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Premier Ford rules out summer or fall 2024 provincial election

Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement at a gas station saying the province is speeding up the expansion of alcohol sales, in Toronto on Friday, May 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement at a gas station saying the province is speeding up the expansion of alcohol sales, in Toronto on Friday, May 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
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Premier Doug Ford is refuting the idea of calling an election this summer or fall, but won't rule out an early election before the June 2026 date.

"In your mind is there any chance as early as early summer, early fall?" Ford was asked on Newstalk 580 CFRA's The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll on Wednesday.

"Absolutely not," Ford said.

"One hundred per cent we are not having an election this fall, this summer, we're going to continue making improvements across the province," he said.

Ford did not specify when Ontario could see an early election and whether he would commit to the scheduled election date on June 4, 2026. His comments come after he fueled early election speculation this week by declining multiple times to commit to that date.

"Should we be standing by for an early election in Ontario?" Carroll asked Ford.

"You know Bill, we're going to focus on our agenda going forward in getting highways built and great deals like we did for Ottawa and putting money into that region and Toronto and the rest of the province. That's what we're focused on," Ford said.

Ford unveiled this week a sooner-than-expected plan to expand alcohol sales to convenience stores this summer. The expansion in grocery stores could begin as soon as Aug. 1, when grocery stores which are already licensed will be allowed to start selling ready-to-drink beverages as well as large-pack sizes of beer.

Convenience stores will then be allowed to start selling beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages as early as Sept. 5 and as of Oct. 31, all eligible grocery and big box stores will be able to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages, including large-pack sizes.

As part of an agreement reached with The Beer Store to expand alcohol sales ahead of schedule, it will reimburse the conglomerate up to $225 million.

Ford told Carroll he believes bringing alcohol sales to the province early could bring the province between $895 million to $1.6 billion.

"We're going to see a gain. You have 8,500 distributors of wine and beer that we’ve never seen before," Ford said.

"This is going to be great for the consumer, its going to give them choice," he said.

Ontario Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie called Ford's plan a "billion-dollar booze boondoggle," claiming the Progressive Conservative's plan to speed up alcohol sales could cost millions more than anticipated.

With files from The Canadian Press

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