It’s turning into a tennis match. The first volley came last Friday when Premier Doug Ford asked about Hamilton police issuing tickets to people caught drinking in parks, said, ““what’s the harm in somebody who doesn’t have a yard, having a cold beer or a glass of wine in the park, as long as they’re not bothering anybody.” Adding, “I don’t blame the Police, I love the police…I blame the council and the mayor…Have a little bit of flexibility, mayor…”
On CHCH yesterday Eisenberger refuted Ford’s claim saying the Police were only enforcing provincial liquor laws, not a made-in-Hamilton ordinance. CHCH reporter Randy Rath reignited the issue today asking Ford to respond to Eisenberger’s statement. Ford doubled down, saying the province had relaxed the liquor law to allow drinking in parks, telling Rath, “I can show you the legislation,” adding in a reference to Hamilton Council, “Guys…step up…give the people a break.”
To set the record straight, a spokesperson in the Premier’s office tweeted, in an unusually blunt tone, “It is mind-boggling that Fred Eisenberger continues to suggest the City of Hamilton does not have the authority to change drinking rules to allow people to consume alcohol in municipal parks when they absolutely do.”
“On June 14, 2019, the province amended the Liquor Licence Act to allow municipalities to make rules about where alcohol can be consumed in public areas, such as parks. Again, this was announced in the 2019 Ontario Budget and widely reported on at the time.”
All this back and forth between Ford and Eisenberger comes at a time when it is expected Metrolinx will release its evaluation of the LRT vs BRT proposals, arising from the task force report that followed cancellation of Hamilton’s LRT last December. Sources at Queen’s park have suggested that the Metrolinx report will throw the whole issue back in the lap of Hamilton City Council.