HUDAK: END THE LCBO MONOPOLY

TORONTO – It’s time to challenge why the government needs to run businesses that distract its focus from core services we all value, like health care, education and infrastructure, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.

Speaking at a downtown Toronto government liquor store, Hudak cited the LCBO as a prime example of Queen’s Park operating a commercial enterprise – from top to bottom – that should be exposed to private sector competition, enabling more consumer choice.

“The LCBO system was created in 1927. That’s the year Charles Lindberg crossed the Atlantic,” Hudak said. “And the basic idea hasn’t changed since: government doesn’t trust Ontarians to make their own responsible choices.”

And today, staring at a projected $30 billion deficit, this government wants to spend another $100 million for new LCBO outlets, Hudak added. “It’s time for some tough choices on getting out of businesses Queen’s Park has no business being in.”

Hudak noted that whatever direction you leave Ontario consumers have more choices in where they can buy alcohol, from corner stores to grocery stores to private outlets. “Let’s join our neighbours in treating people like adults.”

The province should consider all options for increasing choice and competition, Hudak said, ranging from the sale, partial sale or greater private franchising of non-core assets like the LCBO. The province should also end the Beer Store monopoly and allow sales in corner or grocery stores.

“Options like these that work successfully in other places could help Ontario raise significant funds to pay down debt, enabling investments in critical infrastructure that could kick-start our economy and encourage private sector job creation.”

On Thursday, Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus will release its sixth policy paper called A New Deal for the Public Sector. The paper will lay out a series of reforms to focus government on the core services that matter most to taxpayers, to deliver more value for less money.