A group of OPSEU representatives and employees were on hand Thursday afternoon at the Great Northern Road LCBO location to fight back against the privatization of public services. They were busy handing out information pamphlets and encouraging supporters to sign postcards that will be delivered to Kathleen Wynne at Queen’s Park.
The postcards read:
Dear Premier Wynne:
Nobody voted for you to privatize the LCBO, but that’s exactly what you’re doing. The LCBO belongs to the people of Ontario. It isn’t yours to give away. By keeping alcohol sales in public hands, we promote moderate consumption, and prevent sales to of alcohol to minors and to intoxicated people. This helps keep our communities safe.
Don’t expand alcohol sales to grocery stores. Don’t privatize our LCBO.
Currently, 210 grocery stores across the province offer beer sales to the public. Of those 210, 70 will soon be offered the option to sell wine as well, OPSEU Local 602 Shop Steward Amie Medaglia told SooToday.
The LCBO generates an estimated $2 billion in provincial revenue, she said, and the provincial revenue contribution by private alcohol sales licensees is comparatively marginal.
“We’re going to be taxed more. I personally can’t afford that. A lot of working people can’t,” Medaglia said. “That money is not coming back to us as Ontario citizens. We’re not seeing the benefit of (privatization).”
“We’re trying to removed privatization from every party’s mandate platform before the 2018 election, and we’re doing that by going into the communities and giving people the information they need to be informed about what’s been privatized, what’s at risk, and what it really means to them,” said Shelley LeBoeuf, northern unit mobilizer with OPSEU’s We Own It campaign.
Should public services and assets, such as hydro, transit, hospitals, and schools be privatized, the loss of provincial revenue will leave funding gaps for things like education, health care, long-term care facilities, and social services, said LeBoeuf.
Public response to Thursday’s information picket was overwhelmingly supportive, said Medaglia, with representatives from other unions stopping by to offer encouragement. OPSEU members from North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury were also there to assist.