Ford Nation: Stop the Alcohol Insanity
Since When Does Alcohol Matter More Than People?
I have never seen a government as seemingly obsessed with alcohol and its promotion as in Ontario.
After months of stating they were "for the people" and telling the Ontario public that there is no money to continue funding education and health care, as it has been in the past, Ontario's (supposedly) Progressive Conservative party, which has led the province since June 2018, has been practically rabid about alcohol and its promotion. Now, legislation has been tabled to make beer available in your local convenience store—a move very few (if not no one) wanted—under the guise that the government is trying to break the monopoly The Beer Store apparently has in Ontario.
I lived in Saskatchewan from around 2003 to 2007. I lived on a military detachment—it was too small to be called a "base"—that was just south of Saskatoon, with a smaller town just south of us. I was stunned that we could buy beer and liquor at the gas station in that town at the time, as that was a foreign concept to me. According to CityNews, Saskatchewan has beer, wine, and spirits available for purchase at provincially-owned liquor stores, rural establishments licensed by the government, and three privately owned liquor stores. According to 2011 statistics from Statistics Canada, there were 683.35 police-reported impaired driving instances in Saskatchewan—the highest rate provincially outside of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory. At the time, Ontario boasted the lowest rate of impaired driving at 129.56 police-reported incidents. At the time, Ontario did not have the availability of alcohol that Saskatchewan did, as alcohol would have been almost exclusively sold in restaurants and The Beer Store.
Now, however, Ontario sees alcohol being sold at Walmart and several grocery stores. Could those statistics change due to the increased availability of alcohol?
Let me be clear. I have no issue with alcohol, and I believe that should people want to have a beer, an alcoholic drink or a glass of wine, they should do so in a responsible manner. However, I also believe that an increased availability of alcohol has the potential to lead to increased issues on the road with impaired drivers and increased rates of alcohol addiction.
I believe that the government should not be posting tweets—such as those posted by Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin, Willowdale MPP Stan Cho, and Huron-Bruce MPP (and Education Minister) Lisa Thompson—that are so obviously orchestrated to promote the tabled legislation to break the contract the provincial government has with The Beer Store. This is, as has been widely stated through the media, a move that could cost consumers up to a billion dollars.
Why does the government see this as okay, while continuing to insist that the funding is simply not there for education or for health?
Why are our representatives, who were elected by Ontarians, continuing to insist that alcohol sales and our right to drink alcohol whenever we want are more important than education or health care? While I understand that our government officials have not stated this outwardly, it continues to look as though the Ontario government is insisting that alcohol trumps education and health care.
Also, no one is saying cuts don't need to happen—they do. The province is deeply in debt, and without cuts, the province will not recover from the debt. However, you don't make decisions that will so very clearly harm the province's population in order to make things better. Making alcohol more accessible could contribute to increased health challenges and dangerous driving, among other issues.
The fact that several MPPs are shamelessly posing for poorly orchestrated photo ops to promote the idea that this increased availability of alcohol was A. something the majority of the population wanted or B. something that the majority of the population needed is disgusting. To be sure, they aren't the only government officials with orchestrated photo ops to support the government's cause - one need only look at some of the photos that have surfaced of federal conservatives such as Andrew Scheer posing at gas pumps—but promoting the purchase of alcohol at convenience stores in order to pass legislation is irresponsible at the very least.
Ford Nation, start looking at what the people actually want and need instead of just flying by your own ridiculous agenda. Make appropriate cuts, and stop putting the people at risk for your own benefit.