Followers of Progressive Conservative social media in Ontario this weekend would have see quite a few photos of MPPs in corner stores. This was a directive from Premier Doug Ford who wanted to see his MPPs in corner stores to drum up awareness for his endeavor to make beer more available in Ontario.
Ford plans on ending the province’s contract with the Beer Store to allow beer to be sold by other vendors.
In principle, I don’t think that this is a bad idea. Beer is available in corner stores in Quebec, so why not here. It will make getting beer more convenient. I do question whether there are more important things that the government could be focusing on.
Our local public school board is facing a steep deficit on the order of $11 million. Just this week, Bereaved Families, a counselling service for those who have lost loved ones, and received no provincial funding, had to close its doors in Cornwall. Sexual assault support centres, including the one in Cornwall have received reduced funding compared to what they were promised, but despite all this, presumably soon, we will be able to buy beer at our corner store.
Beyond the time and resources that the Ford government is using to campaign for this idea, there will also presumably be a cost to cancelling the Beer Store contract.
There is also the problem of messaging. When the government runs a big social media campaign like this and get’s all of their MPPs involved, you think it would be about something revolutionary that will change and improve the lives of countless voters, not buck-a-beer and beer in the corner store. I mean, it’s nice, but it isn’t an essential.
The Ford Government states that it is committed to reducing the provincial deficit and growing the budget, then why are they wasting time and money on this? The simple reason I think is the old Roman theory of Bread & Circuses. Keep the populace entertained and distracted and they won’t notice when the rug is taken out from underneath them.
Those who voted for Ford elected him to cut spending, and if you look at our schools, health units, municipalities, social and support programs, then that is definitely what he is doing. How he should be approaching these cuts, is instead of investing his and his party’s time in pushing for beer in corner stores, he should be reaching out to voters and doing heavy consultations to make these cuts where they are needed and to cushion those who, as I’ve said, suddenly find the rug out from underneath them.
The strongest benefit I can see to the government’s plan is that it will help grow Ontario’s craft beer industry and I will give them credit for that. All across Ontario, there are great craft brewers, including in Cornwall and the United Counties of SD&G. You can’t find many of these delicious treasures in the Beer Store or LCBO and allowing corner stores to sell beer will presumably open the door for them.
What do you think readers? Is beer in corner stores a priority for you, or are there more important things you would like to see the government focus on? Email me a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org