TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2018 /CNW/ - Putting the architect of hydro privatization in charge of alcohol and cannabis sales will be a financial and public-health disaster, says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
"Ed Clark has always put profits before people," says Thomas. "Giving him the keys to the LCBO will be a huge boon for Bay Street, but it's going to cause real harm on Main Street."
Thomas is demanding that Premier Wynne rescind her appointment of Clark as chairperson of the LCBO, and choose a leader with a track record of public service, not profiteering. Clark is former CEO of TD Bank. Soon after she took office, Premier Wynne made Clark her unelected and unaccountable "business advisor."
Clark ignored credible research that private alcohol sales lead to an increase in alcohol-related deaths, and led the push to give grocery corporations permission to sell beer and wine.
"These are the same corporations that have been fixing the price of bread for a generation," Thomas says. "We can't trust them to sell alcohol responsibly. But with Clark in charge, these corporations will be selling even more. And I have no doubt he'll eventually push to let them sell cannabis, too."
Thomas says Clark's push for private alcohol sales also threatens the large annual dividend Ontario currently gets from public alcohol sales.
"The province received a $1.9 billion dividend from the LCBO in 2016," Thomas says. "That's money that goes straight back into our hospitals, highways, and schools. But the more we privatize alcohol sales, the more of that money will be taken from our communities and given instead to giant corporations."
Before privatizing alcohol sales, Clark led the deeply unpopular privatization of Hydro One, a scheme that has drawn stinging criticism from the province's Financial Accountability Officer.
"The collapse this week of the privatization giant Carillion is just one more painful reminder that privatization can't be trusted and we can't trust people like Clark who continue to push privatization," Thomas says. "I call on Premier Wynne to rescind his appointment now. Don't force your brand new cabinet appointees to rubber-stamp this debacle in the making."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931