The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) today launched a province-wide radio advertising blitz calling on the government of Kathleen Wynne to heed the advice of health experts who warn that expanded sales of beer amounts to harmful public policy.
“The only so-called experts that the premier listens to are her well-heeled political donors in the supermarket and brewing industries,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU. “Our radio advertisements say that before we make alcohol more easily accessible let’s hear from those professionals on the frontlines who witness first-hand the harmful social and health care costs associated with wider accessibility.
The advertisements, in English and French, will run for five days across the holiday Thanksgiving weekend. The heaviest concentration of the ad broadcasts will be in Toronto and Ottawa, but all other urban markets in the province will also carry them. More than 60 per cent of adults, aged 25 to 54, in Ontario will hear the advertisements on multiple occasions during the blitz.
Thomas said the public deserves to know that powerful interest groups, representing the major breweries and supermarket chains, have exerted enormous pressure on the Wynne government to introduce beer, and eventually wine, into grocery stores at the expense of sound public policy. One result is what experts call an “alcohol deficit,” whereby more public funds are spent on treating the abuse of alcohol than governments receive in revenue from alcohol sales.
“We’re not pulling any punches with our message,” the OPSEU president said. “The government has abdicated its responsibility for acting in the best interest of all Ontarians. Rather, it seems to be acting on behalf of some of the largest donors to the Liberal Party.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Listen to the advertisement