Beer-box 'throne' at Manitoba legislature protests take from rural hotels
Angelo Mondragon says provincial government taking too much from small-town hotels and bars
A rural Manitoba hotel owner has built a "throne" of empty beer bottle boxes outside the provincial legislature to protest the government's take of liquor and video lottery terminal revenue from struggling small-town hotels and bars.
"The throne is meant to call attention to the province's role in the decline of the rural hotels," said Mondragon, who heads up a group of rural hotel owners.
"They dictate to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries exactly what their profit targets need to be, never mind that hotels are struggling, failing. People are going out of business, people [are] using their life savings to try and keep their business going, but the province just continues to take and take and take."
He said he originally thought Liquor and Lotteries was just trying to take more money from hotels and bars and direct it to its Liquor Marts.
"What I found though, was that … the province dictates exactly how much money they need from Liquor and Lotteries. I believe, as a hotel owner, that that's wrong," he said.
"In the last year, I've spoken to people who have had heart attacks, health issues, lost their life savings, have tried everything they can think of to save their business, but they just can't get out of the hole. And Liquor and Lotteries and the province have done that hole."
Mondragon said a number of rural hotels have closed their doors, most recently a couple weeks ago in Holland, Man.
He is calling on the province to change the margins that are available to rural hotels on beer vendor sales and VLT revenues.
"The province makes 80 per cent of the net revenue and we make 20 per cent," he said.
"The province also says that VLTs are brought in to help the rural hotels, but if that's the case, why do they make 80 per cent and we make 20?"