us chamber of commerce

U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns Doug Ford not to cancel deal with The Beer Store

If outraged voters aren't enough to make Doug Ford reverse course on his decision to break a contract that could cost taxpayers up to $1 billion, maybe American business juggernauts will be.

The United States Chamber of Commerce is now warning Ontario's premier against cancelling the province's existing contract with the Beer Store and several leading brewers to sell booze at corner stores.

"While the provincial government rightfully should pursue policy it deems of benefit to its constituents, it is essential this process be conducted in a manner that ensures the sanctity of existing contracts be honored," reads what the Star's Robert Benize calls "an ominous letter to the premier" from the Chamber dated on Tuesday.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which bills itself as the largest business federation in the world, is said to spend more money on political lobbying per year than any other organization of its kind. It represents some three million American businesses.

In other words, the chamber is a very big deal — and it could play a major role in the success (or failure) of Ford's goal to attract more foreign investmentship.

"Our strong concern is that terminating an existing contract, and doing so without compensation... risks sending a negative signal to U.S. and other international investors about the business and investment climate in Ontario," wrote the chamber's senior vice president, Neil Herrington, in the letter to Ford.

"This in turn could undermine the constructive work you and your government have done and the case the Ford government has made that the province is open for business."

It's not too late for the PC government to change its mind about breaching the Beer Store contract, though Finance Minister Vic Fedeli is still expected to pass legislation on Thursday that would scrap the 10-year agreement between Ontario, Brewers Retail Inc. (The Beer Store), Labatt, Molson and Sleeman Breweries.

The Beer Store has widely stated that breaking the agreement, signed in 2015, would at the very least result in higher beer prices at all of its 452 retail locations across the province — as well as at convenience stores and anywhere else beer is sold.

Your move, Ontario.

Lead photo by

Beer Store

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