A Progressive Conservative MPP is under fire for a tweet linking the 75th anniversary of D-Day to the ongoing debate over alcohol sales in corner stores.
On Wednesday morning, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett tweeted, “With June 6th being the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I would like to say that we have the liberty to debate issues like beer in corner stores thanks to the sacrifice of thousands of brave Canadians who defended our freedom in battle.”
Barrett’s tweet, which has since been deleted, comes days after PC MPPs launched a Twitter campaign extolling support for expanding beer and wine sales to convenience stores in Ontario.
Response to the tweet was swift. NDP MPP Monique Taylor shared a screenshot of the message, calling it “shameful and disrespectful.”
“This government’s obsession with beer is absurd,” she tweeted.
Former Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, now the federal NDP candidate for Hamilton Centre, called Barrett’s message “gross.”
“Perhaps Toby has served one term too many,” he said in a tweet.
Barrett did not immediately respond to a request for an interview, but he did respond on Twitter, saying it’s “disappointing that people misconstrued my Tweet about having the liberty to debate issues big and small thanks to the sacrifices of our veterans.”
According to Veterans Affairs Canada, 359 Canadian soldiers were killed on D-Day alone, with more than 5,000 Canadian casualties during the two-and-a-half months of fighting in Normandy during the Second World War.
Multiple PC MPPs posted tweets last weekend talking about the government’s push to get alcohol into corner stores.
That campaign follows legislation introduced last week that would allow the province to rip up a 10-year contract with The Beer Store signed by the previous Liberal government. The deal permitted an expansion of beer and wine sales to hundreds of grocery stores, but also gave a coalition of big brewers considerable control over the rollout.
To put beer and wine in corner stores, the province has to break an agreement signed with Beer Store co-owners Molson, Labatt and Sleeman. The Beer Store has already indicated it plans to file a legal challenge over the termination.