McGuinty Decision Against Beer in Convenience Stores in Ontario Anti-Small Business – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig

CFN – Our Premier, Dalton McGuinty has nixed beer sales in Convenience stores; again…  I find it sad this this near monopoly that we call the Beer store here in Ontario exists.  It artificially pumps up price and frankly puts a damper on thirsty Ontarians.   I mean; I know Montrealers can’t be trusted to turn right on red, but they can pop into their local “Dep” and grab the beverage of their choice  at their convenience.

Here in Cornwall and right across Ontario Mom & Pop stores have been dying on the vine and beer & limited wine sales would be a well needed boost.

Decisions like this strike me as being grossly against small business which is truly the life blood of any community.

If we can be trusted to vote then we should be trusted to buy beer at our local corner store.    One of the protests that I myself and a few friends do are beer runs to Quebec where beer is much cheaper.   With higher taxes in Quebec generally the question would be why is beer so much more expensive in Ontario?

The Beer Store and its monopoly would most likely be the answer.    Is our Premier here to serve the people or the beer companies?

I think this decision answers that question.  What’s next?  Breed Specific dog laws?  Commercial Sign Language Laws?!!

Jamie Gilcig – Editor and occasional beer drinker  of The Cornwall Free News

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  1. The Beer Store Union once took out ads when this surfaced awhile back. Their main argument was that if beer was available at the corner store, there would be an increase in irresponsible drinking. Stats, however, prove this not to be the case. In the USA and in Quebec, where beer IS more readily available, there is no difference in the number of drunk drivers, or other irresponsible drinking. I think having it available at the corner store would be a good thing, and naturally, the staff would have to ID people and follow the law when making sales. This might mean, however, that the 15 year old daughter or son of the owner would not be allowed to work in the store, assuming the requirement of selling would be that someone of legal drinking age be the one checking ID’s etc.

  2. We are not just talking about Beer Stores but the LCBO as well. The liquor store is one of the most profitable agencies in Ontario and if you license convenience stores you will cut into the profit which helps run Ontario.

  3. Totally agree. Also The Beer Store is owned by Labatt Brewing Company Ltd., Molson Coors and Sleeman Breweries Ltd. which are all American owned, so none of their profits stay in Ontario.

  4. What are you bellyaching about? After all, it was the citizens of Ontario that voted-in McGuinty and the Fiberals for another term. Now you deserve what you get! I’m six clicks away from the “dep” so I enjoy the lower prices and convenience of buying anytime!

  5. Small business can be trusted with lottery tickets and cigaretts, and some rural stores have been selling beer / wine / liquor for decades in Ontario even. To sell alcohol, you need to be 18, but stores would be able to work that.

    The only thing I see, would be the limits of storage and space to display many different brands. However, the local store may be able to stock what customers want.

  6. Convenience stores are having a hard enough time trying to sell tobacco products responsibly, why burden them with more legal hassles?

    The beer store is open later than ever before and does business on Sundays, where is the problem with obtaining beer? If it’s a midnight beer and munchie run, maybe one should skip both.

  7. Jamie,

    Lets hope you drank those responsibly.
    Think of the Bureaucratic jobs there … well as pay far surpassing that the average person can make .

    Perhaps the local dep could provide that service and still give Ont it’s Due in taxes ….but yet the prices are cheaper?

  8. This is much bigger then Mc Guinty

    When The Beer Store, which is a corporation, is one of the political parties large support groups, and has the support of (UFCW) Local 12R24 . It would be political suicide to eliminate a business like the Beer Store.

    The Beer Store similiar to the LCBO is a business whose mandate is its own survival and holding a monoply.

    See (petition No. P–146: “Practice and arrangement of retailing beer”). It was over turned by the government citing the efficiency ofthe beer Store and its system.

    The very controlling members of the beer store are the corporate beer companies themselves. The LCBO holds the same power and control.

  9. You, as an individual person, are responsible for your own liquid beverage consumption. You are your own Liquor Control Board. You control what and when you decide to drink. If you decide to drink raw milk or 80 proof alcohol, that’s your decision not some social engineer government funded bureaucrat. You are free to brew your own beer and wines. And If you really want to consume “free market offerings”, don’t purchase government controlled products. It is your choice and it will always be your choice. As a Libertarian member, I endorse our political party view as expressed in this press release.

  10. bella-b: Thats fine if you happen to live in Cornwall but what about people in outlaying villages. It’s unfair to make them travel perhaps 40 km to the nearest beer store when they have a convenience store in their village perhaps 1 km away. McGuinty could have given this to the people, Hudak would have for sure!

  11. CC, because you choose to live in the rurals, we should change the rules to make your life easier? No one made you live outside of the city, that was your choice. As a fellow non-city resident, I plan ahead, or make the trip into town. The hours of business at the beerstore (and lcbo) are more than enough to get your drink on at any given time.

  12. I recall visiting a friend in Montreal on Easter weekend in the mid seventies. He had an apartment on Sherbrooke near Prud’Homme in NDG. The local “dep” across the street delivered to us a case of Export Ale and a gram of hash for about $25 on Sunday morning! Those were the days. And no, the world didn’t come to an end, and the sky didn’t fall, but we never made it to the Easter Sunday church service.

  13. Bella,

    I fail to understand the meaning in any of your posts. Are you saying we should all move to the city if we want to purchase beer?

    Your posts here seem to be contrary to so many others I have read. Often you argue against the institution yet now you support it.

    Canada is one of the few democratic countries having so many restrictions and limitations to purchasing beer and spirits. Why do you think that is? Are we as Canadians unable to mnitor ourselves and keep our inhibitions in check?

    Or do you work for either the LCBO or The Beer Store?

  14. No, Mr. Clementino I do not work for either establishment. and I thought my meaning was very clear. I do not believe that convenience stores need to sell alcohol. The hours of operations at both the Beer Store and the LCBO are extensive enough that one can purchase all their alcholic beverages with no problems.

    Now if you can come up with a better reason besides the great distance for rural residences, who I pointed out choose to live outside of any city limits and with that decision gave up the perks of living in an urban area, than great put it out there and let the populous decide.

    If one is driving to the “dep” what are they saving? I’ve been and seen the prices, costs more in gas then you “save” on booze. So unless you are buying a hex of beer at the Costco where are the savings?

  15. John Lister,
    Please give us the stats you are quoting on your statement that “irresponsible drinking. Stats” are no different in Quebec and Ontario, when the DUI fatality rate for Ont is 2.03/100000 people and in Quebec it is 2.15/100000. (MADD stats).
    It seems you just wanted to bash and blame the unions for lack of political will and it appears you don’t mind fabricating facts to support you opinion.

    Right now the mandate for the beer store is that they have to sell all brands……take a look at the wall and see the imports and the choice…….what will the convenience stores stock…..the three big brands……so much for choice…..find a LCBO in a convenience store…..try and buy a 25 year old single malt scotch……or a good brandy.

    As for Hudak/McDonell claim of helping rural people;

    If you live in the country, like I do, you have chosen to live out here in spite of the lack of convenience, realizing any time you need something it will be a trip into town to pick up said supplies so we plan our trips.
    How would selling booze in a convenience store help rural people get their booze when we have to drive into town to get to the convenience store?

    Instead of “convenience store booze sales”, how about a good hardware store……that would make more sense.

    So everyone right now should take a look at their google maps and LCBO locations. From the 416/417 to the Quebec/USA borders. No one in the country lives any further than 14 km from an LCBO which is the distance most of us have to travel to get to said convenience store.

    There are more important provincial issues than making sure the Sots in this riding stay wet with booze. Mr. McDonell, Hudak and ilk should be more concerned with, the impending real-estate crisis, the loss of industrial jobs or how about coming up with solutions for a fair energy policy in Ontario to get prices under control.

    They should get a hold of Mike Harris and ask why he backed off letting convenience stores sell booze when he had a majority Tory gov in Ontario.

  16. Bella, how about the term Monopoly?

    There are many other reasons as well
    An independent store owner has the potential to earn additional revenue generated by selling beer?
    Once in the store there are many other amenities that may be purchased along with beer benefitting the owners.

    The Beer Store currently practices what is called “Brewer Neutrality where is employees are not allowed to recommend one brand over another. The Beer Store is allowed to charge non-shareholding breweries listing fees for each beer they carry and the fee is substantial for many microbreweries.

    The listing fees also restrict competition in the Ontario beer market, especially from the smaller brewers.

    It also provides beer companies the opportunity to sell substandard products as a new kind of beer. Which, now addresses the monopoly issue again.

    If they allow more microbreweries to produce we have more employment as microbreweries will grow, then logistics will follow.
    Pricing would be cheaper as a result; competition is the only way prices can be regulated to some degree.

    You seem to have a narrow opinion only thinking about a savings. The reality is much larger.

  17. So let us sell alcohol in every mom and pop store! Good idea? Consider: “83% of Ontario students in grade 12 drink alcohol. 49% of gr. 12 students admit to binge drinking. The top four substances used by Ontario students: 58% alcohol; Cannabis (marijuana) 25%; Non-prescribed use of prescription pain relievers such as codeine, Percocet, Percodan, Demerol, or Tylenol #3, 17%; Tobacco 11.7%”. [Link for information see

    Ecclesiastes 10:17 “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!”

    Jeremiah 13:13 “Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness”.

    Isaiah 5:11 “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them”
    The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

  18. Mr Clementino, did you only read the last line of my post?

    Mom and Pop stores are not going to be any kinder to microbreweries. They still won’t be able to outspend the big names in advertising dollars. Variety will be lacking, and stock will low.

    This about access. It’s about getting your booze for a good price, close to home. How close does it have to be? 5 kms? 10? 30? How far is too far to drive to get your drink on?

  19. And blessed are les dépanneur for they provideth the wonderous offerings of Unibroue twenty-four/seven. Seek ye le depanneur and ye shall find bliss within an bottle of La Fin Du Monde or Don de Dieu!

  20. Pastor Tom please don’t forget that Jesus himself turned water into wine so don’t say it’s wrong to drink wine!

  21. You nailed it Harry. And I think he also turned rabbit droppings into chocolate Easter eggs. For sure there’s nothing wrong with eating them.

  22. Convenience store owners and clerks are experts at selling tobacco, (just ask the belligerent tobacco enforcement officers) unlike LCBO & THE BEER STORE clerks, who are terrible at age restricted sales.
    Handling age restricted alcohol sales would be an easy transition for convenience stores and would engender their survival.

    The bottom line is the consumer, and in any civilized society consumers can purchase beer & wine at a local convenience store.
    Perhaps McGuinty would prefer his constituents not to grow up.

    For decades Eastern Ontarians have been crossing the U.S and Quebec borders to purchase alcohol at convenience stores, which translates into huge economic loss for Cornwall and the surrounding areas. It is a matter of simple economics.

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