Unveiling of provincial buck a beer scheme expected today

Unveiling of provincial buck a beer scheme expected today

Unveiling of provincial buck a beer scheme expected today

Buck-a-beer was one of Doug Ford's rallying cries in his bid to become the Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario, the most populated province in Canada, with nearly 40 per cent of the country's population.

"Nobody is being forced to lower their prices and there will be no subsidies or tax handouts", Ford said at the event. "This included a promise to bring "Buck-a-Beer" back to Ontario". "Instead we're going to do what we said we would do and put Ontario consumers first".

The program will see the government-set minimum price of beer drop from $1.25 to $1.00 before tax and deposit.

News of buck a beer's return was met with concern from safety groups and criticism from the opposition parties. MADD Canada issued a statement against the move to lower prices, saying it can lead to increased consumption, especially among those with alcohol problems and among young people.

Last beer for a dollar could buy in Ontario in 2008, and since then the progressive conservatives promised to return this feature for several election campaigns.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, speaking to reporters at Queen's Park, said there is a cost to the province and that LCBO promotions do "have monetary value".

Buck a beer promise was not going over well with these beer drinkers gathered outside Barley Days Brewery to protest the plan. He says any brewers that agree to lower their prices will be given LCBO promotional considerations such as "limited-time discounts, in-store displays on end aisles and shelf extenders, or advertising in LCBO flyers and newspaper inserts". "We're just trying to put money back in the consumer's pockets".

The Greens said the beer program is an attempt to draw attention away from the government's controversial decisions to revoke the updated sex-ed curriculum, scrap the basic income project and dismantle the cap-and-trade carbon pricing system. "They created a new rule, another piece of red tape that made a buck-a-beer illegal", Mr. Ford said.

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"Is this the premier's priority?"

The buck-a beer will go into effect August 27, just before the Labor Day weekend and will apply to any beer with less than 5.6% alcohol.

As well, he added, "the respect and appreciation they will get from consumers will be priceless".

The People's Pint, a brewery based in Toronto, said it would not be joining what it called a "race to the bottom" on Twitter. "We believe in our brands, take pride in our quality and firmly feel that are current prices are very fair". Brewers are not required to charge the lower rate and few in the province sell at the current minimum. I can confidently say that a buck-a-beer won't deliver that.

"A lot has changed, not the least of which is the cost of ingredients to make the product, the cost of labour", said Simmons. Citing increased taxes, higher costs for ingredients and labour and new USA tariffs on aluminum, Scott Simmons, president of Ontario Craft Brewers, said he doesn't expect any of his organization's members to offer beer at $1. "I think people in Ontario are mature enough to know when they've had one too many", he said.

At a news conference in Prince Edward County on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford announced he would be introducing legislation to roll back the minimum price that brewers can sell beer for from $1.25 per 341 ml bottle to $1.

The premier was also asked about his plan for the sale of cannabis once it becomes legal in October, after some published reports said the province would allow private sector sales.

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