a Magog supermarket ... complainants said that there were two sets of rules in play because producers were able to use intermediaries at the markets ... When it was time to renew the regulation, changes were made to ensure that it was clear that Quebec producers or their employees had to be involved in the direct sale of the products and in a market other than a grocery store ... If the licensing agency maintains its position, she may have to lay off eight of her 22 employees ..."

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