Government Monopolies. Are they a necessary evil?

Was reading the Herald this morning and came accross the article written by Dan Leger titled “Liquor store lunacy: Time to privatize NSLC” and I wondered what makes this monopoly any different from any other? 

So I decided I would email the Competition Commission for clarification (if they choose to answer, great! if they reply, I’ll post it here). This is what I sent into them:

“If monopolies are frowned upon and in most cases discouraged, Why are the provincial governments given a free pass? In Nova Scotia the government has a monopoly on alcohol, why is this? I would think this is not in the best interest of the consumer.

Can you clarify why this sort of monopoly is legal?”

What do you think?




  1. Governments have a monopoly on a lot of things. Especially taxes. Military too. Leger fails to mention that the ‘monopoly’ is a social policy, not an economic one. There’s a long history here, but suffice it to say, private industry is not beyond advertising to minors to boost their profits.That said, I definitely think that wine and beer should be available for sale in convenience stores. Give the little guys some love, since cigarette profits are all but gone.

  2. It would good to see the business of booze privatized. The argument that the price controls help rein in alcohol abuse is absurd and sales to minors, like cigarettes will happen as it does now. Like Tobacco, Alcohol advertising could be regulated in the same manner. That being said, the government currently allows alcohol advertising. As for Military and Taxes that is in a whole different realm. That is not a monopoly, it is a government service.There are a few areas not just alcohol that the government could improve on. Open the market and allow competition like any other market in the world.

  3. Private is cool as long as it doesn’t end up like Canadian telecoms or NS insurance companies. A strong regulatory body is required.

  4. So the competition commission called, a nice surprise really. In short there was an act passed that protects crown corporations from prosecution. They are free to operate monopolies whether they are in the publics interest or not.The competition commission also commented that the Nova Scotias liquor regulations date back to prohibition.Alberta is the only province with a privatized liquor industry.

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