Kingston reacts to Ford government’s plans to provide easier access to booze

Taz Dhaliwal | Global News

The 2019 Ontario budget promises many things, some of which include the loosening of rules around booze in the province.

The Ford government is set on providing easier access to alcohol, so much that the word “beer” appeared 46 times in the document. However, alcohol wasn’t the only vice to get attention in the budget — cannabis and gambling were also in the mix.

One of the most notable proposals in the budget would allow businesses the ability to serve alcohol at 9 a.m.

Troy Gadbois is a business owner in Kingston and he owns three bars in the city. He says that any advantage he has to control his situation is great.

“If there are any sporting events on we will definitely take advantage of it,” Gadbois said. “I don’t see us opening early every day at 9 a.m., we usually open at 11 a.m. now as it is. I don’t see us opening early just because of that.”

Not everyone thinks it’s a great idea, though.

“As an adult, I feel like [if] I’m going to a bar at 9 o’clock in the morning to have drinks, it’s too early,” said one patron at one of the bars Gadbois owns.

Tailgating is another thing the Ford government plans on legalizing, and Global News went to Queen’s University to find out how they would feel about this new change.

“If we were going to do it, how would we do it? Should we do it?” asked Mark Erdman, the Manager of Community Relations and Issues at Queen’s University. “Does it align with our goals of making sure our students are safe and we are encouraging responsible use of alcohol?”

Ontario also unveiled the next phase of cannabis retail operations, opening up the market even more. The cap of 25 brick and mortar stores in Ontario will be raised.

This plan has one Kingstonian in particular extremely pleased as she says the government needs to be able to meet the demand.

“There are 660 LCBO stores in Ontario and I don’t think I’ve ever gone into an LCBO and not waited in line,” said Jennawae McLean the owner of Calyx and Trichomes, along with 420 Kingston.

In terms of other vices, the Ontario government also wants to open online casino-style gaming as well as single-sport betting.