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Do booze and bucks grease the wheels in Ford Nation? OPSEU asks

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas speaking into a microphone in front of an Ontario flag.

Toronto – OPSEU is calling on the province’s Integrity Commissioner to take a look at the beer and wine industry’s influence on the Ford government’s policies involving alcoholic beverages.

OPSEU has found nearly two dozen cases in which groups or individuals connected to the beer and wine industry have made contributions to the Conservatives this year alone.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but it seems that money talks for the Ford government,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said Thursday.

OPSEU looked through the Elections Ontario contributor database and the Lobbyist registry and found a number of wineries, brewers and food and beverage groups have contributed to the Progressive Conservative Party.

The overall contributions are in the thousands of dollars and Thomas says it explains a lot.

“We’re seeing the Ford government make reckless decisions on expanding the sale of beer and wine into corner stores and other private retailers, even though surveys have consistently found that Ontarians feel the LCBO can best keep alcohol away from underaged drinkers,” said Thomas.

“Now we know why they’re doing something that makes no sense, money speaks louder than ‘the people’s’ words.”

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says this is why the Integrity Commissioner should be reviewing whether the alcoholic beverage industry has undue influence in the Ford government’s decisions.

“It’s time to clear the fermented air around the Ford government,” Almeida said. “It’s bad enough that the Ford propaganda network Ontario News Now is doing free advertising for wineries, but the implications regarding government policy are even more alarming.”

Thomas says there are just too many unanswered questions out there to ignore.

“When police suspect someone of driving under the influence, they pull them over and run tests to get the facts,” said Thomas. “Ontarians need someone like the Integrity Commissioner to do a breathalyzer test on this government because it appears the Tories are intoxicated on booze-soaked bucks.”

For more information:

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931