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Friday, August 15, 2008

MPP Against Beer Store: Supports Petition

The following article was written by Dana Flavelle of the Toronto Star who put together an impressive feature on the Beer Store back in June.

A senior Tory politician says he's backing a private citizen's efforts to break up The Beer Store's near monopoly on beer sales in Ontario.

Ted Chudleigh, opposition critic on economic development and trade, said yesterday he's agreed to support and present Derek Forward's petition in the Legislature as a first step toward change.

The petition calls on the government to open up Ontario's $2.9 billion a year beer market to grocery and corner stores, creating more competition for The Beer Store.

The MPP for Halton said yesterday he supports Forward's view that a foreign-owned, privately-held company shouldn't control 80 per cent of beer sales in the province.

"I don't see how Ontario is benefiting the way it used to when it was Canadian-owned," he said, referring to the period before Canadian brewers Labatt, Molson and Sleeman became part of Belgium's InBev SA, Colorado-based Molson Coors and Japan's Sapporo, respectively.

Together, the three firms own and control The Beer Store in a way that small local craft brewers say makes it difficult for them to compete.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he doesn't believe The Beer Store is broken and so doesn't need to be fixed.

He has also said he believes The Beer Store does the best job of ensuring booze isn't sold to underage kids.

But Chudleigh, who once owned an IGA store in Niagara Region, says stores can train their staff how to check customers' ID and after renovating their premises to accommodate beer sales, they would be loath to lose their beer licence by selling to minors.

"It's less of an issue than it was before," said Chudeigh, referring to jurisdictions where beer is sold through competitive channels.

Chudleigh says he's hoping to present Forward's petition the week of Sept. 22.

Meanwhile, Forward says he's working on getting signatures. So far, his online petition at, has attracted more than 5,000 names.

But he now needs people to sign a formal paper document that Chudleigh can present in the Legislature.

As part of that effort, Forward says he'll be holding petition-signing days outside Beer Stores across Ontario, starting in his hometown of Burlington this Saturday, outside the downtown store on Elizabeth St.

Chudleigh said petitions can sometimes lead directly to change in government policy, as it did last year after 20,000 people signed his protest against eliminating the Lord's Prayer from the Legislature's opening ceremonies.

Other times, petitions are just a starting point. If the government declines to take action on The Beer Store, Chudleigh said he would take the issue to his party's caucus and try to make it part of their next election campaign platform.


Zoran said...

The good MPP for Halton forgot to mention that something being in the election platform does not guarantee at all that it will become reality. And when is the next election anyway? November 2011?

ruserious said...

Just to let you all know on Dec. 9th, 2008 our Ontario Liberal government responded unfavourably to the end the Beer Store Monopoly petition.

Despite this bad news I want to personally thank Derek Forward (the originator of the petition), for his tremendous effort in making it this far. For those of you that don’t know this already, Derek does not do things like this for a living. He’s another Ontario taxpayer just like you and I who set aside a tremendous amount of time to stand in front of Beer Stores collecting over 10,000 signatures, meeting with reporters, organizing Internet campaigns, and doing everything he could to capture the public’s attention.

But most importantly, Derek managed to capture the attention of Ted Chudleigh (MPP – Halton, PC Party) who read the petition (P-146) in parliament 11 times. Following the reading of the petition in parliament Derek then met with Jamie Rilett (Stakeholder Relations / Office of the Premier), for over an hour. After that, he went on to meet with Ms. Gina Lee - Communications Advisor to Dwight Duncan (Finance Minister). Quite unfortunately, despite all the readings of the petition in parliament neither of them were aware that the petition did not ask for an elimination of the Beer Store, just opening up the market to competition. As smart as both of these individuals were, they certainly appear to be operating in a bubble around Queen’s Park. He then further went on to meet with Mario Sergio (Liberal MPP - York West). The focus of each conversation that Derek had was that the Liberal government needs to consider the Consumer element, who spends over $2.5 billion dollars at the Beer Store annually, represented by 10,000 signatures looking for change, and that you should at least consider a dialog with the customer stakeholder

Despite all of this effort however, and over 11 days later than expected, the McGuinty Government dismissively responded to the petition with an answer of “The Beer Store is a great system – there is no need to change it - and no need for further discussion.”

Quite clearly, whatever the Liberals agenda is, they do not even want think about the consumer nor consider that a foreign owned monopoly taking $2.5 billion of our money annually could in any way be something that needs to be fixed.

As for what to do next, from what I hear Derek and Ted Chudleigh are putting together a response saying that the Liberal’s response does not dignify 10,000 signatures.

For my part, I’m just trying to thank Derek and Ted for their hard work so far and ensure that everyone knows exactly what the Liberals response was. Please help me spread the message across the province, tell those who don’t know yet that the Beer Store is a foreign owned monopoly kept empowered by the Province of Ontario. And if you also want to tell the premier exactly what you think about this feel free to contact him yourself:

- Call Premier McGuinty - Tel: 416-325-1941 - Fax: 416-325-3745
- eMail Premier McGuinty -
- Mail Premier McGuinty - Honorable Dalton McGuinty, Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park - Toronto, ON M7A 1A4

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