Ontarians who didn’t vote Liberal during this year’s provincial election won’t be getting a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings, but they won’t be receiving any grocery store beer either.
After receiving an e-mail from Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa last week with the gushing words, “Douglas, Beer is here,” Chatham Coun. Doug Sulman, a life-long Conservative, set out with tongue planted firmly in cheek to understand the rationale used to decide which grocery stores in Ontario get to sell six packs of beer and which don’t.
“I regularly get e-mails from the premier’s office telling me how great life is here in Ontario, but I had to follow up this one, since we aren’t on the list,” he said. “A constituent may ask me why and I wanted to know.”
The e-mail came with the warning, “This communication may be confidential and subject to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario). Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete this email immediately.” But Sulman agreed to share it with The Chatham Voice.
“Earlier today, our Leader, Premier Kathleen Wynne and I were happy to announce the first 58 grocery store locations that are now authorized to sell beer. Our plan will expand that number to 450 grocery stores across the province, roughly equal to the number of The Beer Store locations, all while maintaining a strong commitment to social responsibility,” Sousa wrote.
When Sulman checked the locations at which beer is to be sold, he noticed something and responded to Sousa with the following.
“I applaud the concept, but there are interesting gaps between London and Windsor (about 400,500 people in Elgin, Lambton, Chatham-Kent and Essex) and between Kingston and Ottawa and the GTA and Lake Huron. Oddly enough, it seems to bear a striking similarity to map of the legislative seats won by each party in the last provincial election. Pure coincidence I suppose.”
Sulman said there might be more in-depth research behind the choices than appears at first glance.
“Maybe they realize that out here we buy more than a six pack at a time,” he chuckled. “Perhaps they know we have to cope with what’s going on at Queen’s Park?”