No matter what Premier Kathleen Wynne says, there is nothing reckless about Doug Ford’s comments on opening up the sale of alcohol and marijuana to the private sector. He’s been clear it won’t happen overnight, and he’s right that there’s no reason for the province to maintain a monopoly in any area.
The government regulates all kinds of products, from gasoline to pharmaceuticals, and it can and will continue to have a role to play in alcohol and marijuana sales even if they’re not entirely in government-operated outlets. If privately owned restaurants and bars can sell alcohol to customers, under strict government supervision and regulation, why can’t retail stores?
On issues like this, we often behave as if Ontario is in a bubble and that no other jurisdiction in the world has tried the ideas we’re debating. You can buy alcohol in corner stores in Quebec and marijuana in private stores in several U.S. states. Surely there’s nothing about Ontario that makes us uniquely incapable of doing the same.