Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Here's a letter I sent to the paper today in response to the Premier's announced ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides. I could have gotten into more without the 300-word limit, but there's a lot to be said for brevity, too.

Boy, did I ever get a laugh out of Dalton McGuinty's Earth Day announcement of a ban on pesticide use for cosmetic purposes.

As much as I appreciate the Premier's attempt to pass off enacting a ban that, by his numbers, 90% of people support as political courage for the sake of the environment, I have to point out that the government really doesn't do much more for the environment than pay lip service.

I have no doubt that energy conservation is a good thing, and apparently neither does the government when banning incandescent light bulbs is concerned - but they continue to subsidize the price of electricity to "protect" us from the true cost of using it.

Whenever gas prices rise, we see politicians threatening to legislate a price cap, again to “protect” us. No one wants to pay high gas prices, but think of the incentive for Canadian auto manufacturers to produce more fuel efficient, green vehicles if their customers were dealing with $2.00 or $3.00/L fuel as they do in Europe, or for drivers to walk, bike or take the bus.

In the case of the pesticide ban, golf courses will be exempt. I am skeptical about how scary it is that my neighbour has a green, weed-free lawn, but if it is dangerous, shouldn’t golf courses be the number one target of this legislation? And if pesticides are so dangerous that we need to ban them, why is only cosmetic use being banned?

The government's Earth Day message: We're for the environment, so long as it won't cost us votes. Heartwarming.

I think that Premier McGuinty is right: Ontarians do want to be green. But we don't need bans to do it; we just need the government to get out of our way.

For more on how freedom can save the world, check out some of the talks from the Toronto Liberty Seminar's talks on government interference with environmentalism:

and on free-market environmentalism:

(They are in order, if you're interested in what Pierre's talking about at the beginning of his speech.)

There are two other talks from the TLS that should be appearing soon at the Institute for Liberal Studies site. Stay tuned!

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