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Beer? Fix this mess
Re Sorry, Ontario, The Beer Store Is Here To Stay (editorial, June 7); Ford’s Desire To Get Beer Into Corner Stores Conflicts With His ‘Open For Business’ Agenda (June 6): The support by the U.S. and Ontario chambers of commerce for Big Beer in Ontario puts the lie to frequent claims to represent small business owners.
As your editorial rightly underlines, the Wynne deal on behalf of the Beer Store chain raises serious questions about who was being served what, and at what price.
Clearly, Ontario consumers are not being well-served. Rather than supporting the craft breweries in Ontario, the Wynne government kept them under Big Beer’s thumb.
In Ottawa, we have numerous craft breweries; Beyond the Pale operates a short walk from our home. Can you buy it in Toronto? Why can’t these small breweries have better access to the market? If we want to buy large-market producers, we just drive to Quebec, where the beer costs far less.
Why chambers of commerce would argue that monopolies are a good idea needs to be examined. Open for business, indeed.
Mark A. Wolfgram, Ottawa
The beer drinker now has the choice of scores of brands/ types/flavours at just about any Beer Store or LCBO outlet. What are the chances that the little convenience store (now existing on selling lottery tickets?) will have on its shelf the specific beer you want?
Or will it simply reinforce leading brands, and make it more difficult for new brands to get a foothold? Or lead to distributors’ paying for a convenience store to stock a specific item?
At Beer Stores, the brand choice is monumental. Once again, Premier Doug Ford, in his simplistic personal search for something worth fighting for, misses the boat entirely.
T.A. Bryk, Toronto
If beer drinkers in Ontario wish to defang the Beer Store, they need only to stop buying beer for a month or two. Big Beer will come crying to the Premier for a new deal, and beer drinkers will get to dictate the terms.
A boycott would put a serious dent in the revenues of beer manufacturers and the Province of Ontario, both of which richly deserve to be punished for the way they exploit customers and citizens.
More significantly, a boycott would deny Premier Doug Ford most of the bragging rights for fixing this mess. Kathleen Wynne should be pleased with that.
Patrick Cowan, Toronto
By rights, hypocrisy
Re RCMP And CBSA Deny Violating Meng’s Rights (June 6): Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s civil rights? What about the two Canadians detained arbitrarily in China under appalling conditions! I cannot disguise my contempt for Huawei. I shall boycott their products as far as possible.
Ian McEwan, Virgil, Ont.
Get real about packaging
Re Half Of Shoppers Now Seek Greener Packaging: Study (June 6): We have to get real about the packaging issue, but how? While this article focuses on the challenge to big food retailers, the real challenge sits with the huge conglomerates who manufacture food and other products.
Google the word “planogram” to read about the science of achieving eye-level product placement on store shelves. Bigger, brighter, more appealing packaging is what food and other consumer product companies want.
Food safety is paramount, but think about how many products (food or otherwise) are packaged in larger containers, while the actual item in the box is often much smaller. And then there are the products that come in those awful heat-sealed plastic packages. The average human can barely open these things and there’s no way to recycle them.
If we’re serious about reducing the amount of items going to landfill, it has to start with the manufacturers themselves. Government intervention will only bog down the process and asking consumers to boycott products won’t cut it. If little Johnny wants a new plastic baseball bat packaged in heat-sealed plastic from China, he’s going to get it.
Chris Long, Oakville, Ont.
Cause and sacrifice
Re Honouring The Heroes Of D-Day (June 6): What can you say of a nation’s integrity when its navy cloaks one of its war vessels – a vessel named to honour an American pilot who was captured and tortured, who refused early repatriation unless fellow PoWs were also released, and who later served long and honourably in Congress – so that the febrile ego of the President would not be piqued?
From across the spectrum of our Second World War allies (remember when common cause dwarfed political difference, and allies were not discarded via hate-Twitter?), young men and women of my parents’ generation sacrificed so that a spoiled fool might presume to land in England, much less desecrate Portsmouth or the beaches of Normandy.
Chris McNaught, Ottawa
Re Faith In Doctors (letters, June 5): While I agree with Dr. Frances Leung that patients might make great teachers, medical students are not taught to impose a “one problem per visit” rule.
On the contrary, they are taught to be respectful listeners, compassionate doctors, and to provide holistic care. However, once they begin to practise, they quickly learn that in a fee-for-service (more accurately termed fee-for-visit) structure, that approach does not pay well.
It is a daily, draining disconnect to be forced, with each patient encounter, to weigh what one has been taught, and has embraced philosophically, against one’s own best financial interests. In B.C., after overhead, a family doctor takes home (to pay taxes on) about $20 per patient encounter, no matter how many issues the patient raises, or how complex the issues. Try that at your local auto mechanic’s and see how long that business survives.
Blanka Jurenka, MD, North Vancouver
Rules, until they aren’t
Re Trump’s Trade Wars Spin Out Of Control (June 6): Countries that pursue agreements as a route toward resolving trade disputes with the United States under the current administration are deluding themselves. Such agreements are worthless when entered into by an administration that has no intention of abiding by them, but sees them as useful solely to bind others to certain rules, and as leverage for extracting further concessions down the road.
This is consistent with the descriptions of the manner in which Donald Trump conducted his real estate business – at least when he believed he had the advantage of size. And it is consistent with the “win at all costs” philosophy that permeates all aspects of American business and culture.
Americans like Donald Trump, and have rewarded him with wealth and power, precisely because he does not play by the rules. Remember that.
Alastair Moran, Brampton, Ont.