Kathleen Wynne says yes to selling wine at farmers’ markets
The will-they–won’t-they storyline between the LCBO and Ontario corner stores has been alternately intriguing and infuriating Ontarians for over 25 years (counting from former Liberal premier David Peterson’s hope-stirring election promise in 1985). The province is right on schedule for a new but contrived-seeming half-measure to make it look as though the concept is progressing, but will probably just send it spinning off into political oblivion for another five years. Enter Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, who yesterday announced a new plan for extra-LCBO booze sales—not at convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Mac’s, but at far less convenient farmers’ markets.
The move is part of $75-million 2009 Wine and Grape Strategy, which also involves the creation of a “wine fund” to support Ontario vineyards and a “wine secretariat” tasked with figuring out how to make the government’s monopoly on booze sales less crappy for local wine producers. While not quite the plan many Ontarians have been hoping for, it does signal a gentle slackening of the province’s rigid liquor-buying laws. Who knows what the next quadrancentennial could bring?