OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division

Dangers of taking video of liquor thefts another strike against alcohol privatization; OPSEU says

Toronto — Red flags continue to pop up when it comes to privatizing alcohol sales, and it’s time the Ontario government sober up to the dangers, says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

Thomas points to media reports from Manitoba on the dangerous practice of well-meaning citizens who take video of theft at liquor stores.

“Theft and the threat that it puts on responsible citizens is the latest flag,” says Thomas. “There are just too many dangers, it’s all here. What more proof does the Premier need to apply the brakes?”

Thomas points out this comes on the heels of the government’s move to ban vaping advertising in corner stores, which he says is an admission that small stores are also not equipped to handle alcohol sales in a safe and responsible way.

Police in Manitoba say citizens videotaping criminals doesn’t lead to arrests and actually opens people up to being assaulted or to having their expensive devises damaged in retaliation. They recommend the public do nothing and let the proven practices of the government-run stores and police take over.

“Imagine your 19-year old son or daughter working at a corner store that sells alcohol and a confrontation occurs between a citizen and a thief.  Corner store staff aren’t trained to handle this like LCBO staff and police are. It could turn into a dangerous situation.”

Thomas is mystified that all these warning signs haven’t caused the government to pull back on expanding privatization of alcohol sales. Similar scary instances revolving around vaping caused the  banning last week of advertising in stores and gas stations to keep the practice out of the minds of youth. A rise in vaping-related health issues is at the core of the decision.

Thomas is also encouraged by weekend reports that suggest more backtracking on the issue of private alcohol sales is being done. On Saturday, The Globe and Mail reported Ford’s House Leader, Paul Calandra as telling reporters that a bill on private sales, which would scrap Ontario’s 10-year contract with the Beer Store, was not on the legislature’s immediate priority list.

“This is another positive sign,” says Thomas. “It’s time to drop this idea of privatization and move on to producing legislation that actually helps Ontarians.”

For more information:  Warren (Smokey) Thomas 1-613-329-1931