MONTREAL, April 25, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Minister of Public Security, Robert Dutil, has just tabled a bill to amend the Act respecting liquor permits and other legislative provisions. It includes a highly controversial provision allowing youths under 17 years of age to remain on bar terraces until 11:00 p.m. without any parental supervision. Many observers see this amendment as a complete contradiction of the need to limit drinking among young people. The amendment is also causing serious concern both among drinking establishment owners and organizations that promote responsible drinking.
Under the Act respecting liquor permits, minors are currently allowed to remain on bar terraces until 8:00 p.m. provided they are with a parent or an adult with parental authority. "What Minister Dutil is proposing is to allow one or more youths under the legal drinking age to remain on a bar terrace without parental supervision until 11 p.m., as long as they are with an adult (at least 18 years old), whomever it may be," complained Renaud Poulin, President of the Corporation des propriétaires de bars, brasseries et tavernes du Québec (CPBBTQ). "We strongly oppose this provision. It opens the door to all sorts of abuses and makes absolutely no sense to bar owners and keepers or to society." The CPBBTQ warns against this legislative provision, mentioning the following consequences:
- It sends youth between the ages of 11 and 17 years the implicit message that, until 11:00 p.m. and without their parents, they are entitled to frequent drinking establishments normally reserved for adults of drinking age.
- It requires bar keepers to exercise the kind of supervision usually expected from parents, a situation that might lead to various situations that could easily get out of hand.
- It gives youth a means to frequent bars terraces without prior parental consent, thereby undermining parental authority.
Furthermore, this provision would contravene other measures regarding youth drinking. In particular, it would complicate the application of the fledgling zero tolerance policy for young drivers under 22 years of age.
Last November, the CPBBTQ voiced its concerns to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec (RACJ) about this highly disturbing measure. While it may seem understandable to extend the time that minors can remain on bar terraces, the amendment has the unfortunate effect of removing children from their parents' supervision and control. This new legislative provision is completely at odds with the government's professed current efforts to limit drinking among youths. Furthermore, it could significantly increase the risk of trivializing drinking among young people.
About the CPBBTQ
The Corporation des propriétaires de bars, brasseries et tavernes du Québec (CPBBTQ) is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 to champion the rights of licensed drinking establishment operators in Quebec before the various levels of government and to serve as a liaison between the industry and the community. Since its creation it has managed a number of key issues including the equitable sharing of operating revenue from video lotteries, public safety in licensed drinking establishments during the motorcycle gang war in 2000, and the application of the smoking ban in public places in 2006. The CPBBTQ presently has 1,800 members throughout Quebec.
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