Underage drinking at Liberal events leads to liquor licence suspension

Teresa Wright
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Allegations of underage drinking at recent Liberal party events have resulted in at least one establishment being slapped with a liquor licence suspension.

The Guild on Queen Street cannot serve alcohol from June 6 to June 9.

The establishment was served with a suspension of its licence after an investigation by the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission (PEILCC) into allegations of underage drinking at a wine-and-cheese social hosted in the building by the Brighton Liberal Association in April.

“It was reported in the paper and the inspectors went out and did a review and after doing that review, they felt there was enough evidence to warrant what the accusations were,” Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said in an interview Thursday.

“In this particular case those rules were not followed and there was enough evidence to warrant a suspension of the licence for three days.”

In April, The Guardian published a story detailing concerns raised by two members of the Young Liberals of P.E.I. who say they witnessed an excessive amount of alcohol being consumed by underage youth at a handful of Liberal party meetings and events.

One of those events was the wine-and-cheese social at The Guild, which was attended by a number of high-profile members of the Liberal party, including the premier, and members of the business community.

Bria MacCallum and Chelsea Willis told The Guardian in April drink tickets were given that evening to anyone who wanted them.

“No one asked for ID," Willis told The Guardian in April.

"There was 16-year-olds going up ... getting drinks and drinking them ... It's a safety issue for the event holders, for the establishments, because if they were ever caught, they would lose their licence."

Henderson said Thursday that’s just what has happened. Regardless of who was hosting the event, it is the responsibility of the licensed establishment to ensure liquor laws are upheld, he said.

“The reality is in these events, it has nothing to do with whether it’s the Liberal party or the NDP party of the Conservative party… it is the responsibility of the server to make sure that the rules of the Liquor Control Commission are abided by.”

The Guild is not the only establishment that will likely face penalties for the concerns raised by Willis and MacCallum.

The two young women also detailed a Liberal youth event at a downtown hotel where a keg of beer was provided to youth in attendance, some of whom were still in high school.

The Guardian has learned this and one other establishment were also investigated by liquor inspectors and may too face penalties such as licence suspension or a potential fine.

Henderson confirmed Thursday this will ‘more than likely’ happen.

“Those other locations were also investigated for the same accusations, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes back from the liquor control commission on what the (ruling) might be or if there was enough evidence to warrant a suspension.”

The Guardian has also learned The Guild was given the option to choose the days on which its licence would be suspended.

A staff member contacted by The Guardian declined to comment on this story.




Organizations: The Guild, The Guardian, P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission PEILCC Brighton Liberal Association

Geographic location: Queen Street

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Recent comments

    June 08, 2013 - 17:24

    No Robbie, it wasn't the NDP or the Conservatives, it was the Liberals. If they were handing out free drink tickets, I'm assuming the Liberal party were picking up the tab and that puts the onus on you directly. Why on earth would you be serving free drinks at a Young Liberals Convention? What were you and the Premier and the rest of the MLA's and the party stalwarts thinking? Don't you know we have the highest rate of drunk drivers in Canada? How would you feel if that 16 year old was in an accident after leaving there and killing or maiming himself or, God forbid, someone else? When companies in Ontario held Xmas parties and supplied liquor free, they were held responsible for any accidents that occured. You are also responsible if you served alcohol to adults in your own home and they have an accident after leaving your house. To have the Premier and his Ministers do this is just unthinkable. Where are your brains? Were you sitting on them all night? Totally repulsive! There is no need to serve alcohol at Liberal meetings, let alone to minors.

  • Pat
    June 07, 2013 - 10:43

    This is bad PR for both the Young Liberals and the Guild. It is the responsibility of the establishment to follow the rules around underage drinking. I'm sure all the Liberal events being held at the Guild are because the new ED worked on the Ghiz campaign and this is likely why the Guild got to select the dates for the suspension. The Guild board also hired someone with no experience other than being "connected". This is what you get when you don't hire based on merit. If I were a member of the Guild board I would be asking for the resignation of the ED.

  • nothing new
    June 07, 2013 - 09:31

    " All P.E.I Events" seem to promote Alcohol , Alcohol is a huge problem on P.E.I period . And now the drug problem youths are getting into . Time for Islanders and Goverment and police to wake up . Now Prom is around the corner .You Think we'll escape no deaths or accidents this Yr?

  • Bmac
    June 07, 2013 - 09:28

    First of all Henderson & cronies stand by & allow alcohol to be served and then blame the Guild for doing it when the Guild is only sucking up to the Liberals like any other self serving business would do here on PEI,youth addiction be damned.It's only alcohol,it can't hurt you, right? Tell that to the parent who has the Mountie come to their door at 2 am...

  • triple shame
    June 07, 2013 - 09:10

    Shame on these so called responsible adults -Premier, community leaders, etc.- for letting this happen. Shame on the Liberals for not admiting in public that things were mishandled and that hey are addressing these problems. And shame on Rob Henderson to trying to distance the Liberal party from these violations. He does not have to talk about political parties they way he has doen for this story. Huge shame. That is not acceptable for a minister of the crown. This is all shameful.

    • intobed
      June 07, 2013 - 11:45

      Shame on the underage Liberals who did the drinking and broke the law. Lets not forget them.

    June 07, 2013 - 08:45

    16 years old, already have no regard for the law,sounds like they have a great future in politics.

  • Fed up
    June 07, 2013 - 08:31

    Such great teaching for youth. I thought buying votes with a drink went out YEARS ago!?!? And 3 whole days?! What a stiff fine!

  • Very Interesting
    June 07, 2013 - 07:44

    So a nothing suspension that has zero impact because the Guild got to choose the days when they had no events scheduled. It's good to be Liberal connected!

  • Brilliant
    June 07, 2013 - 07:43

    Wow, how completely irresponsible of the management! The Guild board should be rolling heads for this sort of stupidity! Considering they just showed a film on youth addiction

  • don
    June 07, 2013 - 07:16

    minister you are to blame. and who ever was in charge of the get together for allowing underage kids in. but you take it out on the business where you held the party. but then the liberals would never do anything wrong now would you? just trying to get them hooked early more profit.

  • Nice
    June 07, 2013 - 06:52

    So party ringleaders try to lure in new young members with booze, but the responsibility is layed on the people they rented a venue from, and they are the ones who get penalized. Nice.

  • luaghable
    June 07, 2013 - 06:14

    It's the fault of the establishment???? No matter who's hosting the event the venue has to abide by the rules?? Didn't we just have a summit "hosted" by the provincial gov't on drinking/ driving and how important it is to change the culture on PEI so everyone knows this behavior isn't ok?? Instead, let's have the premier there, and show underage drinkers that no matter what we adults say, we don't REALLY mean it......wink, wink ,nudge,nudge. If your a party insider it's alright. Why didn't the minister just admit it was a huge mistake, their mistake, and as a gov't they are going to make sure it never happens again?? AND PUNISH THE HOSTS TOO !! It's been a long time since comments from a minister made me want to cry.......but this did. I thought we were better than this.

  • Islanders
    June 07, 2013 - 05:48

    No Robbie, it is also the responsibility of the supposed adults in attendance to put a stop to it or at least say something to the establishment when there are underage kids drinking alcohol. Everyone there stood by and watched it happen. It's a pretty sad thing when these two girls were more adult and had more common sense than the supposed adults by saying something

  • Real Canadian
    June 07, 2013 - 05:39

    That's ok it's the Liberals theres nothing they can do wrong is there