Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

hey socialists

Next time you're wandering around complaining about people like me because we "don't care" about our fellow man, preaching socialism as a cure to all of society's ailments, I'm going to think about how socialism has always led to things like this.

Venezuelans (and so many others in the world) should be in all our thoughts, and we should never stop taking our freedoms for granted.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nothin' to add.

I think Lorne Gunter says it all, as far as responses to the political rationalizing for the current government's behaviour go.

Friday, May 25, 2007

conflict of interests

I think politicians' heads much be in danger of explosion when they're trying to decide whether conserving energy is more important than "protecting" ratepayers from the real cost of power.

So far it looks like pocketbook concerns are winning out over environmental ones in the eyes of taxpayers and their current and prospective representatives.

This blog post has been brought to you by the plethora of god-awful commercials put together by the provincial and federal governments in an attempt to guilt taxpayers into wanting to conserve (but not actually doing anything) that I have to listen to every time I turn on the freaking radio.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"fair" political fundraising and spending.

Canada's New(ish) Government is moving towards further restrictions on political donations and loans, and previous governments enacted legislation limiting annual political donations and limits on how much non-political entities can spend during an election to promote or condemn a message, issue, Party or candidate.

This has all been in the name of "fairness."

The logic is that if everyone has a set amount they can spend, then wealthy individuals won't have more influence than the Average Joe on elections and the political process.

This is, of course, nonsense.

Ignoring whether or not you think it's the right thing to do, it's completely ineffective. In the same way that the socialization of Canadian health care and education was unsuccessful in curbing the advantages of wealth - where once money could get you ahead, now powerful connections (possessed almost exclusively by the wealthy) are the currency of these systems - money will never stop creating influence, whether or not it's used directly.

What these donation and spending limitations do do is restrict the ability of private citizens or groups to affect the political process through information campaigns or donations to a favoured candidate and amplify the extent to which politicians are able to pervert their position any issue to the public.

Take election spending as an example. Unless you are spending less than the equivalent of $3588 to a maximum of $179,400, (roughly 4% of what politicians can spend - excluding any free media they're guaranteed through legislation) and are successfully registered with Elections Canada, you will not be allowed to run advertisements or campaigns (including lawn signs, fliers, etc.) during an election.

While this has been recognized as an infringement on the rights guaranteed to Canadians under the Charter, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that this infringement is acceptable. The logic is that gag laws protect Canadians from misrepresentation or unbalanced influence during an election campaign.

Basically, a bunch of lawyers have ruled that politicians are the only ones trustworthy enough to inform the public about election-worthy issues in a reliable way. Fan-freaking-tastic.

Gerry Nicholls points out in a Toronto Star op-ed today that Stephen Harper used to be against this oppression of individual rights by the political establishment, but no more.

The battle for individual rights and freedoms is one that's always worth fighting. One Canadians should fight, and should demand their governments fight for as well.

(h/t for some of my facts.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

So much for grassroots democracy.

If Rob Anders is the guy for Calgary West, why not just let him fight a nomination race?

I would say that Anders must know some dirty secret about someone important for them to be protecting him like this, but they've made it pretty clear that they're willing to protect any and all Conservative MPs, no matter what they've done. In fact, I hear you can commit a crime (or several!) and still end up front-and-center with the PM during question period.
But I digress...

It would have been more honest for Harper to just rule out nomination races for his MPs as he did between 2004 and 2006 than to carry on this charade of honesty and accountability in how we run the Party.

Maybe the CPC should have gone for an election this spring. The longer we wait the more it seems that accountability, transparency and grassroots representation were just buzzwords to this government. (Kind of like "lower taxes!" Well, the "lower" part, anyway.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

How to save the tiger.

Which country is thinking about applying free-market principles to wildlife preservation and, in the process, improving the survival chances of a long-endangered species while giving its economy a boost?

Communist China, of course.

Clicking on the above excerpt will take you to a thought-provoking argument for saving animals subject to poaching by embracing the demand for the products they're killed for (furs, teeth, bones, etc.)

Farming these animals would meet the demand for the products they're killed for, in contrast to the current prohibition on the products that increases the value of these animals in the black market and makes it worthwhile to illegally hunt animals in their natural habitats. (Not to mention necessitates the involvement of crime in the production of different products. Sound familiar?)

The article uses tigers as an example - tigers are apparently ridiculously easy to breed, to the point that in India breeding tigers is reduced to avoid overpopulation in zoos.

If a tiger farming market was set up, thousands of tigers a year could be raised to meet the demands of, say, the Chinese markets for different medicinal products or exotic fur traders, reducing the price of tiger products and taking away the incentive to go hunting for an endangered species. In addition, since so many tigers would be bred, reintroduction techniques could be used to further increase the wild
tiger population.

Of course there would be opposition to this - the thought of tigers being bred for fur, meat, etc. isn't a great one. Let's face it, they're beautiful animals and it's not nice (at least for me) to think of them being raised for something like fur or claws, but the pros in this case would greatly outweigh the cons - if we could stop poaching of wild tigers it would be worth it. No government policy will make people stop wanting the products that they want - this is why prohibitions are uniformly detrimental to societies where they're implemented.
Now, obviously this wouldn't work for all animals - pandas are notoriously hard to breed in captivity, for instance - but by doing something very simple: providing for a demand on the market, we could save an animal as amazing as the tiger from extinction in the wild.

h/t - the Institute for Humane Studies, who sent me this link as part of my readings for a free summer seminar I'll be attending in July.

x-posted to The Institute for Liberal Studies and Bureaucrash

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

video o' the day

Because, once again, I'm not angry enough to blog.

A video tribute to communism.

h/t: Bureaucrash

Thursday, May 10, 2007

public service announcement

PSA - Do you think that the government is infringing on your rights? Do you think some policies of the government are immoral? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, and/or if you think the government needs to butt out of your life and leave you the hell alone, and you're in Alabama, you may be a terrorist!

What a load of horse shit.

Terrorism is the use of fear (fear puts the "terror" in "terrorism!") to force people to do what you want. That sounds like something that comes from the government a hell of a lot more than it comes from libertarians, who are opposed to force and fraud.

h/t: Matt from The Calvinball Diaries.

UPDATE: Ja$son at Bureaucrash provides a link to the Google cache of the page mentioned at the end of the article. (Which is down.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

more on plastic bag use reduction

The Liberals are saying that biodegradable bags aren't a long-term solution to plastic bag use reduction, as they create greenhouse gases when they decompose.

Unfortunately, they don't get into the fact that recycling plastic is not an efficient process - more resources (including evil, greenhouse gas producing energy) are used to recycle the plastic than would go into just creating new plastic... and since there are reduced incentives to come up with a more environmentally friendly recycling method since the government is overpaying recycling companies for what we're currently using, I don't see that changing any time soon.

Sure, you'll use less resources when you re-use your recycled bag 50 times, but I'm just saying... if I can't use the kinds of lightbulbs I want, I don't see how energy-inefficient recylcing processes are getting a pass.

oh for heaven's sake

So now the province is thinking of introducing an incentive program to reduce the number of plastic bags used by Ontarians.

I'll give them two things: 1 - using fewer plastic bags is probably a lot more beneficial to the environment than emitting less CO2. 2 - they didn't jump right to banning the bags - nor should they jump there eventually.

But honestly, I'm not sure why the government feels like they have to do anything about this. My Zehrs recently started selling "green" shopping bags for a buck each and I bought one without a government program. So did a lot of other people. The damned things are selling like hotcakes, government intervention-free.

... it's not a landfill shortage that drives people to want to reduce plastic bags, St. Godard said. "The biggest issue from a public standpoint is the problem plastic bags cause with litter. People see them in their communities, they see them on the way to work, they see them at the park," she said.

But hell, why not use the government to take yet another community-driven incentive out of good behaviour. Sheesh.

Tim Hudak loses points. (h/t: Freeway to Serfdom)

Monday, May 07, 2007


Peter over at Adventures in Bowling Green, has an excellent rebuttal-to-a-misunderstanding-of-libertarianism post today that deals (in part) with communities and libertarianism, which I love to read Peter's views on, as - quite frankly - he's thought about it more than most people. Here is an excerpt that I really enjoyed. Click on "post" to read the rest.

Consider: Suppose we have an ethical obligation to ensure that other persons are sufficiently well off. Suppose we are obligated to help the poor, the indigent, the starving, the disaffected. What follows? Think hard. Are you thinking yet? If you think it follows that the government should be in the business of fulfilling these obligations, you've missed a few premises, and have failed the test. You have failed it miserably.

Take this second test: Suppose it is established that human beings need (not want) food and shelter. It is not something we could do without. What follows, my friend? In particular, what follows about the role and function of government? If you answered, "uhm, nothing just yet. I need a few more premises." Then you get an "A" in good reasoning. If you answered "New Government Program!" Then you are an imbecile. Maybe imbecile is too strong. It probably is.

But don't worry. You're in excellent company. Just about everyone thinks that this follows. But it doesn't. It's a non sequitor. I called it an enormous non sequitor. I called it this not because it is terribly obvious that it doesn't follow (although, when you think about it, it is terribly obvious), but because so many people are busy making this giant mistake.

When we talk about "our" ethical obligations, we can mean this in one of at least two ways. The first is to read "our" as a distributive, not collective, thing. Suppose we have five people. Me, you, Sally, Betty, and Sam. We can say that it is "our" responsibility to feed the hungry. Reading this as a distributive thing, this means that it is each of our responsibility to feed "the hungry" (not necessarily all of them, and the extent to which this is our responsibility is left unanalyzed for the sake of argument). I have this responsibility, so do you, so does Sally, Betty, and Sam. The second way of reading this is as a collective thing. Thus, Sally feeding the hungry satisfies our collective obligation to feed the hungry. "We" have fed the hungry when Sally has fed the hungry.

This is an important confusion. It is important because, supposing something like feeding the hungry is each of our responsibility, we are liable to feel satisfied that we have fulfilled our responsibility when somebody else has. We are liable to move from the distributive to the collective, and ignore the fact that we haven't fulfilled our responsibility at all. Fighting for a new government program is a way to shirk, not uphold, our ethical obligations. It's a way to avoid having to deal with the actual beneficiaries of the program. You can go to marbled and fancy government buildings, rather than to the corners of run-down neighbourhoods. You won't be on the hook for distributing the food, the money, the shelter. You can go home and feel satisfied that you're paying your taxes and, therefore, doing your part. But you're not. You're not, you're not, you're not. You are shirking what you take to be an ethical responsibility and obligation. Go out and help, don't call your representative.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I just receieved the following email from the National Citizens' Coalition:

What a waste of time and money!

This article, penned by Geoff Matthews in today’s Toronto Star, paints a colourful picture of how our well paid federal politicians have chosen to represent us in Ottawa.

Instead of address issue like the inefficiency of our countries crime labs, sky rocketing gas prices, or the lack of doctors in Canada – Our federal representatives are taking on Hockey Canada, and their decision to name Shane Doan as the national team captain.

That’s right, they are ignoring issues that affect the everyday lives of Canadian’s to question whether or not Mr. Doan referred to another NHL player in an explicit manner – a reference that "disrespects francophones."

What a complete and utter waste of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

To Comment on today's blog please click here!

Um... OK. Ignoring the absolutely horrendous spelling and grammar (and the fact that the article isn't in the Toronto Star, but the Toronto Sun)... "sky rocketing gas prices??"

The government has absolutely no business interfering with private enterprise - including the prices set at gas stations. "More freedom through less government" is your motto, guys, not "more convenience through your tax dollars!"

Yes, of course it's a waste of time to have politicians meddling with hockey, but I am still waiting for some sort of opinion on the government's environment plan to come from them.

Or maybe the NCC will be giving the government a free pass on issues of substance in the name of a Stephen Harper majority and only attacking the fluff. So much for the principled watchdog of Canadian public policy.

Of course politicians and political parties have to be pragmatic, but this is simply not the case with groups like the NCC - they are NOT a Conservative Party organiziation. Their job is to lobby the government for the best policy regardless of the situation politicians find themselves in. (Or the politicians in power!)

What a waste of my hard-earned donations to the NCC.

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...