Queen Charlotte businessman caught in the crossfire

  • Oct. 15, 2003 12:00 p.m.

Bernie Howlett-owner of Howler’s Pub in Queen Charlotte-is ticked off with the government for changing its mind on liquor sales.
The province planned to close all its liquor stores, putting thousands of government employees out of work, but Friday it announced a tentative agreement with the BCGEU guaranteeing jobs for two more years.
Meanwhile, beer and wine storeowners are caught in the crossfire.
Bernie Howlett is halfway through renovations on a 1500 sq ft liquor store outlet underneath Howler’s Pub.
“I don’t like it because it means the liquor sales won’t be as strong as I anticipated,” says Mr. Howlett. He will continue with the renovation, and plans to open December 1, offering cold beer and wine as well as liquor.
“The government has changed its mind so many times on this already, we’re just forging ahead,” he says.
Government liquor stores will remain open if the BCGEU members ratify the tentative agreement with the province. The union is recommending acceptance according to BCGEU president George Heyman.
To reach an agreement, the government shelved its privatization plans and employees agreed to no pay increases until the contract expires in 2006.