Lifting provincial parks liquor ban may not have been wisest move

Congratulations Alberta. You can now drink in any provincial park, as of the Victoria Day long weekend. What a great feat of democracy. Cue eye roll here.

The liquor ban (in place since 2010) was lifted on the eight remaining provincial parks and will relax some regulations on some provincial parks’ day use areas later this summer.

Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney’s move to lift the ban right before the long weekend seems like nothing more than a publicity stunt, or maybe I should call it “value signalling,” a phrase recently coined by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel in relation to Trudeau.

Perhaps Kenney, who was criticized by one columnist for fuelling his election campaign with the anger of Albertans, is attempting to soften his image by using emotion-manipulating terms like “freedom” and “pushing back.”

In the media release, Kenney and MLA Jason Nixon, the new environmental and parks minister, call the move “pushing back against the excesses of the nanny state and the ‘War on Fun.’”

It goes on to say “It’s time to lift prohibition-era restrictions around liquor consumption in Alberta and give responsible adults the freedom to act responsibly.”

The problem with this statement is the part where it says, “give responsible adults …”

Actually no, you didn’t just give the freedom to drink in provincial parks to responsible adults, unless you are somehow screening all park users — you gave it to all Albertans of drinking age.

If you want to know if all Albertans are equally responsible when it comes to drinking, just sit in court for a morning and see how many impaired driving cases come through. Don’t think Ponoka is immune from liquor issues — there were 13 incidents of federal liquor act violations in town from January to April this year and nine in rural Ponoka.

It’s also a tad-bit ironic that the lift of the ban also coincided with Canada Road Safety Week from May 14 to 20 and National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day on May 18. It seems the police have been able to identify this weekend as higher risk for impaired driving, but by all means, open the parks to liquor in the name of “cutting red tape.”

While some people can drink responsibly, other’s can’t, so doesn’t it just make sense to restrict drinking in public and in areas presumably also used by families?

I’m probably not the right person to answer that question.

As a non-drinker I can’t really see the appeal of supposedly going to enjoy the great outdoors just to get wasted and may not be able to empathize with those cheering at the relaxed rules, but I can say that with Albertans eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of some hefty promises on an aggressive schedule (the carbon tax dying by end of May, for example) the announcement of liquor bans being lifted seems fairly small potatoes, and one seemingly designed to ingratiate voters.

After only being sworn in as the 18th premier of Alberta on April 30, people are already starting to wonder how long it will take before jobs come back. Letting people party in provincial parks seems pretty paltry in comparison.

Although the new relaxed laws won’t affect Ponoka County overly much, whether or not it’s a good thing for Alberta seems dubious at best.

The aftermath, or lack thereof, of this past weekend will have to stand as evidence for or against the ban being lifted.

Just Posted

Ponoka County increases stake in fibre optic expansion to $1.5 million

Rural customers across west side of county will soon benefit from upgrade project

Man arrested in axe attack

Ponoka RCMP busy during the past week

Samson Cree Nation cuts ribbon on waste transfer station

$5.36 million facility almost operational

Ponoka Legion holds Decorating Day to honour fallen soldiers

The Ponoka Legion Branch No. 66 held its annual Decorating Day at… Continue reading

Ponoka club champions declared

The Ponoka Golf club hosted its annual club championship at the course… Continue reading

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Black bear ruins Alberta barber’s day

It’s not always a good idea to leave the door open

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Red Deer Rebels Training Camp begins Aug. 24

Rebels home opener will be on Sept. 21 against the Edmonton Oil Kings

UPDATED: Search continues for possible drowning on Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake RCMP and Fire Department continue their search for 20-something adult male

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Huawei executive’s defence team alleges Canadians were ‘agents’ of the FBI

eng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Most Read