A family in Lanigan, Sask., is refusing to participate in a parent-supervised party where alcohol will be served, in some cases to minors, after high school graduation.
Saskatchewan's legal drinking age is 19. However, at private events, police say that restriction does not always apply.
"According to the law, if the parents are there providing alcohol to their children, the police cannot do anything," Cpl. Bill Betker, a spokesman for the RCMP, told CBC News.
Nevertheless, Dale and Coralea MacDonald do not want their daughter, Chantelle, who is part of the graduating class at the local high school, to attend. The event was scheduled for Saturday night, a day after the school's graduation exercises.
"Why do we want to promote drunks?" Coralea MacDonald asked CBC News earlier in the week. "We can have fun without alcohol and you don't need to be drunk to socialize."
The MacDonalds said they were shocked when their daughter came home with a permission slip, seeking their approval of her participation in the party — along with a list of drinks that would be offered to students.
The list included prices that would be charged, ranging from $2.50 to $3.50 per drink, for beer, coolers and mixed cocktails.
The MacDonalds, who moved to Lanigan in 2007, only learned about parent-supervised parties this spring. The community of 1,200 is about 125 kilometres east of Saskatoon.
Another local parent, Linda Mallet, defended what has become a tradition across much of rural Saskatchewan. She told CBC News that the parties are designed to keep children from irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
"It's something the parents are trying to do to keep their kids safe," Mallet said, "because they know that [the students] will be partying anyways. I guess I shouldn't say that, but it's the truth."
'It's all organized perfectly.' —Grade 12 student Ian Schmidt will attend Lanigan "After-Grad"
Mallet noted that when she was involved in organizing an after-graduation party several years ago, parents reduced the amount of alcohol being served.
"When my youngest daughter — Teresa — graduated [in] that year, we did change it from 20 drinks to 10 drinks [per student]."
The supervised drinking approach has support among students.
"Either way, at grad we're going to go out, do our own thing," Ian Schmidt, a grade 12 student, told CBC News. "With this, we still have parents driving us around [so] we don't have to worry. It's all organized perfectly."
"That's just way too young to be drinking," Coralea MacDonald said, adding that she did not feel right being involved in an event that encouraged drunkenness.
"This isn't about that," Linda Mallet countered. "This isn't about pushing booze onto kids. This is about just having a safe environment for them to celebrate their high school graduation."