Doug Ford’s short time as premier has been eventful (to say the least), and it looks like the controversial PC leader has a few more promises up his sleeve–including a fairly innocuous one to bring alcoholic beverages to yet another venue that they’ve been historically excluded from: convenience stores.
In a recent throne speech, Ford promised to do something that most Ontarians have been clamouring for for some time–bring beer and wine to more retailers.
“Your new government will respect consumers and trust adults to make the responsible choices that work best for them. That’s why it will expand the sale of beer and wine to convenience stores, grocery stores and big-box stores,” Ford said in his speech.
The move to allow convenience and other stores to sell wine and beer will probably be one of the Ford administration’s more universally popular initiatives, and it’s a logical step when considering the fact that provincial government started becoming significantly less conservative in its approach to alcohol retailing about three years ago.
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As most people no doubt remember, the province–then led by former Premier Kathleen Wynne–announced that it would start allowing select grocery stores to sell six-packs of beer in April of 2015.
Since then, more grocery stores have become eligible to sell beer, wine and cider (albeit with some caveats concerning sale times, prices and local offerings).
Ford may face a challenge, however.
According to this document, a contract (which is still in effect and will remain so until 2025) between Brewer’s Retail (The Beer Store) and the province specifically prohibits the sale of beer in convenience stores.
So while it’s unclear how Ford’s government will handle the contract situation, the convenience store promise is one of many.
In the throne speech, Ford also promised to lower hydro bills, stand with the federal government against tariffs in the fraught and ongoing NAFTA negotiations, lower taxes, audit government spending, help create a better transit system and repeal and replace the latest sexual education curriculum.