OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas appeared on CP24’s Live at Noon on January 3 to discuss recent police reports that there are increasing numbers of impaired drivers on Ontario’s roads.
Thomas said that making alcohol even more accessible – through expanded sales in grocery stores and possibly even grocery stores – would just drive impaired-driving casualties higher.
Thomas also slammed the government for its handling of retail cannabis, pointing out that 25 cannabis stores would already be open under the Liberal plan, while now just six stores will open almost a year late.
Later in the day, President Thomas discussed alcohol and the LCBO on 640 Talk Radio. He pointed out that while Premier Ford wanted to make alcohol more convenient, convenience has to be balanced off with social responsibility.
He used Alberta as an example, where loosening alcohol laws has come with very high rates of impaired driving. Thomas said the liberalization of alcohol sales in Ontario through expansion to grocery stores is at least in part responsible for the increase in impaired driving.
Thomas proposed that more LCBO stores extend their business hours, rather than extending alcohol sales to grocery and corner stores, noting it would help satisfy the many people concerned about the social consequence of expanded alcohol sales.