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OPSEU President challenges Ford to debate his irresponsible plan to privatize cannabis and alcohol

Toronto– OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is challenging Premier Doug Ford to publicly debate his irresponsible plans to have private retailers sell cannabis next year.

“I’m calling the Premier out,” said Thomas. “The public option is the only responsible one for Ontarians. I’ll debate him any time, anywhere. He can even stack the room with his army of Harperite lackeys, he’ll need all the help he can get.”

Thomas came to Queen’s Park armed with a fresh public opinion survey that shows Ontarians are significantly more likely to think a public retailer like the LCBO will have a more positive impact over private stores on keeping cannabis and alcohol out of the hands of underage children.

The Nanos survey of 1,000 Ontarians shows that people in the province are:

  • At least 11 times more likely to choose the LCBO over private stores to keep cannabis and alcohol out of the hands of kids
  • Almost 4 times more likely to choose the LCBO over private stores to generate more public revenue to invest in health care, highways, and other public services

“Ontarians simply don’t trust the private sector to sell drugs like cannabis and alcohol,” Thomas said. “We need real debate on this issue, and I’m here to give him one.”

OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida is perplexed that Ford is tossing away billions of dollars of revenue at the same time he is raising alarm bells about the deficit.

“It’s easy to retrofit LCBO stores to sell cannabis,” said Almeida. “Give municipalities a public option and just say no to Doug’s.”

Denise Davis, Chair of OPSEU’s Liquor Board Employees Division, promised Ford that he’ll have a serious fight on his hands if he doesn’t back down soon.”

“We will be reminding people about the many benefits of a responsible public plan and the many dangers of privatization,” said Davis. “Believe me, with the strength of our members and public support, there will be no stopping us.”

“Like that old song said, the premier seems to have gone ‘one toke over the line,’” said Thomas. “It’s time for his backbenchers to represent their constituents and stand up to the Premier.”

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