Category Archives: Canadian Politics

Damn

I suppose the Conservative Party of Canada is where libertarian dreams go to die.

Scheer is respectable. Nothing wrong with him.

But he is not going to change much.

Too bad. Bernier would have actually represented an alternative to the endless middle of the roadedness of Canadian politics.

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Scalps

Hal Niedzviecki was forced out of his editorship of an obscure magazine published by the Writers’ Union of Canada for daring to suggest that writers should try to get out of their identity silos and use the voices of “others”. Apparently, this offended the Writers Union and its “Equity Task Force” and Niedzviecki was forced to resign.

A number of brave souls in Canadian media stepped up and said Neidzviecki had a point and was a victim of political correctness run wild. On Friday, the Walrus’s editor in chief, Jonathan Kay wrote an article for the National Post in which he said,

Personally, I land on the side of free speech: I’m fearful that, as at many points in history, small acts of well-intentioned censorship will expand into a full-fledged speech code that prohibits whole categories of art and discourse. national post 

He went on to conclude,

What I don’t find helpful is the reflexive instinct to shame those with whom we disagree—the kind on display at TWUC this week. Indeed, it is these mobbings that encourage the idea that free speech is under siege from a systematic program of left wing censorship. On both sides, it is fear and suspicion that is driving the social media rage. And as of this writing, there’s no sign it will dissipate soon. national post

Today Kay resigned as the editor in chief of The Walrus.

Niedzviecki was entirely right in his initial article. White people should be encouraged to write about non-white people, women about men, blacks about Asians and gays about straights; otherwise we’ll have a sterile, politically correct, literature in which the only characters in a novel will be from the “community” (however defined) of the author.

Kay was entirely right in standing up against lefty cultural pogroms.

Where both were wrong was in capitulating to the cultural fascists without a fight. The Twitter mobs are nasty but they are relatively powerless unless a target is willing to give them power. Niedzviecki was pushed out the door by his employer but, realistically, other than a craven apology for “glibness and insensitivity” Niedzviecki barely fought at all. Kay’s meager defences were apparently overwhelmed in less than twenty-four hours and he scuttled off to a baseball game with his phone off to escape the baying hordes.

Free speech and freedom of cultural expression in all its forms are won by people willing to fight back. People who actually believe in their positions and are willing to fight their corners. Niedzviecki was beginning to gain support for his liberal view of how writers should approach the world. Sure he was being howled down by lefty illiterates on Twitter. So what? The Twitter mobs of SJWs live to howl and denounce and yell about their sensitivities. The cultural cringers at the Writer’s Union would have fired Niedzviecki in any event, but rather than apologize, he should have published a really fierce piece defending his position and calling out the censors of the identity left.

Kay, having adopted a strong, liberal, free speech position should have stuck to his guns. If The Walrus wanted to fire him, fine. But surrendering before an actual shot had been fired is just sad.

The only way to stop the SJW barbarians is to shoot back. Make it tough, if not impossible, for them to impose cultural tyranny. Surrender only leads to more demands, more censorship, more badly grounded claims of moral superiority. Surrender narrows the discussion and the boundaries of what may be discussed.

The only silver lining to Niedzviecki and Kay’s failure to fight back is that their cowardice in the face of the viciousness of their detractors shows just what liberal, free speech, supporters are up against. Kay, in particular, has access to major media, friends in government and the academy (not to mention the PMO) and has demonstrated a willingness to suck up to the PC SJWs on issues like “climate change”. If these cultural fascists can “get” him it is a huge warning to the rest of us.

 

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Green Option

2017-001-pantone-color-of-the-year-2017-greenery-15-0343-coffee-mugIn the last BC provincial election Andrew Weaver – master of doubtful climate models and UVic professor – managed to win the riding I was living in. He has turned out to be a reasonably competent MLA and had led the Green Party on a relatively moderate course. Yes, there is still a lot of looniness about “climate change” but that goes with the territory.

A few years later and for this election I am living in a riding where there is a real chance that the Green candidate can pick up the seat bringing the Greens to two in the Legislature assuming that Weaver keeps his seat. Vaughn Palmer writing in the Vancouver Sun goes into the details of the three way fight in Saanich North here.

I have not voted yet and am weighing the options. I have no particular animus towards Christy Clark and the BC Liberals – other than the fact the silly woman put in a knee jerk carbon tax – but I don’t see any reason to vote for them other than to keep the NDP out of government. As a general rule I never vote for the NDP, especially at the provincial level, simply because BC has enough economic problems without putting a bunch of agenda driven, public service union beholden, socialists in charge.

Normally, that calculus means that I would hold my nose and vote Liberal; but in this election, in this riding, voting Green is very tempting. Not because I agree with much of what the Greens stand for, rather because voting Green is a safe way of registering dissatisfaction with the BC Liberals. (This, by the way, is driving the NDP crazy as illustrated in this interview with eco-warrioress Tzeporah Berman in The Tyee. There is nothing like a good faction fight on the eco loon left to warm the cockles of my heart.)

An ideal election outcome from my perspective is a BC Liberal victory by about one seat. Or a BC Liberal minority relying on the Greens to win confidence votes. The libertarian side of me wants to see government in all its forms rolled back; but if that is not going to happen then a weak, worried government is the next best thing. Voting Green in Saanich North takes a seat away from the NDP but avoids giving it to the BC Liberals. It is awfully tempting.

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Well, we can’t have that!

marc-emery-embrace

Regular readers and friends will know that I wrote a book last year entitled “Start and Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop” (yes, hit the link and buy the book…I make about a buck). The book was written in anticipation of Trudeau’s legalization strategy here in Canada and the likelihood that many more American states would legalize recreational or medical marijuana in the November elections.

I don’t have a particular axe to grind in the pot wars. If I smoke pot I go to sleep in three minutes or less. So I don’t. If I had trouble sleeping, I would. But, politically, I think it is assinine to keep marijuana (and several other drugs) illegal. Doing media for the book I have chattered away on assorted Canadian radio programs and said, bluntly, that for the time being, opening a pot shop in Canada opened you to the business risk of “GOING TO JAIL”. My lovely publicist Hanna probably grimaces when she hear me say that but it is, absurdly enough, true.

Which was proven today.

Police officers in several Canadian cities raided illegal marijuana dispensaries linked to activists Marc and Jodie Emery on Thursday, charging them and several others with drug offences as part of an investigation led by Toronto police.

The raids were the latest attempt by local police forces to shut down pot shops that have been opening in cities across the country, even as the federal government prepares to fully legalize the drug with legislation this spring. It was also notable for the involvement of Vancouver’s police force, which has largely left dispensaries in the city alone, including those run by the Emerys.

The two were arrested at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday as part of a Toronto police operation called Project Gator. the globe and mail

Now, what is actually going on is that the prohibitionist faction in the Liberal Party, led by ex Toronto police chief Bill Blair, having lost the big argument to young Justin, is fighting a brutal rear guard action against the hippy libertarian pot people who don’t see the need for massively intrusive pot regulation. And there is no better place for such un-Canadian anarchists than court and then jail.

The game here is simple: legalization if necessary but not necessarily legalization. The dumbo Millennials who flocked to hip young Justin heard him say “legalization” and didn’t hear all the caveats. But Bill Blair did. And Bill Blair is not the sort of guy who likes any sort of disorder. (Disorder needs to be kettled in Blair world.) The emergence of a grey market in pot is disorderly. It means that the big money guys at Canopy and the other publically listed potcos might be cut out of a “bottom up” recreational marijuana market.

Blair said a day ago that Canada would not rush into the legalized recreational pot market. First there is the legislation which is expected in spring. Then there are the regulations to be worked out with the provinces…

Lawmaker Bill Blair — the former Toronto police chief leading Trudeau’s legalization effort — confirmed a bill is due in parliament this spring, but it won’t be the last hurdle as ample regulatory work remains. The federal government will take its time and work with provinces, territories and cities to build a framework and develop specific regulations, he said.

The government is also looking for ways to control production, distribution and consumption of legalized marijuana, while testing it for quality and keeping it out of the hands of minors, Blair said. bloomberg

All of which should give assorted police forces plenty of time to raid, charge and crush the emergent, unregulated, pot industry in Canada. (To save the children and ensure “purity” of course.)

Trudeau’s supporters are far too stupid to realize what is going on. In fact, Trudeau himself, who simply wants to legally be able to enjoy a joint after dinner, isn’t bright enough to realize the prohibitionists and the corporate pot guys are now running this show. He’s been played.

Marc and Jodie Emery are the go to people for media on the pot issue. Given the charges filed today, they may not be available much longer. Which is exactly what corporate pot in Canada has been pushing for.

 

(And…WTF? Vancouver too. Shame on you VPD.)

Update: 

Ottawa policeman raids pot shop

Ok, why the mask?

Masked police may make sense in terror situations but, so far as is known, pot shop owners don’t track down cops.

So why the mask. There are other pictures of the raids on Cannabis Culture with other masked officers. Why?

I can imagine the poor buggers are ashamed of themselves but that is no justification for wearing masks. I suspect the elephant gun is for taking down the maddened stoners frequenting the shops. But the mask?

The mask is about intimidation plain and simple. The hidden face of the big state showing those hippie libertarians who’s boss. Anti-terror cops sometimes wear masks although they shouldn’t because they should be proud of what they do. Secret police wear masks because they know they cannot be proud of what they do.

So, Justin, you might ask Bill Blair, just out of interest, why the masks?

 

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Trump and the Canadians

Trump, CanadaCanadians’ views on American politics are generally fairly predictable. Being Canadian means a degree of smugness blended with a drop or two of envy and a fairly constant need to assert moral superiority. In a very polite, but persistent way.

The candidacy, nomination and election of Donald Trump gave the better class of Canadian plenty of opportunity to show each other just how intelligent and enlighted they were. The Coynes and Kinsellas competed with each other in the political snobbery sweepstakes. Trump was Hitler, the Republicans the Nazi Party, Steve Bannon was a badly dressed Goring or, more likely, Satan himself. Breitbart News was Der Stürmer, the alt-right was universally the SS, the Trump regime overnight transformed America – save for the brave “Resistance” – into an anti-semitic, racist, fascist, misogynistic state in which freedom of the press and human rights in general were crushed under the jackbooted heels of Trump’s evil to a man (and pretend woman) Cabinet.

It has been tons of fun to watch ostensibly rational, intelligent, people reach immediately for the white supremacist smear tool kit in the face of the unthinkable occurring in our neighbour to the South.  The fact that, one month into the Trump Presidency, the worst he seems to have done is be rude to CNN and the New York Times doesn’t deter our good and decent Canadians one bit. They just know that Trump is an evilton and, at any moment, will open the concentration camps and start rounding up Mexicans, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Women, Queers, NYT reporters and anyone else the human Cheeto and his henchmen find objectionable.

And, to make the entire thing even more ominous, there seems to be a belief that Trump was put into position by none other than Prince of Darkness, Vladimir Putin and that Trump is simply following orders. Or something.

Step by step refutations of all or some of this hysteria have next to no effect. the Canadian reaction to Trump is not a “political” reaction in any common sense of that term. It is far more visceral, more religious, more tribal: Trump could be a very good President, accomplish great things, improve the condition of black people, defend the 1st Amendment and preside over an economic boom lifting all boats and he would still, to the Canadian commentariat, be the Hell Spawn of Satan.

Now some of that commentariat, like Kinsella, are simply stupid partisans for whom nothing Trump says or does will ever be anything but evil. These were the people who, had they been Americans, would have eagerly voted for Hilly on her merits. (A touching act of faith performed by very few actual Americans – the “hold your nose for Hillary” voters constituted the bulk of her support.)

The mildly more rational, like Coyne, seem to see Trump as essentially impossible. Back before the election Coyne was rumbling on about not being able to see how anyone could support Trump. More recently, he is using the Trump re-alignment in American politics as a stick with which to beat up the Canadian conservative Manning Center conference for having rightish agenda items and some populist speakers.

The biggest worry, the nightmare scenario, for the Canadian media and political elite, is the possibility that Canada is not entirely unanimous in its fevered rejection of Trump and all he stands for. There is an awful possibility that we do not live to welcome refugees. And there seem to be some ungracious Canadians who believe that people who come to Canada should adopt Canadian ways and “fit into mainstream Canadian society”. Yikes!

There is some evidence that, once they realize what it costs and how little effect it will have, Canadians are not entirely willing to do whatever it takes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

There are even some Canadians who are growing a tiny bit suspicious that mainstream Canadian media might not be reporting objectively. In fact, when Macleans let a bunch of its staffers go a few weeks ago, there were nasty Canadians saying “good riddance”.

Despite the frantic efforts of the Kinsellas and Coynes of this world, there are disturbing signs not every Canadian is thrilled with rule by the Laurentian elite.

For all of his foibles, the late Rob Ford’s success in Toronto, worried Canadian elites. I mean it’s one thing to have yahoos in Alberta electing hard core conservatives, but this was Toronto.

The three leading contenders for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership are all running from the Right. Leitch because that gave her an edge in the early going; O’Leary because, well, who knows what goes on in that strange little man’s head; Bernier because he has run and been elected as a libertarian conservative for years.

Mainstream media is bleeding out, unable to compete with online, unable to adapt to the internet and unable to attract revenue. It is being replaced by everything from VICE and The Rebel to news and views delivered by social media. The cozy relationship between the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC and the Ottawa political world is collapsing because ambitious politicians can by-pass the media elite.

If our commentariat thought about it for a bit they would realize that the actual reality of Trump is not that he is orange Hitler; rather he and the people around him have figured out how to culture jam traditional media, traditional politics and, perhaps, the deep state. Thinking about how Trump managed to do that would be more interesting than thinking crapping on him from great height somehow matters.

The people, the Canadians, who realize that Trump was actually about something important and transformative will have a clue about what is likely to go on in Canada in the next few years.

 

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What to Look For in the McLellan Task Force Report on Marijuana Legalization

51lb8qgn6zl-_sx389_bo1204203200_I’ve written a book about how to “Start and Run A Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop”. You can buy it at Amazon at this link. When you write a book about a subject which is in the news you get to do a fair bit of media. The Canadian Marijuana Task Force Report is being delivered to Cabinet tomorrow and will be released to the public “in due course”. Preparatory to that release I made a few notes for my publicist which I thought might be of interest to my readers. Here they are with a few comments below.

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The McLellan Task Force Report on Marijuana Legalization Report is supposed to be released in the next few days. The Task Force was charged with working out how best to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada. Its findings are likely to determine how the Liberal government implements its campaign promise to legalize marijuana.

There are a number of questions which the Report may address:

  • Regulatory regime: will the Task Force opt for a Colorado style “seed to sale” regulatory regime where every step of production and sale is tightly controlled and subject to video surveillance, inspection and high security or will the Task Force adopt a less intrusive regime closer to the regulations governing liquor or tobacco?
  • Regularization of the “Grey Market”: Will the Task Force give grey market dispensaries and pot shops a route to above ground operations or will the Task Force take the position that the grey market must be eradicated for legalization to be effective.
  • Growers: Will the Task Force take the position that the only growers who should be allowed to operate are those already licenced by Health Canada or will it provide a pathway for non-licenced growers to participate in the recreational marijuana market.
  • Age limit: The Canadian Medical Association has suggested to the Task Force that the minimum age for recreational marijuana consumption be set at 25. Will the Task Force accept that recommendation or will it set 18 or 19 as the minimum age.
  • Federal/Provincial issues: This being Canada there are a number of issues surrounding legalized marijuana which engage the Constitution. Will the Task Force recommend that marijuana continue to fall under the Federal Criminal Code and Narcotics Control act with legalization consisting of forbearance where licencing and regulations are in place? Or will the Task Force recommend leaving the regulatory details to the provinces?

The marijuana legalization debate in Canada comes down to a question of top down, centralized regulation versus bottom up, decentralized regulation.

The experience in Vancouver and Victoria suggests that a decentralized, bottom up, lightly regulated model is viable and can meet the needs of marijuana users with minimal disruption. It offers entrepreneurial opportunities and, properly taxed, could prove to be a significant, low cost, source of revenue to government.

However, against the Vancouver model, there is a significant strand of prohibitionary thought. If the McClellan Task Force takes a prohbitionary line it will treat marijuana as a “dangerous” substance which needs maximal, top down, regulation. This line will emphasize “protecting the children” and keeping “organized crime” out of the marijuana business as goals more important than entrepreneurial opportunity, competitive pricing or easy access.


If I was to bet I would think the Task Force is going to go for a restrictive, possibly very restrictive, set of regulations regarding recreational pot.

While there are a lot of people who would like to see full decriminalization and a general bottom-up approach, there are lots more who come at marijuana from a prohibitionist perspective. Given McClellan’s background as an anti-drug health minister and a long time advisor to a law firm representing several of Health Canada’s licenced medical marijuana grow shows, the Task Force is unlikely to adopt a laissez-faire  approach.

The only question is how restrictive and comprehensive the Task Force reccomendations will be. Or, put another way, will there be room for the bottom up, Vancouver, style approach within a national framework?

A creative Task Force could craft a regulatory regime which allowed the grey market to be regularized by requiring dispensaries and pot shops to obtain their supplies from licenced growers. (And which eased the current absurd backlog of applications at Health Canada: over 1400 applications, 40 licences granted.) The retailers could be licenced at a local or provincial level – rather like private wine stores – and would have to conform to local zoning and other by-laws.

The licenced growers under such a scheme would, in effect, become the pot equivalent of wineries which are only allowed to sell to licencees. Thus, whatever quality concerns arise could be addressed at the grower level. The number, location and size of pot shops would be a purely local matter. (And, if I were designing the regs I would drop the increasingly implausible “medical marijuana/recreational marijuana distinction”.) If we insist upon preserving the medical marijuana category as a somehow constitutionally guaranteed Canadian right, then licencee growers could continue to sell to mail order customers and individuals would be allowed to grow their own or designate a grower.

You could set a federal minimum age for pot purchase but, despite there being medical evidence that long term heavy usage is not good for the young brain, it would be unwise to set it much above 19 as that would simply create black market opportunity.

This regulatory outline would allow the cannabis culture driven grey market to be regularlized while ensuring that the Health Canada “Big Pot” industrial grow shows stayed in business and allowing new entrants at the grow level. It would be relatively easy to administer and would allow different communities to craft by-laws to reflect their individual community values.

I am not holding my breath.

 

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Trump Panic

Andrew Coyne has gone full RINO in todays National Post, “We’re Staring into the Abyss of a Trump Presidency” (use incognito mode to defeat the NP paywall). Coyne points at all of the possible people to blame for this terrible mess and, of course, fails to notice that the American electorate has simply had enough of the current political system. That idea, the idea that people independently of elite opinion have weighed the system and found it wanting is beyond Coyne as it is beyond most of the commetariat.

Trust Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain how people who seem intelligent, as Coyne often does, can misunderstand the basics of the political world.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in most countries, the government’s role is between five and ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and is rarely seen outside specialized outlets, think tanks, the media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many openings for the IYI.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. (medium)

Coyne and his ilk parted company with what one might refer to as “regular” people years ago. From Global Warming to Brexit to mass hidden unemployment to pro-refugee policy they have ceased to hear anything outside their shrinking bubble. The fact they can make assorted, sophisticated, arguments in favour of elite policy, from either the left or the right, proves terrific rhetorical dexterity. But it does not change the actual facts on the ground.

For Intellectuals Yet Idiots words are reality. Which means that it is a knock down argument to yell “Racist” or “Bigot” at someone with whom you disagree. But what happens when that no longer works? When people refuse to accept the labeling, hectoring and judgement of their intellectual “betters”?

In a word: Trump. Or Brexit. Or the collapse of the EU.

Coyne needs to get out more. He is smarter than he sounds in his NP article; but the poor man is entirely isolated. Isolation creates cluelessness.

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Venezuela

Well this is a surprise…Honest reporting from the People Paradise: NYT

From the coast, we started inland, a journey that began with the discovery of black gold. Not of oil, of which there is plenty in Venezuela, but of black beans. There are almost none in this country.

Few producers make them anymore for the fixed government price. Octavio Medina bought them for 50 times that price and still sold them for an additional markup on the street. He says dozens of people buy bags, priced at half a day’s work at minimum wage.

Socialism based on an oil economy…Hmmm. With our boy Justin at the helm I am thinking beans might be a good investment this summer.

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France and Terror

Ignored in news coverage of the Paris massacre is the single most pertinent piece of background: A 2014 opinion poll found that ISIS had an approval rating in France (at 16%) almost as high as President Francois Holland (at 18%). In the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, ISIS’ support jumped to 27%. Muslims comprise about a tenth of France’s population, so the results imply that ISIS had the support of the overwhelming majority of French Muslims (and especially Muslim youth), as well as the endorsement of a large part of the non-Muslim Left. Spengler

Spengler suggests that France will do nothing in the wake of the Paris attrocities. His logic is that to do something involves putting pressure on the French Muslim community which, in turn, will likely cause a great deal of trouble. The French don’t want the trouble so they will do nothing.

I am not sure Spengler is right but the numbers and the concentrations of Muslims in France suggest he may be.

I don’t live in France but the takeaway for Canada is that at a certain point a Muslim population becomes unmanagable. Canada is not at that point. Yet.

Realistically, Canada needs to take a hard look at immigration from Muslim majority countries. A trickle is one thing, a serious flow quite another. By eliminating, or vastly reducing, immigration from those countries we have the chance to avoid the truly awful consequences of a large, unassimilated and potentially hostile group within our borders.

I suspect if you were to ask the average Frenchman or Englishman or German whether, given the chance of a “do-over”, they would have welcomed quite so many Muslims to their nations, you would hear a chorus of Nein, Non and No. We have the opportunity to reduce our future regrets with, initially, a moratorium and then, after a decade or so, a re-examination of the question of Muslim immigration.

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Think Again

One of the Paris terrorists apparently arrived in Greece in October claiming to be a refugee. link

Canada proposes to accept 25,000 “refugees” on an expedited basis. The government needs to give us an undertaking that it will not let a single “refugee” in who cannot be positively vetted no matter how long that takes.

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