It's a fun time around here in Canada's biggest province - provincial election time. Unfortunately, with a third or so of the whole nation living here in Ontario sometimes the provincial scene gets second billing, unlike most other provinces. Out east where I am from you knew the Premier or knew someone who did. You saw them on the street or in the bars once in a while. And if he was an arsehole you could tell him so. You could say "hey, don't be an arsehold" because that's not swearing... it's just good advice.
Here, them folk that are provincial politicians are as much people who live hundreds of miles away as anything. People who go to work in tall buildings. However, that does not mean an election is not an excellent opportunity to change all that, an excellent time for a policy debate. What kind of policy? Beer policy, of course. Just days before the writ was dropped, an opposition Tory member of the Legislature tabled an interesting bill seeking the house's approval to make this simple idea law:
3.0.1 (1) Despite any other provision of this Act or the regulations, the following entities may do the following, whether or not the entity has the authorization, approval or consent of the Board:
1. A manufacturer of beer or cider may sell, in stores it owns and operates, its own beer or cider and beer or cider manufactured by other manufacturers of beer or cider....
5. A manufacturers’ association may transport and deliver any manufacturer’s liquor to any government store or to any holder of a licence or permit to sell liquor under the Liquor Licence Act.
Sounds reasonable. Folk who make a product generally can sell a product. Trouble is we have a rather verklempt multi-layered government run system whose playbook is larded with post-temperance super-regulatory bureaucratic intrusion. Silly people without a sense of history confuse prohibition with the state control system. Two difference beasts. One says liquor is evil and must be kept from people. The other says it is lucrative and the money is too good to just be trusted in the hands of the people. I am not going to tell you I know more than most about this but, yes, I wrote most of that bit of the book so I do know something. Plus I have all the regulations from 1935 to now on the licensing of alcohol in my office. Just saying. What I see is that it's this particular social balance between prohibition and public drunks that was a real issue from 1840 to 1930 or so that hangs over our Ontarian heads and informs the dusty old law still today. And - yes, yes - there's all that money. Can't forget that.
So what to do? There is hope. Remember, our conservatives like beer, too. As much as our socialists. So, if you are an Ontario blogger or active on social media or a small brewery trying to make a go of it... talk about it. Don't rant. And don't be as foolish as to shout "why do you hate craft beer?" at a politician like some cheese eating schoolboy. That's not good advice. Instead, talk and think and talk some more. Half an ancestor pool of mine would roll in the grave and curse me for ever if I ever voted Tory but that conservative member supported bill up there makes simple sense.
What else makes sense? Don't know. You haven't told me about it yet.