Artist Tribune

Chastity’s Brandon Williams on Doug Ford’s buck-a-beer: “Capitalizing on the vulnerable vote is heinous abuse of power”

The Whitby, Ontario artist pulls apart Doug Ford's potentially harmful plan to drop the floor price on alcohol.

August 8, 2018

Doug Ford,

Alcohol use is a mental health conversation, and other parts of the world are tuning in to the needs of people in crisis. Price-based alcohol intervention works. I’m writing to urge you to reconsider your plan to drop Ontario’s floor price on alcohol. Represent the people of Ontario with policy that will help save lives. Those who drink alcohol heavily tend to drink cheaper alcohol. You are putting at-risk people in more danger by cheapening the substance that’s being abused.

In Canada, there are more hospitalizations for alcohol than for heart attacks. Provinces that enact evidence-based policy are able to reduce consumption and carefully intervene. In 2002, the cost of alcohol related harm was $14 billion to the healthcare system. As a conservative, don’t you believe in saving the tax payers money? Minimum alcohol pricing would ease pressure on OHIP.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon has warned, 3 of 5 people in North Western Ontario are at risk for excessive alcohol use. He’s noted that this has been from a culture of social enabling, normalization. With this policy, you are further normalizing this.

This past May, Scotland became the first country to enact minimum alcohol pricing, which raised the price per unit With the most staggering stats in the UK, 22 deaths per week are linked to alcohol in Scotland. This measure hopes to save 392 lives in the next 5 years.

Like many of us, you’ve seen the effect that addiction has had on your family. Neither you or I drink alcohol, and neither you or I should appeal to superficial or uninformed demands of the public. You have the chance to represent your family, and your province.

There are real people who need your support in overcoming their addiction in this province. There are practical ways that you can tend to these needs in health care practice, policy and funding and I urge you to shift your focus.  Like the big tobacco industry of the 90s, today the big-alcohol industry is intrusive and disgusting, and we need help in resisting these overwhelming messaging campaigns, with signals of hope for those struggling. You ought to be helping organizations in becoming accessible for people of all income, treatment centres like Newgate 180, a rehab close to home for me— Renescant Treatment Centre, and the many other treatment centres in Ontario. Does everyone in Ontario battling with alcohol abuse know that there is hope for their recovery, that they aren’t alone in their fight? Have you helped to make this known?

I watched you repeatedly campaign that you were “for the people.” Capitalizing on the vulnerable vote is heinous abuse of power. Take up this opportunity to represent this province with policy that shows humanity.

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