The Corruption of a Crown Corporation
The Canadian government has released new guidelines when it comes to alcohol consumption: No more than two drinks per week, and preferably none. Some argue this is an example of the government behaving too much like a “Nanny,” but I see this as the government protecting itself from potential litigation. If you are a Canadian who enjoys drinking alcoholic beverages, this should concern you.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, alcohol is a group 1 carcinogen. This puts it in the same group as Benzene, Asbestos, and Vinyl chloride, among a number of other nasty substances such as radioactive material. I believe the reason why our government is making this announcement now is because our government is responsible for both the distribution and sale of all alcoholic beverages, as well as for our taxpayer funded healthcare system.
The direct impact of alcohol consumption creates a well understood burden on our healthcare system that continues to worsen, and yet as our healthcare system in Ontario continues to struggle and strain under the weight of increasing demand year after year, the LCBO continues to enjoy an increase in profits year after year, creating a net deficit. The evidence is overwhelming.
It’s no wonder why the LCBO is so profitable. If you were to go to Costco in Nevada, United States, and buy a 1.75L bottle of Black Velvet Canadian Whisky, it would cost you $11.29 US, which, at our current exchange rate, would cost $15.23. The lowest price for the same quantity of Whiskey at an LCBO outlet would cost $63.40, over four times as much. When you consider that Nevada is at the opposite corner of the continent and in a foreign country from where the Whiskey is made, we get a pretty good picture of just how profitable the sale of alcohol is for our crown corporation. The first question everybody should be asking is, why does alcohol in Ontario cost so much? For that, we need to examine the origins of the LCBO.
The LCBO in 1971
The birth of the LCBO came at the end of the Ontario Temperance Act, which was a law that was passed in 1916 that led to the prohibition of alcohol in Ontario. This act came into existence after a popular vote as people came to understand the harm alcohol was doing to people’s health, their families, and to society. Unfortunately, whenever vulnerable people can be exploited for profit, charismatic individuals will manipulate those vulnerable people into rebellions under the guise that their rights have been somehow attacked. And so, the LCBO was born as a compromise; alcohol sales would be regulated by the government, where it would be sold in a manner as to not glamorize it, and it would be subject to a Sin tax where the money collected from the sale of alcohol could be used to repair the harm it was doing.
If this sin tax is supposed to reduce the rates of alcoholism, the statistics prove otherwise, as the rates of heay drinking have been increasing, demonstrating that the LCBO and their sin tax really isn’t for the good of public health, it’s only good for those who profit from overpriced alcohol.
Some examples of the LCBO advertisements
So the biggest question now is, how is that “Sin tax” money being spent? When we dig way down in the current annual fiscal year end report of the LCBO, we see that, by March 31, 2021, they had spent $7,236,000 in advertising, and $2,356,000 in advertising by March 31, 2022. This is advertising dollars that are used to glamorize the consumption of alcohol, and is a driving force behind the increase in profits. Another expense are “Professional services,” to the tune of $26,590,000. This does not include their maintenance and service contracts ($41,173,000). It’s not as though they’re using these “Professional services” to find the best deal possible in order to get the greatest return on investment.
According to their 2020-21 annual report, out of a revenue of $7.18 billion, they transferred $2.39 billion to the Ontario government to “support services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.” Since my municipal property tax dollars are already paying for education and infrastructure, I don’t understand why any of these dividends would have to support those. Also, there is no clear breakdown of how much money is going where, and for what projects. What is clear to me is that alcohol affects people’s mental and physical health, so it doesn’t make any sense to me why 100% of the profits generated by the LCBO aren’t going directly towards healthcare. The fact that the information we do get from these reports is very watered down and vague demonstrates a high likelihood of corruption in this crown corporation.
My solution to this problem is simple: I’m going to take the Canadian government’s advice on 0-2 drinks per week, tending towards 0 most of the time. Even though I know they’re recommending this in order to protect themselves from future litigation, I have my own self-preservation to keep in mind. Clearly the conservative government of Ontario does not have my best interests in mind, and would happily sell me overpriced poison in excess while destroying our healthcare system so they can further generate profit from my hardships. For those special occasions that call for 1-2 drinks, I think beer and wine kits are the way to go since the LCBO cannot profit from those, as they do not contain any alcohol at the point of sale, which puts more money in my pocket to potentially pay for the private healthcare our conservative government seems to be pushing for. By choosing to restrict my drinking, I’m doing my part to starve the corrupt crown corporation called the LCBO, as well as to help save our public healthcare system from the unnecessary burden that alcohol causes. I consider that a win-win.