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Statement from President Warren (Smokey) Thomas on the bill to terminate the agreement with the Beer Store

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

It is deeply disappointing that the Ford government is proceeding with this reckless plan to pave the way to further privatize alcohol sales. It is both socially and fiscally irresponsible.

We urge the government to not proceed with the recommendations of their privatization advisor, Ken Hughes.

Breaking the contract with the Beer Store will cost Ontario taxpayers up to $1-billion, money that could be going to education and health care.  Money that could fund programs like the services for children with autism.

I also can’t stress enough what a slippery slope the Premier is putting us on by moving to potentially more than double the number of retail outlets selling alcohol. Allowing alcohol sales into corner stores means there is a much greater chance of controlled substances being sold to minors.

The LCBO is a tried and tested model that has served Ontarians well for decades.  LCBO staff are trained to make sure alcoholic beverages aren’t sold to the wrong people and LCBO outlets are very popular with Ontarians.

The recommendation to end uniform pricing is also wrong headed. This will lead to higher liquor prices for consumers, and potentially an even greater social cost for Ontario families and communities. Alcohol costs Ontario $5.3 billion a year in health care, lost productivity and criminal justice costs.

The recommendations to consider privatizing spirits sales and aspects of liquor distribution are equally dubious. They will end up hurting the LCBO, a proven revenue generator that has pumped billions into provincial coffers.  This could also put thousands of jobs at risk.

It’s also time to repatriate Agency stores and turn them into LCBO outlets.

This “if it ain’t broke take a sledgehammer and smash it to bits” approach by the Premier is not working for Ontario and the only people who benefit are a few of his cronies.

Most public opinion polls are clear that Ontarians feel the province is on the wrong path and Doug Ford has to go.   Maybe some of his cronies who own corner stores can give him a job on the night shift where he can’t do any harm to Ontarians.

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