While Canadians spent $22.1 billion dollars on alcohol in the last year, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) delivered a dividend to the Ontario government in the amount of $1.935 billion in 2015-6. Certainly a “cash cow” for government, the increase in revenue and sales was celebrated as a record for Ontario, but also presents a major barrier to meaningful change in the name of individual and community health.
I was prompted to write this by a new billboard in my Toronto neighbourhood: a icy, dark can for a new “stronger” lemonade cooler with the tagline, “KAPOW Right in the Kisser!” As a cannabis policy researcher, I was shocked by the messaging, particularly juxtaposed against current concerns around cannabis: quite literally a public invitation to consume more for less.
These type of ad campaigns around alcohol have become increasingly normalized and have continued to push the boundaries of what is acceptable, whether it’s the messaging itself, the placement, or the sheer number of appearances they seem to make in public spaces as of late. With the current warm weather, we’ve all been offered at least one free promotional beverage somewhere downtown in the city.
Jenna Valleriani – HuffPost Canada – July 12, 2017.