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Liberals must come clean on LCBO privatization: OPSEU

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Toronto – Ontario’s Liberal government needs to be honest with Ontarians about its back-door privatization of the LCBO, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says.

“Ontarians like the LCBO, and they don’t want it privatized,” said Denise Davis, chair of the Liquor Board Employees Division of OPSEU. “But by allowing grocery stores to sell beer, cider, and wine, the government is doing exactly that.

“When you take the work of a public entity and hand it off to a private entity, there’s no other name for it: it’s privatization.”

Davis made the remarks after Liberal MPP Dave Levac (Brant) told the Brantford Expositor that “the LCBO is not being privatized nor are there plans that I’m aware of to do so.”

“I have the greatest respect for Dave Levac,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, “but I think the Liberals are being a bit coy. They are in the middle of the biggest overhaul of liquor retailing in this province since Prohibition ended. Anyone can see that more sales are going to flow through the private sector as a result.”

Privatization is a “core policy” of the Ontario Liberal government, Thomas said.

“Basically, the Liberals see privatization as the solution to every problem that comes along,” he said. “One can only marvel at the variety of methods they’ve come up with to do it. Whether it’s contracting out, asset sales, public-private partnerships, or Social Impact Bonds, they always find a way.

“That’s exactly what they’re doing with alcohol sales,” he said. “They know the LCBO is too popular to be sold outright, so they’re selling it one bottle at a time instead.”

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