Transcript: Ontario's Alcohol Affair | May 15, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario's alcohol affair. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says ONTARIO BUDGETS ARE
USUALLY PRETTY SOBER AFFAIRS.
NOT THE CASE FOR LAST APRIL'S
OFFERING, AS THERE WAS A
SURPRISING AMOUNT OF
ALCOHOL-RELATED POLICY IN IT. 9
A.M. FIRST CALL.
TIPPLING IN THE PARK.
TAILGATING EVEN.
THE CONSERVATIVES ARE
LIBERALIZING BOOZE.
WHAT WILL IT ALL MEAN FOR THE
PROVINCE?
FROM PEGEEN WALSH, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR AT THE ONTARIO PUBLIC
HEALTH ASSOCIATION.

Pegeen is in her late fifties, with blond hair in a bob. She's wearing a blue blazer, white shirt, and silver pendant necklace.

Steve continues MATT GIBSON, PRESIDENT OF ROYAL CANADIAN MEAD.

Matt is in his thirties, with short brown hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing glasses and a spotted blue shirt.

Steve continues REN NAVARRO, OWNER AND OPERATOR OF THE CONSULTING COMPANY, BEER DIVERSITY.

Ren is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He's wearing a dark blue shirt and black tee.

Steve continues JORDAN ST. JOHN, CO-HOST OF THE ONTARIO CRAFT BEER GUIDE – THE PODCAST...

Jordan is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with mid-parted brown hair. He's wearing a blue shirt and a gray sweater vest.

Steve continues AND HEATHER BONE,
RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE CONSUMER
CHOICE CENTER AND PHD STUDENT IN
ECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.

Heather is in her thirties, with shoulder-length wavy chestnut hair. She's wearing a black shirt.

Steve continues AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
EVERYBODY FOR A TIMELY
DISCUSSION HERE ON "THE AGENDA."
TO TVO TONIGHT.
LET'S JUST START, SHALL WE,
SHELDON, BY BRINGING UP THE
GRAPHIC AND WE'LL TALK ABOUT
SOME OF THE PROPOSED CHANGES TO
THE ALCOHOL LAWS HERE IN THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO STARTING
WITH, YES...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Proposed changes to alcohol laws."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
TAILGATING AT SPORTING EVENTS.
THAT IS COMING TO A VENUE NEAR
YOU.
MUNICIPALITIES CAN DESIGNATE
SUCH AS PARKS FOR DRINKING
ALCOHOL.
ALLOWING BARS, RESTAURANTS, GOLF
COURSES TO SERVE ALCOHOL AS OF 9
A.M.
CHANGING MAXIMUM SERVING SIZES
AT BREWERIES, WINERIES AND
DISTILLERIES.
ALLOWING ESTABLISHMENTS TO
ADVERTISE PROMOTIONS SUCH AS
HAPPY HOUR AND GRANTING CASINOS
THE ABILITY TO SERVE
COMPLEMENTARY ALCOHOL.
ADD TO THAT THE RATHER
SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION OF ALCOHOL
RETAIL OUTLETS, AND YOU'VE GOT A
FAIRLY COMPREHENSIVE, VERY NEW
PACKAGE OF LIBERALIZING ALCOHOL
IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.
LET'S GO AROUND THE TABLE, AND I
WANT TO GET A SENSE FROM
EVERYBODY HERE WHAT WE THINK.
PLEASE.

The caption changes to "Jordan Saint John. Co-Host, 'Ontario craft beer guide – The podcast.'"
Then, it changes again to "Change on the horizon."

Jordan says I THINK IN SOME CASES THIS
JUST NORMALIZES EXISTING BEHAVIOUR.
SOME OF THESE THINGS KIND OF
CODIFY THINGS THAT ARE ALREADY
HAPPENING IN THE MARKET, AND IN
SOME CASES THERE ARE SOME
GLARING PROBLEMS.

Steve says WE SHALL GET INTO
THOSE.
HEATHER?

The caption changes to "Heather Bone. Consumer Choice Center."

Heather says I THINK THAT MOSTLY WE'RE
JUST CATCHING UP WITH THE REST
OF THE WORLD IN TERMS OF OUR
ALCOHOL LAWS, WHAT WE HAVE SEEN
IS THAT A LOT OF OUR
PRE-EXISTING LAWS HAVE AN ALMOST
100-YEAR HISTORY COMING OUT OF
PROHIBITION, BASICALLY DESIGNED
TO RESTRICT CONSUMER ACCESS TO
ALCOHOL.
AND I THINK THAT IT'S A WIN FOR
CONSUMER CHOICE THAT WE'RE
RE-EXAMINING SOME OF THOSE
REGULATIONS.

Steve says PEGEEN?

The caption changes to "Pegeen Walsh. Ontario Public Health Association."

Pegeen says WE DON'T HAVE AN AVAILABILITY PROBLEM.
WE HAVE A HUGE ISSUE WITH HARMS
AND RISKS.
THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE DYING OF
ALCOHOL THAN OPIOIDS AND MORE
PEOPLE ARE BEING ADMITTED TO
HOSPITAL FOR ALCOHOL VERSUS
HEART ATTACKS, SO WE NEED TO
TALK ABOUT HOW CAN WE BALANCE
THIS WITH A PROVINCIAL STRATEGY
THAT CAN MITIGATE THOSE HARMS
AND RISKS.

Steve says AND WE SHALL.
MATT?

The caption changes to "Matt Gibson. Royal Canadian Mead."

Matt says SO, WHILE I HAVE A LOT OF
ISSUES WITH A LOT OF OTHER
THINGS THAT THE CONSERVATIVE
GOVERNMENT ARE DOING, I THINK
I'M PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT A
NUMBER OF THESE CHANGES, AND AS
JORDAN HAD ALREADY SAID, A LOT
OF THIS IS BEHAVIOUR THAT PEOPLE
ARE ALREADY ENGAGING IN AND NOW
WE'RE JUST BASICALLY ALLOWING IT
AND BRINGING IT OUT INTO THE
OPEN, WHICH I THINK IS GOING TO
BE ADVANTAGEOUS.

Steve says AND WHAT IS ROYAL
CANADIAN MEAD, WHILE YOU HAVE
THE FLOOR.

Matt says SURE.
SO IT'S CANADA'S FIRST PURE
SESSION MEAD.
WE ARE TAKING THE WORLD'S OLDEST
FERMENTED DRINK AND SERVING IT
AS A BEER OR CIDER STYLE.
5 TO 6 percent, CARBONATED, SERVED IN A
CAN RATHER THAN A WINE BOTTLE,
AND RELEASING OUR FIRST BATCH
INTO THE LCBO IN ABOUT TWO
WEEKS.

Steve says GOTCHA. OKAY.
FINISH IT OFF HERE, PLEASE, REN.

The caption changes to "Ren Navarro. Beer. Diversity."

Ren says I'M CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC
BUT I WONDER HOW IT'LL AFFECT
MINORITIES, PEOPLE WHO HAVE...
DIFFERENTLY ABLED, PEOPLE OF
COLOUR, LGBTQ GROUPS AND I
WONDER IF THEY'RE ACTUALLY PART
OF THAT BIG PICTURE.

Steve says HOW WOULD THEY NOT BE?

Ren says I FEEL LIKE SOME OF THIS IS
TARGETED AT REALLY SPECIFIC GROUPS.
I THINK WE'RE LOOKING AT
SOCIO-ECONOMIC BEHAVIOURS AND
KIND OF SAYING, LIKE, A GENERAL
PIECE OF SOCIETY IS ABLE TO
PURCHASE ALCOHOL ALREADY, AND
THEY DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT
THESE THINGS, AND YES THE
BEHAVIOURS ARE ALREADY THERE,
BUT WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT
OTHER GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO MAY
BE AFFECTED BY IT.

Steve says FOLLOW UP AGAIN.
I'M NOT SURE I FOLLOW YOU HERE.
WHO CAN'T PURCHASE BOOZE TODAY
THAT WANTS TOO?

Ren says LET'S TALK ABOUT THE
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.
SO THERE'S ALREADY A STIGMA
AROUND THAT.
WHEN WE LOOK AT ADVERTISING AND
WHO WE'RE TALKING TO, WE'RE
USUALLY TALKING TO WHITE
COMMUNITIES AND WE'RE TALKING TO
MALES, AND WE'RE NOT TALKING TO,
YOU KNOW... AGAIN, PEOPLE OF
COLOUR, DIFFERENTLY ABLED.
THOSE PEOPLE AREN'T PART OF THAT
CONVERSATION.

Steve says THUS BEER DIVERSITY,
WHICH IS THE NAME OF YOUR
OUTFIT.
LET'S FOLLOW UP ON CONSUMER
CHOICE.
IS AVAILABILITY OF SUPPLY REALLY
A PROBLEM IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO TODAY?

Heather says I THINK SO BASED ON THE FACT
THAT POLLING HAS INDICATED THAT
THE MAJORITY OF ONTARIANS DO
WANT TO SEE A CHALLENGE TO THE
NEAR MONOPOLY OF THE LCBO AND
THE BEER STORE.

Steve says IT'S TRUE WE'RE NOT
LIKE QUEBEC.

Heather says RIGHT.

Steve says YOU CAN'T GO BUY BEER
OR WINE OR SPIRITS AT YOUR
LOCAL... AS YOU CAN IN QUEBEC.
SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT'S AN
ADVANTAGE IN ONTARIO.
YOU DON'T THINK SO?

The caption changes to "Heather Bone, @heatherlbone."

Heather says I DON'T THINK SO, AND I THINK
IT HURTS POOR PEOPLE MORE THAN
WE REALIZE.
IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, IF YOU
HAVE A HIGH INCOME, YOU CAN GO
TO THE LCBO OR THE BEER STORE
AND BUY A LARGE QUANTITY OF
ALCOHOL AT ONE TIME AND YOU
DON'T HAVE TO GO AND WAIT IN
LINES VERY OFTEN.
BUT IF YOU'RE OF A LOWER
SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, THE
INCONVENIENCE CAUSED BY THE LCBO
AND THE BEER STORE HURT MORE
BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO MAKE MORE
FREQUENT TRIPS.

Steve says THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO FINANCE MINISTER IN
PARTICULAR VIC FEDELI OFTEN
MAKES THE POINT THAT THERE ARE
THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS AND
THOUSANDS MORE AVAILABILITY
OPPORTUNITIES IN QUEBEC THAN
THERE ARE IN ONTARIO, AND HE'S
TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW?

Pegeen says I FEEL THERE'S THIS MYTH
THAT, OH, WE SHOULD BE LIKE
OTHER JURISDICTIONS: QUEBEC,
ALBERTA, WHERE THEY PRIVATIZED
AND MADE IT EASY ACCESS.
BUT IN FACT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE
DATA IN TERMS OF HEALTH HARMS,
IT'S VERY TROUBLING BECAUSE THEY
DO HAVE VERY HIGH RATES OF
CONSUMPTION.
THEY HAVE HIGH RATES OF
HOSPITALIZATION.
SO GREAT YOU'RE GETTING ACCESS,
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND WHAT'S NOT
APPARENT OFTEN TO OUR
COMMUNITIES IS WHAT THAT MEANS
IN TERMS OF THE HEALTH HARMS.
SO FOR MOST PEOPLE, THEY DON'T
HAVE AN ISSUE WITH ALCOHOL, BUT
IF WE HAVE OVER 20 percent OF ONTARIANS
THAT HAVE PROBLEMATIC USE OF
ALCOHOL, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT
THAT AND ADDRESS THAT, AND WE
KNOW FROM RESEARCH THAT THE MORE
YOU MAKE ALCOHOL AVAILABLE, THE
MORE PEOPLE CONSUME IT, THE MORE
THEY CONSUME, THEN THE MORE
HARMS.

Steve says JORDAN, DO WE HAVE AN
AVAILABILITY PROBLEM IN ONTARIO?

Jordan says WELL, I'M GOING TO TAKE AN
UNPOPULAR TACK AND SUGGEST WE
PROBABLY DON'T HAVE AN
AVAILABILITY PROBLEM.
I THINK THAT TWO HOURS WORTH OF
PLANNING THAT'S NEVER REALLY
CAUSED ME PROBLEMS IN ACQUIRING
BEER.
THINKING AHEAD A LITTLE BIT DOES
WONDERS.
WHAT WE MIGHT HAVE IS A RETAIL
OPPORTUNITY PROBLEM.
WE HAVE SOMETHING LIKE 360
BREWING ENTITIES IN THE
PROVINCE, AND NOT A LOT OF THEM
HAVE SHELF SPACE.
SO AN ACCESS TO MARKET FOR THE
COMPANIES INVOLVED IS A REAL
PROBLEM.
ACCESS TO ALCOHOL FOR THE PUBLIC
IS PROBABLY NOT.

Steve says MATT, IS IT REALLY THE
CASE THAT IF YOU OFFER PEOPLE
MANY, MANY MORE LOCATIONS FROM
WHICH TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL,
ALCOHOL SALES WILL GO UP?

The caption changes to "Matt Gibson, @MeadWithLove."

Matt says SO I DON'T HAVE ANY HARD
STATS ON THAT, BUT SORT OF TAKE
ON JORDAN'S POINT OF THE... YOU
KNOW, WE HAVE SO MANY BREWERIES
AND CIDERIES AND WINERIES IN
ONTARIO, AND THAT'S JUST GOING
TO CONTINUE TO GROW, BUT I DON'T
THINK THAT PUTTING BEER IN
CONVENIENCE STORES IS ACTUALLY
GOING TO GIVE THE MAJORITY OF
THOSE PRODUCERS ANY MORE ACCESS
TO MARKET BECAUSE WHAT WE'RE
SEEING IS... IT'S A LOGISTICS
ISSUE.
I AS A SMALL PRODUCER CAN ONLY
HAVE TO MANY DRIVERS OR HIRE SO
MANY THIRD-PARTY COMPANIES, CAN
ONLY AFFORD TO HAVE SO MANY
SALES PEOPLE ON THE ROAD.
I HAVE A THOUSAND NEW CUSTOMERS
OR A THOUSAND NEW POTENTIAL
CUSTOMERS THROUGH CONVENIENCE
STORES, I CAN'T KEEP UP WITH
THAT.
THE BIG GUYS CAN KEEP UP WITH
THAT.
SO ALL YOU'RE GOING TO DO IS
OPEN UP MORE SHELF SPACE FOR
BUDWEISER AND COORS LIGHT,
UNLESS YOU HAVE A CONVENIENCE
STORE OWNER WHO DECIDES TO FOCUS
ON THESE RARE AVAILABILITY
BOTTLES AND CANS AND PRODUCTS,
WHICH COULD HAPPEN.
THERE'S SOME GREAT DEP NEUROS IN
MONTREAL THAT ARE VERY FOCUSED
ON BRINGING THE REALLY GOOD
STUFF.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE STUFF
YOU FIND IS MASS MARKET LAGERS.
I DON'T KNOW THAT HAVING
CONVENIENCE STORES IS GOING TO
HELP SOMEONE LIKE OUR COMPANY OR
A SMALL BREWERY OR A SMALL
CIDERY REALLY GET MORE ACCESS TO
THE MARKET.

Steve says HEATHER, LET ME FOLLOW
UP WITH YOU ON THAT.
IF YOU OFFER ALCOHOL FOR SALE AT
MANY THOUSANDS MORE LOCATIONS IN
THE FUTURE THAN YOU DO TODAY,
DOES THAT NECESSARILY MEAN YOU
WILL SELL MORE ALCOHOL?

Heather says THE EVIDENCE ON THIS IS
PRETTY MIXED.
I'VE SEEN THINGS SUGGESTING
THAT'S THE CASE.
I'VE SEEN THINGS SUGGESTING THE
OPPOSITE.
THERE IS A STUDY THAT LOOKED AT
VIRGINIA AND... WEST VIRGINIA,
SORRY, AND IOWA'S EXPERIENCE,
AND THEY ACTUALLY FOUND THAT
THERE WAS A REDUCTION IN PER
CAPITA ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION, AND
THAT WAS BECAUSE PEOPLE BOUGHT
LESS BOOZE WHEN THEY WERE MAKING
MORE FREQUENT TRIPS, WHICH
ENCOURAGED THEM NOT TO DRINK AS
MUCH AT HOME.
SO OF COURSE THESE QUESTIONS ARE
DIFFICULT TO ANSWER FROM AN
ECONOMICS PERSPECTIVE JUST
BECAUSE CULTURE AND A LOT OF
OTHER CONFOUNDING VARIABLES
REALLY DO IMPACT PEOPLE'S
ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION.
SO FOR INSTANCE, WE SEE IN
EUROPE WHERE ALCOHOL IS A LOT
MORE AVAILABLE, WAY MORE
ACCESSIBLE, FOR INSTANCE, THAN
ITALY AND THEIR RATE OF PROBLEM
DRINKING IS 6.2 percent, AND IN CANADA
IT'S 23 percent OF PEOPLE HAVE HAD A
HEAVY DRINKING EPISODE IN THE
LAST 30 DAYS, AND IT'S...
ALCOHOL IS WAY MORE ACCESSIBLE
IN ITALY THAN IT IS IN CANADA.

Steve says IT'S A CULTURAL THING,
THOUGH.
YOU'RE TAUGHT FROM A YOUNG AGE.

The caption changes to "Pegeen Walsh, @PegeenWalsh."

Pegeen says IF I MAY WEIGH IN ON THAT, IN
FACT I WAS LOOKING THIS MORNING
AT SOME STATISTICS AROUND
FRANCE, AND THEY HAVE JUST
LAUNCHED A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
BECAUSE THEY ARE VERY CONCERNED
ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE ALCOHOL
USE IN FRANCE, AND THEY ARE
TRYING TO CURTAIL IT.
THERE'S SOMETHING LIKE THE SIXTH
LEADING COUNTRY IN ALCOHOL USE
AND PROBLEMATIC USE.
SO THERE'S A LOT OF MYTHS OUT
THERE ABOUT, OH, MAKING IT MORE
AVAILABLE IS GOING TO BE FINE.
IN FACT WE'RE SEEING IN VARIOUS
JURISDICTIONS, IN CANADA AND IN
ONTARIO, THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT DATA COMING
FROM THE CENTRE... FOR MENTAL
HEALTH, MAYBE WITHIN THE LAST
TWO YEARS SINCE WE'VE SEEN THIS
INCREASE IN DISTRIBUTION,
INCREASE IN HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS.
SO AT A TIME WHEN WE'RE TRYING
TO SAVE HEALTH CARE COSTS, THIS
IS NOT GOING TO BE HELPFUL, AND
I WONDER WHAT IS THE PROBLEM
THAT WE'RE TRYING TO SOLVE?
WHEN THE GOVERNMENT FIRST
STARTED THIS, THEY SPOKE TO US
ABOUT B.C., HOW 70 percent OF WINE...
70 percent OF BRITISH COLUMBIANS DRINK
B.C. WINE.
IN ONTARIO IT'S SOMETHING LIKE
30 percent.
SO IF OUR ISSUE IS THAT WE
REALLY WANT TO GROW OUR LOCAL
INDUSTRY, WE WANT TO HAVE ACCESS
TO LOCAL PRODUCTS, AND WE WANT
TO HAVE THOSE TAX DOLLARS STAY
IN ONTARIO AND EMPLOYMENT IN
ONTARIO, LET'S TACKLE THE ISSUE
OF AWARENESS ABOUT THE HIGH
QUALITY OF ONTARIO PRODUCTS.
LET'S NOT LOOK AT HOW WE CAN
INCREASE CONSUMPTION.
LET'S... IS FOR ONTARIO
PRODUCTS.
SO I WOULD ARGUE THAT WE'RE NOT
REALLY TACKLING THE ROOT CAUSES
HERE.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WE'RE TRYING
TO ADDRESS?
WE'RE SORT OF BLANKET A WHOLE
SERIES OF MEASURES THAT WE THINK
TAKEN TOGETHER ARE GOING TO
CAUSE A LOT OF HARM FOR OUR
COMMUNITIES.

Steve says OUT IN THE FIELD NOT
TOO LONG AGO.
SHELDON, BRING THE GRAPHIC UP.
MOVING BEYOND THE LCBO AND THE
BEER STORE, APPARENTLY...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Proposed changes to alcohol laws."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
TWO IN THREE ONTARIANS SUPPORT THE IDEA
THAT... CAN SELL ALCOHOL.
SIX IN TEN SUPPORT ADDING
SPIRITS TO GROCERY STORE SHELVES
AND SLIGHTLY MORE THAN HALF OF
ONTARIANS SUPPORT EXPANDING
ALCOHOL SALES INTO CONVENIENCE
STORES.
REN, YOU START US OFF ON THIS.
ARE WE READY FOR THESE... ARE WE
READY FOR A MUCH MORE
LIBERALIZED ALCOHOL SALES SYSTEM
IN ONTARIO?

The caption changes to "Ren Navarro, @beer_diversity."
Then, it changes again to "Ready for change?"

Ren says I DON'T THINK SO.
I MEAN, THAT'S KIND OF THE
SIMPLE ANSWER TO IT.
BUT ON THE SURFACE I THINK IT'S
A GREAT IDEA BECAUSE ACCESS IS A
GREAT THING, BUT AS JORDAN SAID,
IF YOU PLAN YOUR DAY PROPERLY,
YOU CAN GET TO A LOT OF ALCOHOL.
NOT JUST BEER.
DISTILLERIES ARE POPPING UP ALL
OVER THE PLACE.
WHAT WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT IS
WHAT'S THE EFFECT TO THE PERSON
WHO OWNS THE CONVENIENCE STORE.
I THINK IF IT'S A FAMILY
OWNED... I'M SURROUNDED BY
SEVERAL FAMILY-RUN CONVENIENCE
STORES, AND THEY HAVE THEIR KIDS
WORKING THERE.
SO THEIR KIDS CAN'T HANDLE
ALCOHOL, WHICH MEANS LITTLE
TIMMY IS NO LONGER WORKING
THERE, AND THIS CONVENIENCE
STORE OWNER THAT'S TO BRING
SOMEONE ELSE IN, SO THERE'S AN
ADDITIONAL PAYMENT FOR THEM THEY
HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT THEY
DIDN'T WORRY ABOUT BEFORE.
IF THEY DON'T CARRY ALCOHOL AND
THE GUY DOWN THE STREET DOES,
THEY MAY LOSE THAT BUSINESS.

Steve says IF THERE'S A
16-YEAR-OLD WORKING A REGISTER
AT A CONVENIENCE STORE, SHOULD
THEY SIMPLY PASS AN AMENDMENT TO
THE LAW SAYING THEY SHOULD BE
ALLOWED TO CHECK OUT THE WINE OR
BEER BOTTLES THAT ARE BEING PROPOSED?

Ren says I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY A
WHOLE NEW BUCKET OF PROBLEMS.
NOW YOU'VE GOT TO PAY SOMEONE TO
CREATE THAT DEPARTMENT THAT EVEN
HANDLES THAT PIECE.

Jordan says THIS IS, IF I MAY, ONE OF THE
DIFFICULTIES THAT WE'VE HAD WITH
ALL OF THESE POLICIES.

Ren says YEP.

The caption changes to "Jordan Saint John, @saints_gambit."

Jordan says IT'S THE FACT THAT THEY'RE
NOT PARTICULARLY SUBTLE.
THERE IS NOT A LOT OF THOUGHT
ABOUT KNOCK-ON EFFECTS.
I SEE PEOPLE SUGGESTING THAT
MAYBE THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
IS USING THIS AS A DISTRACTION,
THAT SUGGESTS THAT THERE MIGHT
BE SOME ELEMENT OF STEALTH
INVOLVED.
I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IS THE
CASE.
IT'S NOT JUST NOT VERY SUBTLE.

Pegeen says WHY DON'T WE SLOW DOWN AND
HAVE CONVERSATIONS AND HAVE SOME
CONSULTATIONS AND THINK THROUGH
HOW CAN WE BALANCE THESE
DIFFERENT INTERESTS?
BECAUSE OF COURSE WE WANT TO
HAVE AVAILABILITY OF ALCOHOL,
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, WHAT ARE
THE KINDS OF MEASURES THAT WILL
HELP US REDUCE THOSE RISKS?
SO FOR EXAMPLE, ON THE ONTARIO
PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION AND
OTHER HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS ARE
CALLING FOR A PROVINCIAL ALCOHOL
STRATEGY.
AND SO THAT GIVES US OPPORTUNITY
TO LOOK AT THIS IN A MORE
COMPREHENSIVE WAY AND FIGURE OUT
HOW WE ACHIEVE THAT BALANCE.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, THOUGH?
WHAT'S A PROVINCIAL ALCOHOL STRATEGY?

Pegeen says WELL, AN ALCOHOL STRATEGY
WOULD LOOK AT RAISING AWARENESS.
MOST PEOPLE HAVE NEVER HEARD OF
LOW-RISK DRINKING GUIDELINES.
DOES ANYONE HERE KNOW WHAT THEY
ARE.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THAT?
YEAH, YOU PROBABLY HEARD OF THE
FOOD GUIDE.
SO WE KNOW WHAT A FOOD GUIDE IS.
IT GIVES US ADVICE AND SUPPORT
AROUND HOW CAN WE EAT HEALTHILY.
SO WITH LOW-RISK DRINKING
GUIDELINES, THESE ARE GUIDELINES
THAT HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED BY THE
CANADIAN CENTRE FOR SUBSTANCE
ABUSE.
THEY'VE BEEN ENDORSED BY ALL
FEDERAL, PROVINCIAL AND
TERRITORIAL HEALTH MINISTERS,
AND THEY LAY OUT HOW CAN WE
REDUCE OUR RISKS FROM ALCOHOL.
SO FOR EXAMPLE, AS A WOMAN, I
SHOULD THINK ABOUT NOT DRINKING
MORE THAN TWO DRINKS A DAY, AND
IN A WEEK NO MORE THAN 10.
AND FOR MEN, THAT WOULD BE THREE
DRINKS A DAY AND NO MORE THAN 15.
IF YOU'RE PREGNANT OR
CONSIDERING GETTING PREGNANT, NO
ALCOHOL IS A SAFE AMOUNT.
IF YOU'RE A YOUNG PERSON, AGAIN,
TO BE VERY CAREFUL AND WAIT
UNTIL YOU'RE AT THAT APPROPRIATE AGE.
AND HOW DO YOU DRINK SAFELY?
NOT DRINKING AND DRIVING.
HAVING WATER IN-BETWEEN YOUR
DRINKS, HAVING FOOD.

Steve says YOU'VE JUST IN 20
SECONDS LAID OUT WHAT A STRATEGY
WOULD LOOK LIKE.
THIS DOESN'T SOUND THAT
COMPLICATED TO DO.

Pegeen says WELL, EXACTLY.
THERE'S DIFFERENT COMPONENTS.
WE SHOULD ALSO BE MONITORING AND
KEEPING TRACK AND PULLING
TOGETHER THAT DATA SO WE CAN
BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THE
IMPACT AS WE CHANGE OUR POLICY
APPROACH.

Steve says DO YOU THINK WE'RE
CAPABLE OF A MUCH MORE CONSUMER
CHOICE-ORIENTED SYSTEM?

Heather says I THINK SO.
TO BE HONEST, I THINK IT'S BEING
DONE IN MOST OF THE WORLD, AND
ONTARIO IS MORE THE EXCEPTION,
NOT REALLY THE RULE IN TERMS OF
POLICY.
SO I THINK WHAT THE FORD
GOVERNMENT IS DOING RIGHT NOW IS
MOSTLY JUST MODERNIZING OUR
ALCOHOL STRATEGY.
WHAT I DO AGREE WITH IS THAT I
DO THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE
EMPHASIS ON EDUCATION.
I DIDN'T KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT
THE DEFINITION OF HEAVY DRINKING
WAS UNTIL THIS MORNING, UNTIL I
LOOKED IT UP.
AND I THINK THAT IN TERMS OF
ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION, WE SEE THAT
CULTURAL FACTORS ARE REALLY,
REALLY HUGE IN TERMS OF
DICTATING HOW MUCH PEOPLE DRINK,
AND I THINK THAT NEEDS TO BE A
LARGER PART OF THE CONVERSATION.

Steve says JORDAN, WHAT DOES A
HEALTHY DRINKING CULTURE LOOK
LIKE TO YOU?

Jordan says WELL, FOR ME PERSONALLY I
TAKE ABOUT FOUR DAYS OFF A WEEK.

[Laughter].

Steve says HE'S SO DEAD PAN.
I WASN'T SURE IF HE MEANT THAT OR NOT.

Jordan says WELL, FOR ME, A HEALTHY
DRINKING CULTURE IS PROBABLY ONE
OF MODERATION.
THERE IS SOMETHING THAT I TELL
THE KIDS IN MY CLASS AT GEORGE
BROWN.
BEER IS MEANT TO BE DRUNK.
YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT.
I THINK EDUCATION IS A
SIGNIFICANT COMPONENT HERE
BECAUSE YOU WANT PEOPLE TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE
INGESTING.
AND YOU ALSO WANT THEM TO
UNDERSTAND THE PHYSICAL
RAMIFICATIONS OF DOING THAT.
AND BEYOND A CERTAIN POINT,
PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR
OWN BEHAVIOUR, BUT GIVING THEM
GOOD INFORMATION IS ALWAYS A
REALLY GOOD CHOICE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says WELL, MATT, I THINK I KNOW
HOW PEGEEN WOULD ANSWER THIS
QUESTION, BUT I WANT TO KNOW HOW
YOU WOULD ANSWER THE QUESTION.
IF WE MAKE THE AVAILABILITY OF
ALCOHOL MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT AS
IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE ABOUT TO DO,
IS THERE GOING TO BE MORE PUBLIC
DRUNKENNESS AND PROBLEMS WITH
ALCOHOL IN THIS PROVINCE?

Matt says ANECDOTALLY I DON'T BELIEVE SO.
I KNOW THAT LAST YEAR THE BEER
CANADA RELEASED THEIR REPORT,
AND BEER SALES, AND THIS IS NOT
ALL ALCOHOL SALES, BUT BEER
SALES WERE DOWN NATIONALLY ABOUT
0.3 percent.
NOT SIGNIFICANTLY, BUT THEY'RE
NOT UP.
AS WELL, ONTARIO HAS THE LOWEST
CONSUMPTION PER CAPITA OF BEER,
AND THAT'S AFTER BEER WAS PUT
INTO GROCERY STORES.
WE SUDDENLY HAD ANOTHER 150, 200
OUTLETS FOR BEER SALES, AND NO
ONE WAS GOING OUT AND BUYING
THAT MUCH MORE BEER, IF ANY
MORE.
AND SO I THINK, YOU KNOW, YOU
CAN EXTRAPOLATE THAT OUT.
TO THE IDEA OF DRINKING IN
PARKS, PEOPLE ARE ALREADY DOING
THAT.
THAT'S JUST BEHAVIOUR.

Steve says DOING IT ILLEGALLY.

Matt says EXACTLY.
WE LEGALIZED MARIJUANA AND WE'RE
ALLOWED TO SMOKE MARIJUANA IN
PARKS, MY UNDERSTANDING THE
PURPOSE OF CONSUMING MARIJUANA
IS TO GET INTOXICATED.
IT WOULD BE HYPOCRITICAL TO SAY
YOU CAN'T ENJOY A BEER FROM
LOCAL BREWERIES BUT YOU CAN
SMOKE A JOINT.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, BY
ALLOWING THAT, WE CAN REDIRECT
THE RESOURCES THAT WE'RE WASTING
BY ENFORCING SILLY DRINKING
TICKETS TO AREAS THAT NEED MORE
OF THOSE RESOURCES.

Steve says PEGEEN, WHAT ABOUT THAT?
IT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE YOU CAN
DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE BETWEEN
AVAILABILITY AND INCREASED
DRUNKENNESS AND PROBLEMS.

Pegeen says IT'S INTERESTING THAT YOU
WOULD GO TO A VERY VISIBLE SIGN
OF PROBLEMATIC USE.
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS
INVISIBLE TO MOST OF US.
FOR MOST OF US, WE DON'T HAVE AN
ISSUE WITH THAT.
IF WE GO BACK TO THE CORNER
STORE, LOOK AT ALL THE STAFF WE
HAVE SEEN IN LCBOS.
SO NOW THE POLICE ASSOCIATIONS
ARE WORRIED ABOUT CORNER STORES,
AND THEY ARE CONCERNED THAT
THERE WILL BE THEFT FOR SALES ON
THE BLACK MARKET.
IT'S NOT ABOUT ONE PERSON TRYING
TO GET ACCESS TO THAT.
MEANWHILE, BACK TO THE HEALTH
ISSUES, MANY WOMEN I TALK TO
HAVE NO AWARENESS ABOUT THE LINK
BETWEEN BREAST CANCER AND ALCOHOL.
SO AGAIN, WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO
MODERATE AND UNDERSTAND THE RISK
IS BECAUSE OF ALL THE HEALTH
CONSEQUENCES.
SO WE'VE HEARD OF LIVER DISEASE,
BUT WE DON'T THINK ENOUGH ABOUT
FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER
OR INJURY OR MENTAL HEALTH
DISORDER.
SO I THINK OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE
ABOUT ALCOHOL IS WE DON'T REALLY
WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM
THAT WE HAVE.
ON THE ONE HAND, MOST OF US CAN
DRINK RESPONSIBLY, BUT WE'RE
SEEING 20 percent THAT HAVE PROBLEMATIC
USE, SO THAT'S... AND WE'RE
SEEING INCREASE OF WOMEN
ESPECIALLY OF BINGE DRINKING.
SO ON THE ONE HAND WE'RE SAYING
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL, YET IF WE
LOOK AT THOSE NOT ONLY THE
HEALTH HARMS, THERE ARE SOCIAL
IMPACTS.
THERE'S IMPACTS FOR THE CRIMINAL
SYSTEM, THE LEGAL SYSTEM, AND
ALSO WORKPLACES, AND THAT
AFFECTS OUR PRODUCTIVITY AND OUR
ECONOMIC IMPACT.

Steve says REN, CAN I ASK YOU
ABOUT THAT?
PARTICULARLY WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
NOWADAYS, THE NEW... WELL, IT'S
PROBABLY NOT THAT NEW.
I'M JUST FINDING OUT ABOUT IT NEWLY.
THE CRAZE IS NOT TO GO TO
PARTIES AND GET DRUNK.
THE CRAZE IS TO ACTUALLY START
DRINKING BEFORE YOU GO TO THE
PARTY AND THEN CONTINUE
DRINKING, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE A
TEENAGER, AT THE PARTY.
HOW WORRIED ARE YOU THAT
WHATEVER THESE NEW CHANGES
ENTAIL WILL ENCOURAGE MORE OF THAT?

Ren says THE GOOD OLD FASHIONED PRE-DRINK?

Steve says THE PRE-DRINK.

Ren says I REMEMBER THE PRE-DRINK FROM
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, BUT I DON'T
THINK THAT THAT'S A THING THAT'S
GOING TO CHANGE.
I THINK WHEN YOU START SAYING
YOU CAN DRINK IN PUBLIC SPACES,
THAT'S GOING TO BLUR THE LINE OF
WHERE THAT PUBLIC SPACE IS.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DRINKING IN
A PARK, BUT AGAIN, THAT'S ONE OF
THOSE THINGS THAT EVERYONE'S
GOING TO DO.
LIKE YOU'RE SAYING.
ALREADY HAPPENS AT TRINITY
BELLWOOD.
WHEN THE WEATHER IS NICE,
THERE'S BEER CANS EVERYWHERE.
SO I THINK THAT IT'S EDUCATION,
AND IT'S TALKING TO KIDS OF
CERTAIN BACKGROUNDS THAT WE'RE
NOT TALKING TO.
SO AGAIN, IF WE'RE... YOU KNOW,
IF THERE IS THE EQUIVALENT OF
THE FOOD GUIDE ABOUT ALCOHOL, WE
NEED TO BE TAKING THIS OUT TO
GROUPS OF KIDS, OF CERTAIN
BACKGROUNDS, THAT WE'RE NOT
USUALLY TALKING TO, RIGHT?
SO LET'S NOT TALK TO NECESSARILY
THE HIPSTER KIDS WHO ARE AT
TRINITY BELLWOOD WHO ALREADY GET
IT.
LET'S CATCH THEM YOUNGER AND
THOSE KIDS WHO ARE PRE-DRINKING
IN THEIR BASEMENTS AT THEIR
PARENTS' PLACES.

Steve says JORDAN, DONE IF YOU
LOOK AROUND THE WORLD OR LOOK
AROUND NORTH AMERICA, DO YOU
KNOW OF ANOTHER JURISDICTION
THAT YOU THINK HITS THE BALANCE
PROPERLY BETWEEN CAUTION AND
AVAILABILITY?

Jordan says WELL, NOT REALLY.
I MEAN, THE ONTARIO SYSTEM IS SO
SORT OF OBSCURE.
SO MANY OTHER JURISDICTIONS HAVE
EITHER TOTAL AVAILABILITY, WHERE
IT'S JUST AVAILABLE IN
CONVENIENCE STORES AND
EVERYWHERE.
THERE ARE EXAMPLES IN THE UNITED
STATES WHERE THEY HAVE
STATE-CONTROLLED LIQUOR STORES.
PENNSYLVANIA COMES TO MIND.
I BELIEVE THERE IS A PACKAGE
STORE KIND OF SITUATION, WHERE
YOU'RE ALLOWED TO BUY BEER IN
SIX PACKS BUT NOT IN SINGLES.
THESE KIND OF FALL UNDER THE
HEADINGS OF THOSE NEWSPAPER
COLUMNS YOU SEE PERIODICALLY
ABOUT OUTDATED LAWS IN VARIOUS
PLACES.
LIKE IT IS ILLEGAL TO WALK A PIG
DOWN THE SIDEWALK IN BUTTE,
MONTANA.
I THINK THAT SOME MODERNIZATION
IS PROBABLY NEEDED, BUT I'M NOT
ENTIRELY SURE THAT WE CAN LOOK
TO OTHER MARKETS TO FIND THAT
BALANCE.
I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE
VERY MUCH HAVE TO NAVIGATE
OURSELVES.
AND SHOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO
DO SO.

Steve says MM-HM.
LET'S READ THIS FROM "THE GLOBE
AND MAIL" HERE. THIS IS JUST
FROM A FEW WEEKS AGO...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "A rocky relationship." The quote reads "Ontarians' relationship with alcohol is already spinning out of control. The most recent available data, from 2014, estimates that alcohol was directly responsible for 5147 deaths in Ontario, or just over 5 per cent of all deaths that year. In the same year there were 32897 hospitalizations due to alcohol across Ontario."
Quoted from Daniel Myran, The Globe and Mail. April 12, 2019.

Steve says SOUNDS TO ME LIKE IT'S... BASED
ON THESE NUMBERS, IT'S A
REASONABLE QUESTION TO ASK
WHETHER OR NOT WE CAN HANDLE OUR
ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION.
CLEARLY SOME OF US CAN'T.
WHAT DO WE THINK?

Heather says I MEAN, I THINK THAT IT'S
KIND OF A PATERNALISTIC ATTITUDE
TO TAKE TO SUGGEST THAT WE CAN'T
HANDLE OUR OWN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION.

Steve says SOME PEOPLE CLEARLY CAN'T.

Heather says I SUPPOSE, BUT SUBJECTING
EVERYONE TO A SYSTEM THAT DATES
BACK TO PROHIBITION IS NOT
NECESSARILY THE WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS.
THE WAY TO DEAL WITH IT IS TO
MAKE INDIVIDUALS AWARE OF WHAT
PROBLEM DRINKING LOOKS LIKE, THE
EFFECTS THAT WOULD HAVE IN THEIR
OWN LIFE, AND MAKE EDUCATION A
PART OF THE STRATEGY AND EMPOWER
INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE THEIR
DECISIONS FOR THEMSELVES.

Steve says MATT, HOW DO WE GET
THESE NUMBERS DOWN?

Matt says I THINK SO THAT EXACT POINT,
IT'S NOT ABOUT PLACING
RESTRICTIONS ON WHO CAN ACCESS
ALCOHOL OR WHICH RESPONSIBLE
ADULTS CAN ACCESS ALCOHOL.
IT'S ABOUT PUTTING RESOURCES
INTO EDUCATION, INTO HEALTH
CARE, THINGS UNFORTUNATELY THE
FORD GOVERNMENT SEEMS TO BE
HELL-BENT ON CUTTING, AND
ENCOURAGING RESPONSIBLE
CONSUMPTION.
THAT'S ALSO ON THE PRODUCERS AS
WELL.
IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO
ENSURE THAT WE'RE PUTTING A
MESSAGE OUT THERE THAT, YES,
ENJOY OUR PRODUCTS, BUT ENJOY
THEM RESPONSIBLY.
DON'T GO PRE-GAMING AND CHUGGING
TOO MUCH OF THIS.
ENJOY ONE OR TWO IN A PARK OR AT
A PICNIC OR OVER DINNER AND
ENJOY THE PRODUCT FOR WHAT IT
IS, AND NOT FOR THE, YOU KNOW,
UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS IT MAY HAVE
ON YOU.

Steve says PEGEEN, DO YOU THINK
ALCOHOL MANUFACTURERS ARE DOING
A GOOD ENOUGH JOB AT GETTING
THAT MESSAGE OUT?

Pegeen says I THINK THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT EVERYONE HAS TO PULL TOGETHER ON.
AS YOU SAY, IN THE INDUSTRY,
WHAT ROLE THEY CAN PLAY TO RAISE
AWARENESS.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE LCBO, THEY'RE
CHALLENGING THOSE THAT ARE UNDER
AGE, AND THAT SHIFTS TO CORNER
STORES, HOW IS THAT GOING TO
WORK.
AT RESTAURANTEURS ARE TRAINED IN
SAFE SERVE TO MAKE SURE THOSE
THAT ARE SERVING, THEY KNOW WHEN
TO CUT THEM OFF.
SO I THINK IT'S A SOCIETAL ISSUE
AND IT NEEDS ALL OF US PULLING
TOGETHER, BUT GOVERNMENT DOES
HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY, AND WE DO
HAVE A LOT OF INTERNATIONAL,
NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL DATA
ABOUT WHAT KIND OF POLICY LEVERS
CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
SO IT'S NOT NECESSARILY THIS ONE
CHANGE OR THAT CHANGE.
IT'S MORE OF A COMBINATION OF
ALL OF THEM AND THE SPEED AT
WHICH IT'S HAPPENING.
AS I SAY, IF WE CAN BRING THESE
DIFFERENT INTERESTS TOGETHER AND
TALK THROUGH HOW DO WE WORK
TOGETHER TO TACKLE THE NEGATIVE
EFFECTS AND REDUCE THOSE HARMS,
BECAUSE IT'S AFFECTING NOT ONLY
OUR HEALTH CARE COSTS, OUR
ECONOMY AND OTHER PARTS OF
SOCIETIES.

Steve says DO YOU HAVE A VIEW,
JORDAN, AS TO WHAT GOVERNMENT'S
ROLE OUGHT TO BE HERE IN TERMS
OF MINDING OUR PS AND QS WHEN IT
COMES TO ALCOHOL?

The caption changes to "A nanny state or important oversight?"

Jordan says DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE
BUSINESS IN THE TAPROOMS OF THE NATION?
YES, I THINK THEY DO.
THERE'S CERTAINLY THE SENSE THAT
YOU SHOULD HAVE REGULATION
RESPONSIBLY, THAT IT SHOULD BE
DETERMINED PROBABLY BASED ON
PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS.
LIKE IF YOU'VE GOT THE SYSTEM OF
LAWS THAT WE HAVE CURRENTLY,
WE'RE TWEAKING THEM WITH A
COUPLE OF THESE THINGS.
FOR INSTANCE, THE 9 A.M. OPENING
RULE, PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO GET
SPECIAL EXEMPTIONS FOR THAT FOR
THE WORLD CUP.
THAT'S ALREADY HAPPENING.
THE HAPPY HOUR THING.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT BARS ARE
ALREADY DOING.
SO IT MAKES SENSE TO SORT OF
LIBERALIZE THAT A TOUCH, BUT
THAT'S EXACTLY THE KIND OF THING
YOU WANT.
YOU WANT THAT MINA.
YOU WANT THE ABILITY TO MAKE
CHANGES IN AN INCREMENTAL WAY.
I DON'T THINK YOU CAN SAY TEAR
THE SYSTEM DOWN, CONVENIENCE
STORES, 9,000 OF THEM TOMORROW.
THAT'S NOT REALLY GOOD POLICY.
GOOD POLICY REQUIRES DATA AND
ACTUAL FORETHOUGHT.

Pegeen says WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT THE
ROLE OF MUNICIPALITIES, BECAUSE
THEY DO HAVE A ROLE NOW IN TERMS
OF WHERE BARS AND OTHER OUTLETS
ARE GOING TO BE LOCATED.
THERE'S DIFFERENT KINDS OF
BYLAWS THAT THEY CAN PASS.
I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT
THAT THESE KINDS OF CHANGES
EMPOWER MUNICIPALITIES, BECAUSE
THEY PLAY THAT ROLE IN BALANCING
THE DIFFERENT INTERESTS IN THE COMMUNITY.

Jordan says AND THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT COMES UP IN SCHEDULE 38 OF
THAT PROPOSED BILL, WHICH IS THE
PUBLIC PLACES IS THE ACTUAL
LANGUAGE.
IT'S NOT PARKS.
AND IT'S NOT JUST FOR
TAILGATING.
IT IS DOWNLOADED ON TO THE
MUNICIPALITIES TO DETERMINE
EXACTLY WHAT PUBLIC PLACE WILL
BE AVAILABLE FOR THE SERVICE OF
ALCOHOL.
AND THAT IS A VERY WIDE PAL AT
TO PAINT FROM.
YOU COULD THEATRICALLY MAKE ALL
OF PARRY SOUND LICENSED.
YOU COULD LICENSE A SIDEWALK
OUTSIDE OF A PUB.
YOU COULD DO ANYTHING WITH A
PUBLIC SPACE.
IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MUNICIPAL
GOVERNMENT.
IT'S KIND OF AN INTERESTING
SITUATION.

Steve says AS YOU DO THE MATH, DO
YOU BELIEVE THAT THE COSTS...
AND WE JUST SAW SOME OF THEM
HERE AS IT RELATES TO DEATHS AND
HOSPITALIZATIONS, DO YOU THINK
THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH
ALCOHOL ARE MADE UP FOR BY THE
INCREASED AVAILABILITY AND
THE... YOU KNOW, THE EASIER TIME
PEOPLE WILL HAVE GOING FORWARD
GETTING ALCOHOL THAT THEY WANT?
AND MOST OF WHOM WILL DRINK RESPONSIBLY AND SAFELY WITH.

The caption changes to "Impacts on health."

Heather says I THINK SO, YES, BUT AGAIN, THE... IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FROM
JUST AN ECONOMICS PERSPECTIVE TO
PARSE OUT WHAT'S CULTURAL AND
WHAT'S NOT.
I'VE DONE SOME RESEARCH IN THIS
KIND OF FIELDS BEFORE RELATED TO
IMPAIRED DRIVING, FOR INSTANCE,
AND FOUND THAT WHILE ALBERTA'S
IMPAIRED DRIVING RATE DID GO UP
AS THEY PRIVATIZED THEIR SALES,
IT WENT UP LESS THAN IT WOULD
HAVE USING SOME COUNTER-...
ANALYSIS.
IT WENT UP LESS THAN IT WOULD
HAVE HAD THEY KEPT WITH THEIR
STATE LIQUOR STORES.
SO REALLY, IT'S REALLY DIFFICULT
TO DO THIS KIND OF ANALYSIS, BUT
UNLESS THERE'S STRONG EVIDENCE
SUGGESTING THAT WE'LL BE
LAUNCHED INTO TURMOIL TOMORROW,
I'M TEMPTED TO SUPPORT POLICIES
THAT ENHANCE CONSUMER CHOICE.

Steve says OKAY.
PEGEEN, I WANT TO GO TO YOU ON THAT.
PRESUMABLY, IF THERE ARE... I
THINK THIS IS AN IF.
IF THERE ARE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES
TO INCREASING THE AVAILABLE OF
SUPPLY AND OPPORTUNITY, ARE
THEY, YOU SUSPECT, GOING TO BE
OUTWEIGHED TO THE COSTS TO
PUBLIC HEALTH?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Pegeen says WELL, AGAIN, THERE'S SO MANY MYTHS ABOUT THIS ISSUE.
RIGHT NOW WE KNOW THAT SOMETHING
LIKE 5 BILLION DOLLARS IS SPENT ON THE COST AND HARMS RELATED TO ALCOHOL.
AND YET THE REVENUE COMING IN IS
IN THE 3 BILLION DOLLARS MARK, SO WE'RE
SPENDING MORE ON THE HARMS THAN
WE ARE IN THE REVENUE THAT'S
GENERATED FROM SALES.
SO WE'VE GOT A GAP.
AND I THINK THE BIGGEST ISSUE
WITH ALCOHOL IS EVEN THE WAY WE
TALK ABOUT IT.
SO MOST OF US HAVE PROBABLY BEEN
AFFECTED BY SOMEONE WHO HAS
PROBLEMATIC USE.
THEY SAY SOMETHING LIKE FOR
EVERY PERSON WITH PROBLEMATIC
USE THERE'S THREE OTHERS THAT
ARE AFFECTED, AND WE DON'T
REALLY LIKE TO TALK ABOUT IT,
AND SO THIS WHOLE ISSUE OF
HARMS, IT'S REALLY INVISIBLE, SO
WE'RE THINKING ABOUT WHAT'S THE
BIG DEAL.
THESE ARE CHANGES HAPPENING
ANYWAY, BUT WE RARELY TAKE THE
TIME TO LOOK AT THIS DATA AND
LOOK AT WHO IS BEING AFFECTED,
HOW ARE THEY BEING AFFECTED,
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT FACTORS
BEING AFFECTED AND WHAT ARE THE
COSTS?
I'M PLEASED THAT YOU'RE BRINGING
THIS TO THE PUBLIC ATTENTION
BECAUSE I FEEL IT'S A TOPIC THAT
IS SO EMBEDDED IN OUR CULTURE.
LIKE, OH, I'M HAVING PROBLEMS.
HAVE A DRINK.
I'M TIRED, I'LL HAVE A DRINK.
WE SEE ALCOHOL AS THE SOLUTION
TO SO MANY ISSUES.
AND SO IT'S JUST COMMONPLACE,
AND OH IT'S A RIGHT OF PASSAGE.
AND SO NOT SAYING, OF COURSE,
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU WANT TO
ENJOY, ESPECIALLY ONTARIO
PRODUCTS, BUT LET'S BE MORE
KNOWLEDGEABLE AND AWARE AND HAVE
POLICIES THAT CAN HELP REDUCE
THE PROBLEMATIC USE.

Steve says MATT, IF WE THINK,
THOUGH, ABOUT ALCOHOL ON A
CONTINUUM, AND IF WE ASSUME THAT
SORT OF ONE END OF THE CONTINUUM
IS PROHIBITION AND AT THE OTHER
END IS, LET'S SAY, 1860S, 1870S
ONTARIO WHERE, YOU KNOW,
ANYTHING GOES.
IT WAS A TAVERN ON EVERY CORNER
AND PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF
DRUNKENNESS ALL THE TIME, WHERE
ARE WE NOW AND HOW FAR SHOULD WE
BE GOING IN ANY PARTICULAR
DIRECTION?

The caption changes to "Finding a balance."

Matt says YEAH, I MEAN, WE'RE
DEFINITELY NOT THE 1860S MODEL.
I THINK THE VAST MAJORITY OF
ALCOHOL CONSUMERS ARE USING
ALCOHOL TO COMPLEMENT THEIR
EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES.
SO THEY ARE ENJOYING A NICE
MEAL, PLAYING IN A SOFTBALL
TOURNAMENT, WATCHING THE JAYS'
GAME, AND I THINK THAT'S WHERE
WE WANT ALCOHOL TO BE
POSITIONED, THAT IT SHOULD BE A
COMPLEMENT TO YOUR LIFE IN THE
SAME WAY THAT SNACKS ARE AND THE
SAME WAY THAT ANYTHING CAN BE.
BUT WE CAN'T DENY THE FACT THAT
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE
PROBLEMATIC USE, AS THEY DO WITH
ANYTHING.
BUT AGAIN, I DON'T THINK THAT
PROHIBITION IS THE ANSWER TO
THESE PROBLEMS.
WE SHOWED THAT WITH MARIJUANA
USE.
PEOPLE WERE CONSUMING MARIJUANA
REGARDLESS.
IF YOU LEGALIZE IT, THEN YOU CAN
CONTROL IT A BIT BETTER, AND YOU
CAN DEDICATE THOSE RESOURCES TO
THE MEDICAL NEEDS, THE EDUCATION
NEEDS.
SO I DO THINK A LOT OF THESE
LIBERALIZATIONS OF USE ARE
GREAT, BUT WE DO NEED TO BE
CAUTIOUS AND NOT JUST OPEN THE
FLOODGATES AND LET ANYBODY SELL
MOONSHINE HOOCH OUT OF THEIR
BATHTUB.

Steve says HOW ABOUT THAT, REN?
HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE'VE
LIBERALIZED ENOUGH?

The caption changes to "Ren Navarro, @beer_diversity."

Ren says I THINK WE'LL DO THE SLIPPERY
SLOPE A BIT AND SLOWLY CLAW OUR
WAY BACK UP.
WE'VE ALL SAID EDUCATION IS SUCH
A KEY THING, BUT THERE'S SUCH
HUGE GROUPS OF PEOPLE THAT DON'T
EVEN... THEY ARE NOT EVEN
AFFECTED BY ALCOHOL, RELIGIOUS
BACKGROUNDS OR THEY'VE HAD
ISSUED IN THE PAST.
AND SO THEY ARE LEFT OUT OF
THIS.
SO HOW DO THEY BENEFIT?
WELL, THEY PROBABLY DON'T.
AND YOU KNOW, SO US BEING LIKE,
WELL, I HOPE WE CAN DRINK IN THE
CORNER STORE, WELL, WHO DO WE
LEAVE OUT?
AND I THINK THAT, YEAH, WE NEED
TO... WE DEFINITELY NEED TO
UPDATE THESE LAWS BECAUSE
PROHIBITION IS A REALLY LONG
TIME AGO AND THINGS NEED TO GET
UPDATED, BUT WE NEED TO DO IT IN
A REALLY SMART WAY, AND I DON'T
THINK WE'RE THERE YET.

Steve says JORDAN, THIS MAY BE
THE SORT OF MOST SIGNIFICANT
LIBERALIZATION IN, YOU KNOW,
MANY, MANY DECADES.
HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE HAVE
LIBERALIZED ENOUGH?

Jordan says WELL, POSSIBLY WHEN THE CRAFT BREWERS STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT
SHELF SPACE.
THAT WILL BE ON... NEVER, YES.

[Laughter].

Steve says THIS WILL BE ON THE THIRD OF NEVER YOU SAID?

Jordan says YES.
I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU
KNOW THAT YOU HAVE HIT THE EXACT
BALANCE.
I KNOW THE PROHIBITION DOESN'T
WORK.
LETTING EVERYBODY JUST TRY
EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE WILL
PROBABLY NOT WORK EITHER.
I THINK THAT WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
IS CALMLY AND RATIONALLY MOVE
FORWARD FROM THE SPACE THAT
YOU'RE IN NOW, HAVE A STATED
OBJECTIVE THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO
REACH, LIKE BALANCE, AND THEN
PROBABLY MOVE TOWARDS IT THROUGH
LEGISLATION.
SOME GOVERNMENTS ARE MORE
CAPABLE OF THAT THAN OTHERS.

Steve says THE DRINKING AGE IN
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO RIGHT
NOW IS 19.
DOES IT BELONG THERE?
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW, PEGEEN?

Pegeen says THAT'S GOOD.

Steve says YOU'RE OKAY WITH THAT?

Pegeen says YES.

Steve says ANYBODY HERE THINK
THE DRINKING AGE NEEDS TO GET
HIGHER OR LOWER?

Pegeen says OH, LET'S GO HIGHER.

Heather says I ACTUALLY DO THINK THAT IT
SHOULD BE 18, AND THE REASON FOR
THAT IS MAINLY FROM A HARM
REDUCTION PERSPECTIVE.
IF YOU CONSIDER THAT PEOPLE ARE
GOING TO UNIVERSITIES WHEN THEY
ARE 17 OR 18 YEARS OLD, THEY'RE
GOING TO UNIVERSITY AT THAT AGE,
AND IT IS WAY SAFER FOR PEOPLE
TO CONSUME ALCOHOL IN BARS.
THEY ARE PUT AT A WAY LOWER RISK
OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IF THEY ARE
CONSUMING ALCOHOL IN BARS AND
BARTENDERS ARE SERVING THEM THAN
IF THEY'RE GOING TO HOUSE PARTIES.
SO FOR THAT REASON, I DO BELIEVE
THAT THE ALCOHOL... THE DRINKING
AGE SHOULD BE 18, JUST TO HELP
REDUCE THE RATES OF SEXUAL
ASSAULT RELATED TO ALCOHOL USE.

Pegeen says IF I COULD JUST COME BACK IN ON THIS AGE ISSUE. I JUMPED
AT THE HIGHER AGE BECAUSE
THERE'S ALSO ISSUES AROUND
CANNABIS AS WELL, AND SO THIS
MAKES IT CHALLENGING IF YOU HAVE
DIFFERENT AGES FOR DIFFERENT
THINGS.
BUT THE PART THAT WE'RE NOT
TALKING ABOUT IS UNDERSTANDING
THE BRAIN DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG
PEOPLE AND WHAT THE IMPACT IS.
SO I AGREE THERE ARE ISSUES YOU
WANT TO KEEP IN MIND AROUND HARM
REDUCTION, BUT AT THE SAME TIME
WHAT'S THE SIGNALS THAT WE'RE
SENDING TO YOUNG PEOPLE THAT
THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT DOES THAT
MEAN IN TERMS OF, YOU KNOW,
MENTAL HEALTH AND WHAT HAVE YOU.

Steve says BUT HERE'S THE THING.
IF YOU WANT THE DRINKING AGE AT
21, YOU'RE BASICALLY SAYING TO
90 percent OF ONTARIO YOU'RE NOT
ALLOWED TO HAVE AN ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGE LEGALLY WHILE YOU'RE A
COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY STUDENT.
AND THAT'S JUST NOT ENFORCEABLE.

Pegeen says THAT'S WHY WHEN YOU SAID 19 I SAID, YEAH, LET'S GO WITH 19,
BECAUSE A NUMBER OF HEALTH
GROUPS HAVE BEEN ADVOCATING FOR
21, AND IT IS VERY TOUGH BECAUSE
THE EXISTING CULTURAL CONTEXT.
BUT THERE ARE SOME STATES IN THE
U.S. THAT ARE LOOKING AT CAN WE
RAISE SALE OF TOBACCO, CANNABIS,
CAN WE RAISE IT TO THAT AGE
BECAUSE OF THE HEALTH IMPACT FOR
THAT DEVELOPING BRAIN UNDER 25
EVEN, BUT OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE TO
FIND A WAY, A SOLUTION THAT'S
GOING TO BE WORKABLE WITHIN YOUR
COMMUNITY.

Steve says REN, IF SOMEONE FROM
THE GOVERNMENT IS WATCHING RIGHT
NOW, WOULD YOU URGE THEM TO
CHANGE THE LEGAL DRINKING AGE IN
THE PROVINCE?

Ren says NO, I WOULDN'T.
I MEAN, I GET THE WHOLE HEALTH
PIECE BEHIND IT, BUT WHEN I WAS
18, I WAS SKEDADDLING OFF TO
MONTREAL TO HAVE A BEER OR TWO.
SO I THINK IF YOU CHANGE THAT
AGE, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE
RISKIER BEHAVIOURS BECAUSE
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE THESE KIDS
SAYING, WELL, YOU KNOW, IF I
GIVE YOU 20 BUCKS, CAN YOU GO
BUY ME A CASE OF BEER OR A
MICKEY OR, OR, OR, AND AGAIN
WE'RE GOING BACK INTO THAT
BASEMENT AND SUDDENLY NO ONE
SEES THEM AND GOD ONLY KNOWS
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
IT'S ABOUT EDUCATING.
I DON'T THINK THAT SAYING TO
SOMEONE YOU'RE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO
DO THIS, BECAUSE THE SECOND YOU
CHANGE THAT, THEY'RE GOING TO
RUN OUT AND DO IT ANYWAY.

Steve says MATT, YOUR VIEW ON 19?

Matt says I AGREE WITH REN.
WHEN I WAS IN UNIVERSITY YOU'RE
FINDING THE GUY THAT EITHER IS
19 OR HAS A FAKE ID TO GO TO THE
LCBO AND BUY YOU A MICKEY OF
JACK DANIELS AND THEN YOU'RE
DRINKING THAT WHOLE THING IN THE
NIGHT BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW
WHAT NORMAL CONSUMPTION OF THAT,
AND THEN YOU'RE HAVING ISSUES.
WHEREAS IF YOU CAN GO TO A BAR
AT 18 OR, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN GO
TO A BAR WITH YOUR PARENTS WHEN
YOU'RE AT THAT AGE AND ENJOY
RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION, THEN
YOU'RE JUST GOING TO LEARN THOSE
HABITS.

Pegeen says I WAS JUST THINKING...
NON-ISSUE BECAUSE THIS IS NOT
WHAT'S BEING DISCUSSED.
THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF MEASURES.
WHAT'S MORE WORRISOME IS
INCREASING DISTRIBUTION TO
CORNER STORES.
SO YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO
SPEND TIME ON SOMETHING THAT
IS NOT EVEN SOMETHING THE
GOVERNMENT'S CONSIDERING.

Steve says WELL, IT'S NOT UNDER
CONSIDERATION TODAY, BUT THEY
HAVE INDICATED THEY ARE PREPARED
TO, YOU KNOW, TAKE DOWN SOME
FAIRLY SACRED COWS, SO YOU NEVER
KNOW.

Jordan says SHE MAY BE SUGGESTING THAT WE SHOULDN'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS.

Steve says YOU NEVER KNOW.

[Laughter].

Pegeen says EXACTLY.

Steve says JORDAN ST. JOHN, YOU
DEFINITELY WIN THE CONTEST FOR
THE MOST CLEVER FUNNY LINES ON A
PROGRAM.
WELL DONE, WELL DONE.

Pegeen says I DIDN'T?

[Laughter]

The caption changes to "Producer: Katie O'Connor, @KA_OConnor; Student Intern: Maria Sarrouh."

Steve says NO, HE WAS A LITTLE
CLEVERER, I HAVE TO SAY.
ANYWAY, GOOD OF ALL OF YOU TO
JOIN US ON TVO TONIGHT. THANKS
SO MUCH FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Ontario's Alcohol Affair