Montreal’s Bloodthirsty Pit Bull Ban Shows the Essence of the State

Montreal’s city council just passed a law that lets government employees target pit bulls any dog with a “short fur” and a “big head”  for death, forces people to pay a special registration fee dog tax, and forces owners to muzzle their dogs and keep them on a short leash prevent their dogs from having fun.

Vets will be compelled tmontreal-pit-bull-ban-20160926o euthanize dogs that exist in violation of these rules, unless the vet morally objects and “makes an effort” to find another professional to do the service within 48 hours (who decides what is a sufficient effort? And what is the consequence if a vet fails to do this?).

If someone’s dog brutally kills someone, wouldn’t it makes far more sense to simply charge the owner with manslaughter than pass a new law that threatens pet owners and vets for no good reason? Wouldn’t that be better than hiring a new squad of enforcement officers to hunt down dogs with big heads for extermination?

This particularly cruel law highlights the special destructive power of the state — systematic interference with private property. Because yes, our beloved pets are private property.

The state is all about taxes, badges, guns, and death. This law delivers that in a perfect package.

Every law that interferes with private property is just like this, but the Montreal law is a blatantly brutal and vicious example.

Lawmakers, from the municipal to the federal level, are drunk with power. The ballot box supposedly gives them authority to regulate virtually anything and the idea of “property rights” deserves nary a thought.

And every law of the government is backed with guns and badges. Never forget that the government will ultimately kill to enforce the law (usually you, but in this case your dog).

When it comes to most property, the government’s interference usually only affects your use of some resource or object, even your own body.

But regulations like the Montreal ban are a form of especially unjust intervention. You’re not restricting someone from selling a certain type of food or building a house with a weird shape.

Montreal is hiring government agents that threaten the lives of people’s animals that have never hurt anyone.

Animals are property, but they are also friends. Montreal just pointed a gun at you and your friends.

Advertisements

Does Stats Canada Tell People to Commit Census Crimes?

The government threatens citizens with fines and/or jail if they do not fill out the census.

A lot of people remarkably think this is a civilized way to collect information, but we’ll put that issue aside for now.

Here’s the hilarious thing, based on my own recent experience and reports from other individuals: If you tell a Stats Canada employee you have concerns about privacy or violent threats about not filling out surverys or anything like that, they will tell you to “make something up.”

I am no lawyer but I think this is illegal under Section 31 of the Statistics Act:

False or unlawful information

 Every person who, without lawful excuse,

  • (a) refuses or neglects to answer, or wilfully answers falsely, any question requisite for obtaining any information sought in respect of the objects of this Act or pertinent thereto that has been asked of him by any person employed or deemed to be employed under this Act, or

  • (b) refuses or neglects to furnish any information or to fill in to the best of his knowledge and belief any schedule or form that the person has been required to fill in, and to return the same when and as required of him pursuant to this Act, or knowingly gives false or misleading information or practises any other deception thereunder

is, for every refusal or neglect, or false answer or deception, guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both.

Isn’t that funny? The government will spend a lot of money telling you how important the census is for our country’s future and also threaten you if you don’t complete the census truthfully, because that’s a crime.

But government employees will tell you to make stuff up if you find the census obnoxious and immoral. Which shows they don’t really take the census or the law seriously.

So does the government even care about the census? Sounds like a pointless boondoggle.

The census is dumb.

 

Election 2015: How Bad Are the Conservatives?

In this series CMR will examine the policy proposals set forth by the top three parties in Canada’s 2015 federal election.

PART I: The NDP
PART II: The Liberals
PART III: The Conservatives (current article)

Obviously these parties are all terrible. So the question is simply this: which party will beat you with the biggest stick?

We will refer to the helpful National Post article “Everything you need to know about the parties’ platforms, from taxes to terrorism to the environment.”

In Part I and Part II, we reviewed the NDP and Liberal platforms. It enough to make any reasonable man fear for Canada. We have saved the current ruling party for last. Can we expect the Conservatives to be any better?

Those who prefer smaller government will usually assume the so-called ‘conservative’ party is the best choice. But the CPC is Canada’s neocon party, so — despite over-the-top proclamations from the opposition during election season –they offer only a different variety of socialism.

The issue then becomes whether the socialism of the Cons will cause less suffering than the socialism of the somwhat more leftist centrists, the Liberals, or the somewhat more radical leftists in the NDP.

The Cons have been leading the government since 2006, and they have had a majority since 2011. In all that time, they haven’t done much that is “conservative”: tax cuts have been cruelly parsimonious and offset by higher and higher spending as well as the overall expansion of Ottawa’s interventionary powers. Just look at the numbers. In 2006, the Conservative’s budget was $220 million of expenditures. In 2015, government spending will be $290 million. Meanwhile, our GDP has gone from $1.3 trillion to $1.8 trillion in that time.

If we are to be charitable, when you think of what we’ve seen around the world post-2008 financial crisis, Harper’s Cons have presided over a government that is growing relatively slowly. The other parties might grow the government at a far more accelerated rate.

Change for the sake of change is not good. We can see that in Alberta. The incumbent party is usually corrupt and lazy but less dangerous than a party aggressively campaigning to bring “change” and “fix things.” Anyone with a modicum of political wisdom knows “fixing things” in political speech translates as “bigger government, more spending, more taxes, more interference.”

So here we go: the Conservative Platform and parts of their record.

Economy, Taxes, and Pocketbook Issues

– Introduced a “family tax cut” that allows couples with children under age 18 to split up to $50,000 of income; caps non-refundable benefit at $2,000.

This is relatively good because it leads to less tax paid. It is somewhat unfair in the sense that it only applies to certain people, while others get nothing. What about couples with no children? What about single people? Relatively good, but every other taxpayer needs more relief as well.

– Increased annual contribution limit for tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) to $10,000 from $5,500.

The TFSA is a useful tool for getting more tax free investment income. The TFSA is better than the RRSP and here at CMR we are happy it exists. Increasing the contribution limit is good. Too bad they didn’t make the contribution limit even higher, or just eliminate it. Imagine — no tax on investment income! Canada economy would be the envy of the world within two years.

– Increased Universal Child Care Benefit to $160 a month for children under age six, up from $100; added new monthly benefit of $60 for children age six to 17.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if you are a net taxpayer and you get the Child Care Benefit, it’s just like taking a regular old tax credit and reducing your overall level of taxation. If you are a tax-consumer (like a welfare recipient or an employee of the government), this is just extra welfare. The policy is a mixed bag in the first place, and increasing is kind of here nor there.

– Reduced small-business tax rate to nine per cent from current 11 per cent by 2019; have reduced corporate tax rate from about 22 per cent to 15 per cent.

Very good. They should have cut it further. Even to zero. All corporate taxes should be called “shareholder taxes,” because that’s who pays for them. These corporate and small business taxes are sinister forms of double-dip income taxation and should be abolished.

– Promise to balance the budget this fiscal year.

It appears they have accomplished this. But as we have said before, balancing the budget is only good if balanced by means of spending reductions.

– Increased eligibility age for receiving Old Age Security benefits to 67 from 65.

Probably good overall, since the Old Age Security benefit shouldn’t exist and therefore it would be a good policy to increase the eligibility age to 500. For some, however, it is a way of getting back money that has been previously plundered from them in the form of taxation.

– Are examining ways for Canadians to voluntarily contribute more to the Canada Pension Plan.

The CPP is dreadful but at least the policy under consideration is more voluntary contributions. None of the contributions now are voluntary. A real improvement would be making the entire CPP voluntary — let people opt out if want.

However, putting more money in the CPP is economically harmful, even if it is voluntary. It gives more capital to the government’s portfolio managers, who then allocate vast sums of money with inauthentic investment theses and have a considerable impact on economic activity. The CPP is not a natural institution and giving it more money and power hurts the entire world. It is inherently incapable of making economical investments. Its assets should all handed over to taxpayers.

And… that’s it? That’s the Economy and Taxes part of the Conservatives’ program? Where are the income tax cuts? Where is the elimination of the GST? Where are the brutal cuts to government spending? Maybe they will throw us a bone elsewhere in the platform, but so far this ‘right wing’ and ‘conservative’ party is extremely lame. They clearly are neocons — leftist liberals who crave large government that provides mountains of resources for welfare and warfare.

Security and Terrorism

– Committed Canada to a military mission against ISIL, sending CF-18 fighter jets to Iraq and Syria.

Harper wants to be a War Prime Minister. He regrets that Canada didn’t participate more in the disgraceful Iraq War. He is excited to participate in the noble crusade against the evil Islamic State, as he was eager to participate in the war on Libya (which, by the way, has made that country far worse than before, and directly contributed to the rise of ISIS in the first place).

Putting aside the rather important fact that dropping bombs in civilized areas always kills civilians, in a purely realist sense intervening militarily in this conflict is extremely dumb. ISIS is brutal and vile, but it is not a threat to Canada, and Ottawa has no business forking over our resources to help evil governments in other parts of the world other evil people they don’t like. The only hope for resolution is for regional stakeholders to figure it out. Turkey or Jordan could crush ISIS in a month if they wanted to. No one wants to act decisively though, because they expect the US and its allies to do the dirty work for them. Crowding out local solutions by picking one side and bombing the other will ultimately make things worse, as it always does — like government spending crowds out good investment. Every time the Western military-democracies topple a dictator in the Middle East, the outcome is worse than before. Why can’t we learn?

And now that Russia is intervening to fight against ISIS and anti-Assad rebels in Syria, there is even less imaginable justification for Harper to participate in the intervention there. Russia is making a mistake, but we all need to let them make that mistake.

The war issue is one of Harper’s biggest weaknesses — Liberals and NDP have him beat on this.

– Passed Bill C-51, with broad new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to expand surveillance and actively disrupt threats to national security. The bill makes it illegal to promote terrorism; lowers the legal threshold required for police to arrest and detain suspected extremists without charge; and allows more than 100 government entities to exchange Canadians’ confidential information if it is “relevant” to a potential or suspected national security threat.

This bill is an assault on the civil liberties that help protect innocent people from the government’s power and expands the surveillance powers of the state. Bill C-51 is an abomination.

– Committed $292 million over five years to help RCMP, CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency combat terrorism.

We need to cut the budgets of the RCMP, CSIS, and Canada Border Services Agency, so this is a bad policy.

– Created a new parliamentary police force by integrating the former, separate House and Senate security staffs into the Parliamentary Protective Service, while also committing $39 million in additional funding for operational security measures in the Parliamentary precinct.

Right… just what we need, bigger bureaucracies with more money.

Energy and Environment

– Approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline that would run from Alberta to the coast of Kitimat, B.C.; support the proposed TransCanada Energy East project, a west-to-east oil pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick; support proposed TransCanada Keystone XL oilsands pipeline from Alberta to U.S. Gulf Coast.

Basically they don’t oppose these, which is fine. They should not be opposed so long as the projects respect property rights.

– Committed to reducing Canada’s emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, largely relying on provincial measures to meet that goal.

This is a dreadful policy and needs to be reexamined. “Carbon emissions” should not be the subject of government policy. Relying on provincial measures is better than having Ottawa dictate everything though.

– Agreed with other G7 nations to move to a low-carbon economy by 2050 and eliminate use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

A foolhardy and destructive policy, but in a lot of ways these kinds of agreements are meaningless. Just look at Kyoto. We should probably be using MORE carbon in our economy.

Infrastructure and Transport

– $5.3 billion a year, on average, for provincial and municipal infrastructure under the New Building Canada Plan.

This is a terrible policy. Infrastructure spending should be left to the provinces.

– A New Public Transit Fund committing the federal government to spend $250 million in 2017, $500 million in 2018 and $1 billion a year after 2019.

We don’t need everyone in the country subsidizing people who live in big cities. Ottawa should completely stay out of public transit issues.

– $150 million for Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program to fund community and cultural infrastructure projects across the country as a way to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017.

This makes the CMR editors cry. What a waste of money.

Foreign Affairs and Defense

– Increase Department of National Defence’s budget to three per cent starting in 2017-18, totalling an additional $11.8 billion over 10 years.

I’m afraid that the Department of National Defence’s budget is far too large already ($20 billion). Harper should be cutting the military budget.

– Commit an additional $3.5 billion over five years toward maternal, newborn and child health initiative, on top of $2.8-billion commitment at G8 summit in 2010.

Great, more money for government health care. What a disgrace.

Social Issues

– Beginning in 2017–18, increase annual health funding to provinces to grow in line with nominal GDP, guaranteed to increase three per cent each year (current increases are six per cent annually).

This is a terrible idea, the exact opposite of what is needed. The only way we are going to make health care better in this country is to get Ottawa out of it. We do not need to spend more federal money on health care.

– Retool $2-billion-per-year Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces to reorient training towards needs of employers and job seekers.

So they aren’t going to spend more, they aren’t going to spend less, they are going to “retool.” Well, since the current system basically just pumps money into provincial governments and subsidizes the unemployed, it’s hard to imagine how “retooling” it would make it worse but obviously the policy is awful and this entire program has got to go.

– Provide $65 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to business and industry associations to allow them to work with post-secondary institutions to better align curricula with needs of employers.

We don’t need to spend government money on this at all. It doesn’t do anything about the problem of government universities churning out economically unproductive graduates.

Democratic Reform and Governance

– Place a moratorium on new Senate appointments in an effort to pressure the provinces to accept reforms to the upper chamber or abolish it.

This seems relatively harmless. It doesn’t matter much. Basically everyone except the Senators think the Senate is dumb.

– Introduce legislation that would require Canadians’ approval in national referendum before first-past-the-post electoral system could be changed.

While we should generally oppose new laws, no one cares about this.

Justice

– NOT decriminalize or legalize possession of marijuana.

The drug war is a complete failure and it should end. It doesn’t matter if marijuana is good or bad. The Conservatives are terrible on this issue.

– Consider Canadian police chiefs’ call for ticketing system for people possessing 30 grams of pot or less.

This is better than putting kidnapping people and putting them in jail, but come on. Just legalize all drugs already. Alcohol is legal and the world hasn’t fallen apart.

– Re-introduce previously tabled legislation to imprison the most brutal criminals for the rest of their natural lives and quickly deport hardcore foreign criminals. Also, to enact an amended version of the government’s previous mandatory-minimum sentencing law for gun crimes, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Deporting “hardcore” foreign criminals is a good idea. But if we can’t deport a brutal criminal to another country, we should send them to a deserted island or Antartica or the Sahara Desert or some other place where we don’t have to take care of them and they are far away from society. Minimum sentencing laws for gun crimes is a dumb idea, because it creates a greater possibility of disproportionate punishments.

Aboriginal Issues

– Review the 94 recommendations released in June by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which the Tory government established as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

The 94 recommendations are mostly bad, by the way. But simply “reviewing” them? That sounds fine, it will probably keep a few legislators and bureaucrats out of trouble for 15 minutes.

– Provide $500 million to building and renovating schools on reserves.

The government needs to stop making reserves worse.

– Commit $567 million over five years for Aboriginal people and northerners to help build “stronger communities.”

What? What does this mean? You can be assured when the government starts talking about building “stronger communities,” your communities will soon be less strong. We can all see how Ottawa’s efforts to create strong Aboriginal communities has been such a success so far (cough cough). This policy will inflict more damage on Canada’s aboriginals and northerners.

– Budget promises include $215 to provide skills development and training for aboriginal peoples; $200 million to improve First Nations education and outcomes in schools; and $30.3 million to expand a plan that helps communities create their own land management laws to improve economic development on reserve lands.

Stop. Please stop. Hasn’t Ottawa done enough to hurt First Nations?

Conclusion

Well, that was dreadful. While it has a few policies that help people pay less tax, the Conservative platform is full of economic destruction, while gleefully interfering in insane Middle Eastern civil wars and systematically spying on every Canadian. Truly Harper and his Cons are some of the worst ‘conservatives’ we have ever seen.

Final score:

D-

Election 2015: How Bad Are The Liberals?

In this series CMR will examine the policy proposals set forth by the top three parties in Canada’s 2015 federal election.

PART I: The NDP
PART II: The Liberals (current article)
PART III: The Conservatives

Obviously these parties are all terrible. So the question is simply this: which party will beat you with the biggest stick?

We will refer to the helpful National Post article “Everything you need to know about the parties’ platforms, from taxes to terrorism to the environment.”

In Part I, we looked at the NDP. Their platform is awful, but in all fairness they had a couple of good policies related, including the repeal of Bill C-51 and ending the military campaign against ISIS. On economic issues, they were entirely dreadful other than their teeny tiny tax cut for small business. They earned a score of D-. Let’s see if the Liberals can fare better.

As Canada’s center-left party, one would expect them to be a little less stupid more moderate than the NDP, which is the party of the far left. Practically speaking, they might be closer to the Conservatives (center-right) when it comes to governance.

Economy

– Cut middle-class income-tax bracket to 20.5 per cent from current 22 per cent; create a new tax bracket of 33 per cent for annual incomes of more than $200,000.

Right on, tax cut! For some people, anyway. But it is an incredibly small tax cut. A lousy 1.5%? Come on, Canadians deserve better. Most people won’t even notice this. But they want to increase taxes on the ‘rich’ (though I hesitate to classify someone as rich for earning over $200K per year). This which is politically appealing but does absolutely nothing positive for the economy (it merely shifts money from productive people to the government).

This would probably increase taxation on net, therefore this policy is bad. They should drop the tax increase and keep the tax cut, then at least this policy would be stingy and lame but not bad.

If the Liberals said they were eliminating income tax on anyone in the middle class, then that would be something to get excited about, even if they were increasing taxes on the wealthier brackets. Better yet would be to cut everyone’s taxes.

Heck, even the NDP said they would keep the income tax rates the same! Well, they are probably lying but it’s funny that the NDP is arguably better than the Liberals on federal income taxes.

– Cancel income-splitting for families; party calls it “a $2-billion tax break to the top 15 per cent of Canadians.”

We can say the same thing we said about the NDP wanting to cancel income-splitting: “This would increase the tax burden on any family to which it applies, and is therefore bad. That it applies mostly to the “wealthiest” is true depending on how you define “wealthy,” but it also applies only to those who have someone with whom they can split their income. So it is rather selective and narrow in its tax relief. This is an interesting matter on its own, and of course tax relief for everyone would be better. But regardless of the fairness issue, added tax relief for some is better than added tax relief for none.”

– Introduce a new income-tested, tax-free monthly Canada Child Benefit that would boost payments to all families with children and annual income below $150,000.

As we said in our discussion of the NDP, the Child Tax Benefit is effectively a tax cut to net taxpayers with children, and welfare for net tax-consumers with children. Essentially, this Liberal policy says families with annual income >$150K should pay more. It’s not clear whether lower income folks would get more or less out of the deal versus the status quo.

Overall, this policy is essentially just dumb because it fiddles with something that shouldn’t exist. A better solution would be to just give families income tax cuts. Fiddling around with these tax credits is annoying and a roundabout way to give tax cuts to some and welfare to others. Meanwhile, net taxpayers with no children don’t get squat. The whole Child Benefit system is unfair and stupid.

– Cancel TFSA increase to $10,000, saying it helps well-off Canadians who need it the least.

As we said in our NDP platform review: “The TFSA is one of the only good things the Harper Conservatives have ever done. Reducing the contribution limits means more taxable income and therefore this is an evil NDP policy.” So we can say the same thing here: Evil Liberal policy. Don’t you love the government deciding who is needy and who is not? Plus, not that it should matter, but it’s questionable whether these claims about the TFSA mostly benefiting rich people are true in the first place. Evidence suggests that people at a broad range of income levels benefit from the TFSA.

– Retain tax breaks for small businesses but want to ensure this doesn’t primarily benefit the wealthy.

This doesn’t really mean anything. Small business gets “tax breaks” i.e. lower tax rates if business income is under a certain threshold. Most small business owners are not rich, and even if they were, so what? In small privately held businesses, income flows through to the owner, who gets taxed at his marginal rate. If he is rich, that tax rate is higher.

Side note: You learn a lot about people’s underlying philosophy when they say “less tax” is a “tax break.” In other words, anything less than having 100% of income taxed is a tax break. These disgusting people are basically saying all your income belongs to the state, and anything you are allowed to keep is a “tax break.” Yuck.

– Balance the budget in 2016.

I really hate when politicians say they are going to “balance the budget” and leave out the important part of HOW THEY ARE GOING TO DO THAT. Raising taxes, or cutting spending? Raising taxes is bad and cutting spending is good.

I would argue that if the government is not going to cut spending, running deficits is better than raising taxes, although both are bad. But there is a difference: you really don’t have a choice as to whether you pay taxes or not. You do have a choice about whether you lend the government money. Governments racking up debts is still bad, because it absorbs private capital and pumps it into wasteful government spending, but at least the taxpayer is less directly affected.

– Cancel Conservative plan to increase OAS eligibility age to 67.

Same thing we said about the NDP proposal applies here: “Evaluating this is a little more complicated than most proposals. On the one hand, OAS is welfare for old folks. This involves subsidizing old folks (who tend to have more accumulated wealth) by taxing younger people (who tend to have less accumulated wealth). Taking money from poorer people and giving it to wealthier people is a weird policy. On the other hand, old folks who are/were net taxpayers deserve to get all their money back, so the OAS could be considered on the same terms as taking a tax credit. Overall, the OAS is bad and should just be eliminated, and with that in mind increasing the age limit is probably better because the best result would be increasing the age limit to 1000 so no one could get it.”

– Increase Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits for Canadians.

No. The CPP is a disgrace to humanity. If people want to put more money into the CPP, I guess that’s their choice, and they should be allowed to do that. In general, however, people should be allowed to opt out of the CPP and take responsibility for their own retirement. The younger generation will be lucky to get anything out of the CPP. Forcing people — at gunpoint, if necessary — to put money into the CPP is a moral and economic atrocity.

Security and Terrorism

 – End the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria but keep military trainers in Iraq and boost humanitarian aid to help refugees; allow more refugees into the country from Iraq and Syria.

You see, the Liberals start here with something good and then dilute it with something bad. Ending the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria is a good idea. Entangling ourselves in brutal foreign conflicts is senseless. But the Liberals want to keep military trainers in Iraq — in other words, they want to support one evil faction against another evil faction. The correct choice is actually to not choose an evil faction at all, and stay out.

There should be no humanitarian aid from Ottawa — Canadians should send their own humanitarian aid if they want, and the government should have nothing to do with it. Likewise, dealing with refugees should not be a government issue at all — if people and private organizations want to help refugees by giving them a place to stay and money and such, they should be allowed to do so.

– Make amendments to anti-terrorism Bill C-51 by: limiting the sharing of personal data to 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities; eliminating CSIS’s new power to obtain court warrants to break the law in some cases to disrupt suspected terrorists; adding a three-year sunset provisions on some parts of the law and mandatory parliamentary reviews of the extraordinary security measures.

The Liberals supported C-51, and these amendments are simply a joke. Oh, so personal data will be shared with only 17 departments and agencies with national security responsibilities. (How do we have that many bureaucracies with national security responsibilities? How do we have that many government agencies at all?)

How nice to eliminate CSIS’s power to break the law — after you gave it to them. Give me a break. They routinely break the law anyway so nothing will change without defunding CSIS and prosecuting lawbreakers.

Sunset provisions at least create the possibility that a bad law will go away, so that’s not a terrible idea because laws are virtually never repealed. But notice how politicians only propose sunset provisions on bad laws. Wouldn’t it just be better to not pass the law, and if it’s already passed, just repeal and try again? Don’t say, “Hey, this law is bad but we will keep it for a few years and then decide whether we still want it, By the way, we probably will.”

The NDP, which says they would repeal C-51, has the Liberals and Conservatives beat when it comes to this awful law.

– Create an all-party national security oversight committee to oversee the 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities.

Committees. The solution is always committees. News flash: Committees are dumb and if you think we need more committees you are quite likely also dumb. They are routinely stacked with members favorable to whoever is setting up the committees in the first place, and inevitably create giant reports no one reads then everything just continues as it was, if not worse.

Government oversight doesn’t fix anything. It just changes the way the government wastes money. Furthermore, it usually doesn’t work as intended, because rather than restricting government activity, it tends to add legitimacy to functions that are bad in the first place. It does this by creating the illusion of “checks and balances” while it white washes bad things.

The only way to reign in abusive government agencies is to cut their budgets or get rid of them.

And again: how do we have 17 government departments and agencies with national security responsibilities? That is way too many. The bureaucratic nightmare in dealing with “national security” must be suffocating.

If the Liberals weren’t clueless and/or dishonest, they would be getting rid of agencies rather than setting up committees.

Environment

– Continue to oppose proposed Northern Gateway pipeline; support Energy East and Keystone XL pipelines.

Frankly, the federal government should have no influence whatsoever in the Northern Gateway pipeline, which is an Alberta/BC issue.

It’s nice that they support Energy East and Keystone XL, in the sense that “supporting” means “not opposing.” The government shouldn’t be advocating for special industry projects one way or another. They should let these issues resolve themselves among legitimate stakeholders.

– Put a price on carbon pollution that allows provinces to design their own carbon pricing policies.

This seems contradictory. If you put a price on carbon pollution, you preclude the provinces from deciding how carbon pollution should be priced — or whether it should be priced at all.

Carbon pricing creates a weird managed market that benefits the most richest, most powerful carbon pollution generators and financial institutions while hurting everyone else. This policy is terrible.

– Partner with provinces and territories to establish national emissions-reduction targets.

Sorry, no. There should be no national emissions-reduction targets.

– Invest millions in clean technologies and enhance tax measures to create more green jobs.

No. We should not have the government pouring taxpayer money into politically connected businesses, destroying jobs in some sectors and to subsidize wasteful jobs in other sectors. However, we should not be opposed to cutting taxes, even if only for certain sectors of the economy. Although a tax cut for all industries is better, selective tax cuts are relative improvements. If they want to have “green” companies pay less tax, sure, I can get on board.

– Introduce an environmental review process with more “teeth.”

Virtually all the worst pollution takes place on government land. The problem isn’t an environmental review process that lacks enough “teeth,” but instead the fact that the government allows pollution on its land at all. Government land should be desocialized and laws of tort and trespass should be enforced. Adding more teeth just means a few more boxes need to be checked before the government will let someone dump toxic waste in publicly owned rivers. Ultimately, they are still letting someone pollute.

– Hold First Ministers’ meeting with premiers within 90 days of the Paris UN climate change conference this December to establish a framework for reducing Canada’s carbon footprint.

Canada doesn’t need to reduce its carbon footprint. Like, at all. So establishing a framework for doing so is dumb.

This proposal is completely moronic. Who cares what the climate change conference in Paris says? It is a conference of goons and fools. Reducing our carbon footprint hurts us and helps countries like India and China. We should be trying to increase our carbon footprint, so that we are wealthier and healthier.

– Increase the amount of Canada’s protected marine and coastal areas to five per cent by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020.

No. All the marine and coastal areas should be desocialized. The end.

– Phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

Well, yes, absolutely! Now this probably wouldn’t result in any less spending overall, because the subsidies cut from A would just go to B, but in and of itself this is a good policy. The government should not subsidize any industries.

– Along with the U.S. and Mexico, develop a North American clean energy and environmental agreement.

ABSOLUTELY NOT! These kinds of agreement, whether they are ‘free trade’ agreements or ‘environmental’ agreements, result in harmful political integration and a surrender of sovereignty. We have less than 10% the population of the rest of North America. Canada would be surrendering power to other countries that don’t share our values. The agreement would harmonize regulations and benefit the most powerful and politically connected special interests.

Infrastructure and Transport

– Boost infrastructure funding through “alternative sources of capital” such as having large pension funds invest in major infrastructure projects in urban and rural communities.

The details are very fuzzy on what the Liberals intend for this. They have not given any concrete plan. They say they want to entice investment from private pension funds to invest in Canadian infrastructure projects. That could mean all sorts of things. In all fairness, we cannot judge this policy (but it will probably be bad).

– Provide infrastructure funding for affordable housing, public transit, transportation, climate change and “smart cities.”

NO!!! I mean, this is just dreadful. The federal government should not fund any of these things. The fact it extracts money from the provinces, takes a huge cut for itself, and then parcels out the rest based on political influence makes things worse. It would be far better to just cut that part of Ottawa’s budget and leave all infrastructure decisions in the hands of the provinces.

And don’t you shudder to think what happens when the government starts dishing out cash for “smart cities”? Smart to whom? Ottawa? All the stupidest possible public infrastructure fantasies will have their crazy advocates fighting over the federal money that’s up for grabs. Someone please save us.

– Hold a big city mayors’ meeting in Ottawa annually to discuss pressing infrastructure issues facing cities.

This is completely useless. A bunch of big city tax-devouring beggars rack up a big bill on a fancy trip to Ottawa so they can hang around with Justin Trudeau and talk about how much federal money they need, without which their cities will be lousy. Waste of time and money, and surely leading to nothing positive in the future.

Foreign Affairs and Defense

– Make Canada a “world leader” at multinational institutions.

National Post could have left it out of the article. This doesn’t mean anything. I am sure Justin Trudeau would like to give lots of speeches at the United Nations or something, but that doesn’t help anybody.

Realistically speaking, Canada probably shouldn’t even be in most of these “multinational institutions.” They do not represent Canada’s interests and tend to be counterproductive regarding the goals of prosperity and justice throughout the world.

Canada can be a “world leader” by advocating for peace and free markets, and be demonstrating those values to the world with its own domestic policies. This is not what the Liberals are offering.

– Reopen nine Veterans Affairs regional offices closed by the Conservative government.

I understand why this riles people up. The government treats veterans very poorly. But these are fake cuts. Veteran Affairs spends more money in total each year, so even if some regional offices close and a bunch of bureaucrats get fired in one place, the money is being spent elsewhere in Veteran Affairs. Are the veterans better or worse off than before? It’s impossible to say for sure. That is the problem with government spending.

You’d be better off just getting eliminating all tax on military families and getting rid of Veteran Affairs Canada. Any money that Ottawa would otherwise tax and spend would just stay in the provinces and their health care systems could deal with sick and injured people.

– Create a cabinet committee to oversee and manage Canada’s relationship with the United States.

One of the worst ideas I have ever heard.

– Host a new trilateral summit with the United States and Mexico.

No.

Social Issues

– Strengthen the federal government’s role in safeguarding the national health-care system; meet with the premiers on how to improve the system in areas such as wait times, affordability of prescription drugs, and availability of homecare.

What is it with the Liberals and having all these meetings and committees?

Anyway, we really need to rethink our heath care system. We should leave the money in the provinces and let them figure it out. When something is as important as health care, you want your influence to be closer to home. Therefore, the Liberal desire to strengthen Ottawa’s role in “safeguarding” the health care system is the exact opposite direction we should go.

– Restore door-to-door home mail delivery by Canada Post.

Whatever. This basically just subsidizes Amazon. Mail delivery should be entirely privatized.

– Reinstate the long-form census and make Statistics Canada independent.

The long-form census is ridiculous and it’s insane that some think the government should threaten people with imprisonment if they don’t want to fill it out. What is wrong with people?

Democratic Reform and Governance

– Introduce changes to strengthen the Access to Information system and ensure this applies to the Prime Minister’s Office and ministers’ offices.

Supposedly they want to make all government data open by default otherwise the government must provide written response in 30 days blah blah blah. I think the people should have access to all the government’s data without restriction, but I don’t necessarily think the Liberals would help with this. The changes to the Access to Information Act, written by government lawyers, would probably just add more ways to avoid producing information.

Government agencies have secrets because they exist. You wouldn’t care about the Access to Information Act if the government didn’t have so much power.

– Create a quarterly, more detailed parliamentary expense report, and open up the secretive House of Commons Board of Internal Economy.

Theoretically we could get some entertainment and scandals out of this. Ultimately it wouldn’t matter much. So Ottawa would hire a few more bureaucrats to provide more detailed accounting of how parliament wastes money. Big deal. Why don’t we just… cut their budgets? Members of Parliament shouldn’t even get a salary.

– Create a non-partisan, independent process for advising the prime minister on Senate appointments.

Lame. No one cares. No one likes the Senate.

– Allow more time for questions and answers during question period, and introduce a prime minister’s question period.

Might occasionally be good for theatre, but otherwise has no meaningful impact on anything. The money will still be spent. At best it might slow things down — fewer laws, fewer ways to hurt Canadians. That would be good.

– Ban partisan government ads and appoint an Advertising Commissioner to help the Auditor General provide oversight on government advertising.

Lame. Why can’t we just ban all government advertising?

– Revamp the electoral process by eliminating the first-past-the-post voting system; will study measures such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting.

All of the different electoral approaches to democratic majoritarianism are varieties of bad, and I’m not sure how they would rank. But one thing is for sure — mandatory voting is evil. Threatening people with fines and violence if they don’t pick one gangs of jerks or another is just cruel. The Liberals are evil just for considering mandatory voting. If anything, the ability to vote needs to be restricted. Anyone who works for the government or gets the majority of their income from the government should be prohibited from voting.

Justice

– Legalize pot and allow it to be sold – and taxed – in approved outlets. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he expects people would not be allowed to buy the drug until they turn 18 or 19, depending on the province in which they live.

This is an improvement over the status quo. Putting sin taxes on it and allowing only “approved outlets” are bad ideas but this would lead to fewer injustices related to the drug war. The drug war is a complete failure. Surely the money would be spent elsewhere, maybe just allocating more resources to other parts of the drug war. Nonetheless, this would probably result in less state aggression against people overall.

  – Consider reviewing mandatory minimum sentences.

Depends on the crime, I guess.

– Require judicial nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada to speak both official languages.

Yawn. No one cares.

Aboriginal Issues

– Rebuild the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

This doesn’t tell us anything. There is only one right way to do this: abolish the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and desocialize all First Nations, Inuit, and Metis land.

– Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

Inquiries, committees, meetings…

– Implement all 94 recommendations from Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Has anyone read all of these? Mostly they just feed into the problem — demanding meaningless gestures, money, and more interference from the Canadian state, which has done such damage to the indigenous Canadians. They should be demanding freedom. They should be trying to get the federal government out of their lives completely.

– Create more transparency and accountability with First Nations; pass legislation in consultation with First Nations people on implementing the reforms.

– Provide stable, predictable funding for First Nations education to close the “unacceptable gap” in learning outcomes for First Nations students.

With funding comes control. More federal control over First Nations. This is more the same. First Nations need sovereignty and property rights, not more ‘help’ from Ottawa.

Conclusion

That was quite the slog. After all that, there can be no doubt the Liberal Party’s platform is genuinely wretched — a tissue of economic stupidity and amazingly pointless proposals. Their tax cuts are pathetic. You wouldn’t even notice. They definitely want to increase taxes and the burden of government in various ways. The aboriginal policies were a joke. Overall the Liberals only had a few things that were actually good, particularly their scaling down of the drug war and not bombing countries that haven’t attacked us.

Compared to the NDP, the Liberals had more completely pointless proposals and they seem to like committees a lot more. Both are dedicated to economically disastrous climate change issues and neither will do anything to make Canada better overall. The NDP was definitely better on C-51, but worse on the drug war.

Overall score:

D-

Next time: We look at the platform of the ruling party — the Conservatives! You know it will be awful, but can they score higher than the NDP or Liberals? 

“Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed.”

I recently reread Étienne de la Boétie’s The Politics of Obedience: A Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. By far it is one of the greatest pieces of political theory ever written. It was composed in the 16th century but it speaks to the prevailing struggle in all eras of human civilization. It’s good Sunday reading to go with your coffee or your scotch.

How does the state, a tiny minority of people, achieve domination over the far more powerful majority? La Boétie argues that rulers depend upon the consent of the ruled — the tyrant has “nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.” This consent can be withdrawn to end the oppression without violence.

Excerpt from Part I:

Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives.

All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.

Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had not cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves?

You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them; you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows — to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check. From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free.

Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.

Once you grasp the power of la Boétie’s argument, there is a visceral moment of realization that has almost a mystical quality. Suddenly the world makes more sense, the same way it did when you really “got” how the free market works, or how you “got” why liberty is just.

— Read the rest of the book — 

In Manitoba, Feed Your Children Ritz Crackers for Lunch or Be Charged $10

To run a child care facility in Manitoba, one must be licensed by the Manitoba Government’s “Early Learning and Child Care” department. In order to be licensed, the care center must enforce certain requirements about what food the children eat for lunch on site.

One woman, obviously an uncaring and incompetent mother, sent her children to daycare with packed lunches consisting of meat, carrots, potatoes, milk, and an orange.  Mmm… that actually sounds really good… ::drool::

Uh. Pardon me.

So anyway. Guess what happens? The daycare must ensure that all children receive a “balanced meal” according to the Canadian Food Guide, otherwise it violates its licensing requirements. If a child has an unbalanced meal, then the facility must “supplement” their lunch with the appropriate item.

So these children’s lunch lacked a grain item. So what did the facility provide to fulfill that requirement? A piece of bread or something?

Don’t worry, we’ll make sure your children get their Ritz Crackers.

RITZ CRACKERS? Are you kidding me? When your body breaks those down, they are basically just sugar. A perfectly healthy lunch, like the mother gave her children originally, becomes less healthy when you add Ritz Crackers to it.  Ritz Crackers are snack foods.

Government regulation always produces inanity such as this.

No government should regulate what parents feed their children, either directly or through intermediaries like regulated daycare centers. The consequence is less healthy children.

— Read more at LRC

Alberta Floods 2013: Calgary Flood Fascism

A crisis always brings out the best in people.

And it always brings out the worst in government.

20130624-155226.jpg

%d bloggers like this: