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After ‘laughable’ attempt to buy support, OPSEU urges municipalities to demand public cannabis sales


Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he hopes Ontario’s municipal leaders won’t be taken in by Doug Ford’s “laughable” attempt to bribe them into supporting his irresponsible scheme to privatize cannabis sales.

“The ‘support’ being offered by Ford’s government might generate a couple of headlines,” Thomas said. “But in the court of public opinion that demands keeping kids and communities safe, the Premier just shot an air ball.”

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli has informed the Association of Municipalities of Ontario that the government is offering the province’s nearly 450 municipalities just $40 million to cover costs associated with legalized cannabis. Thomas points to the massive increase in costs municipalities will be on the hook for in terms of things like policing and public health.

“This puny payout is laughable,” said Thomas. “Municipal leaders should contact Doug Ford or Dean French or whoever the Premier is these days and demand a responsible public plan and just say no to Doug’s.”

OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the Premier’s Office knows that Ontarians want the LCBO to handle cannabis sales because it’s tried, tested, and true.

“Instead of doing the right thing, they’re trying to buy the support of municipal leaders. But they can’t even do bribery right — the amounts they’re offering are a joke.”

Almeida points out that in his home town of Hamilton, the annual police budget is more than $160 million.

“What’s a few thousand extra going to do? It’s ridiculous.”

Thomas said this latest insult from Ford should serve as a rallying call for mayors and councillors across the province.

“Municipal leaders have the power to save the province from yet another privatization disaster,” said Thomas. “They can still vote to ‘opt-out’ of private cannabis and demand that the province roll out a responsible plan that allows municipalities to choose the LCBO as their cannabis retailer.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931