Alberta Floods 2013: RCMP Invades High River Homes, Seizes Guns

The RCMP is acting like an occupying army in High River.

RCMP officers working in High River, Alta., on June 25, wear protective masks to prevent toxic dust from entering their lungs. The RCMP took some guns from homes they searched that they said were not stored safely and the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement Friday saying it wants them returned.

Governments invariably use emergencies to extend their powers and subject the citizenry to greater abuse. Natural disasters are no exception.

High River was devastated by the flood. The entire town was evacuated.

It has been eight days since residents were forced from their home. As the waters recede, people want to return home and see the status of their property.

“No way,” says the RCMP.

High River is effectively under a state of martial law so intense the citizens cannot even enter the town at all. The RCMP set up a roadblock with 30 officers to prevent residents from entering. Dozens of police cars with flashing lights lined the streets menacingly. A spike strip was deployed to cripple the vehicle of any outlaw who dared to enter the town.

But it is not enough for the RCMP to use threats of violence to keep out residents. Some High River residents have firearms in their home, you see. So those homes had to be invaded, and the firearms had to be confiscated.

“People have a significant amount of money invested in firearms … so we put them in a place that we control and that they’re safe,” said one RCMP sergeant.

Oh. They are taking guns to do those owners a favor. See? No problem.

“It’s like Nazi Germany,” says a resident. Yes, it is sort of like that. It’s also sort of like New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. FEMA confiscated civilian firearms during that disaster in the name of “safety.” That’s the real template for what’s going on here.

This kind of behavior by the RCMP was entirely predictable because of the lessons of Katrina. Memories of the scandals surrounding FEMA’s gross incompetence during Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath informed us how big, bureaucratic government agencies with police powers behave during emergencies. The RCMP is not particularly less malevolent just because they have funny uniforms.

Based on their actions, every level of government involved in the Alberta floods seems desperate to be as incompetent and harmful as FEMA.

The RCMP says they will return the guns to owners “after residents are allowed back in town and they provide proof of ownership.” Something tells me the occupying forces will make it difficult for the gun owners to provide such proof. “Oh, your proof of ownership was destroyed in the flood? That’s a real shame. No gun for you.”

Lorraine Hjalte / Postmedia News

Premier Redford defended the actions of the RCMP. “I really hope that we can focus on more important matters at hand, like getting 12,000 people back into High River than continue to circulate this story,” she said. She seems to overlook that the government has utterly failed in High River. The more they focus on getting High River residents back to their homes, the longer it is likely to take.

When will residents be able to return home? The RCMP tells us: “People much higher up are going to make those decisions.” That sounds efficient. The mayor of High River says no one can return home until Home Hardware and Shoppers Drug Mart are  open. 

In a rare moment of sanity, the Prime Minister’s Office said the RCMP should return the guns. By this I think they mean, “Make it possible in theory for the owners to get the guns back.” Since the Minister of Public Safety is in charge of the RCMP, the Prime Minister can essentially just order the RCMP to return the guns immediately. Yet this has not been done.

But the RCMP never claimed it would keep the guns forever. They’ve maintained the pretense that the guns will be returned. But it’s unlikely that process will be easy.

Will every owner get their guns back?

These are the guys the RCMP is so afraid of?

— Read more at the Calgary Herald, the Globe and Mail, and CBC — 


Alberta Floods 2013: Calgary Flood Fascism

A crisis always brings out the best in people.

And it always brings out the worst in government.


Canada Needs Its Own “IRS Scandal”

While Canada is abuzz with the “Duffy Scandal,” the American news has been making a big deal about the “IRS scandal.”In this case, the IRS targeted groups with “conservative”-sounding names for special scrutiny.

Canada needs to have a scandal like this.

One of the most interesting parts of the IRS scandal is how the outrage is not divided along the lines of partisanship, as expected. Not only “right-wingers” are unhappy. Even diehard Obama-loving “leftists” like Chris Matthews, who would normally leap to defend “their guy” at any opportunity, are displeased.

Another high-profile leftist, Jon Stewart, is also extremely annoyed.

Why would leftists care if some goofy right-wing organization received extra scrutiny at the IRS?

The answer to this question is very important. The existence of the modern welfare state depends on the American public’s tolerance of the IRS’ privacy and property invasions. If this tolerance is ever substantially compromised, the massive state apparatus itself would be in jeopardy.

This is why Canada needs its own “IRS scandal” with the Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA is the most feared government agency in Canada. It is a huge part of our lives. People who yearn for big government know that the CRA must be perceived as “fair.” Otherwise, the modern welfare/warfare system would be threatened.

A big “unfairness” scandal at the CRA would really damage the image of Canada’s federal government. If a few cases were exposed where the CRA demonstrated systematic unfairness, those cases would be seen as representative of the agency’s activities. A large part of the public would doubt the wisdom and justice of the government. Their tolerance of the CRA would be diminished.

Some may recall the CRA bribery scandal. As far as scandals go, this probably didn’t do Canada much good. The “scandal” was about “corrupt auditors” taking bribes to help people pay lower taxes. As a scandal, it assumes the validity of the CRA rather than posing a challenge to it.

The CRA exists to extract wealth from Canadians with the threat of force. To the extent that scandals, large or small, call into question the validity of the government’s incredible taxing power, they are good.

That the only security men can have for their political liberty, consists in their keeping their money in their own pockets, until they have assurances, perfectly satisfactory to themselves, that it will be used as they wish it to be used, for their benefit, and not for their injury.

Lysander Spooner

The Most Important Fact About April’s Employment Numbers

The unemployment rate for April was unchanged at 7.2%. Enough full-time jobs were added to keep the rate from rising. If you look at the mainstream headlines, most of them focus on the fact that the economy added 12,500 jobs.

Compared to March’s numbers — which were the worst since February 2009 — some might think, “Well, that’s pretty good! It’s nice that the rate didn’t go up.”

Actually, the numbers are quite awful. The new jobs were all in the public sector: 34,000 of them. The private sector lost 20,000 jobs.

The most important fact about April’s employment numbers is this: Fewer people are going into productive tax-paying work than non-productive tax-consuming work. These numbers imply a weakening economy. Government jobs must be paid for with private sector production.

The economy is down for about 13,000 net jobs for 2013 so far. If you look back since April 2012, there is job growth. Yet looking closer, we see that the government has added 94,000 jobs in that period year. Private sector jobs? Only 10,000.

It is important to understand that just “creating jobs” should not be a goal of policy. Any job is not inherently valuable. Instead, what matters is creating wealth.

The buying and not-buying of consumers normally determines what should be produced, but no one “buys” government services. Public sector jobs earn wages and that money gets spent in the economy, but the consumer does not voluntarily pay the government for the goods and services produced by these jobs. Therefore, it cannot be said that government jobs provide any economic value at all.

Practically speaking, this accounts for why all governments are characterized by incompetence, arrogance, inefficiency, carelessness, and poor service. Government jobs are just subsidies for production with no regard to the consumer.

For the past year, the parasite has been growing at the expense of a progressively weaker host. This cannot continue if we want to see a stronger Canadian economy.

— Read more at —

Economic Ignoramus Stephen Poloz to Replace Carney as Bank of Canada Governor

So far, we don’t know much about Mr Poloz on a philosophical level.

Based on the little we do know, I think he is a bad choice. He has a PhD in economics, so he likely knows very little about economics.

We also know he has spent most of his life as a bureaucrat. Most of his career has been “public service” (cough cough) at the BoC and Export Development Canada. I’m sure he made lots of friends in the export industry there. Friends who will really appreciate a subsidy in the form of monetary inflation.

Back in late 2008, he wrote a commentary on the financial crisis. In essence, he appeals to animal spirits, like all Keynesians who are baffled by economic law. He blames it on nothing more than a change in psychology following the 9/11 attacks. Everyone had a “live for the moment” attitude, he says, and ultimately this created the housing bubble.

The first sign of failure in economic analysis is a reliance on nonscientific pop-psychology. He completely fails to identify the source of bubbles and account for why business cycles occur. The culpability of central banks is nowhere challenged. He pleads agnostic about the ability of economists to understand the cause of bubbles at all. He does not understand the Austrian theory of the business cycle.

Based on these facts, I can safely conclude he is an Keynesian/inflationist/mercantilist. Sort of like, well, all central bankers. He may prove to be better or worse than Carney. Only time will tell.

Ultimately, it matters only a little who is the head of the Bank of Canada. The system as such is the problem, and not so much the individual people in charge.

— Read more at BoC’s website — 

Thatcher Was No Friend of Capitalism and Freedom

After a week of Thatcher worship, it’s not too late to insulate ourselves against all the post-death propaganda.

Rothbard on Thatcher:

Thatcherism is all too similar to Reaganism: free-market rhetoric masking statist content. While Thatcher has engaged in some privatization, the percentage of government spending and taxation to GNP has increased over the course of her regime, and monetary inflation has now led to price inflation. Basic discontent, then, has risen, and the increase in local tax levels has come as the vital last straw. It seems to me that a minimum criterion for a regime receiving the accolade of “pro-free-market” would require it to cut total spending, cut overall tax rates, and revenues, and put a stop to its own inflationary creation of money. Even by this surely modest yardstick, no British or American administration in decades has come close to qualifying.

Greenwald on Thatcher:

Whatever else may be true of her, Thatcher engaged in incredibly consequential acts that affected millions of people around the world. She played a key role not only in bringing about the first Gulf War but also using her influence to publicly advocate for the 2003 attack on Iraq. She denounced Nelson Mandela and his ANC as “terrorists”, something even David Cameron ultimately admitted was wrong. She was a steadfast friend to brutal tyrants such as Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein andIndonesian dictator General Suharto (“One of our very best and most valuable friends”).

Raimondo on Thatcher:

Thatcher’s effect on the British right seems, in retrospect, to have been minimal: she wanted to bring off a “free market” revolution in the British welfare state, but instead wound up merely speeding the country down the road to serfdom. Paradoxically, where she had her greatest effect was on the Labor Party: her greatest success was cementing the “Atlanticist” foreign policy consensus presently shared by all the mainstream parties.

Sun News Network Pleads for Government Intervention

As an example of how government regulation distorts markets and encourages waste, it is interesting to consider to Sun News Network, aka CNN (Canadian Neocon Network) or “Fox News North.”

This network is supposedly more populist and conservative-leaning than, say, CBC or CTV news networks. One would hope that a “conservatives-leaning” network would be more friendly to letting the market determine its own outcomes.

Yet Sun News Network is petitioning the CRTC to declare it a “must-carry” channel, so that all basic digital television packages must have it by default. This would add approximately 7 million Canadian digital TV subscribers who would receive the channel, and about seven total people who would become new viewers. Yet all the providers would have to allocate a portion of their subscription revenues to Sun News Network if they are forced to carry the channel. It is essentially a tax — forcing people to pay for a service they do not want.

It would be perfectly fine to negotiate with the television service providers directly. But note that the mandatory carriage channels are compulsory regulatory requirements. If I am Bell, Shaw, Rogers or whoever, I cannot offer television service without including the must-carry channels in the basic package. As a subscriber, one must get the basic package in its entirety before one can select other services to add.

Let’s put aside that it’s things like “must-carry” channels and other CRTC regulations that are causing people to drop their cable subscriptions en masse, although that is interesting. Instead, let’s focus on how to become a mandatory carriage channel, you have to jump through the CRTC’s CanCon hoops. That means having lots of Canadian content that no one watches.

So, Sun News Network invests large amounts of resources in producing Canadian content to become must-carry, which would automatically give them a huge boost in revenue. Since no one cares about Canadian content for the most part (particularly that of the neocon variety), this causes Sun News Network to lose a lot of money ($18.5 million last year). Losses are the result of consumers telling a firm that it is using resources inefficiently. Here we see that Sun News Network executives are throwing resources at uninteresting Canadian content that no one cares about, to satisfy government regulations. All so that they might win on the gamble that the CRTC can be convinced to coerce everyone else into subscribing to Sun News Network.

It is also interesting how Sun News defends its efforts by saying CBC and CTV’s news networks are must-carry, and they are profitable. A true market-friendly argument would instead contend that must-carry regulations should end entirely, not be expanded further. Service providers, responding to consumers, should decide what channels are offered — not a government regulator.

Read the original story at The Globe and Mail.

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