Buck a beer
By Chad Ingram
Published Aug. 16, 2018
Doug Ford’s buck-a-beer pledge is the stupidest bit of political tokenism he has produced so far.
First, it’s ridiculous a provincial government is spending any time on driving down the consumer cost of beer when there are issues like poverty, education, the environment and healthcare to focus on. There are many things the Premier of Ontario could dedicate his time and attention to, but he chooses cheap beer, all so he can say that he’s following through on an asinine campaign promise. The timing of Ford’s buck-a-beer announcement last week was also a great distraction from the government’s cancellation of the basic income pilot project just days before, which has enraged many people in the communities where that pilot project was taking place, Lindsay among them.
Second, asking brewery owners to eat into their profits so the premier can fulfill some election promise is ludicrous and insulting. Especially when it comes to craft breweries, we’re talking about small business owners, many of who pay their employees a living wage, and who are spurring economic development in their communities. Also, let’s consider brewers are being presented with this idiotic “challenge” at a time when their production costs are up because of tariffs on aluminum. Craft brewing, a very capital-intensive industry, is one that continues to be of growing importance to the Ontario economy, and the premier is asking brewery owners to short-change themselves for his political self-interest, all in the midst of a trade war with the U.S. That is lunacy. Note the Premier did not suggest lowering the provincial tax portion as a means of lowering the cost of beer.
Third, anyone who believes they are going to get $1 beers without quietly paying for it in another way is wearing some pretty thick beer goggles. The incentives being offered for participation – premium positioning and free advertising with the LCBO – will reduce revenues for the LCBO. What are LCBO revenues spent on? Yep, healthcare, education and infrastructure! There is no such thing as free beer, and in 2018, there is no such thing as $1 beer in Ontario.
Fourth, reducing the consumer cost of beer while rolling back mental health and addiction services is wildly irresponsible.
Discerning beer-drinkers are of course not going to consume whatever watered-down swill Doug Ford manages to retail for a dollar a can. Discerning beer-drinkers will continue to purchase delicious beer from the craft breweries in their communities, like the ones we have in Haliburton County, not just because of their fine quality, but also because discerning beer-drinkers care about human beings, their communities, and the human beings who live in their communities.