Ontario convenience stores are once again trying to get permission to sell beer and wine, this time with the help of petition containing 112,500 signatures from all over the province, according to the National Post.
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association said Ontarians want to be able to leave their cars at home and walk “to get wine for dinner or drinks for the barbecue.”
Purchasing alcohol in Ontario is almost completely monopolized by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
The petition was started by Joanne McMurchy, who runs the General Store in the hamlet of Vanessa, south of Brantford, where some of the 80 local residents complained they have to drive 20 minutes to get to a liquor store. “My customers were persistently asking… was there any chance that beer would come to the store,” McMurchy said at a press conference. “So I decided that I would take people’s names down that had requested this persistently over the past couple of years and then made up this petition.”
Former Liberal premier David Peterson promised to allow corner stores to sell beer and wine in the 1980s, but it never happened, and the current Liberal government has no plans to change the rules. The LCBO turned over a $1.63 billion dividend to the Ontario government in 2010 to 2011.
While the NDP has routinely opposed the sale of wine and beer in corner stores, the Progressive Government agrees that it’s time that the province takes another look at how alcohol is sold.
“Are the old solutions from the 1930s and 40s that the government should run the alcohol business in the province from top to bottom appropriate in the 21st century?” PC leader Tim Hudak said.