Further to my column on Shoppers Drug Mart, I got the following email from a respected Bay Street analyst:
Dear Mr. Taylor,
I read your article this morning with interest, I’m not however in agreement with your perspective.
While one can argue that changes were needed, in an era of government bailouts (in some circumstances to the tune of millions per employee looking at GM and Chrysler) these wholesale immediate changes to a system that’s been in place for many years without some kind of phase-in strikes me as remarkably unfair particularly as it appears that the Province was not negotiating in good faith. Should the Province give no consideration to Shoppers or Rexall or the pharmacists that pay taxes and employ thousands?
I’m not in agreement with your criticism of Mr. Schreiber’s handling of the situation and that he should have stressed “the potential positives”. … your suggestion that he should just be quiet and take it (for lack of a better phrase) is a weak and spiritless approach.
I have two answers: first, Mr. Schreiber exercised very bad judgment and I’m willing to bet he regrets it.
Second, and more importantly, isn’t it interesting that a professional analyst covering a private sector company actually believes that a broke government should continue to aid and abet drugstore chains earning lavish profits that include kickbacks? Whatever happened to entrepreneurship and hard work as the foundations of capitalism?
As this chart shows, Shoppers stock price was recovering when that column came out on Thursday, pointing out the obvious. Incidentally, Shoppers declined to discuss this with me. Dumb and dumber.