I think the oddness, in my mind, is that a person is an adult at 18 in most ways (e.g. they can enter into contracts, and decide the fate of the nation through voting) but they are not “adult” enough to drink beer or wine or other liquor.
There’s a bit of a priority discrepancy there, isn’t it? Either the person is an adult or isn’t, but this conditional adultness doesn’t make much sense to me. Even in Ontario, where one can vote at 18 but not drink or smoke until 19…what does that extra year theoretically change in a person?
I think 21 is too old, especially if other adult rights are being granted a full three years earlier.
But I don’t really know all the stats and arguments, I can only speak from my own experience. I was actually drinking BEFORE I learned to drive (drinking around 15ish, driving at 16, legal age 18 in Quebec), and I think that gave me a much better sense of what I could handle, and it made driving that much more of a priviledge for me, and I was more responsible for it. Alcohol wasn’t hidden from us when we were young - in fact it was OFFERED, because my parents believed that if we were going to try it, we might as well do it at home, where we were safe.
This part of Ontario is fairly conservative, and I’ve seen many MANY frosh not drink until they were legally 19, and then drink themselves sick repeatedly and do stupid things, such as attempt to drive. Holding off that until the age of 21 seems even worse to me. Although this observation seems to only hold true for people who really had never had anything at all to drink before they turned 19. People who drank as minors seem able to handle it better, and at the time, they didn’t have a car or 10 000$ yearly tuition to throw away on their binges.
I know, I’m rambling, so I’ll stop now.