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Buck-a-What? Ford Misses Mark on Beer Promotion

Updated on August 15, 2018
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

Buck-A-Beer Is What Matters Most?

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Are We Moving Backwards?

Ontario, Canada premier Doug Ford seems to want to bring Ontario back to the "good old days." He wasn't wild about the 2015 Health and Physical Education curriculum, so he scrapped it, saying teachers can teach a curriculum that, as of this year, is now 20 years old.

Now, he is pushing buck-a-beer.

This is something he mentioned in his campaign, and really, who wouldn't be excited about that particular prospect? There's nothing like a cold beer on a hot summer's day, and when you're looking at upwards of $30 for a case of beer, a buck a beer sounds really quite enticing. This is something that was in place in Ontario years ago but was changed by the Liberal government back in 2008. A return to buck-a-beer sounds good, right?

Yes and no.

First of all, the buck-a-beer program is apparently optional, and several craft breweries have already said there's just no way they can take part and keep their business going. The cost of supplies and equipment maintenance, never mind payment of employees, means that buck-a-beer is simply not feasible if you want to maintain product quality.

“Nobody can make beer at $1 a bottle with the Ontario and federal taxes as they are. I don’t know if his plan was to make the breweries look greedy or just to underscore his populist direction, but it is ridiculous,” Steve Himel, co-founder and general manager of Henderson Brewing Company, said.

There's also the concern that the price will drive more people to drink, something that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario or the Beer Store might embrace as far as their bottom lines go, but something that agencies like MADD Canada have already spoken out against.

“Lower alcohol prices can lead to increased consumption, particularly among those with alcohol problems, and among young people, and that increased consumption can in turn lead to increased alcohol-related problems, including impaired driving,” MADD Canada said in a statement.

In addition, the tax on beer is reportedly rising in the fall.

Buck-a-beer? Not quite.

Also, why a buck a beer? Not everyone chooses to drink, so why throw government support behind something that was last seen in the province in 2008?

The cost of living continues to rise, yet Premier Ford scrapped the basic income pilot. Sure, that wasn't taking place in every Ontario community. Yes, that was a pilot program and could very well have vanished anyhow under any government - Conservative or otherwise - but this was something that could have helped people struggling to make ends meet.

There are those who are dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes who pay an astronomical sum for all the supplies and medications they need for survival, in addition to simply having to prove that whatever disease they're dealing with does have a significant impact on their lives. There's very little additional support being proposed by governments on any level.

There are kids going to school hungry and trying to learn on empty stomachs, yet breakfast programs fight for funding on an ongoing basis.

But hey - buck-a-beer should be a priority.

Why does this current Ontario government insist on rolling the province back to the way things were a decade or more ago? While I am not saying that there is nothing good coming from the current government - in reality, there's always hope - it seems as though Premier Ford is determined that the Ontario of the 1990s and the 2000s should be what reigns supreme, while the fact of the matter is, a great deal of time has passed.

The number of people in Ontario living below the poverty line exceeds the national average for the fifth straight year, according to Financial Post. While former premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party's move to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2019, as well as what has been called a "reckless energy policy," has been blamed for the numbers of people struggling to make ends meet in the province, the fact of the matter is, the current Conservative government in Ontario needs to deal with what's happening.

Premier Ford is no doubt aware of this already, but buck-a-beer prices are not going to feed families or help them keep the lights on in their homes.

We simply can't turn back the clock, no matter how much we might want to, and the province needs to be kept in the 21st century, with a focus on 21st-century priorities like keeping people healthy in a cost-affordable way.

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