By Derek Cornet
The debate on lowering the drinking age in Saskatchewan has heated up recently and university students haven’t been shy on speaking out.
Between Nov. 4 and 6, the Saskatchewan Party held their yearly convention and were confronted with a new idea to think about. The Saskatchewan Party Youth presented a resolution to lower the drinking age in the province from 19 to 18, which has spurred debate province-wide ever since.
Students at the University of Regina appear to be split on the issue. While some students approached by Ink were in favor of lowering the drinking age, others were against it, even going as far as suggesting a raise to the age limit.
U of R student Demi Benjoe, 19, felt that the current age limit of 19 was still too young. She said that people her age weren’t responsible enough to consume alcohol or visit drinking establishments.
However another U of R student Zac Chorneyko, 25, said that the government should lower the age because if students want alcohol they’re going to find it. He said that he and his friends would often cross the Manitoba border in pursuit of beer when they were only 18.
“Why not lower the age? Kids are going to get alcohol no matter what, regardless if they’re 16 or 18,” said Chorneyko.
University of Regina Students’ Union president, Nathan Sgrazzutti, 19, was also in favour of lowering the current drinking age. He said between 2,000 and 4,000 students at the U of R are aged 18 and under. By lowering the age, Sgrazzutti said more students would be able to take part in university functions that involve alcohol and feel more included when these events take place.
He also said that lowering the age would increase revenue at the Owl, which incurred $157,890 in debt between April 2011 and April 2012.
Rand Teed, the creator of Drug Class, a show that enters high schools in Regina and documents cases of addiction, said he was against lowering the age. If the age limit was lowered there would be more cases of binge drinking, dependency issues, leading to a higher chance of brain damage among youth, he said.
“All of the research indicates that adolescences are better to not be using alcohol because brain development continues until the early twenties,” said Teed.
While the issue has not yet been debated upon in the legislature, its certain that when and if the issue is brought up, there will be many people eager to have their opinions heard.