By Stacey Thompson
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak wants the province to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine, beer and spirits.
“I think we need to be practical and thoughtful, whether that’s a partial sale of LCBO stores, a full sale, allowing the employees in to bid and run them as well, or franchises,” Hudak said according to CP24.
Heather MacGregor, media relations co-ordinator and corporate communications for the LCBO, believes her organization is serving the public well.
“We believe the public is well served by the current model that provides knowledgeable and responsible service and delivers records profits to help pay for important public services and programs,” MacGregor told Humber News.
CP24 reported that the LCBO brought in $1.65 billion excluding taxes to Ontario last year.
The Globe and Mail reports that if the Tories plan to privatize the LCBO, it could take away as many as 10,000 jobs across the province.
Hudak wants to put the money that is spent on gambling and alcohol towards core services such as health care and education.
But the money that is generated from the LCBO, the money helps pay for hospitals and schools in the province, the Globe and Mail.
Carolyn Swinsln, a Toronto spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said there is a possibility the proposed changes could result in alcohol coming into the hands of minors.
“It is entirely possible. It will depend on how much policing is done with sales,” she said.
“One of the major things that the LCBO does is to challenge anyone they believe is underage and stop the purchase,” Swinsln said.
Generally, the more accessibility there is to alcohol, the higher rate of consumption, Swinsln said, adding that high rates of alcohol consumption raise health concerns, as well.
MacGregor said she understands the need for change and for ongoing improvements when it comes to customer service.
“As both a major retailer and provincial government enterprise, the LCBO has developed a culture of continuous improvement,” she said.
“LCBO’s most recent customer satisfaction survey shows more then 84 per cent of customers are satisfied with LCBO service,” she said.