MADD Canada

MADD Canada

January 27, 2005 15:03 ET

Public Safety Should Be Priority with Ontario's New Liquor Laws

MADD Canada disappointed with Ontario Consumer Minister's BYOW Media Relations Push Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor MISSISSAUGA, ON--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 27, 2005) - The Ontario Government should be more concerned for public safety and less so about introducing new liquor laws with the hopes of garnering public support - so says Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The loosening of Ontario's liquor laws, like the new BYOW regulations, will have a public cost - and this should be addressed before the Government congratulates itself for introducing new laws that are perceived to be publicly popular.

"MADD Canada is disappointed in the Ontario Government's new BYOW regulations and with Minister Watson's comments concerning the new laws," says Wanda Kristensen, Director of Programs at MADD Canada's National Office. "We don't think the Government has appropriately weighed the available empirical research. Mr. Watson hasn't adequately safeguarded the public against the new risks posed by his BYOW law."

MADD Canada points to two areas where the new BYOW regulations are not in the best interest of public safety. First, the Government failed to set a reasonable corkage fee, despite the evidence that this measure would significantly curb the availability of 'cheap' wine on the restaurant table. Second, the Government failed to make it mandatory for licencees who opt for BYOW to also have to provide the re-corking option so patrons can 'bring the rest home.'

"As a mother who has lost a son in a alcohol-related crash, I don't want to see families suffer because of the introduction of new, ill-considered regulations," says Mrs. Kristensen. "In my mind, Governments should err on the side of public safety when they make these types of changes that will, unquestionably, put more drinking drivers on our roads."

"Government officials and our elected representatives need to hold public safety as a priority," says Andrew Murie, MADD Canada's CEO, who hopes the Ontario Government will do a more responsible job in their up-coming review of liquor laws. "MADD Canada believes that drinking is a private matter, but drinking and driving is a public concern. Our research and policy statements are based on empirical evidence and we will not be blown off by the Consumer Minister's remarks that we offer nothing more than an emotional reaction."

"Foremost, we are concerned about public safety - all motorists who have to share the road with drinking drivers," says Mr. Murie. "The introduction of BYOW was handled like a public relations campaign instead of a public safety issue. We hope for a more responsible effort by Ministers Sorbara and Cordiano with their up-coming review of Ontario's liquor laws."

For more information:
Wanda Kristensen 1-800-665-6233, ext. 229
Andrew Murie 1-800-665-6233, ext. 224

Contact Information

  • Wanda Kristensen, Director of Programs, MADD Canada
    Primary Phone: 800-665-6233 ext. 229
    Secondary Phone: 800-665-6233 ext. 224