Wynne panel's big plan? Sell 12-packs at LCBO
The Beer Store (Postmedia Network files)
You want better transit?
Drink your way to it.
That’s the plan according Ed Clark, who chairs Kathleen Wynne’s advisory council on asset sales.
Yep, the best plan he has for “maximizing profits,” from the LCBO is to allow the liquor store to sell 12-packs of beer.
That and selling off Brampton’s Hydro One distribution system are the highlights of the report, according to a lunch time speech Clark delivered to a crowd of industry insiders Friday.
This report shuts down any discussion about privatization of government assets.
No the government will not sell off the massive LCBO public monopoly — or any parts thereof.
No, the government will not sell off Ontario Power Generation.
No, the government will not sell off Hydro One — just a few local distribution companies.
Was there any suggestion they would?
Clark kept saying they were given their marching orders by Wynne: There’s no appetite on the part of this government to sell-off or privatize any major asset.
In many ways, we should be grateful. Do you really want the government that created the MaRS boondoggle, the Ornge fiasco and the $1.1 billion gas plant scandal to be in charge of selling off major assets?
Heck, they’d end up paying people to take them off their hands.
Their track record doing business is appalling.
“I don’t think we were given a mandate to rewrite government policy,” Clark told a Toronto Sun editorial board this week.
“Our mission was what can you do to make these assets work better for the citizens and is there a way that you can get some money that would fund transit and transportation?” he said.
The sell-off of the Brampton hydro distribution company and the efficiencies in the LCBO will net about $2 billion-$3 billion for the province.
Not chump change in my world, sure.
But this government slops more than that before breakfast.
If they hadn’t wasted billions of dollars on the gas plants, on eHealth and on Ornge, we’d have all the transit and infrastructure we need.
And how do the good burghers of Brampton feel, having to sell off their hydro lines to pay for Toronto’s downtown relief line? The DRL alone will cost $6 billion-$8 billion. So where’s the rest of the dough coming from?
This is just a crock.
The money raised by the proposals in this report is a very small drop in a very large bucket. The latest estimate on the provincial deficit is $10.5 billion. The debt is $300 billion.
Yes, I know. Voters gave Wynne a majority government in June. Like it or not, we should suck it up.
Except remember when the Liberals discussed allowing LCBO boutiques in big grocery stores — such as Loblaws or Metro?
What a great idea, I thought. Finally, a government that treats us like adults.
I could pick up a couple of bottles of wine and a steak for dinner at the same place.
Nope, that won’t happen. It might hurt variety stores.
“If only the Loblaws and Costcos get this deal — they’re going to put every little store out of business, because that’s where everyone will go,” Clark said. “If you give those licences to a big grocery store they end up owning that town.”
I suspect if booze sales were allowed in Loblaws, the only store that would go out of business is the LCBO.
Here’s my fearless prediction.
The only part of this report that will be implemented is the sale of the Brampton utility.
The rest of these cockamamie suggestions will end up sitting on a shelf for all eternity — along with the last 20 LCBO reports that successive governments have ignored.
Can we please stop pretending we’re going to “modernize” the LCBO? Just give up and admit this government is a booze hound. And it needs its quick fix of liquor profits to fund its profligate ways.