COLUMN: Premier Mom and the Nanny State

by Phillip Blancher

SOUTH DUNDAS — Premier Kathleen Wynne has stated she will not allow beer and wine sales in convenience stores in Ontario, solidifying the government-run monopoly on spirits and wine, and the duopoly on sales of beer in partnership with three foreign-owned brewers. This makes complete sense to this writer as Wynne is two-faced when it comes to the concepts of freedom and openness. On the one hand, Wynne purports to be about freedom of expression, freedom of religion, openness about ones sexuality, political views and ones issues. On the other hand, if you want to buy a six-pack of beer at your local corner store at 10pm, no way.

It may sound glib to equate personal freedoms like being free to choose who you can marry, with consumer freedoms like being able to purchase alcohol from a corner store, but they go hand in hand. In Ontario, if I want to go and have a cigarette, I can go to the corner store, buy a highly-taxed pack of cigarettes or a nice big cigar, stand 9 meters away from a public entrance and smoke to my hearts content. I can even do this in my own home if I wanted to. The science is very clear about the risk of smoking on my health, all of the negative effects on my health, and even the social stigma now attached to smoking. But I can choose to do so and in doing that, I pay a nice big fat amount of money to the provincial government, which is suppose to offset the cost of my health care bill later on for being a smoker. With alcohol, not so much.

If Ontarians are allowed to buy cigarettes from a convenience store, they should be allowed to buy alcohol there too. This is the 21st Century, not the first half of the 20th. The temperance movement has died off and it is time for the antiquated rules and associated business models to do the same.

More On MacLeod

To further what was written earlier this week. The effect that Lisa MacLeod’s withdrawal from the Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader race will have, is the definition of a very clear direction for the party in the future. Christine Elliott represents the insiders of the party. Remember she was deputy leader of the PC’s during the 2014 election debacle. She IS the ultimate Bay Street/Toronto insider. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it opens doors for party financing and helps appeal to the 416/905 crowd that is crucial to unseating Liberal power in 2018. But at what cost to the party base.

Patrick Brown, and to a lesser extent, Monte McNaughton, represent the outsider view of the party. More conservative or even slightly libertarian view of the province. Less government, less spending, focus on what government needs to do, not grow government to do everything. Those ideals are more in keeping with the base of conservatism in Ontario. I expect likely in the coming weeks that either Brown or McNaughton, more likely McNaughton, will drop out of the race and support the other right-wing candidate. Having a two-person race showing two very clear and distinct visions for the PC Party is good. One being this continued move to the center and be more like Liberals, or a move back to the right, with a simple and clear platform, and good ideas for engaging a jilted electorate.

Bike Lanes, again?

Come on Cornwall City Council, can you please decide on something? Bike lanes, no bike lanes? Fiscal solvency, or insolvency? Getting the city staff to write a report on removing bike lanes on Second Street is a waste of time. The past council agreed to put them in, keep them there and move on because there are a lot of issues the city is facing. Bike lanes are not as pressing as the Target shutdown and what to do with Eleven-Points Logistics. Bike lanes are not as pressing as the looming property tax rulings for reductions for Walmart and other industrial park residents. Bike lanes are not as pressing as issues of unemployment increases in the area, nor crumbling infrastructure. There are many things that City Council and Staff could and should be working at, bike lanes are not one of them.

Round and round will turn you

Recent discussions at SD&G County Council have talked about installing a roundabout at the corner of County Road 2, 35 and the Long Sault Parkway in Long Sault. What a horrible idea. No offense to the engineers that work on said ideas, but this writer, and frequent driver of that section of road, fails to see the safety of a roundabout. What is wrong with traffic lights? I cannot understand this move to remove the simple logic of red light-green light and, replace it with trusting other drivers to understand how a roundabout works. If anyone has driven to Kemptville and seen the mess of the roundabouts, and how much more difficult they are to clean in the winter. Already the county crews are working hard to keep the roads clear as it is, and even then having a hard go of it. Add to that the rules of a roundabout. When drivers on the road nowadays don’t know to slow down in bad weather, how is a roundabout to make things easier? Couple that with cyclists and pedestrians. There are many users of the Long Sault Parkway with less than four wheels. A roundabout provides minimal safety and control of traffic for cyclists, and no stoppage of traffic for pedestrian users. A roundabout is a bad idea, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

All about Eve

The Eve Adams show, now appearing with the “big-tent” Liberals. What a stupid move by Justin Trudeau. Adams, and her fiance Dimitri Soudas, are opportunists that broke the rules to try to get a nomination for the Conservatives. So they went to the Liberals and Trudeau was more than willing to take them in. Soudas for his knowledge of the PMO and the inner workings of the Conservative Party and Adams, well she can have a nomination. Trudeau has talked much about the need for transparency, the optics of this opportunistic floor crossing are very clear. Adams will get what she wants, and placing a female candidate into a riding, likely without a nomination battle, is the classic modus operandi of the Trudeau Liberals. A party that has pledged over and over again about supporting the grassroots, until Trudeau wants to parachute in a candidate that fits the rejuvenated Liberal “brand”. The move was a bad one for the Liberals, and even with the dated information Soudas could provide Trudeau about the Conservatives, I don’t think Stephen Harper is unhappy to be rid of that pair.

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