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Ford accuses Beer Store owners of wanting to 'protect their monopoly' over sales
Premier Doug Ford says ending the Beer Store’s monopoly is the right thing to do, even as the owners of the retail outlet threaten to take the Progressive Conservative government to court.
In a fundraising email sent to party supporters Tuesday, Ford accused the owners of the Beer Store – Labatt Brewing, Molson Canada and Sleeman Breweries – of wanting to “protect their monopoly” over beer sales.
“It might surprise you to know the Beer Store is owned by three global brewers who were handed a sweetheart deal by the government,” Ford wrote in an email sent from an Ontario PC account.
“We want to end the Beer Store monopoly. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.”
Ford’s comments come one day after Finance Minister Vic Fedeli introduced legislation that would forcibly end the 10-year Master Framework Agreement between the government and the Beer Store.
The bill would not only put an end to the deal signed by the former Liberal government in 2015, but would also protect the province from paying hundreds of millions in damages to the Beer Store.
Beer Store president Ted Moroz quickly announced the owners would be pursuing its legal options saying the government “cannot extinguish our right to damages.”
In a letter sent to Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, Beer Store lawyers called the bill “unconstitutional” and warned that the proposed legislation would “cause billions of dollars in damages” to the owners.
The letter also asked Ford, his Chief of Staff Dean French, Fedeli and others to preserve their emails, text messages and any communications government employees may have had with anyone who has been “encouraging, lobbying or inducting the province to take this step.”
Speaking to CP24 on Tuesday, Minister Fedeli said the government is simply trying to expand the availability of beer by moving it into corner stores.
“Here we are trying to take the Beer Store’s product and put it in several thousand more places for them,” Fedeli said. “Why are they so opposed to us helping them sell their product to thousands of more places.”
Fedeli echoed the Premier, saying the Beer Store owners are looking to protect a “lucrative sweetheart deal.”
Read the letter relating to Ontario's beer industry below: