Political Pressure


It seems the provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia are riding similar political trains, on parallel tracks.  An article in the Globe and Mail illustrates uncanny similarities in alcohol issues and the government, province-to-province. In each, the party in power is refusing to make concessions to the regional Convenience Store Association, and their wants to replace ailing tobacco sales with beer and wine. These desires are rooted in a potential future dismantling of the respective province-wide liquor distribution monopolies [LCBO and NSLC].

In both provinces, we have political parties in a minority position, aiming to create leverage for a future election. And, they are using the public and recent opinion polls as pressure on the lever. According to some recent surveys (instigated by the Convenience store Associations), citizens of Ontario and Nova Scotia both have a majority of persons open to having beer and wine in corner stores. Likely, most of this public motive is based on putting convenience into Convenience Stores, but the motives of the Associations and the opposition parties are not so innocent.

Opposition parties are anxious to be on the larger side of any public opinion poll and hungry for press coverage of the same, as key to future election momentum. Meanwhile, the Convenience Store lobby argues this is about jobs. Sadly, these are jobs that pay minimum wage, and that would undermine existing careers if each monopoly was threatened.

Collectively, this posturing illustrates disregard for the consequences of widening alcohol availability – consequences that have been experienced firsthand in other provinces – while generating a smokescreen to cover ulterior motives.

Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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