Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Some Thoughts on the Latest Medical Marijuana Mayhem

Cross-posted from Mises Canada

We can all sleep safe and sound tonight knowing that Health Canada and the RCMP are working to ensure “public safety.” In two weeks, 37,000 licensed marijuana growers will effectively become criminals when the new medical marijuana law takes effect. The new law limits the production and distribution to a few players chosen by federal bureaucrats. Of course, these 37,000 people won’t become criminals if they follow Health Canada’s order to “break up the plant material, blend the marijuana with water and mix it with cat litter to mask the odour. This can then be placed in your regular household garbage.” Growers also need to inform Health Canada that they’ve done this, having until April 30 to comply. Failure to do so will result in having one’s name and address revealed to law enforcement via Health Canada’s database.

Health Canada stops short at providing this information to municipalities, citing federal privacy laws. Because sharing this information with federal and provincial cops is okay, but the idea of getting municipalities involved infringes on some arbitrary privacy right. While I don’t condone federal bureaucracies having any personal information – let alone sharing it with other bureaus – I think that the decision to keep municipalities out of the loop may be more strategic than any worrying over violating individual rights. After all, what is a bigger violation of rights than making people criminals overnight because they grow their own medicine? Municipalities, particularly in British Columbia (or more specifically, the town of Nelson and the city of Vancouver), might help challenge this blatant violation of private property. We can’t have that. Best to keep municipalities confined to their constitutional roles – glorified custodians. And so it goes in Canada, where rights are outlined in some piece of paper called the Charter where the words “property” or “medicine” are nowhere to be seen.

And that, I believe, is part of the problem. The internet is aflame with comments calling this a violation of “our” Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Of course, if one takes this approach then one must be consistent and side with the Harper Government: the Charter does not guarantee the right to produce one’s own medication. This never seems to be a problem when it’s someone looking for private delivery of health-care. “Move to America,” is the collective response, “how dare you challenge our Canadian values!” Well then, doesn’t the same logic apply? If government health-care is superior to private enterprise then what exactly is the issue here? Shouldn’t we just trust the Harper Government and Health Canada’s new medical marijuana scheme? Why allow medical marijuana to remain privatized when it is clearly a violation of Our Universal Health Care System?

But I don’t wish to make enemies with medical marijuana users. In fact, with the exception of rallying cries about the Charter, I agree with them. Many people grow their own marijuana because it is economical. These new government-approved start-ups are talking about $10 a gram. That tends to be the market price across Canada, but not everyone can afford that. If one grows their own (and is good at it), they’re looking at $3-$5 a gram. Maybe even less. Not to mention, since the old laws confined growers to just a few patients, the relationship between grower and patient was more personal. Kind of like having a family doctor instead of that random doctor you wait four hours to see and spends less than five minutes with you. The likely scenario is that the government will start subsidizing the price to make it more affordable, but of course that opens up another can of worms….

But remember, this all for public safety. Government documents insist that growing marijuana at home “poses hazards such as mould and fire.” True. So why stop at marijuana? Houses themselves are accidents waiting to happen – y’know, with all that electricity and stuff. Best to have government agents come by the first Monday of each month to inspect our homes in the name of public safety. In fact, can you imagine the vast improvements of our health-care system if government agents could rummage through our kitchen and throw out unhealthy foods? Think of all the public safety it would create!

Of course I’m being sarcastic. The idea that the RCMP (or the OPP, or whoever) are going to break into people’s homes to enforce this new crony-capitalist model is affront to the liberty of Canadians. Forget the Charter, this is a violation of one’s basic liberties as a human being. What is the rationale for sharing this sensitive information with police? Where is the rationale in providing this information to Health Canada to begin with? Why can’t people grow their own marijuana? Because of potential fires? Why not ban all gardening, then? I guess these are all rhetorical questions because, clearly, there is no rationale in the drug war. And with a press release that says, “Health Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana” one must question their rationale in implementing a medical marijuana program. Best just to legalize it and leave us alone. Ultimately, governments cannot control markets no matter how hard they try. Even if it is in the interests of “public safety”. But then what exactly is safe about having men with guns break into your house to destroy your plants?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Canada's Light Bulb Ban

The Ban On Light Bulbs.

I'm not sure why but big government likes to bully the incandescent light bulb. Effective January 1st, 2014 the 100 watt and 75 watt incandescent light bulb can no longer be manufactured in Canada. Why? Because big brother (or would it be the Nanny state???) has decided it so. You see those light bulbs are inefficient and we could never as Individual Canadians figure this out on our own so we must be forced to accept this. The Conservative government claims to support the free market but what about this? I'm not an economist but I'd venture a guess that there was and is a huge market for the incandescent light bulb. Efficiency isn't everything.

Only the market should determine when something should go out of production. Candles were replaced by light bulbs because light bulbs-the incandescent light bulb was superior. No banning was required. Candles still exist but now serve a much smaller role in our lives. We have them for candle light dinners, candle light Christmas eve services at church or we use them during power outages. We also use them to make the house smell nice. In fact the later use is probably the most common. Had candles been banned when light bulbs became widely available then the entire industry that makes scented candles would not exist. Those jobs wouldn't either.

Sometimes you need a particular kind of light bulb for a particular job. The light bulb ban ignores this. Many things in life are similar in this way to light bulbs. Imagine banning dump trucks, tractor trailers and other trucks of a larger size, because they weren't as fuel efficient as a 1/2 ton. Both the bigger type of truck and the smaller type can haul loads of material. You can haul gravel with a 1/2 ton truck or with a dump truck. The 1/2 ton has better fuel efficiency. No one would debate that but if you need several tons of gravel you have to make several trips with the 1/2 ton truck vs 1 trip with the dump truck and given the option almost everyone will choose the dump truck. Different types of vehicles for different types of jobs.

So it goes with the light bulb. We all have different lighting needs and uses for light bulbs. The ban on incandescent bulbs assumes all light bulbs are used for urban or suburban houses, inside, in the summer time and it forces everyone else “into the dark”. The market on the other hand caters to everyone, it is voluntary and it creates wealth.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Is Canada Customs The Grinch?

At this time of year many Canadians shop online for Christmas gifts. When you purchase things online, those things-books, dvds, clothing or whatever must be shipped via some kind of courier. Most times, at least in my experience they get shipped via Canada Post. Whether or not they are shipped via Canada Post if they come from outside Canada they must go through Customs.

Canada Customs of course must examine each parcel and make sure it's safe. All those people in other countries trying to ship things over and harm us. I'm sure glad no one in Canada would harm another Canadian. Of course I'm being sarcastic. Someone that lives in Canada could just as well harm me as someone living elsewhere. Parcels going from one part of Canada to another part of Canada don't get examined, nor should they, by anyone besides the sender, receiver and to a certain extend the one doing the shipping. Yet if I buy a parcel from the US, Canada Customs can go through my mail and examine it. They might not necessarily open it but I don't care. I don't believe they should be able to monitor a peaceful Canadian's mail at all. That's one complaint I have.

A second complaint I have is related to taxes. Customs will charge tax on all items over $20.00. When I say tax I mean sales tax. For me, in NB, that means 13%. So Customs checks everything over and if it's $20.01 apparently sales tax applies. Now, I'm not saying that they will get all technical on us and start to charge tax right at $20.01. I'm sure they are extra busy in December and are reasonable. But maybe they aren't, I really don't know. I do know they don't have to be reasonable. Now to be honest I don't get too upset by having to pay sales tax on an item coming from the US since I have to pay it in Canada if I buy something here. It's the next part that really angers me.

Customs will charge you a $9.95 handling fee if your parcel has sales tax added to it. So you buy a 20 dollar gift and it costs you 20 bucks and everyone's happy. Perhaps you buy a 21 dollar gift. That's $2.73 in tax that Customs can add to your parcel plus the $9.95 for the handling fee(they probably add sales tax to this amount too). Suddenly your $21 purchase just became a $33.68 purchase. If that doesn't discourage business then nothing will. The government pockets $12.68 in that deal and you get ripped off.

I wonder who the Grinch really is?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Private Health-Care Options will Help Alleviate the Public Disaster

But of course the ideological Left refuses to acknowledge this...

Dr. Ryan Meili, a family physician in Saskatoon who is vice-chairman of Canadian Doctors For Medicare: “Wait times don’t get shorter when you introduced more delivery of care outside of the public system, they get longer."

Uh...yeah, if you ignore all the evidence contrary to that statement. The whole point of the study was to show that introducing private options helped ease the burdens of public health-care in places like Europe and Australia.

Dr. Michael Rachlis, a health policy analyst associated with the Canadian Health Coalition, a pro-universal-healthcare organization, said: “We do tend to wait too long but it has nothing to do with us having a public system. It has a lot to do with how we organize services... We can eliminate virtually every wait time by better management.”

Of course! Just like how Afghanistan can be a Western Democratic Utopia if we just throw more money at it. Or how the CBC can offer high-quality television if we just increase their budget by 500%.

The problem with wait-times are precisely because it is a public system. Better management depends on voluntary exchange, not forcing funds out of innocent people. The former organization leads to profit-and-loss, a sustainable and efficient allocation of resources. The latter leads to bureaucratic chaos. A system where, counter-intuitively, the more doctors we pump into the system, the longer the waiting lines get.

I wouldn't want an economist performing surgery on me. So I don't like doctors lecturing me about economics.

Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/28/canada-must-offer-private-options-along-with-universal-health-care-to-combat-long-wait-times-report/

Private Schools = Bad

They give diplomas to students who don't deserve it, says the provincial auditor. Hmm... sounds a lot like the public school I went to.

Maybe the "unregulated" private schools are passing dumb students. This just highlights the main problem: these aren't private schools in a real sense. They're still controlled by provincial standards and the public curriculum. Ontarians would be better off to unschool their children.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Can We Abolish This Thing Already?

God, I hate the House of Commons

Canada Must Not Follow Mexico's Lead on Food Taxes

Reprinted from Taxpayer.com

By Gregory Thomas

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has released a new report that takes direct aim at Canadian groups who want Canada to adopt a Denmark-style fat tax or the sugar and ‘junk food’ tax recently implemented in Mexico.