Chris of Labatt, Chief of Staff

Ontarians are creatures of habit. This is not a criticism – I’d argue that we’re pleasantly predictable. While other societies flirt with rapid change, we tend to approach novelty with the same wariness that most people reserve for prodding a sleeping bear.

From a governance perspective, this predictability can be a blessing. The same issues tend to cycle through the Legislature like clockwork. Amongst other contentious subjects, our main political parties have long disputed issues such as models of health care coverage, funding for religious schools, and minority language rights.

We also tend to fixate on how we purchase and consume wine, liquor, and beer.

The sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages has once again become a “hot” topic in the Ontario legislature. Ontarians have slowly relaxed their attitudes towards selling low-percentage alcoholic beverages outside of government-run stores, and our provincial legislation is catching up to these norms.

Given the topical nature of this subject, it was enlightening to spend an afternoon with Chris Morley, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at Labatt Brewery (and OLIP alum!). Mr. Morley engaged the interns in a stimulating conversation, discussing everything from how the government’s proposed legislation will impact beer distribution in Ontario to his favourite Labatt product. We enjoyed learning about the continued domination of Labatt products in Ontario, and observing first-hand how a major corporation’s modern office looks.

While inspired by Mr. Morley’s knowledge of the beer industry, we were equally curious about his tenure as former Premier McGuinty’s Chief of Staff, Director of Communications, and Director of Issues Management. Mr. Morley candidly described some of the more challenging and exciting moments in these roles, including his first day as Chief of Staff. Chris punctuated his anecdotes of the political life with a continuous stream of jokes and witty comments. While our formal meeting came to an end after an hour of questioning, we had the good fortune of continuing our conversation with Chris over some refreshing Labatt products.

It’s fair to say that Chris is something of a legend among the OLIP interns, renowned for his political prowess and super cool current job,  We’d like to thank Chris for his time and generosity, and extend an extra big thanks to Labatt for their continued support of OLIP!

Cheers. To friends!


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