There’s an easy way for Premier Doug Ford to help folks out during the LCBO strike: Just let private retailers sell all liquor products, at least during the strike.

It’s easy to do. And it happens all over Canada and around the world. Alberta and Saskatchewan let local businesses serve their thirsty neighbours.

The rules are silly anyway. Right now, the LCBO gets the inside track on some products and other retailers get to sell other things. Why? What’s the difference between selling a six-pack, a bottle of wine or a mickey of rye?

This is a perfect opportunity to see what people like best. Maybe they’ll like being able to pick up a bottle from a local business that stays open a little later. Or maybe the union’s right and people will remain staunchly committed to government stores. This is the perfect time to find out.

Ontarians can still get beer at the Beer Store and wine at the Wine Rack. If Ford allows grocery stores to sell all other forms of alcohol, the LCBO could go on strike until the Leafs finally win the Stanley Cup and Ontarians won’t miss out on a single cocktail.

The biggest sticking point in the current LCBO strike has been Ford’s plan to allow ready-to-drink beverages, such as seltzers and coolers, to be sold in grocery stores and corner stores across the province.

It’s an interesting stance for the LCBO union to take. If the LCBO really provides better service, selection and prices, the government stores have nothing to fear from a little competition to sell some hard lemonade.

On the other side, Ford’s obviously confident that Ontarians will find it handy to pick up a raspberry seltzer while they’re at the grocery store.

When asked if he would cave on ready-to-drink beverages to bring an end to the LCBO strike, Ford declared: “That ship has sailed across Lake Ontario.”

Ford’s siding with folks who just want a cold drink. You don’t need a PhD in political science to see the upside.

But Ford could really put the cherry in the Old Fashioned by allowing grocery stores to sell everything the LCBO currently sells until the strike is over.

It’ll be a fun experiment. Maybe people won’t like being able to pick up their favourite bottle at the grocery store. Maybe they’ll grab their pitchforks and torches and demand the refortification of the LCBO monopoly. But on the off chance people might like being able to grab a bottle of vodka after 6 p.m., why not give it a try?

Ontarians might see what consumers in other provinces saw long ago: You don’t need a unionized government employee to bag a six-pack or recommend a brand of whiskey.

Let’s give the union bosses the benefit of the doubt. It’s not that they’re afraid of a little competition. It’s not that at all.

The union bosses are just so deeply concerned about all of the money they make for the government. How will Ontario fund schools and hospitals without government liquor stores? Won’t somebody think of the children?

Ontario Public Service Employees Union president J.P. Hornick continues to insist the LCBO monopoly “funds everything we hold dear in Ontario.”

Dear union bosses, unfurrow your brows. There are so many worries in this life: Geo-political tensions, Bo Bichette’s batting average and even the zombie apocalypse. But there are some things nobody ever needs to worry about.

It’s an iron-clad law of nature more dependable than gravity or the rising sun: Every government, around the world, throughout all of human history and into the infinite future, will find a multitude of ways to make money on booze.

Rest assured, schools and hospitals in other provinces are doing just fine without government liquor stores.

In fact, according to the Consumer Choice Centre’s David Clement, the Ontario government would end up with more revenue if the LCBO monopoly ends because it wouldn’t have to carry the weight of operating retail stores.

So, let’s try this grand experiment. While unions are picketing and unable to provide their unparalleled service, selection and prices, let’s let local business try selling all types of alcohol. It’s worked everywhere else. Maybe it’ll be a miserable failure in Ontario and people just won’t like buying their gin from anywhere but the LCBO. But there’s only one way to find out.