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Thomas to Ford: ‘Shoot-from-the-hip approach to public policy is irresponsible’

Toronto ­ ­- OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said on Tuesday that Doug Ford’s comments on a radio show suggesting that government should take a hands off approach to cannabis sales are irresponsible.

“You’re playing in the big leagues now Doug, that means you can’t just make up policy as you go along,” said Thomas. “Put the hatchet away Doug and take a few moments to listen to folks like our members who know how to keep the wheels turning smoothly in Ontario.”

“Ontarians deserve a leader who will provide a vision for the future, not one who just reaches for the reset button, Ontario needs leadership that is can do, not undo.”

Ford was quoted on the CBC on Tuesday as saying he favours a free market approach to cannabis sales and planned to bring the idea before the Conservative caucus.

The provincial government has already announced that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will oversee sales of cannabis once it is legalized later this year, undoing the arrangement will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, Thomas noted.

He also said it is dangerous to place the sale of controlled substances like cannabis and alcohol in the hands of private retailers who are less likely to prevent them from being sold to minors.

Thomas also pointed out that removing government from the equation leaves the door open for organized crime to control the distribution of marijuana, that’s why law enforcement agencies support keeping a leash on selling cannabis.

Thomas said he was willing to sit down with Ford anytime to educate him about the importance of government keeping a watchdog role over the sale of cannabis to ensure Ontario’s youth are protected.

“I am ready to debate public policy issues with Doug Ford any time, any place,” said Thomas. “Public services are still recovering from Mike Harris and we don’t need any more disasters like Walkerton.”

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