Wynne’s Whigs sell us short.

What did we say the other day about half measures by governments that have no idea where they are going? Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne seems to have fallen into that trap. Obviously somebody got to her and told her she needed to be seen doing something about how we sell alcoholic beverages. That was dumb. The stipulation needed to be made that first she learn something about the subject.

Can you imagine the ignorance of what she told Paul Bliss of CTV News? While admitting that Ontario has extremely restrictive laws on alcohol sales, she made some naive comments about Ontario’s wine industry. She seems to think that craft wines are something farmers do after they have milked the cows. She has no concept of the years of investment people put into their vineyards and the exacting science of wine making. She thinks the selling their wines can be done at farmers’ markets on Saturday morning.

And now she tells us that she has created a panel of officials from government ministries to advise the politicians on how to help the industry. This seems to be her way of doing the premier’s job; just keep turning problems over to committees and do nothing. What insights officials from the ministries of finance, economic trade and development and the ministry of agriculture can contribute to the marketing of wines is open to question.

What we do know is that this is not working for Ontario. What is really wrong is the closed-minded ignorance of Wynne’s Whigs. Ontario has suffered under almost a hundred years of Women’s Christian Temperance Union edicts about alcohol sales and nobody seems to have told the politicians that the WCTU is dead. It has not had any sway in Ontario since the Second World War. And to compound their ignorance, Wynne’s Whigs have appointed a lawyer with no apparent knowledge of the market or the workings of the organization to chair a moribund LCBO.

The Ontario government is losing huge revenues by not privatizing the LCBO. Obviously it should hang on to the buying power of the organization because it is the largest single buyer in the world of alcoholic beverages. The revenue it can generate as a wholesale distributor alone is close to a billion dollars per year. Where else in the entire government can you sell off an asset and continue to make more money from it each year than you did before you sold it?

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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