Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Windsor Liberty Seminar registration now open!

Register today for the 2007 Windsor Liberty Seminar by clicking here and visiting the events page.

The 2007 Windsor Liberty Seminar (our second annual) will be held on Saturday, March 24 at the University of Windsor.

Last year's seminar was great, and this year's won't disappoint. Speakers have been confirmed from the Society for Quality Education, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and the Fraser Institute, with another speaker (or maybe two!) to be announced!

I'm particularly excited about the LEAP speaker, as it should give the speakers a truly libertarian feel, with emphasis on freedom from government both economically and socially. Incidentally, this mix should lead to some interesting debate that you don't want to miss!

After the seminar, libertarian rocker Lindy will be playing at Phog Lounge in Windsor, for the unofficially official Windsor Liberty Seminar after-party!

I'm excited! (Note all the exclamation marks.) You should be, too.

If you'd like to help advertise for the seminar you can do so by posting the following banner, button or both on your blog or website and linking them to http://liberalstudies.ca

Monday, February 26, 2007

more on bans and scientists

Here is a great article on why we don't need a light bulb ban.

At least someone out there sees the light.

Vaguely related - if you haven't seen it, this article on David Suzuki's little freak-out on the radio a few weeks ago is worth a read. A favourite excerpt of mine:

Suzuki's very public censure of Oakley for his perceived blasphemy is disquieting because it smacks of the totalitarian impulse to silence and humiliate the dissenter --or even, as in this case, the dissenter's messenger.

I'm sure the comparison of David Suzuki's expertise on climate change to Michael Crichton's is causing many more little freak-outs, even though Suzuki is actually a geneticist, so I'm not sure how his independent research is significantly superior to anyone else's - especially Crichton's, which is apparently surprisingly noteworthy. Who knew?

(h/t for both: Wolfvillewatch)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

ban the ban!

If there's one thing the new PC* party loves, it's bans. Bans, bans, bans. Smoking bans, pit bull bans, and now, just for good measure, light bulb bans. (And let's not forget coal plant bans. Nevermind that clean coal plants are likely the best option for Ontario.)

Honestly now. Tory isn't releasing any policy, so I don't know what he's for, but he definitely seems to be against personal choice and freedom.

This is just ridiculous. I say ban the bans!

The new PC* party needs to remember that some of us don't have unconditional loyalty to any party that is Not The Liberals, and that we actually, you know, expect some sort of good policy from the party we're going to support.

(*Don't say the C-word!!! We are NOT Mike Harris!! Honestly!! It's PC now.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

a case for income splitting.

Andrew Coyne presents one of the best arguments for income splitting that I've read here.

I still disagree - I think this simply makes the case for a flat tax system - the problem would be solved. But it's still a decent argument.

h/t goes to Matt from The Calvinball Diaries, who tackles the topic here.

Bill C-257

Bill C-257 is, essentially, anti-scab legislation. It would make it illegal for replacement workers to be hired for federally regulated industries, and for union members to cross picket lines to work.

In Windsor we are starting to see what prevalent, militant and long-term unionization does to an economy with massive job cuts announced by Daimler-Chrysler yesterday affecting a large percentage of Windsor workers.

The Windsor Star reported today that two NDP Windsor MPs support "fair" trade solutions (not surprising), while Jeff Watson, the Conservative MP for Essex, (not answering his phone after the biggest economic hit this region has taken in a decade - if not my lifetime. Classy.) issued a press release saying that the solution is a more competitive auto industry. This seems to make sense, but Watson is a supporter of Bill C-257, which will make our federally regulated industries FAR less competitive and constitutes a step in completely the wrong direction - if the province were to follow in the footsteps of federal MPs who passed this legislation it would be disastrous.

If we want competitive industry in Canada, we need to let industry be competitive - not make exceptions to help union workers at the expense of the rest of Canadians. It is extremely disheartening that any Conservative MP would support this bill.

From what I've heard, this vote is set to take place in the fall. Definitely an issue that warrants a phone call or email to your MP to urge them to oppose it in the House.

(Image courtesy of the National Citizens' Coalition, who is currently running a campaign to lobby the government to oppose Bill C-257, which you can support by going here.)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Climate Change Cancelled

Agree or disagree, but this video (and its four sequels) raise very interesting points regarding climate change, and sharing it relieves some of the frustration I feel when people try to tell me there is no scientific opposition to global warming.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

you get what you pay for.

Yesterday was the big cross-province tuition protest. The shouting mob in front of the library made it hard to hear my ethics prof and I spent the rest of the afternoon being irritated by a girl with a laptop, a video iPod and way nicer boots than mine talking about how crippling her student debt is.

For today, let's put aside the fact that subsidizing university tuition forces the burden of your choices on everyone and focus on why you should pay, who pays, and what they get out of it.

The fact is that a university education is an investment much like, say, a house. Sure, you might go into debt to get one, but that's because it is going to pay off in the long run. If you are not willing to incur debt to gain your degree you should be seriously considering whether or not you should be seeking one at all.

As an B.Comm. student at the University of Windsor, each semester I have to come up with around $2500 (give or take, depending on textbook costs) which is really not bad. The taxpayers pick up the rest.

The problem with government subsidizing education is that you get what you pay for. If I was paying the full cost of my tuition, I would reap all the benefits - partly because there would be people who, facing the full cost of a university education, would decide that it's not for them. A degree is, after all, only an advantage if other people don't have them.

When the government subsidizes education, one must assume that it's because society values having educated citizens. So society pays and society reaps the benefits, assuming that society considers having lots of people with university degrees a benefit.

Individuals, then, gain less and less from a degree as university tuition is subsidized more and more. How often have we heard "An undergraduate degree just isn't enough to get you a job any more." from professors, students and high school teachers? I wonder why that is.

Back in the day, you needed to be exceptionally smart, hard working, or wealthy to get a university education. Now higher education is a "right" and everyone is "entitled" to a degree, if you want to prove through academics that you are exceptionally smart, hard working, or wealthy, you must obtain a graduate or professional degree, which still provides a substantial advantage.

Society benefits, individual students take the hit.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the fact that, while it's everyone's money going into it, it's my four years of work that goes into my degree. Sure, this work is a payment for something from which I will continue to gain some benefit, so long as academic standards aren't lowered to ensure that more students graduate. But really, if I'm going to put four years of my life into studying something, I would much rather my work be a benefit to me and me only, and I would pay far more money to gain exclusive benefits from my work.

Selfish? Sure. But everyone's selfish.

When was the last time you asked a kid, "Why are you going to university?" and got the answer, "Because it's better for society if I get a degree."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Big Picture

My dad is always going on about The Big Picture.

It's important to have an ultimate goal or end result that you are looking towards, but at the same time I think all "big picture" talk needs to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, there really isn't a The Big Picture - it's different for everyone, and for that reason no picture can't be all that big at the end of the day.

I would hope that, for most Conservative supporters, provincially and federally, their big picture (politically) includes more than simply power for the Conservatives and political exile for the Liberals - we need to be working for more ethical, less intrusive, less expensive, more accountable and efficient government.

With some of the decisions that have been made recently, though, I worry that power for power's sake has become important for too many Conservative supporters.

While I appreciate the importance of forming a majority government if we want to institute any kind of sweeping changes to Canada, when I see people defending something as ridiculous as attacking banks for charging ATM fees or banning smoking, or defending a Conservative MP(P) when they behave improperly all because "we need the votes," I really worry about what some Tories are willing to accept in the name of power.

My big picture is to have a better Canada. There are a lot of improvements that need to be made in our country, and I think Canadians know it. That's why we need to be more than just Not The Liberals™.

Let's support real change in Canada by demanding the behaviour we want in our government from our party. This is something that, if we always keep it in mind and act accordingly as we move forward, I think Canadians will respect, and that's good for everybody.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

BC baby snatchers?

B.C. seized 3 sextuplets for blood transfusions
Father, a devout Jehovah's Witness, likens province's intervention to 'a hit and run'

(H/T: Matt from The Calvinball Diaries)

I thought this was a really interesting case - the sextuplets were born prematurely in early January.

Early in the pregnancy doctors asked for the parents' consent to perform "selective reduction" that is, abortions on some of the foetuses to improve the chances of those remaining. When the parents refused to consent, doctors respected their wishes.

Before the children were born, doctors asked the parents whether or not they wanted their children resuscitated, reminding the parents that these children, being premature, could have life-long handicaps. The parents told the doctors that they wanted the children resuscitated, and, far as I can tell, the doctors respected that wish as well.

However, when the parents refused to consent to blood transfusions for their children, three children were seized and the procedure was performed without parental consent.

Two of the sextuplets have passed away since their birth early in January, and, to be sure, this is a very sad case. But while it must be heartbreaking to have children die, these parents have done all that they can, according to their beliefs, to keep their children alive.

This is in spite of what I read from the article as insinuations that the children might be better off if they were allowed to die by their doctors. (Note: This is simply my interpretation of the article. The doctors may have urged the parents not to perform the selective reduction and to resuscitated them.)

The government simply has no right to take children from their parents, and I can't figure out why this was the stage at which these doctors thought they could justify it.

I wish these parents luck at their Supreme Court date.

Bernier's bad bet

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press Maxime Bernier is taking a gamble. He believes that there is a large, disenfranchised voting bloc in Canada...