As Published in the Toronto Star - Monday Dec 15, 2014
Although it has taken 14 years to expose this corrupt and contemptible deal between the LCBO and the Beer Store, kudos to Martin Regg Cohn for doing so.
The LCBO and the Beer Store are both creatures of the Ontario legislature. One a government monopoly that gouges the consumer for the government’s benefit; the other is a private monopoly that gouges consumers for their private benefit. Neither can exist without the legislation that created them, but they have found a comfortable niche of mutually assured profits.
As a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly for over seven years, neither the deal nor the lengthy wait to expose it, comes as a surprise. I have witnessed many dealings, legislation and agreements that to any reasonable and knowledgeable person appear either as suspicious in the minimum or criminal in the extreme.
These observations are not limited to the present government, although they appear to have excelled at the practice, but indeed historical and practiced by all government to some greater or lesser degree.
Ontario needs significant reforms of our election financing laws and a very thorough investigation into how the role of money, GR firms and lobbyists’ unduly influence public policy and very often to the detriment of the people of Ontario.
Furthermore, this is all to no avail if the integrity commissioner remains unable to properly investigate the actions of any MPP by way of her own judgment rather than by request.