News Briefs

Ford’s $225-Million Beer Giveaway

Doug Ford is spending big bucks on booze, but don’t expect him to pick up your tab.

Ford’s provincial Conservatives are shelling out at least $225 million to The Beer Store to break its contract a year early, in order to allow convenience stores and other retailers to sell beer.

The Beer Store is owned by giants Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev (Labatt), with Sleeman-Sapporo also holding a small stake. Gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores will be able to sell packaged beer, wine, cider, and mixed drinks starting
in the summer and fall, as per the Conservatives plan.

The provincial Liberals estimate the total bill for taxpayers could top $1 billion.

Loblaws Boycott Aftermath

In May, thousands of people boycotted Loblaws and affiliated stores such as Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills in an attempt to pressure the grocer to lower prices. The boycott, which was largely organized online in the Reddit group r/LoblawsIsOutOf-Control, also led to an increase in business at independent grocers. Karma Co-op in the Annex, for example, reported a significant9
bump in new memberships. Loblaws will report on the impact of the boycott when it releases its second quarter financials this summer.

Will the Liberals Hold Midtown St. Paul’s Riding in Byelection?

The federal Liberals have held the midtown riding of Toronto—St. Paul’s since 1993, usually winning by 25 per cent or more, except for a narrow seven per cent victory in 2011.

Before 1993, the riding went back and forth between Liberals and Conservatives.

With the Liberals currently low in opinion polls nationally, the June 24 St. Paul’s byelection is significant.

Carolyn Bennett, who held the seat since 1997, recently resigned as a Liberal MP and cabinet minister, which triggered the

The Liberals are running Leslie Church, the former chief of staff of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

The Conservatives are running finance guy Don Stewart.

The NDP, which usually gets 15-20 per cent in the riding, is running NGO director Amrit Parhar.

And the Greens, who have gotten around five per cent of the vote, are running Christian Cullis, a staffer in city councillor Diane Saxe’s office.

The Liberals, nervous about their chances, brought in over a dozen cabinet ministers to campaign in the riding. A Liberal loss would put pressure on the party to replace Justin Trudeau as leader before the next general election, which is expected to take place next year.