TORONTO, Jan. 24, 2019 /CNW/ - OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says 77 municipalities across Ontario have sent a clear message to Doug Ford that they want no part of his reckless scheme to put cannabis sales in the hands of profit-driven private retailers.
Nearly a quarter of Ontario municipalities have opted out of the Ford government's irresponsible plan to privatize cannabis sales. They include Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Milton, Oakville, Brantford, Pickering and Whitby, which have a combined population of almost 2.3 million people.
"OPSEU's efforts to raise the alarm about Ford's careless cannabis campaign have hit the mark," said Thomas.
"We voiced serious concerns about this doomed plan and I'm glad to see that so many local politicians listened. They've thought twice about the consequences of allowing private cannabis stores in their communities. Now we want to work with them to persuade Ford to give Ontario a better, responsible option."
Thomas reached out to more than 300 elected municipal officials and urged them to opt out of Ford's privatization scheme and demand a responsible plan that will keep their kids and communities safe.
"Ford needs to listen to 'the people,' especially the frontline workers he claims to care about," Thomas said. "If he did, he'd know most people believe the LCBO would do a better job of keeping cannabis away from kids and teens. "
Elected leaders have voiced major concerns about Ford's plan. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said there was "great concern" that municipalities had no say over where cannabis stores could be located. Caledon Regional Councillor Ian Sinclair also expressed his concern with privatization, telling Caledon Enterprise.com that he would have preferred the LCBO because it has experienced staff and a set of rules that are already proven.
First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says he's not surprised so many municipalities rejected the privatization plan, which the government rushed into with little thought about the health and safety costs to families and communities.
"Municipalities that haven't opted out won't have any control over how many profit-driven cannabis stores they'll get or where they can open. And the government is choosing retailers by lottery, which means those stores may be run by people who – unlike the LCBO -- have no experience keeping a controlled substance away from kids and teens," he said.
"Ford is swinging wildly on policy but will only end up hitting himself in the face," said Almeida. "He should sit down with OPSEU and tap into our vast wealth of frontline expertise."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931