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Kamloops councillor upset over local MLAs comments on wine debate, calls for apology

June 22, 2016 - 2:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops councillor is calling on local MLAs to apologize for their comments about a city council decision.

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake should apologize for publicly calling council’s decision about wine on grocery store shelves 'ridiculous' Coun. Denis Walsh says in a press release issued yesterday, June 21.

In the release Walsh also calls provincial liquor policies 'inept and misguided' and says they lack standardization across B.C.

The comments from Stone and Lake came after council voted against allowing Save-On-Foods to stock wine on its shelves. Council has since agreed to reconsider the motion, with some amendments.

Like the debate on wine in grocery stores, councillors are divided on Walsh’s release. Coun. Ken Christian, who has supported the wine in grocery stores motion, says the MLAs are saying the same sort of thing he’s heard from local citizens.

“I don’t think it makes any sense for us to start a fight with the provincial government,” he says. “I don’t see this continued sniping back and forth to be productive.”

Coun. Tina Lange thinks Walsh made some good points, and agrees comments from the local MLAs were 'harsh'.

“I think it’s fair for them to say they’re disappointed. To use the word ridiculous offended me, honestly,” she says. “I felt they, as politicians, should have a better understanding of how we look at many factors and how many people we talk to.”

Lange voted against the motion which would have allowed wine on the shelves of the Sahali grocery store, but agreed to the appeal from Save-On-Foods for a reconsideration of the motion with new wording. She says while she approved the reconsideration, she may not approve the motion when council reconsiders it.

Walsh says his release is a response to public criticism he's received.

“I’ve talked to a few other people,” Walsh says. “They go, ‘Why would you criticize the provincial government?’ (The provincial government) are the ones that created this mess.”

Walsh says his criticism of the provincial government is fair, due to the confusion around the wine licences, while the MLAs were too harsh in their comments about council.

Wine licences are being pushed through without proper research, Walsh says, because it's a populist issue and an election is coming up. He'd rather have a moratorium on the issue for research and the consideration of a store-within-a-store model for grocery stores.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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