When Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly’s job runs out in October, he’d do well to get a job slinging beer in a downtown bar. The experience would help if he ever needs to comment again on the culture of binge drinking.
Bar owners are taking Kelly to task for criticism earlier this week about them not doing their job to control excess boozing. He issued a statement claiming too many people are showing up drunk at downtown watering holes, where they continue to be served – a violation of the Liquor Control Act.
People will certainly acknowledge a problem, but only someone incredibly naïve – or seeking political points – would suggest the solution is simple.
Overly drunk people can be sometimes easy to spot – but also very hard depending on their tolerance levels.
What’s also hard to predict at times is who means trouble. But suffice to say it’s in the better interests of the owners of these establishments to refrain from serving those likely to cause damage – they know it without comments from the sidelines.
In fact, the owners of a number of clubs networked recently for a master list of the bad eggs, so they don’t simply drift elsewhere after being ejected.
John MacDonell, minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act, also questioned the comments and suggested the mayor should back them up with facts. He added his department is working to enforce regulations.
That there is a problem with binge drinking – and that it involves younger young people – is indisputable. On that troubling front, Acadia University in Wolfville is taking steps this fall after the death nearly a year ago of a young man found unresponsive following a night of drinking.
The university is creating a group of students specifically trained to reach out to high-risk peers. It is working to change attitudes about binge drinking.
That too will not be a simple task among so large a group. No one ever said it would be, but it’s vital to see the issue as a serious one and start somewhere.