October 19th, 2015: I’ll never forget the day. It was the first time I had ever voted in an election. I got up bright and early to go to an 8:30 partly because I was only two months into university and I still went to 8:30’s, but also because I was so excited to vote. I cast my ballot as soon as the polling station at Vic Hall opened and went about the rest of my day with a feeling of democracy induced bliss. That night my floormates and I gathered in the common room to watch the election results come in on CBC. Naturally we brought a couple of beers along with us, and naturally we got written up for drinking in the common room.
I wasn’t really angry that we got written up, dons have to do their jobs too. I was more angry that drinking in the common room was a punishable offence. We weren’t doing kegstands, we were having some casual election beers. The root of the problem went deeper than that though. The rule existed because we were all underage at the time. But we had just voted in an election, and it seemed pretty fucking stupid that on the same day we chose our next Prime Minister we couldn’t choose to have a few goddamn beers while we watched the numbers come in. This is when my series arc started. My series arc is getting the drinking age in Ontario lowered to 18, a reasonable fucking number.
Now a part of you is probably thinking that this is a bad idea. “But what about the drunk driving?” it says, “What about kids in high school getting their hands on booze?”. The more fun, less crotchety part of you however probably thinks I’ve got a point, and I’m here to tell you that part of you is also the smart part that you should listen to.
There are a lot of reasons we should lower the drinking age to 18. For one thing it’s 18 almost everywhere in the fucking world. Why do we want to be a boring hold out jurisdiction with a higher drinking age than we need? We weren’t always so lame here in Ontario. The drinking age used to actually be 18. In 1971 Ontario lowered the drinking age to be in line with the voting age which was newly lowered from 21. It was raised again to 19 in 1979 in an effort to discourage drunk driving and keep alcohol out of the hands of high schoolers.
As you may have noticed though, it is no longer 1979. I’d personally chalk the massive reduction in drunk driving fatalities between 1979 and 2017 as more a result of almost 40 years of heavy campaigning on the issue (MADD was founded in 1980) than hiking the age that you can legally purchase alcohol at by one year. Fuck, drunk driving wasn’t even a crime until 1969! That’s crazy right?!
In 1979 they also had grade 13. That means that most students started university at the age of 19 anyways. 19 was literally chosen as an age to keep alcohol out of the hands of high schoolers at a time when people graduated high school a full year later than they do now. The dissonance between the justification for the drinking age and the current reality of the situation in Ontario is ridonkulous. Now that we’ve gotten rid of grade 13 we’re saddled with a bunch of underage frosh who have to go to dry frosh week events and remain socially isolated from their of-age peers until they have one extra magical birthday which suddenly makes drinking ok. I’m all for hazing frosh, honestly I may be too enthusiastic about it, but not letting them drink for their first year of university seems a little fucking harsh. That’s not even to mention the fact that it would make frosh so much easier to handle. I was at the Uni Ave street party in September 2015 and my friends and I didn’t go because we had some sort of passion for giving the Kingston Police Department a hard time. We went because res was dry, the sanctioned frosh events were lame (and dry), we didn’t know about any parties, and we weren’t allowed into bars. Where the fuck else were we supposed to go? Lower the drinking age to 18 and all of those roving frosh become less of a problem. Exile them to Undies, I don’t care, and I’m sure TAPS would love the revenue.
So that’s it, that’s my rant about my series arc. Let’s lower the drinking age. Let’s fuckin’ do it. C’mon guys it’ll be fun.
– Brendan Robson