Beer wars make strange bedfellows.

Ontario Opposition Leader Tiny Tim Hudak, the Toronto Star and Babel-on-the-Bay on the same side of any issue is the day there are also three moons in the sky. Yet here we are: all three concurring on doing something about the disgusting state of beer sales in Ontario. Maybe we all come at this for different reasons and with differing agendas but thankfully, we can all agree on screwing Brewers’ Retail.

There is a wonderful hypocrisy to the Toronto Star’s stance. As artfully explained by Martin Regg Cohn in the Star today, we can screw the foreign owners of the Beer Store but we need to preserve the provincially-owned Liquor Control Board stores. It seems that the free enterprise Toronto Star thinks there are good monopolies and bad monopolies. And only Torstar knows the difference between them.

At least Tiny Tim is consistent. The Conservative leader is having a hard time these days. He has to overcome the natural tendency of the news media to ignore him. He needs ink. Half his caucus are busy plotting how to dump him and the other half are looking around for a place to jump ship.

But give Timmy credit. Instead of going home to his loving wife and daughter and hiding under the bed, he has writers preparing papers on promises to please Ontario voters. Privatising beer and liquor sales is certainly something to please the discriminating voter. He would forget all about it if he ever accidently came to power but it sure sounds good today.

Babel-on-the-Bay has always fought the good fight against big box beer stores and monopoly liquor stores. This blog still believes that the most disgusting Beer Store in Ontario award should go to the Anne Street store here in Babel. We still believe that the dregs of beer and liquor bottles on the floor in that place will rip the Birkenstocks right off your feet. Luckily, we have never seen a pair of Birkenstocks in that store.

But we do not discriminate against foreigners. We want that Brazilian, Belgian, American, Japanese beer, sold as Molson Canadian or Labatt Blue, available in the corner convenience store. Let the Beer Store continue as a recycling centre. They already smell bad enough anyway.

And the Toronto Star will have to forego its hypocrisy about the LCBO. Beer and wine and liquor need to be sold with food. They belong together. Specialty liquor and wine stores also need an opportunity to flourish where the market will sustain them. Nobody wants the government making decisions about the brands of booze they can buy. We have to get out of the middle ages.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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