It seems Ontario Premier Doug Ford is once again trying to implement changes to government operations that will run contrary to the interests of Ontario citizens, including those of us who have the privilege of living in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
I refer, of course, to his initial moves to privatize the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. In fact, the LCBO delivers an average of around $2 billion in profit to Ontarians each year.
This money is typically used to offset the cost of Ontario programs such as health care, education or social services.
Instead, in typical Conservative fashion, he wants to deliver these profits to private industry instead, with no plans to replace the benefits that citizens reap from this service.
The LCBO has done a wonderful job of retailing its wares since 1927.
It also has effectively controlled these spirits that, in the wrong hands, can create very real damage to people’s lives.
For instance, in 2019, it challenged more than 12.1 million potential customers who failed to produce proper ID, or were inebriated, or were ineligible to purchase its products for valid reasons.
Can we depend on private industry (where profit figures prominently over every other consideration) to be as stringent?
From so many recent events, it seems Doug Ford always chooses to represent the interests of private industry over of those of his constituents.
Why would that be? Let’s think back to another Conservative premier, Mike Harris.
During his reign, he successfully built 20,000 long-term care beds for seniors but then turned the majority of them over to private industry.
Today Harris serves as the chair of the board of the largest long-term care organization in Ontario: Chartwell Retirement Residences.
For that he is paid north of $250,000 a year and receives other lucrative benefits.
So, is there method to Doug Ford’s continuing slavish subservience to private industry? Might there be rewards in his future?
It seems only the Shadow knows.
One hopes Ontarians will put aside the Rip Van Winkle act and ensure Ford isn’t re-elected after so many scandals, missteps and insincere apologies by his government.
J. Richard Wright