Milk Cartels

Globe and Mail: Dairy desperado goes west on raw-milk mission

“There are also set allotments, or quotas, of how many dairy cows provinces can have. Effectively a licence, they go for upwards of $30,000 per cow in Western Canada.”

Most people do not realize that there are cartels that control most of the agricultural commodities that we all take for granted.  Milk is one of them along with eggs and others.  In an attempt to prop up local agri-business and buy votes with the resulting high producer prices the provinces legislate these marketing boards that have great power over the production of end user products such as milk.  The next time you buy a gallon of milk at the store you can now see why it’s $5 vs. $3 in the USA.

Personally I would never try raw milk but if you want to it is none of the Governments business.  Require a disclaimer as part of the sale but otherwise leave these people alone.

Posted in Free Markets, Government Intervention, Liberty & Freedom, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility | Tagged | 2 Comments

Building Inspections

Globe & Mail: ‘All I wanted to do is build a house’

When I first saw this article I was it was going to end badly but I was glad to see that common sense prevailed.

“In the past two years, building inspectors have hauled Mr. Morrison into court six times, each appearance more harrowing than the last. A couple of weeks ago, the provincial agency that employs building inspectors demanded that the court forcibly remove Craig and Irene Morrison from their home, that the house be bulldozed, and that Mr. Morrison be found in contempt of court – meaning, almost certainly, imprisonment.”

In the end the courts made the right move and sided with the property owner who should have the ultimate say over how one uses his own property.  I would defend the municipality if this were a commercial property where it is open to the public but in this case this was private property and if this man wants to build his own house the Government has no business interfering.

How about we start with requiring municipalities 100% liable for anything missed on a mandatory home building inspection.  This will cut down on the red tape in a hurry.  Most of them force you to pay hundreds of dollars and then send out an ‘inspector’ who does a 5 minute walk thru.

If it’s my private property it should be my choice to follow any applicable building code.  If I buy a home the building code status of a structure could be a legal requirement of the sale but the compliance to that code should be up to the buyer to decide.  As long as the buyer is making an informed choice who are we to interfere?

Posted in Government Intervention, Liberty & Freedom, Nanny State, Private Property | Comments Off on Building Inspections

Public Sector Unions

Toronto Sun: Feds have $65B pension funding shortfall: C.D. Howe

“Most federal employees in this country have what’s known as defined-benefit pensions, the most stable of all benefit plans since contributions are fixed. And higher-income public servants often qualify for special retirement compensation arrangements.

Backing promises to public service workers, the RCMP and Canadian Forces would require contribution rates of 35%, 41% and 42% of pay respectively, the report says citing the chief actuary.

Actual contributions to these plans today are 19%, 22% and 21% respectively. On average, two-thirds of costs are borne by the government.”

I am going to open a huge can of worms on this topic.  I would contend that public sector unions should be banned.  I have no problem with private sector unions.  If the employees want to unionize at private company they can do so at their own peril.  The owner of the company can simply close shop and open a new one if they can’t compete in the market place saddled with the extra costs associated with a union work force.

The problem with public sector unions is that the Government typically has no recourse.  They can’t just close up shop and are stuck with the often over the top demands of the unions.  The golden pensions are one of these issues.  The public sector needs to be scaled back and these defined benefit pensions should be the first item on the chopping block.  Government employees should open an RRSP just like the rest of us and not expect to paid their salary & benefits for the rest of their lives.  Government services should be provided at the lowest cost and not a way to create high paying jobs to Canadians.   Add the provincial and municipal unfunded pension liabilities and the number is much more that $65B.

New Jersey is an example of how out of control these commitments can get:

“One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 towards his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him? $3.3 million in pension payments over his life and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits — a total of $3.8m on a $120,000 investment. Is that fair?

A retired teacher paid $62,000 towards her pension and nothing, yes nothing, for full family medical, dental and vision coverage over her entire career. What will we pay her? $1.4 million in pension benefits and another $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime. Is it “fair” for all of us and our children to have to pay for this excess?”

New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie is also an example of how to handle unions:

Posted in Small Government | Tagged | 5 Comments

Canadian Housing Bubble, CHMC & You

This might be a bit off topic for this site but it is a pet project of mine.  Many people believe that Canada dodged a bullet with the collapse of the US housing market.  The common theme is that ‘it is different here’.  It is but is probably not enough to stave off disaster.

If you have been following the main stream media (the dinosaur media as I call them) you will read several stories along these two themes: The cost of housing is rising (Financial Post: New house prices higher than expected) but at the same time demand is waning (CTV News: October housing starts fall to lowest level in a year).

If you followed the US collapse this is exactly how it unfolded.  The US Government intervened in the mortgage industry to advance the cause of increasing home ownership.  The US government is how saddled with trillions of dollars of mortgages that are mostly underwater (more is owed than the home is worth).

Debt ridden Canadians now hold over one trillion dollars (thats $1,000,000,000,000) of mortgages and 90% of them are insured by CHMC.  CHMC only has approximately $300,000,000 in assets so you can do the math and calculate who will be on the hook and for how much.

The Federal Government needs to get out of subsidizing peoples mortgages.  The banks need to be on the hook in the event of a default or look to private mortgage insurance which is available (I have it on my current mortgage).  The subject of Bank of Canada manipulated interest rates is an entire post in its own which I will not start here.

Posted in Free Markets, Small Government | Tagged , | Comments Off on Canadian Housing Bubble, CHMC & You

125th Anniversary of CPR Golden Spike

Globe and Mail: 125 years after the CPR’s last spike was hammered, what shall our new dream be?

Last Strike

I am guessing that many people assume that the Government built the railroad across Canada that paved (should that be railed) the way for the settlement and subsequent economic expansion of  Western Canada.  The truth is that a corporation did it and ‘gasp’ even made money from the endeavour.  In reality one could call it of the first private-public partnerships (P3) that seemed to be scorned today despite the fact that evidence shows that they are typically a win-win proposition.

The article comments on the hypothetical scenario that the same railroad were built today:

“The environmental assessment would take 33 years and nine months. The land claim settlements of first nations would have to be resolved first. I would expect to target 2042 for completion of treaty negotiations. They would insist on first nations hiring of engineers and workers.”

“There would be a Charter of Rights and Freedoms constitutional challenge over whether this is actually a rail project and a national undertaking or a resource project with obvious provincial responsibility. The parliamentary debate would be complicated. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on National Undertakings would hold hearings every summer for 63 years. Provincial governments would insist on a First Ministers Conference. Then they would hold each other hostage to approval until they got bought off by the federal government or the [private business] proponent.”

The reality is that it would never get built but the Federal Government would still spend billions of dollars before coming to the same conclusion.

Posted in Free Markets, Government Intervention, Small Government | Tagged | 2 Comments

Wow….

National Post: Are Canadian politics hot enough to brew a Tea Party?

Wow…. all I can say is wow!  I gave the interview on Thursday afternoon and wasn’t even sure it would see the light of day.  I left town for the night for shopping day trip and returned to a ton of hits and a full inbox.

I will try to get back to everyone that emailed me but for now thanks for the support and encouragement.

Now that I have that off my chest I would ask that if you support of the ideas of smaller government, liberty & freedom and personal responsibility I would ask that you share this site (and / or the article above) to anyone who will listen.  Facebook is great as well as Twitter (of which I guess I should start using now since I had already I created an account).  I already have some tweaks to the site that I have in mind so stay tuned for updates.

Again thanks to everyone for their interest.

Dan :^)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Make high-speed Internet ‘basic service,’ CRTC urged

The Globe & Mail: Make high-speed Internet ‘basic service,’ CRTC urged

“The Montreal MP (Liberal MP Marc Garneau ) stressed that the regulator should make high-speed Internet part of its mandate and suggested a goal of delivering download speeds of 1.5 megabits per second (mbps) by 2014 and about 4 mbps by 2020. In remote areas, the high cost of delivering service does not provide private-sector companies with a sufficient return on investment to justify building infrastructure.”

Isn’t nice of Mr. Garneau to suggest that we commit to a multi billion boondoggle that is ripe for mismanagement and cost over runs.  Why stop at 4mbps?  Why not fibre optic to everyones home?  What someone does not have a computer?… Oh yeah lets just add that to the tab – who cares it’s just someone else’s money.

Update: Thanks for the grammar suggestions from everyone.  Being an Engineer has eroded my writing skills over the years.  Perhaps a remedial night class is in order :^)

Posted in Free Markets, Government Intervention, Small Government, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Debt by a million giant novelty cheques.

I read this story today and it had me thinking: CTV News: Canada’s oilpatch subsidies said to total $2.8B.  The gist was that we should eliminate these subsidies to which I agree (even though I work in the oil patch).

$2.8B is a drop in the bucket.  Have a look at the Government of Canada Current Accounts Transfer Payments for 2009 and some of the highlights:

  • $920,000,000: Agriculture Subsidies (mostly corporations)
  • $637,000,000: Subsidies to Provinces (why not just let them tax and redistribute?)
  • $360,000,000: Atlantic Canada subsidies
  • $1,188,000,000: Canadian Heritage (just read the 17 pages of handouts)
  • $342,000,000: Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
  • $14,000,000,000: Equalization Payments (welfare) to Provinces (MB, NS, NB, ON, PEI, QC)
  • $6,600,000,000: General Motors bailout
  • $360,000,000: Western Economic Diversification

It is basically tax dollars used to buy votes.  Each line item is small in the big picture but when you add them all up it gets pretty ugly.

Posted in Small Government | 3 Comments

Réseau Liberté Québec / Quebec Freedom Network

Globe & Mail: Libertarian group seeks to shift the political focus in Quebec

“Rather than launch a new political party, the group believes it can influence public policy by introducing the traditional right-wing ideals of smaller government, lower taxes and more free enterprise into the province’s political discourse.”

It’s nice to see that the principles of smaller government, personal responsibility and freedom are alive and well in Quebec.  They have an up hill battle in that province but it’s worth it.

Link: Réseau Liberté Québec / Quebec Freedom Network (French only for now)

Posted in Liberty & Freedom, Personal Responsibility, Small Government | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pay Equity Laws

CBC: N.B. private sector needs pay equity law: NDP

The simple question that no one asks is that if an employer can get away with paying women less for the same job why would anyone hire men at all?

John Stossel nails this topic in this article and related Youtube video below:

Posted in Free Markets, Government Intervention, Nanny State | Tagged , | Comments Off on Pay Equity Laws