This morning’s Toronto Star tells us there will finally be beer and wine in corner stores after Labour Day thanks to a $225 million payout to the privately-run Beer Store. 

So, at long last, Doug Ford is delivering on his stale 2018 promise that convenience stores should be allowed to sell alcoholic drinks from September. 

Almost six years ago, on 7 August 2018, Ford’s deputy, Christine Elliott, told the Ontario legislature:

“Buck-a-beer is part of the government’s commitment to transforming alcohol retailing in Ontario, which includes expanding the sale of beer and wine to convenience stores, grocery stores and big box stores. This is just further evidence that our government is going to do what we said we would do, and that’s put Ontario consumers first.”

I am left wondering... Whatever happened to Buck-a-Beer? 


I remember meeting Christine Elliott in the summer of 2019 to discuss Ford’s buck-a-beer policy. Our current MPP, Dawn Gallagher Murphy, then Elliott’s Office Manager, was sitting in, taking notes.

It was clear to me from the outset that Elliott didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. Gallagher Murphy, sat silently, pen in hand. 

Now, incessantly, Gallagher Murphy parrots the message from FordNation - whatever the topic.

Soviet Style

Personally, I'm all in favour of liberalising the market in alcohol. But not the Ford way.

When I first arrived in Canada it struck me as completely weird that wines and spirits could only be purchased in a special store designated as such by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. This way of shopping seemed straight out of the Soviet Union.


That said, Ford’s move to liberalise the market has been boneheaded and cack-handed, burning through hundreds of millions of tax dollars. And for what? 

So that Ford can meet a self-imposed deadline to deliver on his tired, endlessly recycled promise?

Or to get another headline?

Both. I suppose.

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Update on 27 May 2024: From the Toronto Star: Ford is betting that beer will help him win an early election

Update on 28 May 2024: From the Toronto Star: Tory Insiders say fear of a Pierre Poilievre has Doug Ford considering an early election

Update on 31 May 2024: Toronto Star editorial: No need to rush booze to corner stores