May 16, 2019 6:19 pm
Updated: May 17, 2019 9:50 pm

Alberta drops ‘prohibition-era’ liquor restrictions ahead of May long weekend

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces relaxed liquor laws in provincial parks ahead of Victoria Day long weekend.


Heading into the May long weekend, Premier Jason Kenney announced his government is going to make it easier for people to consume alcohol in provincial parks and at festival sites in Alberta.

“Today is the beginning of the end of the war on fun,” Kenney said Thursday.

“[The long weekend] means many people will be heading to our beautiful provincial parks to go camping and spend time outdoors with friends and family.”

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Kenney said regulations around liquor consumption will be relaxed in municipalities and provincial parks. Starting this weekend, people will be allowed to consume alcohol in all of Alberta’s provincial parks.

Previously, a complete liquor ban was in place over the May long weekend for eight provincial parks — Aspen Beach, Miquelon Lake, Garner Lake, Dillberry Lake, Pigeon Lake, Whitney Lakes, Jarvis Bay and Wabamun.

Consumption of alcohol within provincial parks will still be restricted to adults within their campsite.

“I think it was tarring everybody with the same brush,” said Claire Scott, who’s camping over the May long weekend as part of her 60th birthday celebrations. “There were people that got rowdy and malicious and did damage, but that wasn’t everybody and everybody got punished for it.

“So we’re really glad to see it go.”

She doesn’t expect the change will result in more complaints or problems.

Watch below: (From May 17, 2019) Premier Jason Kenney says he’s fighting back against a war on fun in Alberta. Fletcher Kent reports.

In 2003, right before the initial liquor ban was put in place, there were 239 violations across the province on the May long weekend.

“Education and awareness,” Scott said. “Maybe the rowdy people from those days have grown up now.

“We’re going to enjoy some prosecco here,” she added with a smile. “We’re not going to get crazy in this campsite. We’re responsible adults and we’ve got grandkids out here with us. So, we’re just going to have a nice glass of wine and enjoy the weekend.”

WATCH: Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday his government is lifting the liquor ban in Alberta parks. Blake Lough reports.

Relaxed regulations will also extend to select provincial park day-use picnic sites later this summer, the government said.

Further to this, the government said Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis regulations have been clarified to allow event organizers the ability to serve drinks where they see fit on festival grounds.

“In the future, people will be able to grab a beer or walk around a summer festival in this province without fear of being arrested or ticketed or fined,” Kenney said.

“If they can do this in pretty much every country of Europe, I think we can treat Albertans as responsible grownups as well. So with that, happy Victoria Day long weekend.”

WATCH: Police to be out in force on Alberta highways for long weekend

READ MORE: 2019 Big Valley Jamboree to allow drinking, dancing in main stage area

Kenney said part of his election campaign was to end “prohibition-era restrictions around liquor consumption in Alberta.”

Rules and regulations around quiet times, excessive noise and appropriate behaviour remain in place at provincial parks and other campgrounds.

— With files from Emily Mertz

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