The debate over alcohol sales in convenience stores is once again brewing with the release of a petition from the Ontario Convenience Stores Association containing in excess of 112,000 signatures calling for the availability of wine and beer in corner stores.
The petition is supported by a Facebook campaign launched last year by the OCSA and its CEO, Dave Bryans, which can be found here.
This corner talked to Bryans on several occasions last year and he points out corner stores in more than 200 Ontario communities too small to support an LCBO outlet or a Beer Store now are authorized to sell alcohol.
It is worth noting the latter are owned by Labatt Brewing Company Ltd., Molson Coors Canada and Sleeman Breweries Ltd., with the first two conglomerates owned by multinationals InBev and Interbrew respectively.
Should you be able to visit a corner store in St. Thomas/Elgin to purchase alcohol, especially when some beer outlets close as early as 9 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday?
PC leader Tim Hudak wonders is the current system, dating back more than 70 years, still appropriate?
“I think any time you have a monopoly that means you don’t get the service (and) it’s more expensive than it would be otherwise,” Hudak told The Globe and Mail this week.
Have you signed the petition?
A move long overdue or might this lead to increased alcohol consumption and a further strain on our healthcare system?
We would love to hear your take on alcohol sales in convenience stores.
OUR READERS WRITE
C. Stobo at email@example.com continues the dialogue emanating from a column two weeks ago on union featherbedding.
He writes on our website: “Bob McCaig has raised very serious concerns, which are now increasingly common to Ontario as well as many other jurisdictions, particularly California and other states witnessing the “bankruptcy” of one city/municipality after another (four in California alone).
He continues: “In Ontario, the excessive public union labour contract pay/benefits contract decisions by arbitrators, for example, who have been applying Toronto police, fire and EMS contract awards/decisions broadly in arbitrations elsewhere, including York Regional Municipality, which is now in frightening substantial debt for one of the wealthiest regions in the province, along with other regions and municipalities.
“If this trend continues in public sector labour union contract negotiations and awards, as well as in management compensation and benefits decisions, we too will have municipalities in this province unable to hire sufficient staff or to acquire the stock to open, run and staff newly built police, library and other facilities.
Stobo goes on to advise: “With the anticipated vast increase in the numbers of baby-boomers hitting retirement age in municipalities and provincial government departments/agencies, boards and commissions shortly, this can no longer be ignored. When the anticipated retirements of those reaching 65 is combined with the vast numbers of police, fire, EMS, teachers and other public sector employees often eligible for retirement at 55 years, the magnitude of the problems being ignored by arbitrators involved in municipal, fire, EMS and police contract awards is astonishing.
“There is currently no need for arbitrators in such contract disputes to consider the municipality’s financial position and budgetary constraints. Similarly, municipal and provincial government proposals and approvals for the construction of more multi-million dollar new public facilities, in an economy that has slowed down and will continue to see low growth for a number of years, although providing temporary increases in construction jobs, will not be sustainable over the longer term as municipal and provincial government entities are required to contribute more and more to maintain salaries, pension and other benefit plans for current employees, since these plans will likely be unable to achieve the high investment returns they saw in the last two decades due to the current and predicted future economic conditions.”
For a further insight into the magnitude of this problem, it is well worth visiting the Association of Municipalities of Ontario website under issues – arbitration here
WERE WE EVEN IN THE GAME?
Some post-game sniping going on in London where city council’s decision to play hardball with Texas-based food-distribution giant Sysco came back to haunt it this week when the firm announced it will build a 400,000-square-foot distribution facility in Woodstock which could eventually employ 250-350 people.
That prompted reader Bill Sandison to muse on the T-J’s Facebook page: “London may have blown it, but was the St. Thomas brain trust (Economic Development Corp. and city council) even in the game? If not, why not?“
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The mall is suffering and people are trying to make a livelihood over there. We’re not making money any more. This is a matter of just salvaging a situation. I figure something like this would help the town and, at the same time, bring traffic to our mall so it might help the tenants.”
SmartCentres leasing representative Adam Samuel on a proposal to move the ODSP office from its present location on Talbot Street to Elgin Mall in an effort to maintain a local office for St. Thomas/Elgin clients.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.