Well, it looks like we won’t be buying booze anytime soon in convenience stores this side of Quebec, as the Liberal government has shot down a petition from the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, according to the Toronto Star. The Free Our Beer petition, which pledges “that our politicians listen to voters and allow the convenience of buying beer and wine at responsible community convenience stores,” has reportedly received some 112,500 signatures online and in stores across the province—that’s more than twice as many people who petitioned to prevent Nickelback from playing at halftime in Detroit! (Mind you, that petition was unfortunately unsuccessful as well…) But McGuinty still isn’t buying it.
“This government believes that Ontarians are well served by the current retail system for beverage alcohol,” Aly Vitunski, spokeswoman for Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, told The Star. “The current system balances access for both customers and suppliers with social responsibility. We take the concerns of convenience store owners seriously, but we believe the current system of selling liquor is an effective way to guard the public interest.” Funny, I didn’t know the public was interested in paying higher, government-regulated prices. Tim Hudak, for one, is willing to debate this matter on behalf of the opposition.
Interestingly enough, two of McGuinty’s recent predecessors (not including Bob Rae) were in favour of letting convenience stores sell alcohol, even to the point of putting it in their platforms. As per The Star, “Former Liberal premier David Peterson promised beer and wine in corner stores in his 1985 election campaign and so did Tory leader Mike Harris in his 1995 platform, the Common Sense Revolution.”
Tis a shame those platform planks were never implemented—though it would hardly be the only time a politician has broken a campaign promise in this province, wouldn’t it?