Quebec to ban sweet alcohol drinks from dépanneurs

Two weeks after a 14-year-old girl was found dead behind her Laval school after allegedly drinking a sweetened, high alcoholic content beverage, the Quebec government will move to ban such drinks from convenience stores and limit their sale to government run liquor stores.

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux will include the regulation in an overhaul of the province’s liquor control regulations expected to be completed in time for the National Assembly’s summer recess.

“It is possible to make amendments in the context of this bill,” Coiteux told reporters in Quebec City Tuesday. “It’s a bill modernizing the alcohol permit system but it also contains measures on responsible consumption. It is a completely appropriate vehicle to take serious measures which are within the responsibility of the Quebec government.”

“We will seize the opportunity and I think the population expects to us act on this question and they are right.”

The decision from Quebec to move on the issue comes one day after Educ’alcool, a non-profit group that promotes the responsible consumption of alcohol, criticized Quebec and the federal government for passing the buck on which level of bureaucracy should act to limit the access young people have to such beverages.

The godmother of Athena Gervais, the teen who was found dead on March 1 after reportedly consuming an energy drink with an alcohol content of nearly 12 per cent, had organized an online petition calling on the province to set a maximum alcohol content of 6.4 per cent for beverages sold in convenience stores. As of Tuesday morning the petition had garnered nearly 14,000 signatures.

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