Don’t Raise Drinking Age Higher than 18 Says Alberta Premier Ralph Klein

Premier Ralph Klein is among those criticizing a proposal to raise the province’s minimum legal drinking age in an apparent effort to reduce alcohol-related violence. He argues that a higher drinking age would lead to an increase in false identification cards and more drinkers illegally buying alcohol for underage drinkers.

The proposal has drawn considerable opposition from many professionals.

Young people are going to find and drink alcohol beverages so “we need to teach them about responsibility” says the coordinator of youth counseling programs at Mount Royal College, who has worked with young adults for 35 years. She insists that “we need to teach them the difference between use and abuse.”

Even proponents acknowledge that raising the drinking age might simply displace the problem of violence and encourage underage drinkers to drink at bush parties and other uncontrolled environments instead of in bars.

The student president at the University of Calgary, Emily Wyatt, says the campus bar provides a safe place for students to drink and she doesn’t want to see illegal drinking elsewhere promoted by an age increase.

The minimum legal drinking age is 18 in Alberta. Manitoba and Quebec and 19 elsewhere in Canada.

 

Source: Klein disagrees with raising drinking age beyond 18. CBC News, August 18, 2006.

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