I agree with Michael Den Tandt’s article here, when he says that Canadians aren’t buying what politicians are trying to sell in this country but, as usual I take a more extreme view of what is needed to rectify the problem and I see in Mr. Den Tandt's solutions more problems still.
He starts with the sacred cow of Canadian politics, health care and admonishes the MP’s to “increase private-sector involvement” but then he himself raises the spectre of the evil corporations taking control… Newsflash for , well, practically everyone in Canada… Businesses especially large ones have an economy of scale and a method of operation that make things more affordable and their processes more adaptive than both government and smaller operators.
Don’t believe me? Go to your local Mom and Pop shop and buy practically anything… Now find the same product at Wal Mart and tell me which is more expensive. This isn’t just a fluke it is an actual principle of business economics and a central feature of a capitalist (as opposed to socialist) system.
Next Mr. Den Tandt asks for an increase in the GST back up to the 7% that it was before the current government cut it to 5%. I want to connect this with points #5 which is to “Stop taxing artists, musicians, actors, novelists, filmmakers and poets for their first $30,000” and #6 which adds farmers into the mix.
Now if you are going to rely on taxation as Mr. Den Tandt seems want to do, then what sense does it make to cut in one place just to gouge in another? He might also want to look at the tax rates. If he did he would see that people who make $30,000 a year are already taxed very little, in this country but the GST he wants to increase is a consumption tax and hits everyone (and cutting it helps everyone) equally. If Mr. Den Tandt really wants to help these people who are… wait for it… actually small business owners, then he would instead be calling for an elimination of corporate taxation instead on trying to game a broken system.
The third point he makes is to call for government to “Get behind renewable energy, in a serious way.” Mr. Den Tandt should check the figures. The cost of producing Wind & Solar energy is at least 5 times what it is for traditional sources. Scrap this greenista pipe dream and move toward building new and cheap (in terms of the cost of energy) nuclear power plants. Oh, and do it through private business so it will be done in a timely manner and on or under budget.
Point number 4 is to get back to “Participaction”… Seriously that is not really what we need, although exercise is good and it is good to encourage people to do it what is needed is some serious consideration of changing the Canadian diet. Paleo is the way to go in my opinion, but failing that we need to eat real food, not the processed, carb-laden, gluten-soaked crap that we have been feeding ourselves. In my opinion the Canada food guides reliance on carbohydrates over protein and healthy fats to generate energy is the single greatest cause of the obesity in our society today. But in the end there is no place for the government to tell people what they must eat or how they must live. These decisions must be based on the individuals desire and that can't be institutionalized.
Although I already touched on points #5, this time I’ll tackle it from another angle altogether. Artists, musicians, actors, novelists, filmmakers and poets do add considerably to the cultural richness of any society but here’s the rub. In order for this contribution to be real, lasting and honest the people, individuals within the society have to support them.
I know what many of you are thinking, how does that differ from Mr Den Tandt’s point?
Well, he is asking for the force of a government gun to take tax money, to FORCE us to support them. I am saying that in order to survive the artists, musicians, actors, novelists, filmmakers and poets must produce a product that people WANT.
If any other business (and these occupations all fall into that category) were to try to demand subsidies, on the basis that no one will willingly buy their products, so we all ought to pay for them to continue to make something no one wants, the uproar would be deafening. But that is exactly what artists ask for time and again and what Mr. Den Tandt supports in this article.
Next the author calls for Canadians to “Get back to the basic values of thrift, hard work, responsibility and politeness…” in and of itself this request is not terrible but then it becomes so when he adds… “Start by passing a law that says parliamentarians must show personal respect toward each other in the House. But then extend it beyond that. Canadian children are graduating high school with great technological skills but lacking some of the basic tools of deportment.”
Pardon my lack of deportment Mr. Den Tandt but WTF do you think gives government the right to regulate manners? This is nothing short of some sort of Victorian puritan fascism. Who’s manners? Are we talking High society etiquette here or something less stringent? Do we need a Manners Czar and Behavioural Police Mr. Den Tandt? To hell with that Jack!
Next Mr. Den Tandt calls for one of the half measures that characterizes both the right and the left in this country… He wants the long gun registry cancelled. Here’s the thing, the exact same reason that the Long Gun registry is a farce and a huge waste of taxpayers money also applies to hand guns and every other prohibited weapon in the country. At its root it is an attack on property rights. Beyond that principle it is ridiculous to label a weapon as dangerous. The weapon is a tool just like any other it has no will it can not BE dangerous in and of itself.
Additionally it is a bald-faced application of the concept of a thought crime to deny any adult the ownership of a weapon because he/she might kill someone with it. Why don’t these prohibitionists come out and say what they mean…
“No, you can’t own that 357 magnum because I think you are a killer and I don’t want you to have one. Yes the rifle is okay, as long as we know, because you won’t be able to kill as many people with that”
Do you see how insulting that is? It’s like telling people they can have a computer but no internet access because they would only surf kiddie-porn if they could get on the net.
The ninth point starts off well, calling for an end to the Reserve system. Mr. Den Tandt correctly recognizes it as the reason that in a country like Canada with all its wealth and promise there are little pockets of the third world and they are the Indian reserves. I also agree with his call that the law be applied equally to all.
As for the last point it is useless window dressing. You can make people “swear” to do anything but you can’t actually MAKE them abide by that oath.
Canada has to become a place where the people coming to its shores see enough value in it to change their ways. They ought to respect the culture of the country and more than that, have come here for its freedoms (not its social programs). Being a Canadian should be their highest priority their most fervent wish. They should want to change their culture for the better. Honour killings are a crime and they should be treated as such with the full weight of the law behind their prosecution, not empty rhetoric.
On the whole I’m disappointed in this list. If this is the sort of thinking that passes for innovative and progressive in this country then we are hurting. Less government, not more is the way to develop economically, socially and culturally. Stop looking to the government to solve your problems or to implement your pet solutions. Stand up for yourself, stand up for individualism and individual rights and check your premises.
More government never made anyone free.