THUNDER BAY -- OPSEU members say privatizing alcohol sales could lead to a rise in alcohol-related costs for emergency services, community services, health care, and law enforcement.
The LCBO’s Ontario Public Service Employees Union members hosted their eighth information picket Saturday afternoon in Thunder Bay as part of the union’s campaign against the expansion of alcohol sales in grocery stores.
Local 741 president Anne Makela said OPSEU is voicing concerns in regard to the expansion of beer and wine sales into grocery stores without taking into account the social effects.
“There’s a lot of research out there that suggests privatization increases the sales of alcohol,” Makela said.
“When sales increase so does social harm and costs such as law enforcement, heath care, emergency services, and community services.”
Makela added that the LCBO staff are thoroughly trained, and play a huge role in ensuring alcohol stays out of the wrong hands.
The province’s government have begun liberalizing and privatizing alcohol sales with minimal public discussion.
“We are trying to bring the public in about privatization, and saying that we don’t support it and that nobody voted for Premier Wynne to privatize the sales of alcohol,” Makela said.
There are approximately 60 stores across the province selling beer and cider, and expansions will continue as wine will start selling in 70 grocery stores by the end of the month.
LCBO workers were handing out pamphlets, and asking customers to sign postcards, which OPSEU planned on sending to Premier Wynne stated that nobody voted for privatization.
“We’ve noticed already with the campaigns we’ve done that people are getting the message,” she said.
“When we started this campaign nobody was making the connection between liberalizing sales and privatization of a massive public asset, and it’s becoming clearer through the campaign that the expansion of alcohol sales really is just privatization through the backdoor.”
Makela hopes to provide the public with a better understanding of what is actually happening.