Glad tidings from Regg Cohn of the Star.

You just hate to be the curmudgeon who is always complaining about those damn filthy, smelly beer stores in Ontario. A complainant can feel lonely. You start to doubt yourself. You feel guilty. You begin to think that you are the only person in this God-forsaken province who knows that Ontario is run by a bunch of ignorant, incompetent nincompoops.

But, Hark! Help is on the way. It is none other than Martin Regg Cohn, provincial political affairs columnist at the Toronto Star. And Martin is a true professional. He is not only a journalist of note but one who has reported from the capitals of the world. He has reported with distinction on our national affairs. He is the epitome of a gentleman of letters. And he says it the way it is: “The Beer Store is Ontario’s longest-running public disgrace and economic blight.”

Martin not only calls a spade a spade but he knows where to place the blame for this public disgrace. He lays the blame squarely on all the major political parties. He interviewed the three party leaders and found out what we already knew. Premier Kathleen Wynne told him everything was hunky-dory in beer heaven and she had no panel studying any change. New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath had not been scripted on that subject and therefore could not answer. And, even if her brain trust had studied the question, there are too many unionized workers involved to risk change.

That left the field clear for the Conservative’s prize, Timmy Hudak. Martin reports that Timmy is saving himself for the election. He admits that the status quo makes no sense and his party might offer beer drinkers more options. That would make sense only if the Conservative Party offered the voters a better option.

What seems to disquiet Martin about this Beer Store situation is that Ontario’s beer monopoly is owned by beer companies outside of Canada. In the great Canadian tradition, people such as Toronto’s famed E.P. Taylor became rich on beer and buying up competitors and then sold out to foreign interests—because they could come up with the price.

No matter who owns those disgusting, smelly, pig-sty-like Beer Stores, they have become nothing more than recycling dumps where your feet stick to the floors and you never know where to find the brand of beer you want to buy. Welcome aboard Martin.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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