The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario says it is time to expand the availability of alcohol in the province and called Wednesday for the liquor control board to vastly reduce its role.

Conservative MPP Peter Shurman, said at a press conference on Wednesday that it was time to allow convenience stores to sell wine and beer. He added that his party would consider making beer and wine available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The call comes on the heels of a request by Ontario convenience stores for permission to sell beer and wine.

The Ontario Convenience Store Association released a massive petition in late July, complete with 112,500 signatures gathered from across the province supporting broader availability of alcohol.

Association CEO Dave Bryans called the current liquor control model an “antiquated alcohol retailing system.” He said the centralized sales system punishes adults who want the convenience of walking to a nearby store to get wine or beer to serve for dinner.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) made a record $1.63 billion for the Ontario government in 2010-11 after sales of $4.7 billion.

The Liberal government has said it has no plans to change the way the LCBO operates. The NDP has also opposed the sale of beer and wine in convenience stores, but has said the system could work better.

Earlier this month, the LCBO announced plans to open about 70 new stores across the province in the next two years. There are currently about 620 locations province-wide, several of them operating inside convenience stores in small Ontario communities.

On Wednesday, the Progressive Conservatives said they opposed the LCBO’s plans to spend $100 million to build the new stores, saying it was time to review the government’s role in the alcohol business.

With files from The Canadian Press