The politics of alcohol

Opinion Jun 09, 2019 Stoney Creek News

The contrast couldn’t be more pronounced.

Even as the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are trumpeting its policies on social media to expand beer and alcohol sales in more corner and grocery stores, they continue to slash funding to various public health programs, particularly directly eliminating Hamilton’s alcohol addiction program.

The province had already announced the elimination of the estimated $1 million funding this spring that would cancel the service at the end of July. But in a pang of temporary remorse, the provincial government agreed to extend the program until October to allow the city to relocate about 40 people who are impacted by the program. There is no guarantee, public officials say, that those people will get the necessary help within those critical months.

The research indicates that as more alcohol is available, additional trouble usually follows. A University of Ottawa research paper that linked alcohol access and alcohol-attributable emergency department visits in the province between 2012 prior to deregulation of alcohol sales and 2017 after deregulation by the former Liberal government found a 17.5 per cent increase during the period. And researchers found in regions with grocer stores that began to sell alcohol after 2015 had a six per cent greater increase in emergency department visits than regions without grocery stores selling alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is estimated to cause 6.6 per cent of deaths in men and 2.2 per cent of deaths in women.

A video that was shown at a recently emergency and community services committee meeting allowed viewers to hear firsthand how the city’s addiction services have basically transformed lives from one of desperation where there was nothing to live for to one of hope.

The program provided needed counselling and other assistance to about 230 people annually through Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

And yet prominent among Ontario government officials are ministers cackling over the expansion of alcohol into additional grocery stores as well as the creation of over 200 new “LCBO Convenience Outlets.” The total number of grocery stores selling alcohol in the province now will be 450 by September.

The government, also on the last day of the legislature, passed a bill in first reading that would end a 10-year agreement with the Beer Store that limits the number of stores that can sell alcohol. The ultimate goal is to get beer, wine and hard liquor into the salivating hands of corner store operators.

How to square what are two diametrically opposite ideas? You can’t. In what has become a politically irrational world, where up is down expanding alcohol sales where there is no reason to do so at the expense of people who are desperate for help is the epitome of neglect and an abrogation of any moral responsibility from the so-called “government of the people.”


Alcohol availability to go up, while alcohol treatment funding goes down in Ontario

Opinion Jun 09, 2019 Stoney Creek News

The contrast couldn’t be more pronounced.

Even as the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are trumpeting its policies on social media to expand beer and alcohol sales in more corner and grocery stores, they continue to slash funding to various public health programs, particularly directly eliminating Hamilton’s alcohol addiction program.

The province had already announced the elimination of the estimated $1 million funding this spring that would cancel the service at the end of July. But in a pang of temporary remorse, the provincial government agreed to extend the program until October to allow the city to relocate about 40 people who are impacted by the program. There is no guarantee, public officials say, that those people will get the necessary help within those critical months.

The research indicates that as more alcohol is available, additional trouble usually follows. A University of Ottawa research paper that linked alcohol access and alcohol-attributable emergency department visits in the province between 2012 prior to deregulation of alcohol sales and 2017 after deregulation by the former Liberal government found a 17.5 per cent increase during the period. And researchers found in regions with grocer stores that began to sell alcohol after 2015 had a six per cent greater increase in emergency department visits than regions without grocery stores selling alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is estimated to cause 6.6 per cent of deaths in men and 2.2 per cent of deaths in women.

A video that was shown at a recently emergency and community services committee meeting allowed viewers to hear firsthand how the city’s addiction services have basically transformed lives from one of desperation where there was nothing to live for to one of hope.

The program provided needed counselling and other assistance to about 230 people annually through Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

And yet prominent among Ontario government officials are ministers cackling over the expansion of alcohol into additional grocery stores as well as the creation of over 200 new “LCBO Convenience Outlets.” The total number of grocery stores selling alcohol in the province now will be 450 by September.

The government, also on the last day of the legislature, passed a bill in first reading that would end a 10-year agreement with the Beer Store that limits the number of stores that can sell alcohol. The ultimate goal is to get beer, wine and hard liquor into the salivating hands of corner store operators.

How to square what are two diametrically opposite ideas? You can’t. In what has become a politically irrational world, where up is down expanding alcohol sales where there is no reason to do so at the expense of people who are desperate for help is the epitome of neglect and an abrogation of any moral responsibility from the so-called “government of the people.”


Alcohol availability to go up, while alcohol treatment funding goes down in Ontario

Opinion Jun 09, 2019 Stoney Creek News

The contrast couldn’t be more pronounced.

Even as the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are trumpeting its policies on social media to expand beer and alcohol sales in more corner and grocery stores, they continue to slash funding to various public health programs, particularly directly eliminating Hamilton’s alcohol addiction program.

The province had already announced the elimination of the estimated $1 million funding this spring that would cancel the service at the end of July. But in a pang of temporary remorse, the provincial government agreed to extend the program until October to allow the city to relocate about 40 people who are impacted by the program. There is no guarantee, public officials say, that those people will get the necessary help within those critical months.

The research indicates that as more alcohol is available, additional trouble usually follows. A University of Ottawa research paper that linked alcohol access and alcohol-attributable emergency department visits in the province between 2012 prior to deregulation of alcohol sales and 2017 after deregulation by the former Liberal government found a 17.5 per cent increase during the period. And researchers found in regions with grocer stores that began to sell alcohol after 2015 had a six per cent greater increase in emergency department visits than regions without grocery stores selling alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is estimated to cause 6.6 per cent of deaths in men and 2.2 per cent of deaths in women.

A video that was shown at a recently emergency and community services committee meeting allowed viewers to hear firsthand how the city’s addiction services have basically transformed lives from one of desperation where there was nothing to live for to one of hope.

The program provided needed counselling and other assistance to about 230 people annually through Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

And yet prominent among Ontario government officials are ministers cackling over the expansion of alcohol into additional grocery stores as well as the creation of over 200 new “LCBO Convenience Outlets.” The total number of grocery stores selling alcohol in the province now will be 450 by September.

The government, also on the last day of the legislature, passed a bill in first reading that would end a 10-year agreement with the Beer Store that limits the number of stores that can sell alcohol. The ultimate goal is to get beer, wine and hard liquor into the salivating hands of corner store operators.

How to square what are two diametrically opposite ideas? You can’t. In what has become a politically irrational world, where up is down expanding alcohol sales where there is no reason to do so at the expense of people who are desperate for help is the epitome of neglect and an abrogation of any moral responsibility from the so-called “government of the people.”