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Thursday, July 26, 2012

ID under 65

Posted on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM

What a bad experience I had on Canada Day, visiting Halifax for the first time in almost five years with my wife who had never been. We went down to Alderney Landing to catch the free concert and fireworks and got in line for the beer tent. Then, when my wife presented her valid, English language identification card she was informed that she wouldn’t be allowed in without her passport. Passport? Because she is not Canadian she needs a passport to drink? My wife is 35 years old. She is Korean. Although my wife may look young for her age, it would seem to me impossible to mistake her for being under nineteen---but perhaps I am overestimating the intelligence of the security staff. I protested. He told me that he had to ID anyone who appeared to be under 65 years old; that if a liquor inspector were to come to the event and find her without a passport, he would be liable. 65 years old?

This is the policy of a lunatic. It serves no one. The organizers of the event have to spend extra money on security staff to meticulously check the ID of every person entering the drinking area. Further, they earn less money from beer sales than they could because of all those people well into adulthood who are unaccustomed to bringing along an ID to enter a drinking establishment. But the worst part of all is the message that this passport nonsense sends to international visitors to the city: you are unwelcome. That’s exactly how my wife felt: discriminated against for being a foreigner.

Even if we could have enjoyed a perfect evening without consuming alcohol, the arbitrary incivility of all this put enough of a damper on things that we were rather annoyed for the rest of the night. I’ve used my Canadian ID as proof of age in Korea. I know, furthermore, that a Korean driver’s licence is acceptable to drive in Canada. But the ID of a foreign woman who is unmistakably older than 19 is not enough? Whose genius idea is this and why haven’t they been fired? What excessive IDing policies like this do is inconvenience tens of thousands of people on the off-chance that one underager in a million might slip through and get a beer. God forbid that an underage person consumes alcohol. I mean, we all know what will happen then---like everyone else we know, he or she will grow up into a well-adjusted member of our community, maybe, like many others, to be employed as bar security. —Married and of Age

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