Ontario should keep Hydro One, OPG, LCBO : Report
Ontario should keep Hydro One, OPG, LCBO : Report

Ontario should keep Hydro One, OPG, LCBO : Report

A blue-ribbon panel on government assets is urging the expansion and modernization of the LCBO’s retail operations with big-box superstores, niche boutiques, and allowing the sale of 12-packs of beer.

In a major speech Friday, Clark laid out what he described as “doable steps” to transform the publicly-owned behemoths to improve customer service and reduce costs, freeing up more profits Ontario taxpayers.

Clark told a Sun Media editorial board Thursday that there is little political appetite in the provincial government or the public for selling off companies like the LCBO.

But in response to the complaint that the report could be too timid, the advisors told the Sun’s editorial board that it does call for major change within the organizations to better serve the public.

“This is a heck of a lot more than just a 12-pack,” Janet Ecker, a former Ontario PC finance minister and member of the advisory council, said.

Wynne issued a statement saying she welcomes the recommendations, which she believes echoes the goals set out by her government for the council.

Jeff Newton, president of Canada’s National Brewers, said the council has acknowledged that The Beer Store is a highly efficient retailer that delivers good value to consumers, but hiking the LCBO service charges to beer producers, as recommended in the interim report, would drive up prices.

“Adding new taxes to the Beer Store and selling larger packs at the LCBO where government adds another $4.95 to every case of beer is a recipe for higher beer prices,” he said.

James Rilett, Ontario vice-president of Restaurants Canada, said the council’s recommendations are upsetting because they protect the ability of major brewers to “gouge” licensees for 30% to 50% above the retail price.

Jan Westcott, president and CEO of Spirits Canada, said he wonders if the council isn’t trying to privatize the LCBO through stealth by creating an uneven playing field for producers that threatens international trade agreements.

“What they’re proposing – just let the LCBO go and beat everybody up to get the best prices – at the end of the day, it’s still a monopoly,” he said.

For the LCBO, the assets council recommends it be freed up to seek the best prices on alcohol and also be allowed to sell 12-packs, a popular size currently available only at The Beer Store.

Craft beers should be given equal access to The Beer Store, Clark said.

“If you want to have a private sector monopoly, if you want to be the LCBO of beer, put it that way, then you’ve got to treat all suppliers equally, not the suppliers that happen to own the channel get different presentation in the store than the ones that don’t own the channel,” he said.


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    One comment

    1. The goverment class needs to maintain their rich lifestyles…. Sell all assets so they can live richer.

      They are entitled to your income… They are the entitled class…. and the tax law says so

      Get use to it.

      What will happen when all the assets are sold? Simple Raise taxes! 🙂

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