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Press Release

Thomas calls for RCMP to investigate the lobbying behind Ford’s corner store booze scheme

Publication Date

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 2:45pm

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling for the RCMP to investigate Doug Ford’s decision to break the government’s contract with the Beer Store to allow the sale of alcohol in corner and box stores.

“This whole scheme stinks worse than a flat of empties the day after a party,” said Thomas. “A shocking number of people who could profit from this billion-dollar boondoggle have deep personal connections with Ford and the Conservative Party.

“They’re a very tight little circle, and they could all get very rich off of this scheme while ‘the people’ end up getting fleeced.”

Thomas points out that Ken Hughes, who Ford hired to write a report recommending the province expand the sale of alcohol to corner and box stores, is a former Alberta Conservative MP. 

Hughes was a partner in an alcohol retailer that was bought out by a larger retailer, the Alberta-based Alcanna. The widow of Jim Prentice – who Hughes endorsed as leader of Alberta’s Conservatives – is listed as a director of Alcanna.

Alcanna hired Ford’s election campaign communication director, Melissa Lantsman, as a lobbyist shortly after the Premier took office.

“Randy Hillier got kicked out of Ford’s caucus because he had the courage to speak up about ‘illegal/unlawful actions’ happening in the Premier’s office,” said Thomas. “Maybe all this insider alcohol lobbying is what he was talking about. We need an independent police investigation to get to the truth.”

Thomas said the investigation should be handled by the RCMP. 

“There’s too much at stake here for the OPP to handle this,” said Thomas. “From trying to install his buddy as commissioner to cutting the force’s budget by $46 million, Ford has put too many question marks around the OPP. We need the RCMP for this.

“If this massive expansion of private alcohol sales is allowed to happen, it could end up being the largest theft of public money in Ontario history,” said Thomas. “It will make the billion-dollar Gas Plant Scandal look like an LCBO smash-and-grab.”

For more information: 

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931