Thursday February 10, 2011

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday February 10, 2011

Hudak longs for days of buck-a-beer

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak may miss the days of “buck-a-beer,” but Premier Dalton McGuinty says the Liberal government will not lower the minimum beer price.

Hudak made headlines Monday when he told reporters he lamented a 2008 decision that raised the minimum price of a 24-pack of beer to $25.60. It has since risen to $25.95, plus deposit.

“There are many folks, and myself included, who look forward to the $24 two-four on the May 24 weekend, that is now something in the past,” Hudak said.

“I do hear from people who say ‘C’mon, I can’t even get a buck-a-beer in the province anymore thanks to Dalton McGuinty’s policies?'”

But speaking on Tuesday in London, Ont., McGuinty said there’s an arm’s-length process at the LCBO to determine the minimum price for beer, and he has no intention of interfering with it.

McGuinty called the beer price debate a bright, shiny object to take attention away from the Tories’ lack of a campaign platform.

The move to raise the minimum price of beer in 2008 came in response to lobbying by the brewing industry after some companies, like Lakeport Brewing Co., began undercutting some of the major brands by pricing 24-packs of beer at $24.

Hudak would not commit to making cheaper beer part of the Tories’ platform in the provincial election set for Oct. 6. (Source: CBC News)