Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Fake Controversy

The Canadian women's ice hockey team is supposedly in hot water after some of its members were drinking beer on the ice to celebrate winning against the American team in the Vancouver Olympics.  At least one of them was 18, and the drinking age in British Columbia is 19 (but 18 in Alberta where they trained, as well as in the player's native Quebec).  They weren't out of control, and the festivities occurred after the fans had left. 

The American media has been making a big deal out of this.  Why?  Because in the good old US of A, the drinking age is 21, and many older adults are both terrified and titillated simultaneously at the idea of those under 21 drinking.  Especially when it is done by young women.  Thus it makes a good story over here.  But the rest of the world (including Canada) just laughs at our puritanical immaturity and cultural schizophrenia regarding alcohol and young people.

In Canada, they recognize 18-20 year olds as full adults, and treat them as such.  The drinking age is 18 or 19, depending on the province, and they do not appear to be any worse off for it than us.  Drinking at that age is viewed as normative behavior, and they recognize that alcohol abuse (rather than mere use) is the real problem.  Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from our neighbor to the north.

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