Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford says a Tory government would allow the sale of beer and wine in any grocery, convenience or big-box store, so long as they meet provincial rules surrounding the sale of alcohol.
The party made the announcement on Friday afternoon, ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend. Should the PCs win the upcoming election, the party vowed the plan would be implemented “as soon as possible.”
“Consumers will soon be able to grab a bottle of wine in the same location where they get their groceries for an evening dinner with guests, or grab a case of beer around the corner from where they live, so they can entertain friends,” Ford stated in a media release.
A spokesman for the Liberal campaign described Ford’s pledge as “a bad idea tossed out as an obvious attempt to exert political damage control.”
Ford has been under fire from his opponents following the resignation of Brampton East PC candidate Simmer Sandhu on Wednesday.
His resignation came after the company that operates the Highway 407 Express Toll Route revealed it had informed the authorities about a theft of customer information. Sandhu, who had previously worked for the company, said he was resigning due to unspecified allegations involving his “work life” and nomination campaign. He denied any wrongdoing.
The PCs say the Liberal plan to eventually introduce beer, wine and cider sales in up to 450 retail stores doesn’t go far enough.
According to a provincial government website, more than 350 grocery stores across Ontario can currently sell beer and cider. Among those, 70 can also sell wine.
Under the Ford plan, new beer and wine retailers would have to meet rules set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
“Other provinces have already conclusively demonstrated that you can expand points of sale in this way while rigorously enforcing the law,” Ford stated.
The Liberals claimed Ford doesn’t have a plan to prevent alcohol from being accessed by teens.
Ontario heads to the polls on June 7.