September 26, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 17  

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Bar penalized after death

By Taha Suria
Gazette Writer

The Quebec Liquor Board suspended the liquor license of a popular Quebec City bar after an 18-year-old drank himself to death.

According to a report released by the Alcohol Gaming and Racing Board in Quebec, the bar l'Autre Zone was slapped with a five month suspension of their liquor license.

The Quebec youth, Alexandre Rail-Vaillancourt, was allowed to consume 20 shooters in 15 seconds as part of a drinking competition which eventually led to his death.

Daniel Cantin, the owner of l'Autre Zone, not only approved the drinking competition but endorsed the event and was involved in preparing the drinks consumed during the competition, the report said.

The report also said a friend took the youth back to his home in a taxi and left him at the entrance to his apartment building.

"[L'Autre Zone] were in gross violation of the law due to the fact that it is illegal to have drinking competitions sponsored by the bar and for bars to serve alcohol past the point of intoxication," said Robert Solomon, a law professor at Western.

"Revocation of the license would have been equally appropriate - in light of the violations that were taking place," Solomon said. He added more rigorous enforcement of liquor legislation is necessary to prevent these sort of tragic events from reoccurring. Solomon argued there needs to be greater awareness of the risks associated with drinking beyond just drinking and driving.

"Informal drinking competitions have been known to take place which customers organize on their own, but it is grossly illegal for a bar to organize one," said Dan Smith, bar operations manager for the University Students' Council in charge of The Wave and The Spoke.

It is not uncommon to see entire floors from a residence at a bar to celebrate a friend's birthday in which one person may end up with an excessive amount of alcohol in front of them as a part of the celebration, Smith said.

"Who's dumber? The kid who drank 20 shots or the bar that gave it to him," commented second-year philosophy student Rahaf Harfoush.



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