Mealy-mouthed Revisions of History

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC) may reveal why this country will never develop more significant economic prosperity domestically let alone in world trade.

Global News reports of a decision over Section 121 of the Constitution. A New Brunswick resident had been fined for purchasing beer and spirits in Quebec which he was transporting to his home across Provincial boundaries into New Brunswick.

Gerard Comeau was stopped by RCMP, issued a summons on behalf of the New Brunswick government and his purchases were confiscated. Mr. Comeau challenged the actions under Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 which reads:

All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.

The case found its way to the SCOC and the ruling was in favor of the Crown which prosecuted Mr. Comeau.

Incredibly mealy-mouthed language evident from excerpts in the ruling were reported in the linked article.

For example, the following is a direct passage from the article:

The top court ruled that Section 121 prohibits laws that are mainly meant to prevent the movement of goods across provincial borders. The main purpose of the law Comeau challenged was to manage supply and demand of liquor in New Brunswick — therefore the law is constitutional.

I don’t know about you but “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces” sounds pretty damn straightforward.

The apparent exception which the unanimous decision of the Court identified was that the laws of any particular Province could override Section 121.

Is not New Brunswick part of the “Union” anymore? So much for Federalism. So much for free trade.

Since I mention free trade I must quote another howler from the linked article.

“Section 121 does not impose absolute free trade across Canada,” the SCOC ruling said. [Emphasis added.]

“Absolute” free trade is redundant. Trade is either freely conducted or it is controlled, in which case it isn’t free trade. That’s why I’ve emphasized the word “impose” in the quote. It’s a curious way of stating the role of trade, the implication being that we require the permission or direction of government to engage in trade.

Trade is something people do. It’s a good thing. Otherwise we people wouldn’t do it. No one, least of all government backed by the SCOC against the people needs to “impose” trade upon us.

And, I disagree that the framers of the Constitution meant anything other than not obstructing the free flow of trade among the Provinces. They didn’t say, “unless a Province passes a law which incidentally affects the free admission of goods across borders.”

The SCOC is engaged in the revision of History and doing so in a mealy-mouthed manner, unbefitting this venerable institution.

Advertisements

The State Media Institute

Many complain about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which I prefer to describe as “State Media.” Given that the CBC is primarily funded by the Canadian government it can’t be more accurately described otherwise.

Now, even The Globe and Mail has joined the fray to cast a critical eye. John Doyle writes as a television critic in the linked article.

Doyle subjected himself to the personal agony of watching intently an entire edition of the flagship news hour program The National.

He emerged with an understanding of why viewers are fleeing; the program lacks coherence and bears little resemblance to what they’ve come to expect in a news broadcast.

This development comes far in the wake of Peter Mansbridge’s retirement as sole news anchor for what seemed like a career spanning four or five generations of Canadians.

His replacement by a team of four hosts for The National is an ostentatious and no doubt costly alternative to the usual news broadcast program.

That’s not the only evident change however, as John Doyle has just affirmed in his article. It’s the programming structure or format that is leading to increased complaints.

Doyle glosses over the list of program core topics, implying one can’t really quibble about what many regard as obsessive coverage of for example, “Indigenous” stories.

I try not to gloss over important concepts. The “roll call of topics” as discovered by Doyle includes eight: “Top Stories,” “Local,” “The National,” “Opinion,” “World,” “Canada,” “Politics” and “Indigenous.”

Except for that last topic these topics seem to follow the typical categories covered by news organizations appealing to a broad national audience.

Why does that last category rankle, as I think it does with many? One significant type of complaint addressed by Doyle concerned so-called Indigenous-related stories and mini-documentaries.

Doyle points out that these complaints about “Indigenous” stories are not submitted in a “rancorous, dismissive manner.” Rather, it seems viewers find this coverage “relentless” leading most to, as Doyle suggests, “roll their eyes.”

I offer that “Indigenous” is not a valid topic category and the CBC ought to be challenged on this point. Doyle excuses the “relentless” coverage of “Indigenous” stories as “simply part of the list of core topics for CBC News.”

That’s giving State Media a pass. I’ll defer to another time a discussion of why “Indigenous” is an invalid concept in this context and just observe that it need not warrant its own category in a news program.

So far at least, “indigenous” remains an adjective. It refers to things (nouns) which are native to a particular geographic area.

The haste to convert “indigenous” to a noun by the CBC is misguided. A quick review of the seven other topic categories would lead any thinking person to the conclusion that legitimate stories involving “Indigenous” could easily be included under almost any of the other categories used by the CBC. It might eliminate also the apparent compulsion to include such stories in virtually all broadcasts.

So what could be the motivation to establish this unique usage of “indigenous” in news broadcasts? Someone obviously has an agenda.

The CBC cannot pretend to operate independently in its judgment of newsworthy stories. There exists a compulsion, whether overt or in some unearned guilt-ridden psychology of CBC News executives.

The government of Canada appears obsessed with trying to remedy the wrongs of history by imposing obligations on present generations. There is no positive outcome possible by taxing or regulating present actions of Canadians to compensate the descendants of those who have been wronged in the past.

I don’t think it necessary to explain the aforementioned obsession. There is abundant evidence, not the least of which is the so-called Truth and Reconciliation Commission and subsequent initiatives to try to make amends.

The government of Canada finances the CBC. The CBC is regarded by its own executives as a “public service.”

When the government of Canada gives money to the CBC it must do so with conditions, express or implied. It’s ludicrous to suggest that wealth looted from productive Canadians and turned over to the CBC has no strings attached. If it did so it would properly be considered irresponsible.

The CBC is a government-created institution. It is financed by the State. As a media enterprise it is therefore the mouthpiece of the State.

The CBC cannot be trusted as an intermediary acting on behalf of the members of Canadian society, speaking truth to political power. It is the de facto State Media Institute and ought to be regarded suspiciously as such.

Anarchists For “Climate Change”

If you’ve not heard, Kinder Morgan, a pipeline construction company has suspended all but “necessary expenditures” in the construction of a massive project involving an energy pipeline installation from Alberta through British Columbia to the Pacific coast.

The company has taken this action in light of a major political dispute between the governments of the two provinces aforementioned.

Briefly, Alberta wants the project to move forward with haste. The government depends on the energy loot from taxation and needs to be seen as addressing a high unemployment situation in the province.

The government of British Columbia on the other hand has pragmatically sided with the environmentalists and is resisting construction through its jurisdiction.

“Protesters” in British Columbia have defied a Court injunction against them protesting on Kinder Morgan property.

Many of these lawbreakers have been arrested and will find out on Monday, April 16th if they face criminal charges for their recklessness.

From the linked article, one Valerie Langer who has previous experience as a lead organizer of civil disobedience observed that the relevant question is whether or not those charged knew they were violating the injunction, their reasons for doing so being irrelevant.

In simpler recognizable language the protestors arrested were “in contempt of court.”

However, Langer went on to say, as quoted in the article:

We’re talking about climate change, and the risk of an oil spill. Is that a criminal insult to the courts? Or is this our society, in the throes of a social evolution?”

Well Ms. Langer, to answer your questions, your reasons for initiating the use of force remain irrelevant. Such actions are immoral. And, if our society is “in the throes of a social evolution” then it is in the deathly throes of anarchy, which is hardly a mark of progress for civilization.

Shifting the Blame

Prices of goods and services are going up, to the surprise of no one. The modern welfare state however, has the causal relationship completely backwards.

In a typical report of this false revelation Statistics Canada points to rising fuel prices and the cost of restaurant meals as the principal cause of a spike in inflation.

Actually, an increase in the general level of prices in an economy cannot occur without a concomitant increase in the supply of money and credit. A stable supply of money would see the decline of prices over time for most efficiently supplied goods and services with relatively stable pricing for everything else.

So why does the price of almost everything keep going up? Because the supply of money and credit keeps expanding. Who or what institutions are responsible for that? Central Banks like the Bank of Canada issue currency and “manage” interest rates which affect supplies of credit.

Now, rather than blaming rising prices for inflation, logic tells you that an increased supply of money and credit will naturally result in higher prices for other goods and services in the economy. Money is a good, the universally accepted good. The more of it you have the more you are willing to trade for other goods you value more.

So why do we have this mess of rising prices, increased taxes, more government spending and more government debt? There are many reasons, but fundamentally it is because we have come to rely on the State as a source of economic goods and services. This results in escalating government spending.

Government produces nothing however. It must pay for its spending by taxing us and/or borrowing. The debt is to be repaid by future taxation.

Such looting cannot continue indefinitely without taxpayer rebellion. I am given to understand that historically the level of tolerance terminates at about twenty-five percent of the value of economic production.

When taxing and borrowing reach upper limits then, governments turn to inflating the currency. The result is a systematic looting of the productive population in the form of continuously rising prices for economic goods and services.

This massive deception is reinforced by the shifting of blame for inflation on the rising prices themselves, with the further insult of telling us that the prices of some particular goods are responsible.

Aiding and abetting such fraud is the reporting media which challenges nothing much the government puts forth as economic explanation. This is the same media in decline which is now in supplication to our government for financial support of its continued operation. I doubt whether that will improve journalism.

In relying on government agencies and media parrots we remain ignorant of truth unless we think for ourselves.

Who then is to blame?

“I Want To Be Let Alone”

Greta Garbo was mimicked in a faux Swedish accent for saying “I vant to be alone”. Originally a line from one of her movies, observers noted that it fit her role in private life. She once clarified that attribution as false and a correct version was “I want to be let alone”. That made all the difference.

I think Garbo’s point was that she was in control of her own life and didn’t want anybody’s advice or interference in living it. She retired from her film career partly because she would not compromise with an industry which compels its stars to become something akin to public property.

Garbo was hounded in retirement. Given to regularly taking long walks around Manhattan, it became a New York phenomenon to make “Garbo sightings” or encounters.

Why all this attention?

I think she had committed the “sin” of being an individual in an increasingly collectivist society. Individualist America has been regressing politically to a more collectivist culture since the advent of the Progressive Era.

A society that reveres the individual is one that respects privacy. Collectivism considers the individual a member of the group, class or tribe to which he belongs.

Garbo was exclusively concerned with her self, free to choose with whom she would associate. She wasn’t turning her back to the world.

Alone

Fortunately for Garbo she didn’t reside in contemporary Toronto, where there are numerous public institutions to deal with recalcitrant individuals.

The Toronto Foundation conducts “quality of life” studies and has recently found “more Toronto residents living isolated lives”.

Global News cites Sean Meagher, executive director of “Social Planning Toronto” who offers possible reasons for the fact that “. . . almost 70,000 homes in Toronto are made up of unrelated people . . ..”

The “Vital Signs” report, apparently conducted annually, points to “potential health risks for those living alone.” There are references to many other independent studies which address these and other “potential” issues.

Does anyone think to ask how all this “social planning” and “independent study” is financed and whether it adds any real value for anyone?

Also why?

Why is there such a discipline as “social planning”? It seems to be conducted by a privileged number of individuals who presume to know what is the best way for the rest of the individuals in society to live.

“Living in isolation” according to these “social planners” is fraught with all kinds of negatives. They’ve got the matter covered with programs encouraging “loners” to mingle.

It never seems to occur to them that a significant number of the 70,000 homes in Toronto made up of “unrelated people” are individuals who have chosen this lifestyle.

Like Garbo, they might just want to be let alone.

“Spending” Fundamentals

Canada’s Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, donned his new pair of designer shoes last Tuesday and delivered the government’s budget. For clarity it ought to be called the government’s spending plans, larded with lots of “feel good” spending initiatives that have nothing to do with practical finance or economics.Shoes

To many of us the hoopla that surrounds the government’s budgeting process and the endless commentary that follows release of the budget itself is mind-boggling. Lawyers, accountants, journalists and various pundits on television are engaged in analyzing the government’s budget.

It is easier to understand what’s going on if you identify and keep the fundamentals in mind as you try to follow the responses.

To start, consider that on a personal level, whether your means are modest or extravagant, one thing is certain: you can’t spend more than you earn. Even if you do, you must eventually repay the resulting debt from your future earnings.

You have a method, formal budget or not, for deciding what you can afford to spend.

You have limits.

Now consider your agent, the government, the proper and fundamental role of which is to protect your rights. Agents don’t work for free so you pay some amount in the form of taxes to secure this service.

Lately, your agent’s fees have gone up and it seems there are no spending limits.

To be frank, the government is spending like a drunken pothead. And, there’s a lot of frivolous spending going on, nearly $20 billion per year over the annual tax levies.

The government, to make matters worse, has no earnings. It doesn’t produce anything so adds no economic value. The Canadian government, like all governments, only spends the wealth taken from the productive in society.

Let’s keep this fundamental set of facts in mind as we consider some commentary.

Andrew Coyne, writing for the National Post criticizes the budget in a lengthy piece for favouring “equality” over addressing spending and economic growth.

Probably true, but this level of critique does not address the fundamental, which is only spending.

Anthony Furey, for the Toronto Sun calls it the first “social justice budget” and criticizes it in that context. He points out that the budget mentioned “gender” 358 times as it focused on this and other issues of “identity politics”.

This too is fair criticism but leaves the spending fundamental for you to decipher.

A Bloomberg News analysis published in the Financial Post challenges the government for possibly missing its last chance to balance the budget.

Bloomberg essentially maintains that Canada’s in a good growth position now but it may not last. The government in other words is too optimistic and has no contingency plan if an economic downturn happens.

One of the best headlines for an article about this budget comes from a Toronto Sun editorial which states it’s equally bad for all genders.

All these concretes and associated analysis distract from the fundamental however.

Guess what? It’s spending.

No matter how many specific bits of nonsense are addressed the fundamental problem is that our government can’t control its spending.

I didn’t buy a new pair of shoes to present these observations. My budget doesn’t permit such extravagance.

Acadia University’s Faculty of “Support”

Controversial views at a university? Heaven forfend!

I know it’s repetitive to level criticism at universities for deviating from the traditional role in which controversy, debate and challenging discussion were the norm and not the exception they are today requiring “formal investigations”. But, if the mortar board fits, wear it.

Acadia University is launching an investigation into the classroom conduct of professor Rick Mehta because of complaints about his controversial views on decolonization, gender identity and other mind benders such as “truth and reconciliation”.

From the notice to professor Mehta about the impending investigation comes this statement: “The university has a legal responsibility to provide an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment and personal harassment”.

Now that seems like quite a logical leap considering that Mehta has simply expressed differing views, according to the article. It’s also indicated that he has advised his students that he isn’t testing them on any of the issues he’s raised but just wants them to consider “a different perspective from what he calls the dominant political orientation on campus“.

Mehta also reportedly states that:

I would have no problem if people refuted me and told me I was being unreasonable, that is perfectly fine. I would love it if students just told me I’m wrong.

That apparently would be too stressful for today’s students, many of whom evidently prefer to complain to authorities that they don’t feel safe in the university environment.

Some professors may feel the same. Matthew Sears, associate professor of classics and ancient history at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, according to the article, called Mehta’s “free-speech absolutism” extreme, noting that free speech does not mean consequence-free speech.

Fair enough, but we’re talking about consequences that relate to truth not “political correctness”.  And that’s revealed in another statement attributed to professor Sears in this article: “The university must weigh a professor’s right to free speech with a student’s right to be safe and supported in class . . ..”

A university student is an adult not a child. His elementary and secondary education ought to have prepared him to think for himself, to understand the essentials of history and to logically seek further knowledge to integrate with what he may already know.

A university student should be challenged as an independent thinker not treated as a pre-pubescent child in elementary school requiring constant supervision and “support”.