TORONTO – As police raise the alarm about the steadily increasing number of impaired drivers on our roads, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is demanding that Premier Doug Ford abandon his reckless plans to further privatize and expand alcohol sales.
“The easier it is to get alcohol and cannabis, the more deadly our roads become,” said Thomas. “Premier Ford is doing exactly the wrong thing with stunts like his ‘buck-a-beer’ fiasco and by allowing booze in more grocery stores and perhaps even convenience stores.
“How many lives have to be ruined before this government wakes up? How many needless deaths do we have to suffer?”
Police forces operating in the Greater Toronto Area are reporting an increase in impaired driving charges last year compared to previous years.
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the Ford government’s handling of alcohol and cannabis sales are completely wrongheaded.
“There was a time when Conservatives cared about safety, but not anymore. Ontario’s roads are getting more dangerous and Ford is just fanning the flames to make it even worse.”
Increasingly risky roads aren’t the only consequence of Ford’s reckless plan to make it easier and “more convenient” for people to get intoxicants. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use, alcohol and drugs cost Ontario nearly $15 billion in lost productivity and extra health and social costs in 2014 (the most recent year for which statistics are available).
“With the New Year, it’s time for Ford to make a fresh start,” said Thomas. “I’ll meet with him anytime to explain our responsible plan for alcohol and cannabis. It’s not complicated: leave it to the trained and experienced workers at the LCBO.
“With a long track record of socially responsible sales and ensuring the maximum government revenue from those sales, the LCBO is tried, tested, and true,” said Thomas. “We can trust the LCBO and its workers to cut our costs, boost our revenues, and ensure that our roads and communities are safe.”