Convenience store suds not worth the $1 billion hangover

If you were tuned to Premier Doug Ford’s Twitter stream this weekend, you would have thought Ontarians couldn’t find a can of beer to save their lives.

Clearly an orchestrated campaign by the province’s Progressive Conservative party showed a plethora of MPP’s going into a random convenience stores in their constituency, illustrating there were no alcohol sales available at the particular bodega and how their government was soon going to fix that grave injustice.

As if people in the province couldn’t easily navigate their way to a Beer Store, LCBO or one of the larger scale grocery stores permitted to sell beverages of a refreshing nature.

Ford’s twitter feed and the campy campaign would be almost laughable if not for a couple of points.

First, can it be assumed a number of the MPP’s showing up in Ford’s twitter feed attended Pride 2019 celebrations much in the same way Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith did at Benson Park on Saturday?

Unfortunately Smith didn’t tweet about his presence at what is an international initiative that celebrates advances made by the LGBTQ2 community.

If his colleagues also attended similar festivities, none of Smith’s fellow MPP’s decrying the status of beer and wine availability in the province showed up in the Premier’s twitter feed trumpeting or even acknowledging the start of Pride celebrations.

Given the legacy of the Ford family’s acknowledgement and participation or lack thereof in Pride festivities when they were involved in Toronto politics, should it come as any shock the Premier of Ontario hadn’t acknowledged Pride on Twitter before Wednesday afternoon, a full five days into the celebration?

The other less infantile and more humorous point hidden in the snap campaign where rank-and-file legislators were all of sudden turning into social media heroes for the Joe-and-Jane six pack set was at least two of them had constituency offices in plazas where beer is available through the traditional chanels.

There’s a Beer Store in the Barrhaven Crossing shopping plaza where MPP Lisa MacLeod greets constituents and, much closer to home, it wouldn’t take a thirsty Prince Edward County resident too long to travel the 30 paces from Smith’s office to the Rossmore LCBO. With extended and Sunday hours and hundreds of grocery stores selling, exactly which group of consumers are having difficulty sourcing wine and beer?

Despite the comically coordinated rollout and the fact there are hundreds of more pressing issues facing this province, the PC’s are not wrong in wanting to modernize the sale of wine and beer in Ontario and this maneuvre might actually benefit local craft brewers and wineries in Prince Edward County. And yes, convenience stores may benefit but won’t it be a zero net gain if all corner stores jump into beer and wine sales?

Ultimately negating a contract this size comes with a steep price-the kind of price that helped Doug Ford and his party sweep to power in this province.

Wasn’t there a certain gas plant contract west of Toronto that was torn up for political reasons by the previous government that Smith and company got outstanding milage from during the 2018 campaign?

At an estimated cost of $1 billion to escape the Beer Store contract, wouldn’t a more prudent move be to provide the people of this province good fiscal government, earn a second mandate and then make the switch at the end of the pact to allow convenience stores to sell beer and wine?

If the answer is no, Ontarians should drink up.

A $1 billion bar tab is on the way.