OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division

Thomas to Ford: ‘You won’t buy votes with alcohol’

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Toronto – The President of the union representing Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) workers says it’s outrageous Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford is promising to expand beer and wine sales to corner and grocery stores.

“It’s utterly stupid and irresponsible,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Has Doug Ford taken any time at all to think through such a rash decision? Because it smells a lot like his GTA greenbelt promise, which quickly turned into compost. It’s great for the private sector but crappy for Ontarians.”

According to Ford, letting private retailers sell beer and wine is a sign of “maturity” and a matter of “convenience.” Thomas strongly disagrees. “Putting alcohol next to milk sends the wrong message to highly impressionable children and youth,” Thomas said. “Alcohol is already the leading cause of death among teens. There’s no way we should make it easier for them to get a hold of it.”

“Does Doug Ford really think convenience is a good reason to risk losing more lives to alcohol? If that’s what he calls being ‘mature,’ then he’s reading the wrong dictionary.”

The OPSEU President also underscored the loss of revenue for hospitals, higher education and other vital public services. “Every year, year after year, the LCBO pours $2 billion a year into the public coffers. We desperately need that annual revenue to keep our public services functioning – services that fuel our economy. It’s another corporate giveaway. Where’s the little guy in all this? He’s left waiting for his operation.”

Thomas also questioned the timing of the announcement, noting it comes in the wake of a growing scandal involving the alleged theft of data from the company that runs Highway 407.

“Ontarians have been shocked to learn that their personal information has been stolen and the media reports linking the information with the Conservative campaign. With just three weeks before the election, Ford is desperate to change the channel and is hoping alcohol will blur Ontarians’ vision of him and his party.

“But if the people vote for Ford for the sake of alcohol convenience, they’re going to wake up the day after the election with a massive hangover.”

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