Re: Booze laws encourage drinking (Letters, Jan. 18)
Letter writer Eileen Nattrass implies people aren’t concerned about drunk drivers, the drinking laws in B.C. are too lax, people’s lives don’t count, and she concludes, “change is needed now.”
Many people are concerned about drunk drivers, beginning with the very visible campaigns run by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
According to ICBC, two years after the B.C. Liberals introduced Canada’s toughest provincial impaired driving law, an estimated 104 lives have been saved and impaired driving has dropped significantly.
In response to Ms. Nattrass’s questions:
1) According to Statistics Canada, B.C. ranks fifth amongst provinces/territories in alcohol consumption per capita, thus British Columbians drink more than some Canadians and less than others.
2) Last call for serving alcohol in B.C. is generally 2 a.m., however municipalities can lower last call down to midnight or raise it up to 4 a.m. if they so choose, thus, it is not the Liberal government to blame for closing times as late as 4 a.m. Furthermore, most other provinces have 2 a.m. closing times or later.
3) A quick search on the Internet shows many provinces allow liquor to be served in theatres and sporting events.
4) Currently, in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, restaurants can serve wine that customers bring in themselves.
Ms. Nattrass states that “drinking laws need to be tougher” which harkens back to the era of prohibition, and we all know how that turned out.
The revenue from liquor taxation contributes to the enforcement of B.C.’s stiff laws that discourage drinking and driving.
In summary, some people do care about drunk drivers, B.C.’s drinking laws are not lax relative to other jurisdictions and people’s lives do count.